Surprising Ski Spots in SoutherN New England and New Jersey
Located on the outskirts of the northeastern ski meccas of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, Southern New England rarely gets recognized for its unique contributions to the region’s cross country ski scene. However, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and, to push the boundaries of “New England” a bit, New Jersey offer ski destinations that are quite different from their northern counterparts, and are all the more interesting because of it. The following ski centers combine rural and urban elements, showcase both the natural beauty and the rich agricultural history of the area, and generally offer awesome cross-country skiing with hospitality and a deep love for winter fun. Be sure to click on the names of these wonderful places to find directions, prices and more.
For those in the Western Massachusetts area who are looking for excellent and wonderfully varied cross-country ski terrain, Northfield Mountain has to be on your list. The 25 miles of trails owned by the local utility First Light takes visitors on winding adventures through the full flora and fauna along the banks of the Connecticut River, and up the 800 vertical feet of the Tenth Mountain Hill. Trail passes and maps, along with whatever rental equipment you may require, can be found at the Northfield Mountain Visitor Center.
A rare urban Nordic Center, Weston offers to folks in Boston a wondrous escape onto pristine ski trails. Located within the range of Boston’s public transportation, Weston is the perfect destination for Bostonians looking for a quick ski before or after work, or for Beantown visitors looking for a little fresh air and outdoor adventure. The Center’s 15 km of natural-snow trails and 2.5km of provide plenty of terrain for leisurely exploration or heart pounding exercise—and with a lighted night-skiing loop, late afternoon skiers can glide into the evening hours without issue.
Perched on over 3,000 elevated acres in the Berkshire Mountains, Notchview boasts hilly terrain both adventure-worthy and accessible. Over 20km of well-groomed trails weave amongst the Berkshire Ridges and the fields between them. Encompassing four separate, gigantic parcels of land, skiers and snowshoers visiting Notchview have the chance to wander through scenes of old New England agriculture and gorgeous swaths of wilderness. As the name suggests, magnificent views of this Massachusetts gem abound along its trails.
Well situated on the lower slopes of the Berkshires, this Westfield destination has been a well-cared for piece of land since it began as a family farm in the early 1800’s. Today, the more recent addition of a Cross Country Ski Center operates alongside the farm, and lets visitors enjoy Maple Corner’s singular beauty. 20 km of trails work their way through meadows, forests, mountain streams and sprawling pastures, while a sizeable ski lodge offers comfort, home cooking, and all the equipment you need. With a flat warm-up area and ski instructors available, skier so of all ages and abilities can easily enjoy the sweet magic of Maple Corner.
Continuing the unique Massachusetts tradition of farms being converted into ski centers, this Carlisle Cross Country hub is based out of a converted dairy barn while its trails roll past herds of milk cows and picturesque farms. A part of the Great Brook Farm State Park, visitors to the Great Brook Touring Center can enjoy over 10 miles of wide, well-groomed trails, with varying difficulty levels that can accommodate every guest. Just 25 miles from Boston, Great Brook is a premier Eastern Mass ski destination and is not to be missed on a Southern New England ski trip.
Located along the shores of the 80-acre Dunning Lake in lovely Farmington, Connecticut, Winding Trails is an all-season outdoor center firmly dedicated to getting the locals and visitors alike outside. Come winter, the 20+ km of “winding trails” become pristine terrain for classic skiing, complete with carefully groomed double tracks. With 350 acres of woodlands, brooks and ponds, as well as a fully stocked rental shop, retail store, and snack bar, Winding Trails is easily the Nordic destination of the Central Connecticut region.
Few people think of Cross Country Skiing when they think of New Jersey—High Point is out to change that misperception. Located less than 90 minutes from New York City, on the far Northern edge of New Jersey, in Sussex’s High Point State Park, this “almost New England” Nordic Center takes full advantage of its elevation. Over 15 km of trails groomed for skate and classic skiing, plus an additional five km of snowshoe trails, await New Yorkers and New Jerseyites alike. If you find yourself in the Tristate Region, don’t miss the skiing and winter fun at “the snowiest place in the NYC Metropolitan Area.”