Top Ten North American Cross-Country Skiing Centers

Jackson Ski Touring, New Hampshire
By Sproule Love
  |  Gorp.com

Quaint, New Englandy Jackson, New Hampshire, is the town that cross-country skiing built. Ski trails are to be found everywhere: beside roads, vaulting covered bridges, and branching off into the nearby White Mountain National Forest.

At the heart of its system, Jackson has a large, modern (built in 1998) touring center that is fully handicapped-accessible, a rarity among Nordic ski areas. This lodge-like center features a huge fireplace and plenty of room to house the lunch area, ski rentals, and a retail shop under one roof.

The Ellis River Trail is a great place to start your day at Jackson. It follows the Ellis River for nearly 8 kilometers and its flat wide surface is conducive to learning the motions of Nordic skiing or working out the early season kinks. There are several one-way loops off this trail and you can find a warming hut 1.5 kilometers from the trailhead on Green Hill Road.

If you are feeling steady on your boards, head up toward the Wave and the Betty Whitney Trail. The latter reveals some great views of the White Mountains and connects the top of the Wave to Whitney's Inn. On your way down (it is a one-way trail), the Wave winds through a rocky forest, over some fun rises, and deposits you into the Eagle Mountain fields.

The backcountry skiing at Jackson is limitless. The 75 kilometers of designated backcountry trails (the Wildcat Valley Trail is a personal favorite) are just a starting point for countless wilderness trips into the White Mountain National Forest, given the right experience and equipment.

If You Go: Jackson Ski Touring

Trails: 154 kilometers open to skating, classic, snowshoe, and backcountry

Trail fee: $14 weekend/holiday, $12 all other days, Child (10-15) half adult rate

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Yes, (800) 866-3334

Where: The ski area is located on the Village Loop in the center of Jackson (north-central New Hampshire, not far from the Maine border) on Route 16A.

For More Information: http://www.jacksonxc.com; (603) 383-9355; Lodging (800) 866-3334.


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The Wentworth Hotel

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