I need to preface this post by saying I have never cross-country skied before. When I was a kid, I went downhill skiing a few times, and these days I snowboard, but neither prepared me for this adventure. I had a day of practice two days earlier, when I learned the basics during my Appalachian Mountain Club’s Youth Opportunities Program Winter Exploration training. Our trip to Bear Notch Ski Touring Center in Bartlett, NH was our chance to try out our newfound x-country skiing skills together. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy, but I had tons of fun! (Even when I went down a small hill and fell on my head.)
Bear Notch is a family owned business housed in a quaint homestead, with the warming room in an old barn. When we first stepped into the warming room to store our shoes and extra gear, we were met with the smell of freshly baking bread. In addition to the hodgepodge of furniture on which you could relax and eat a meal, there was a plethora of snacks and soups that could be bought using the honor system. Needless to say, it was a welcoming environment, complete with a beautiful, snuggly dog.
With 65km of trails to choose from, we opted to cross Rt. 302 and ski the easiest trails. Because I was too preoccupied with not falling over, I didn’t keep track of the trails we took. However, I did snap some pictures of the beautiful pine groves we skied through on our way to the banks of the Saco River. The scenery was truly breathtaking.
I had one fall and managed to clonk my head pretty well, but otherwise stayed upright on my skis. Cross-country skiing is a bit tricky, but really fun once you get going. I want to get Addie started on skis next winter so we can explore together.
In addition to cross-country skiing, you can also snowshoe at Bear Notch. The prices are very reasonable – $17 for an adult pass. Kids 16 and under are FREE with a paying adult! If you don’t have your own equipment, rentals are available. You can also take lessons, or take part in a guided tour with a local naturalist.
Directions to Bear Notch Ski Touring Center:
Bear Notch is located on US 302 in Bartlett, NH.
From the East: Follow US 302 west at Glen where it splits from NH 16. In 7 miles, Bear Notch will be on your left.
From the West: Follow US 302 east from where it splits from US 3. In 22 miles, Bear Notch will be on your right.