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Nordic Tracks with Sven Backcountry skiing: Taking a trip off the groomed terrain


January 27, 2011
My wife and I went out for a backcountry ski the other day. I knew roughly what we had for time, and I knew of a few spots I wanted to show her. They consisted of a neat bog area and the corresponding beaver dam and beaver house, a section of stream that I had found once that I always thought was very picturesque, and a holding pond of some sort that I had found scouting mountain bike trails in the fall and had no idea really what it was. That was my plan, I knew the general direction we'd need to go to hit these various points of interest, but the rest was just following the terrain and skiing to space.

What was so enjoyable was that, while we had a rough idea of where we were going, we where more dependent on what the woods wanted to offer up. A clean line through the woods took precedence over the exact direction to our next point. An interesting feature that looked fun to ski took precedence over trying to get to our destination fast. Following animal tracks took precedence over trying to find the perfect glide. It was about the adventure and being out in nature.

I found breaking trail to be fun, like I was an artist with a fresh canvas. I thought back to when I was a kid skiing and hating to break trail because it was so much work, and I wanted to go faster. Now it was a joy to know I was choosing the path and I could go wherever I wanted.

When we got back we both commented on how enjoyable and relaxing the trip was. Sure it was a good workout, but more than anything it was relaxing. It reminded me, yet again, why skiing is one of the best sports in the world. The best part, it was right out the door- literally. And living here in the Valley we all have that access, so grab your skis and go out and enjoy.

For other fun to enjoy in the Valley:

Bear Notch Ski Touring is hosting naturalist tours on Fridays and Saturdays; give them a call at 374-2277.

Bretton Woods offers up a unique experience, with lift serviced XC skiing, a great way to enjoy a descent without all the effort! Check in on trail conditions at www.brettonwoods.com.

Great Glen Trails host Go Red on Feb. 4, this is a day to bring awareness to heart disease, and if you wear red you get to ski for 50 percent off the ticket price. Then on Saturday, Feb. 5, it's Family Fun Day at Great Glen, a full day of low key, but high fun activities throughout the day, check out www.greatglentrails.com.

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation has over 140km open, sometimes it's just fun to look at the trail map and see if over the years you've skied all of their different trails. On Feb. 12 you can participate in the Jackson Groomed Trail Challenge, an event where you choose the route and try to ski as many kms of the 90-plus km of groomed terrain as you can or want. A great event that puts you in charge. Before you sign up for that, however, make sure you know how to make your skis fast by checking in on one of Thom's Amazing Wax Demo's that are put on every Monday, www.jacksonxc.

Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring hosts Nordic Nights with Lights in Whitaker Woods on Jan. 28, a great chance to meet up with member of the Mount Washington Nordic Club, details by calling 356-9021. Don't forget the Chocolate Festival on Feb. 27, www.crosscountryskinh.com.

Purity Springs Reserve is hosting a Audubon Snowshoe Tour on Saturday, Jan. 29, www.kingpine.com.

Sven Cole is a local skier and writer, check out his other adventures at www.skiingwithsven.blogspot.com.

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