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Presidents Day weekend sure to keep slopes, trails busy

February 17, 2011

Paula Tracy, author of “Fast Tracks” in the New Hampshire Sundays News sports section, wrote about her cross-country skiing experience at Waterville Valley.  Read the story, below, and on

The next handful of days — with Presidents Day weekend and Massachusetts school vacation starting — are going to be very busy in ski country.

With what appears to be about five feet of snow in the woods in the higher terrain and two or more in the lower elevations around here, chances are good that you will be able to find a piece of snow to call your own.

I got a chance to ski the trails at Waterville Valley’s Nordic Center on Saturday and Sunday and experienced perhaps some of the best snow conditions that there have ever been on those trails. All of the more than 70 kilometers of groomed trails were open and in fantastic shape.

Even the backcountry trails, which are not groomed, were gorgeous.

The idea of taking a break from the lift line and lunchroom might appeal to you this coming long weekend, and for that reason, I recommend you visit, then go to the nordic button and look at all your options. One of the best in the White Mountain National Forest is here at Waterville Valley.

My friend, Martha Macomber of Holderness, called me out of the house for a Saturday afternoon ski last weekend. I needed to get a sweat going, breathe in the air and enjoy the gorgeous winter mountain scenery.

We met at the nordic center in the town square, where she rented some boots. We got our passes and headed out along the edges of Corcoran’s Pond and under a road tunnel to the trail system located behind the Athletic Center. We skied trails called Sloppy Joe’s, Dry Joe’s and Criterion.

The trails were wide and had two tracks for classic and corduroy in the center for skate skiing.

There were very few people out there. Most of the terrain was considered moderately difficult, but it was hilly and we did get a few really fun down hill runs of it.

I use backcountry skis, which have edges,and while they are not as fast as nordic, I get a better edge on the downhill and can break my own trail.

I love the slow pace of backcountry because it allows you to take in all your surroundings.

Last Sunday found me back out there for a 7.5-mile trek up to the magnificent Greeley Ponds, which is only about a mile from the Kancamagus Highway and follows Kancamagus Brook.

It’s hard to believe you can be that close to the Kanc.

The pond is in a sort of natural cathedral surrounded by nonamed mountains. It is hard to believe you are only about four miles from the village of Waterville Valley.

I came back down into the valley with the stress of the world wiped clean away after four hours in the deep snow. Solitude on Sunday is just what I needed.

Read more about the variety of trails at Waterville Valley’s cross country skiing center in Paula Tracy’s “Fast Tracks” column this weekend in the New Hampshire Sundays News’ sports section. She can be reached by E-mail at

About Jan Stearns

I've been living in and loving New Hampshire's White Mountains for most of my life. I moved to Waterville Valley in 1981 and quickly realized why it was dubbed a Yankee Shangri-la. Once you’ve experienced Waterville Valley, you’ll want to call it yours. The great team of Realtors at Waterville Valley Realty can help you find a Waterville Valley home that fits your lifestyle and budget.

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