153 Main Street, PO Box 216, Jackson NH 03846
Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (603-383-9355 or 800-927-6697; www.jacksonxc.org), on Rte. 16A in Jackson, NH, is a Mecca for Nordic skiers. It has more than 154 km of cross country ski trails (87 km are groomed), suitable for all ability levels and 45 km of dedicated snowshoe trails. This is the quintessential Nordic or xc skiing experience with the covered bridge, white steepled church, brookside trails, and the accompanying New England village with all of the trappings. Many of the trails lead right to the door of local inns, shops, and restaurants.
The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation is a non-profit organization chartered to provide and maintain xc ski trails in and about the village of Jackson. Country inns are spaced throughout the region. The base lodge is located on the village loop. Jackson Ski Touring Center has a warming hut open every day and serving hot cocoa on the weekend located 3 km from the center on the gentle Ellis River Trail. On weekends, take the kids to the Cocoa Cabana and watch them ski around the Anklebiters Loop. Try the rustic narrow marked snowshoe trail from the center to reach the Cocoa Cabana.
For first timers, the Ellis River Trail may be the choice. It is 7.7 km of rolling terrain on the west bank of the Ellis River on a gentle trail back to Jackson. This is a popular trail, so expect to see other skiers, particularly as you approach the village.
Intermediate xc skiers can do the The Wave, which is 2 km of one-way fun downhill that gathers speed behind the Eagle Mountain Fields. The Wildcat Valley Trail is 17.8 km and is rated most difficult for xc downhill aficionados. This is one of the great experiences when covered in new snow and powder. Go to Wildcat Mountain and take the trail from the summit. This trail has tight steep spots, wooded glades, and a 3,240-foot altitude differential back to Jackson Village.
Jackson Ski Touring has a $21 trail pass and Juniors (10-17) are $10 and over 65 is $15. Late afternoon discount starts at 1:30 PM but you can get a "Go Ahead" pass for $31 that includes the next full day trail pass, too.
Recreational xc ski equipment is available to rent for $16 (half day at 1:30 PM for $10). Performance equipment skate or classic ski package is $25 (half day is $17). Rental snowshoes are $12 (half day is $10).
Group lessons are $18 and private lessons are $40. Semi private are additional $35 per skier. The Super Saver package for lesson, rental and trail pass is $45 (after 1:15 PM - $35). Super Saver Plus package is the same as above PLUS a afternoon lesson at 1:30 to improve technique and downhill control $60 for adult, $50 for junior (10-17), $57 for aged 65+ and $47 for child. The Alpine Sunday Package offers a 33% discount to anyone who has an alpine ski lift ticket and the package includes a discounted trail pass, rental, and lesson. The Get 4 and Go gives you 4 lessons, 4 rentals, 4 trail passes and after the fourth lesson the recipient receives a season pass for the remainder of the season for $199 (worth $385 at retail).
Inside the Jackson Ski Touring Center you'll find a complete retail store with equipment, clothing, and accessories with experts able to fit and mount skis, do repairs, and hot boxing. Discounted midweek trail passes are available to guests, who stay in selected hotels, lodges, and inns in town. Jackson Si Touring Foundation is open daily 8:00 AM-5:00 PM.
Directions from the south take I 93 to exit 23, Rte 114, Rte 104E, Rte 25E, Rte 16N; from Portland, Maine take Rte 22W, Rte 114, Rte 25, Rte 113N, Rte 302W, Rte 16N. CCSAA member