TUCKERMAN RAVINE While double black diamonds are popping up at more and more New England resorts, it's at Tuckerman Ravine you need to worry about an avalanche ruining your session. Notably, there's no chairlift (or any other services, really); hardcore riders hike 2.4 miles to the base, and from there, you still have to hike to the top of the headwall to take your run down the 600-foot descent, which features pitches as steep as 55 degrees. Along the way, you'll have to navigate ravines and cliff drops, and dodge the random rock outcropping. Not extreme enough for you? From the headwall, you can actually hike to the summit of Mt. Washington and start your run from there. Its location on the highest peak in the state means snow sticks around well into the spring, so you can spend your entire season prepping for this monumental challenge.
North Conway, NH | timefortuckerman.com | 604.366.2727
In the elite group of sports that burn the most calories per hour and work every major muscle group, cross-country skiing is right up there with swimming, rowing, and running. As a kid, I didn't know any of this; I just thought it was a fun way to get around in the snow. A low-impact activity — assuming you don't fall down much — it won't stress your joints or lead to a painful end of a 26.2-mile day.
WHERE TO GO CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
Pretty much anywhere there's snow. If you're dipping your toe into the XC-skiing pool, you needn't shell out cash to break in a trail or follow along in someone else's tracks. Wherever there's snow is fair game: any city or state park, municipal golf course, town square, or athletic field. Both the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton and the Middlesex Fells Reservation's numerous suburban parks offer trails. Golf courses provide fairways with plenty of room to perfect your stride, as well as hills that will test your herringbone on the way up and your balance on the descent. And did I mention there's no greens fee?
mass.gov/dcr/parks/metroboston/blue.htm | 617.698.1802
WESTON SKI TRACK With conveniences like night skiing, on- and off-site rentals, lessons, a snack bar, and groomed skate and classical trails, the Weston Ski Track is a great place to learn. Close to Boston and semi-accessible by public transportation (it's about a 20-minute walk from Riverside), this is a unique resource for urban winter-sports enthusiasts. Snowmaking covers 1.2 miles of the nine miles of trails here, so as long as the mercury cooperates, you'll have somewhere to go even if the snow isn't falling.
Weston, MA | skiboston.com/skitrack/skitrack.php | 781.891.6575 ?
BRETTON WOODS NORDIC CENTER Nestled among the White Mountains along New Hampshire's scenic Kancamagus Highway, the Bretton Woods Nordic Center offers 60 miles of trails, the vast majority of which are groomed and tracked. This includes approximately seven miles of dog-friendly routes, so you don't have to leave Fido in the car or in your roommate's care while you're out enjoying the view. The adjacent, historic Mount Washington Hotel makes for an excellent après-ski stop or weekend getaway. If this place doesn't wow you, a trip to the Rockies is in order.
Bretton Woods, NH | brettonwoods.com/winter_sports/nordic/overview | 800.314.1752