White and Wonderful
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. “If you can’t beat winter, you need to join it,” exclaims Ridgefield resident and former U.S. cross-country ski Olympian Leslie Krichko. Krichko embraces winter by gliding through groomed trails that take her through some of the most breathtaking terrain in New England and Upstate New York. Cross-country skiing is good for your heart and your soul. According to Dr. Michael Brand, sports medicine specialist at Danbury Orthopedics, cross-country skiing is an ideal form of exercise because it uses all muscle groups in a coordinated and balanced way. Done regularly, cross-country skiing can build stronger bones, improve muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and balance, and reduce falling risk.”
We consulted with Krichko to find out some of the coolest places to plant your poles. “I go as far north as I have to in order to find snow,” Krichko admits.
The cross-country ski areas that are top on Krichko’s list are close to home and offer miles of groomed trails with additional activities
appealing to the entire family. “Kids don’t often like to go as far as adults and for it to be a great family sport, it’s important that the place offer additional activities,” says Krichko.
Memorial State Park
1498 Route 301, Carmel, NY 845-265-3773
Minutes from Ridgefield: 40
Fahnestock offers 15 kilometers of machine-groomed, tracked, and mapped trails for beginning and experienced skiers.
Day Passes $9 adults, $8 seniors, $6 kids under 17
Ski Rentals (both skate and traditional skis, boots, poles)
$16 adults, $14 kids under 17
Hours Open the first significant snowfall and then open (weather permitting) every day, 9 am to 4:30 pm weekends and 10 am until 4:30 pm on weekdays
◗ Warming lodge with snack bar that sells Fahnestock’s World Famous Chili
◗ Outdoor fireplace
◗ Pulk sled (sleds with a harness and poles) rentals for pulling small children.
◗ Additional outdoor recreational activities include tubing and snowshoeing (rental equipment available).
Noteworthy Fahnestock does not offer cross-country ski lessons. Pets are not allowed. Skiers must purchase a day pass.
Winding Trails Cross Country Ski Center
50 Winding Trails Dr. Farmington, CT 860-677-8458
Minutes from Ridgefield: 72
Winding Trails has a 20-kilometer trail system including 350 wooded acres and gentle hills groomed daily. Trails are carefully mapped and difficulty levels are marked.
Ski Rentals (Traditional) (skis, boots, poles):
$17 adults, $12 kids under 12, skate ski rentals (skis, boots, poles) $19
Group beginner (1 hour): $20 adult, $15 kids; semi-private (1 hour): $25 adult, $20 kids; private (1 hour): $30 adult, $25 kids
Hours Mid-December through mid-March, depending on snowfall.
◗ Pulk sleds (2 hours): $12
◗ Lodge with fireplace and snack bar
◗ Outdoor picnic area
◗ Additional outdoor recreational activities include ice skating, sledding, and tubing (rental equipment available).
◗ Learn-to-ski packages for adults and kids
◗ Season passes are available.
Noteworthy Pets are not allowed.
Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Rd.,
New Paltz, NY
Minutes from Ridgefield: 75
More than 30 miles of groomed trails with breathtaking views of the Catskills. In 2013, National Geographic Traveler called Mohonk Mountain House “one of the top destinations in the world.”
Ski Rentals (skis, boots, poles): free for hotel guests, $42 per person mid-week, $47 per person weekends.
Mohonk charges a grounds fee of $20 mid-week and $25 on weekends for those who bring their own equipment.
◗ Additional outdoor recreational activities including snowshoeing and ice skating.
◗ Krichko calls Mohonk “One of the top 10 places” that she has ever skied in the world. “You’re on carriage roads most of the time beautiful views of the valley,” explains Krichko.
Instruction is available but you must call ahead for prices and availability. Pets are not allowed. Only hotel guests are permitted inside Mohonk Mountain House lodge.