By Dani Frank
Winding Trails Cross Country Ski Center
50 Winding Trails Drive
Farmington, CT 06032
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Three hundred and fifty acres of prime Farmington Valley real estate are yours for the skiing, at Winding Trails Cross Country Ski Center. With a 20 kilometer trail system benefitting from daily grooming, confidently push off with your poles, without fear of fallen trees or rocks. Trails are intricately mapped out as well as identified by difficulty; visit the Pine Grove area if a novice skier and head to Back Country for a difficult, trail-blazing journey. Trail passes are $14 for adults, $8 for kids.
Chatfield Hollow State Park
381 Route 80
Killingworth, CT 06419
If you’re looking for a challenging trek atop two skis, Chatfield Hollow is happy to have you. Park your car at the convenient winter parking at the entry to the park, and embark on a three-mile trip on the main road, or aggressive eight mile route taking the service road. Known in the summer as a destination for rock climbing, Indian caves to explore and mountain biking, Chatfield Hollow State Park makes for quite the scenic route for skiers.
Hebron, CT 06248
Hebron’s Gay City State Park is accommodating to you and your cross-country skiing friends, with two lots for plenty of parking, though carpooling is an infinitely more eco-friendly option. A trail map spanning 12 miles of terrain guarantees an up close look at plenty of scenery, as well as a great work out. Gay City State Park is the weekend destination for cross country skiers, providing a weekend warming hut, staffed by the Nordic Ski Patrol, and hosting moonlight tours of the park.
Woodbury Ski Area
785 Washington Road
Woodbury, CT 06798
Hours: Weekdays: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Weekends: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Skiing at an established slope will save you the time and energy of lugging your skis and will give you the guarantee of pre-made trails. Woodbury Ski Area offers up their trails for only $15 at any time of day. Ski rentals are also affordably priced, at $32 for a pair. Push off and slide one ski in front of the other, creating your own adventure. For a structured tour of Washington’s rolling hills and hardwood trails, head out with one of Woodbury’s certified cross-country instructors for the day.
White Memorial Conservation Center
80 Whitehall Road
Litchfield, CT 06759
The largest nature preserve in the state, Litchfield’s White Memorial Conservation Center boasts 35 miles of trails to hike in the summer, and cross country ski in the winter. The popular preserve has a color-coded trail map and is open all winter long sans fees; pick up a map inside the property’s museum. Free, guided tours of the woodlands are offered on occasion throughout the winter, check with the Conservation Center for availability.