Saturday, December 7, 2013
The kids and I enjoy cross-country skiing and try to expand our horizons every year with a visit to a new trail. After last year's disappointing winter (and no big skiing adventures for us), we decided to visit Carter's in Oxford for an easy, groomed-trail experience right after the big January snowfall (we've learned our lesson to not ignore a day of good trail conditions). We also made a new friend on the trail.
Carter’s in Oxford proved to be a marvelous place after the January storm to break into the cross-country ski season, with beginner and intermediate trails. Plus there’s Maya, the dog that loves to tag along and show the way for visitors.
Wendy Almeida Photos
The trails at Carter’s in Oxford are well-marked with wooden signs, but it was just as easily to simply follow the grooming. Carter’s has 40 kilometers of trails.
WHAT: Carter's X-C Ski Center
WHERE: Route 26, Oxford
HOURS: Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
TRAIL FEE: $14/adults; $10/students/seniors; free/under 6 years; Tuesdays ski 2-for-1
TOURING EQUIPMENT RENTAL: $10 to $14
TRAIL CONDITIONS: Updated on their website: www.cartersxcski.com/xcskicenter.html
YOU CAN FIND many of our trail maps from a variety of our adventures on EveryTrail.com at: ht.ly/gK41g
We have passed by Carter's in Oxford many times while traveling on Route 26 to hiking trails but had never been there to ski. It turned out to be a great way to ease into the season, with their beginner- and intermediate-level trails.
The trail fee was reduced the day we visited because not all of their 40 kilometers of trails had been groomed. We were told there were about two miles of grooming and if we wanted to forge our own path, we could explore more of the trail system. I was given a map to follow but we didn't really need it. The trails were well-marked with wooden signs (and some blazes), but it was just as easy to simply follow the grooming.
The warmer weather before the big snowfall made for not-so-frozen ground. There were a couple places with slushy spots. Those were easy to avoid by going on the shoulder of the trail, and overall the grooming was nice and comparable to other trails we've visited.
Cross-country skiing is a total body workout. And because of that, it always takes a trip (or three) for me to get back into shape. Carter's trails were fairly level and the grooming made for smooth gliding. The girls both declared the trail "nice" and "easy" and concurred with me that it was a great trail system to ease into the season.
At some point along our looping trek we picked up a canine friend. My kids are like pied pipers when it comes to attracting animals. They seem to befriend every furry/hairy/wooly/(whatever) creature wherever we go. Our four-legged companion seemed well versed in traveling with skiers and kept pace, or doubled back to ensure we were still with her, for more than half of our trip. I believe this was the highlight of the trip for both of my animal-loving kids.
I tracked our adventure with my Android phone's EveryTrail.com application. I like this app because it tells me the actual distance we've traveled. It turned out the loop we took, which included a short, ungroomed trail detour, covered 3.1 miles. It honestly didn't feel like it was that long, but it was nice to know we'd skied a longer distance and burned more calories than we thought we would. And despite that fact, it was a relaxed, pleasant glide through the woods. We're looking forward to more skiing adventures this winter and working up to the hilly terrain of more challenging trails.
For families who don't own cross-country ski equipment, Carter's X-C Ski Center has the equipment (to rent or buy) you need to get out on the trails for the day. And with another snowfall or two, they should have a nice snow pack to open their full trail system.
The ski center staff was friendly and willing to answer any and all questions related to skiing, trail conditions and otherwise.
And in case you were wondering, our new (canine) friend's name was Maya.
Wendy Almeida can be contacted at 791-6334 or at: