The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 13, 2006

Features

Where to ski when Carlisle is on the wrong side of the rain/snow line

Excellent conditions beckon cross-country skiers at Wachusett Mountain. (Photo by Midge Eliassen)

When we moved to Carlisle in the early 1970s, we could count on fairly reliable cross-country skiing on the Towle Field trails and in Estabrook Woods. Now, we count on the groomed trails at Great Brook Farm State Park for many days of skiing when the woods offer only ice and rocks. However, there are some snowstorms which frustrate us, because we live on the wrong side of Interstate 495 — those days when there is rain here in Carlisle while the snow line stays west of I-495.

Well, now we know where to go. Thanks to a tip from a Worcester area cross-country ski friend, we went out to Wachusett Mountain State Reservation over the January 7 weekend. We did not go to the downhill area, but to the rest of the reservation. There is a network of roads that provides very nice cross- country whenever there is snow cover. There is also a hiking trail system with trails good for winter hiking. Snowshoers use both the roads and trails.

The various gates by which to enter the reservation are about a 40-minute drive from Carlisle. Each leads into the road network, and to the summit area. The skiing is not technical — it's a steady easy climb (no herringboning) to the summit, and a nice, not scary, ride down when it is not icy. From the summit you can see Boston, Monadnock and the mountains of Vermont on a clear day.

For a map of the Wachusett Reservation that shows entry gates and parking, and the network of roads and trails, see www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/trails/WachusettMtn.gif. To get to the area, go west on Route 2 and exit at Route 140. Follow signs to Wachusett Mountain ski area.


2006 The Carlisle Mosquito