If you’re among the many newcomers to XC skiing, I suggest that you take a lesson. XCSkiResorts.com recommends starting at one of the following locations:

Metropolitan Boston — Weston Ski Track, a county-owned golf course accessible by public transportation. Snowmaking guarantees good cover and lights allow for night skiing. A 75-minute session covers the basics (i.e. motion, turning and negotiating small hills). A package of rental gear, lesson, and trail access starts at $44 for kids and $64 for adults. There are well-priced multiple session packages, too.

New HampshireGreat Glen Trails, Gorham, encourages booking on line because of capacity limits in its 75-minute group lessons. Coaching goes at a pace that is comfortable for the whole group to learn gliding, stopping, and getting up (just about everyone falls on the snow when they begin skiing). The views of Mt. Washington from Great Glen Trails are astounding.

Mt. Peg at Woodstock Nordic Center

VermontTrapp Family Lodge (the Sound of Music family), Stowe, starts newcomers by teaching basic techniques which help beginners get control (e.g. kick and glide motion, using poles, and stopping).  They use soft skis, which make it easier to turn and stop. Woodstock Nordic Center, Woodstock Inn & Resort, offers a 20-minute “Mini Clinic” for first timers ona golf course behind the inn. It includes a lesson, trail pass, one hour equipment rental  for $50.

New YorkLapland Lake Vacation Center in Northville customizes the introduction to XC skiing to the skier’s level of ability. There is terrain with a wide modest downhill and a run-out to make skiers feel more comfortable.

MichiganCross Country Ski Headquarters, Roscommon, offers free lessons on weekend mornings for beginners in classic or skate skiing. Their Winter Trails Day on January 8 provides free access and a lesson with a complimentary hot cocoa and hot dog cookout for only $9.

Minnesota —   Maplelag Resort, Callaway, is a family-oriented operation that goes out of its way to make people comfortable with new adventures like XC skiing or snowshoeing so they’ll want to come back for more. Maplelag is a community-based experience and often, experienced guests provide extra attention to first time skiers.

Breckenridge Nordic Center lodge

ColoradoBreckenridge Nordic Center specializes in working with those who are first timers. The Center gives a 20% discount on group lessons booked on line. All resort staff are ambassadors who freely offer ski tips to all. As soon as the skier steps out the door, staff is available to help skiers put equipment on, review the trail map, talk about body balance, and provide other tips.

CaliforniaTahoe Donner Cross Country has low cost opportunities to help people learn basic ski skills. The $87 member price is for a group lesson package that includes rental gear, trail pass, and a 75-minute lesson or tour with an instructor.

Washington – Located in eastern Washington, Methow Trails has one of the largest trail networks in the U.S. On January 21. It hosts Free Backyard Ski Day with free access to the trails, free rental gear, and free lessons available for beginners.

XC skiing delivers physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Spending time in a snowy landscape can be magical. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.


  1. Thanks for the great suggestions!

  2. I would add the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation center in Jackson NH. Top notch.

    • One of the early XC ski introductions to my spouse was at Jackson STF on the Ellis River Trail. Very enchanting. Jackson is in the upcoming article on “4 New England ski towns for XC skiers’ bucket list.”

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