What Is Your Preference? 

Appleton Farms, Ipswich, MA. Trails are groomed by a volunteer group. Credit: SeniorsSkiing.com

We live across a little country road from a 900-acre conservation property. For years, we’d walk across the road, stumble over the stone wall bordering the street, and plod our way about 20 feet through tree-falls and heavy brush to a trail where we’d put on our xc skis. And then we’d break trail around our favorite loop, eventually meeting up with trails already made by skiers who made it out earlier than us.  Then we’d follow those.

In recent years, North Shore Nordic, a local, volunteer-run non-profit, regularly runs a trail-maker snow mobile around the property, creating perfect, groomed grooves for classic skiing and a corduroy path for xc skaters.  Now, we have the best of both worlds.  To get to the groomed track, we break trail from a remote corner of the property to the main area. We like the groomed trails.  But then, there are the walkers who are enjoying the beautiful snow-filled fields by walking on—and disturbing—the groom. So, hmmm.

And, here’s our question for you:

Do you favor going to a cross country ski area with groomed trails or on a local trail that is not maintained? Do you have a place that is cross country skiing close to home? Is it au naturel or groomed?

“Au naturel” trail across Appleton Farms field. Credit: SeniorsSkiing.com


  1. Michael O'Meara says:

    I prefer skiing in groomed cross country trails. In Central Wisconsin we a blessed with lots of groomed trails.

  2. My first XC skiing typically involved breaking trail uphill in a foot of heavy wet snow here in New England. That wasn’t great. Coming back down was much better. Over the years I figured that the perfect trail was one that two other skiers had broken before me. And I had no money then so free was always good. Groomed trails on golf courses etc. have their place but do not provide the same degree of escape from it all I’m lucky in that I can choose either.

  3. Kelli Majiros says:

    I miss the Laurel Mountain cross-country area in Forbes State Forest! A nice mix of groomed and natural trails maintained by volunteers. Nice warming hut and volunteer patrol and groomers. I try to get back out there at least once each winter.

  4. anybody remember highmoutn in ny state by kingston. that was really fun. short runs but not groomed.

  5. Ernest Ashley says:

    I enjoy both and often the conditions can dictate which is better. I don’t skate ski but I’m glad to have some areas where you can.

  6. I prefer the groomed trails. You can go faster, relax and just cruise.

  7. I always enjoyed breaking trail. It seemed to me to be the essence of xc skiing.

  8. Michael Cahn says:

    Who Cares! As long as we are out there doing it in SNOW!!!!

  9. both, Mike! But I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of boot “ruts” on groomed trails!

  10. I do prefer groomed. My skis are built specifically for groomed and ski in Stowe and Craftsbury Vermont.

    I do thoroughly enjoy an off piste experience and for that I put on my snowshoes!

  11. John Griffin says:

    Null peine sur terre que la neige n’apaise

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