By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
In general, many places permit cross-country skiing such as public parks; however, Upstate New York features numerous places particularly suited to the activity, both in topography and for the scenery.
• Green Lakes State Park (https://parks.ny.gov/parks/172, Fayetteville) isn’t just a beach destination. The park also offers 15 miles of marked cross-country ski trails on the gently rolling hills between the lakes.
• Beaver Lake Nature Center (www.onondagacountyparks.com/parks/beaver-lake-nature-center, Baldwinsville) is a wetland habitat for numerous creatures cross-country skiers can view from its eight miles of groomed trails. All are rated easy but one, the moderate 1.5-mile Three Meadows Trail. Also check out the displays inside the Nature Center.
• The 14.3 miles of trails at Bear Swamp State Forest (www.dec.ny.gov/lands/34420.html, Sempronius, Cayuga County) are multiple use for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Since the park includes a large wetland and creek, snowshoers should see a good variety of birds and other wildlife.
• At Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center (www.laplandlake.com, Benson) you can enjoy Adirondack views on 38 kilometers of tended trails and 12 non-groomed trails. Most are one-way trails for easy cross-country skiing. Lapland Lake also boasts a gift shop and equipment rental, along with skiing lessons and clinics.
• Mt. Van Hoevenberg (www.mtvanhoevenberg.com, Lake Placid) grooms 50 trails through Adirondack forests with views of the High Peaks. Cross-country skiers can rent equipment and take lessons. S’mores and hot chocolate by the fire in Josie’s Cabin are included in the equipment rental package.
• Whiteface Club & Resort (whitefaceclubresort.com, Lake Placid) is also in Lake Placid. The Resort provides 18 kilometers of maintained trails, along with the Jackrabbit Trail: 35 miles of backcountry tails from the Adirondack Visitors Center at Paul Smith’s College, through Saranac Lake, Lake Placid to Keene Valley. Equipment rental and lessons are available.
• Cascade XC-Ski (www.cascadeski.com, Lake Placid) provides 20 kilometers of groomed trails, along with rental equipment, lessons and a full-service lodge, bar and restaurant. Plan a cross-country ski getaway in the middle of New York’s winter playground.
• Garnet Hill Outdoor Center (www.garnet-hill.com, North River) provides 55 kilometers of trails that are groomed daily to ensure excellent cross-country skiing. Cross-country purists can’t go wrong. The facility also rents equipment and offers lessons.
• Cunningham’s Ski Barn (www.visitlakegeorge.com/recreation/cunninghams-ski-barn), North Creek) provides 25 kilometers of woodland trails for cross-country skiers with views of the Hudson River. Skiers can also take guided tours – perfect for beginners or visitors to the area.
• Dewey Mountain Recreation Center (www.deweymountain.com, Saranac Lake) offers a total of 13 kilometers of groomed and backcountry trails with a variety of difficulty levels. Equipment rental is available by the full day or half day.
• Take in the scenic vistas of Poesten Creek while cross-country skiing at Pineridge XC-Ski (https://pineridgexc.com, Poestenkill) with its 33 groomed trails that wind through the forest. The facility also offers equipment sales and rental, lessons and a lodge.
• In the Catskills, visit Mountain Trails Cross Country Ski Center (www.mtntrails.com, Tannersville) In addition to its 35 forest trails, the Center provides a snack bar, warming hut, rentals and lessons.
• Near Cortland, Greek Peak (www.greekpeak.net, Virgil), cross-country skiers can get their fill on 20 kilometers of groomed trails. Warming hut, lessons and rental equipment are also available.
• Byrncliff Resort (https://byrncliff.com/cross-country-skiing, Varysburg) offers 20 kilometers of groomed trails, including 8 kilometers of lit trails for night skiing. Lessons and equipment rentals are available. The facility also features lodging and dining onsite. Buffalo Spree Magazine voted Byrncliff “Best Cross-Country Skiing 2008” so if you’re in western New York, it’s worth a visit.
To see a map of state-owned lands where cross-country skiing and other activities are permitted, visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/82098.html. As with many winter activities, cross-country skiing is weather dependent, so call in advance. Many state parks offer free or low-cost entry. Ski centers charge by the hour or day. Check their websites for pricing and policies.