Saturday, January 26, 2008

This Winter, We Live in Ski Country

This winter, for the first time in recent memory, we've had snow cover for about six weeks straight now. That's right, most of us have not seen our lawns since about mid-December. I wake up some days and think I'm in Vermont, not Framingham.

If you loathe the snow and cold this winter must seem endless. If you enjoy cross-country skiing, like me, you're in paradise. I've been out more times this winter than most, and we still have quite a ways to go until spring.

With conditions like this there's no reason to head up into northern New England, or to the tame and polished expanses of the Weston ski track.

Many local skiers who can handle narrow trails and some hills head for Callahan State Park on Millwood Street. It has a variety of terrain and enough skier and foot traffic to pack many of the main trails down even by the day after a heavy snow.

Nobscot Boy Scout Reservation on Edgell Road, featured here in a previous posting, is a roller-coaster ride of hills, guaranteed to get your heart going on both the climb up and the speed runs down. There's some flat trails, but this is not the destination for beginners. There's not nearly as much foot or ski traffic here, so you may find yourself breaking trail after new snow has fallen.

The proposed Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (featured in the above photo), aka the Nobscot Trail, is the abandoned railroad bed that runs through Framingham from Route 9 to Route 20 in Sudbury. The rail line actually runs all the way to Chelmsford, where trail construction has begun. The most popular section is the unbroken stretch of trail between Water Street and Route 20, that passes through woods, wetlands, and fields, with no street crossings. Straight and flat, this is a perfect place for beginners to practice their skills, and more advanced skiers to really crank out some quick miles. And because the terrain is pretty predictable, it's an ideal place for a night ski under a full moon, or with a head lamp. A great experience if you've never tried it!

So rather than look out the window gloomily waiting for spring, strap on some skis and enjoy the snow!


MattE said...

Excellent blog, Brett. A nice complement to This is Framingham, with music and the outdoors as prominent foci. (Hmm, those aren't your interests, are they?)
Love the pix and the prose.

Rob Haneisen said...

But what if you don't like winter or skiing? What are some great places to go in winter locally to provide a brief respite from winter? I'm asking this on my blog today at
Anyone have suggestions?

Rob Haneisen
MetroWest Daily News

Anonymous said...

Cool Blog!!

I'm a huge fan of the proposed Bruce Freeman Rail Trail! It's a beautiful slice of Framingham, that too few folks know about. Thanks so much for spreading the word. If people want to get involved to help see it through to completion, please consider becoming a member of the Framingham Friends of the BFRT. There's a lot of work yet to do, and we can use all the help we can get to save this ribbon of open space.

Dawn Harkness

The Hamster said...

Indeed, Dawn, I'm a member of the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail already!

More information is at:

With the northern end of the trail in Lowell, Chelmsford, and Westford under construction, it's coming our way. Hopefully Framingham will be taking steps this year to make the trail a step closer to reality in our town.