Play In The Snow! (After You’re Done Shoveling)

Yours truly up on the roof proving she isn’t always having fun in the snow.  But after the work is done there is plenty of time to have fun skiing!
Yours truly up on the roof proving she isn’t always having fun in the snow. But after the work is done there is plenty of time to have fun skiing!

by Amy Patenaude, Weirs Times Outdoor/Ski Writer

Everyone I know is tired of shoveling snow. We’re wondering where we’re going to pile up the next snowstorm. Our walkway is now narrowed to just one shovel width and it is impossible to keep the mailbox clear.
What a month! What a winter! Clearing snow should be an Olympic sport.
I can’t remember having such a long stretch of fluffy unconsolidated cold deep snow! And where has the sun been hiding? Gosh will any honey bees survive since they need a warm day to clean out their hives?
But I couldn’t be happier! All this snow is great! If you are still reading this then you’re laughing at me or you love playing in the snow too!
I didn’t want to do it, but it is better to play it safe instead of having to hear “told you so” and dealing with a collapsed roof. I climbed up the ladder onto the roof and lugged the snow scoop up with me. We are extremely busy at work and no one wanted to help me. I set to work, one scoop at a time (like emptying a five pound bag of sugar one teaspoon at a time).

Charlie was lucky enough to spot this fine Barred Owl in Franconia!  Maybe you’ll see it too while kicking and gliding at the Franconia Village XC Center
Charlie was lucky enough to spot this fine Barred Owl in Franconia! Maybe you’ll see it too while kicking and gliding at the Franconia Village XC Center

Even though the temperature was just above zero and it was a bit breezy, I worked up sweat in a short time. I shed my coat and kept scooping and dumping the snow over the edge. At first it was fun to be outside moving the snow around but after an hour I had made just a small dent. I took a break after two hours. This was hard work and it made snowshoeing up mountains not seem so difficult.
Thankfully, after lunch, one of the guys in the shop, Chris, decided to give me a hand. Chris is an avid ice fisherman and he likes the cold but not the snow so much. There is so much snow load on the ice that when he cuts a hole through the ice, water springs up and makes icy slush all around. We finished the job together before the end of the work day.
After work Charlie and I cross country skied on Charlie’s backyard trail. He has run over the snow with his snowmobile groomer but it is still not firmly packed. The loop isn’t long but it is a fun hilly trail through the woods.
I had a long day outside and supper sure tasted good especially sitting next to the hot woodstove. No surprise, I slept like a log.

The view skiing back to the Ski Hearth Farm along the Garden Loop, beautiful snow.
The view skiing back to the Ski Hearth Farm along the Garden Loop, beautiful snow.

Cross-country Skiing is Great!
The cross-country skiing is fabulous everywhere! Big and small touring centers all over New Hampshire have all their trails groomed and open. Last weekend Charlie and I stayed very close to home and skied at the Franconia Inn and the new Ski Hearth Farm Nordic trails.
The Franconia Village XC Center has old school classic tracked trails that will take you gliding along the Ham Branch of the Gale River or through the woods, over hills to connect to other inns in Franconia–visit Lovett’s or the Horse and Hound. We really enjoy the Ham Branch Loop. The snow and ice on the river is beautiful. I like skiing behind the Franconia Inn and seeing families having fun. Zooming down the hill children ride snow-tubes, people are ice skating on the cleared pond and others are huddled around a fire pit. Just driving by on Rte 116 you can’t see all the fun winter activities going on right behind the Franconia Inn.
Just up the road in Sugar Hill, on Streeter Pond Road the Ski Hearth Farm is celebrating their grand opening season as a Nordic Center. Brand new trails that are well groomed for classic and for skating and a nice warming lodge with a twist—no trail fee is being charged this season. Due to a complication with their conservation easement they were not able to charge for use of the trails this season. The trails range from easy loops around their farm fields to competition loops designed by Morton Trails. The Red Loop’s rolly terrain through the woods is a fun ski. And they sell the best farm fresh eggs too.
Both Franconia Village XC Center and the Ski Hearth Farm have dedicated snowshoe trails. I see a lot of people out there tromping along these trails with smiles on their faces. Snowshoe and ski rentals are available too.

Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon, March 7th
The Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon to benefit the New England Ski Museum is coming up on March 7th! The 42k or 21k event is not just for racers but for the majority of ski tourers. Register today at Skireg.com. After the event there is a fun awards banquet sponsored by the Omni Mount Washington Resort in the Grand Hotel Ballroom—I’ll be there and I hope you will be too.
Have fun!

Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.

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