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Trips and Events Calendar webpage

a woman wearing an orange coat grins while doing cross country skiing on a groomed trail outside

Come learn to cross country ski with OAP! Learn the glory of gliding across sparkling snow, up and down gentle hills! Whether you are a beginner or have been in skis your whole life, our cross-country ski trips have the trails and supportive staff to facilitate a quality, fun experience.

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation in Jackson, N.H., has over 150 km of trails considered to be some of the best in the eastern US. Just behind the lodge is a large flat field with gentle hills around it perfect for introducing beginners to the sport. For those comfortable on skis, trails go much farther afield across the covered bridge and beyond into the forest.

Bretton Woods Nordic Center

Bretton Woods Nordic Center has over 100 km of trails in the shadow of the largest mountain in New Hampshire, Mount Washington. The trails offer open fields, forests, frozen wetlands and over small mountain streams. The terrain has plenty to offer beginners as well as seasoned skiers.

Great Brook Farm State Park

Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, Mass. is less than half an hour from Lowell, and has excellent trails on its 1,000 acres. The snow in Massachusetts can be a little more iffy, so if we have fresh snow on the dates we have a cross country ski trip planned, we will instead go to the closer destination of Great Brook Farm Sate Park. Trails are great here when there is a fresh covering of white fluffy snow!

Every ski destination includes rentals of skis, boots and poles, as well as skiing lessons from OAP staff, followed by exploring the trails. We will communicate with all registered participants as the date nears to firm up the location and meeting time.

Exertion and Skill Level

  • Duration: 3-5 hours.
  • Distance: 3-7 mi. / 5-11 km.
  • Elevation Gain: Participants can expect elevation changes up to 300-1000 ft./90-300 m. over 3-5 hours.
  • Terrain & Conditions: Trails may include heavy snow, ice, steep hills and sharper turns. Expect temperatures ranging from 30F to 10F.
  • Skill level: No experience necessary. You will learn to use your coordination to glide on your skis, and you can expect that you will fall plenty of times as you are learning. A good attitude is critical as you learn.

*Exertion levels are estimates based off of individuals who regularly fulfill the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines (pdf) and have no major limiting conditions. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding the physical exertion level of any of our trips.

Tentative Itinerary

Due to the nature of outdoor trips and uncontrollable variables, all itineraries are subject to change.

  • 7 a.m. Meet at the Outdoor Adventure Center & Bike Shop
    • 5 Lawrence Drive, Lowell, MA 01854
  • 8 - 11 a.m. Drive to Trip Location
    • Cross Country Skiing to Jackson Ski Touring Foundation in Jackson, NH, or to Bretton Woods, NH, or alternate location
  • 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Instruction & Skiing
    • Instruction (one hour lesson), followed by skiing; eat lunch at the lodge or along the trail – bring your own lunch
  • 5 - 8 p.m. Drive Back to UMass Lowell
    • Stop for dinner on the way back - bring a method of payment or food with you
  • 8 - 8:30 p.m. Debrief
    • Arrive back at the at the Outdoor Adventure Center/Bike Shop, clean up, review course content/answer any remaining question, etc.
  • 8:30 p.m. Dismissal
    • This will be determined based off of participants' needs and the intended goals of this trip.

Curriculum Topics

  • Leave No Trace
  • Safety
  • Layering
  • Keeping Warm
  • Navigation
  • Cross Country Skiing/Technique
  • Boot and Ski Fit
  • Maintenance/Care
  • Falling
  • Walking Uphill
  • Walking or Gliding Downhill

Packing List

The items on this list are strongly recommended for your trip. The weather forecast and your thermal perception should be considered when packing.

  • Online medical questionnaire and waiver
  • Personal Medications
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Sunscreen
  • Chap Stick/Lip Balm Sun protection
  • Baseball Cap/Full-Brim Hat Sun protection
  • Sunglasses Sun protection
  • Bandana versatile as a rag, hanky, napkin, etc.
  • Method of Payment and/or Lunch & Snacks
  • *2 Water Bottles Hydration; start hydrating the day before; warm/hot water in your bottles is recommended
  • Base Layer Cold Weather; tops and bottoms underlayer; wicks sweat off your skin; synthetic, long base layers recommended; no cotton
  • Middle Layer Insulating layer; retains body heat to protect you from the cold; fleece, flannel, or wool recommended; sweatshirts are okay but less recommended
  • *Outer Layer Shell Layer, like a rain jacket; shields you from wind and rain; your winter coat - one that is easy to do a lot of physical activity in. Ideally your outer layer is very warm by itself (down gets very humid and sticky when doing physical exertion; you want this layer to be able to be removed and still be warm)
  • *Extra outer layer Warm shell layer; for use when stopped or waiting on the trail - something warm you can add to your other layers. Down is ideal, or a large fleece. Highly recommended for cold days or for those who often feel cold
  • Gloves and/or Mittens Recommend you bring two options if you can
  • Buff, Face Mask, or Scarf Cold weather; warms oxygen entering the body
  • Wool or Fleece Hat Wool or synthetic; recommend you bring two options of different weights if you can
  • Thick Wool Socks Warm feet make for a warmer body, safety; an extra pair is advised
  • *Headlamp
  • *Footwear Normal winter boots for walking around the ski locations and vehicles.
  • *Activity Specific Gear: Skis, ski boots, ski poles are provided as part of your registration. Additional gear may include some extra layers upon request, maps, compasses, etc.
  • *Backpack for carrying your extra layers, water and snacks
  • Extra socks and shoes for the car ride there and back; recommend wearing on the way there and back so you can start and end with dry socks and boots and warm feet
  • Full change of clothes: Consider bringing a full set of dry clothes, in case you get wet from sweat and snow during the day, you can change before hopping in the van to return
  • *First Aid Safety first

*All items under "Activity Specific Gear" are supplied automatically by the Outdoor Adventure Program. All participant equipment is subject to trip leader approval. Please, contact us to review any personal gear you would like to bring in substitution of the gear we may provide.

Register for upcoming trips on our Trips and Events Calendar webpage