Half day, whole day, week day, whatever, Nashoba in Westford Massachusetts is the place to go for an exciting outdoor winter getaway.
After the rains and temperatures of the past week I thought I would take a look at what skiing looks like in Massachusetts close to Boston. I was fearful that it just might be rough and I have to admit I was entirely wrong. I chose Nashoba Ski Area in Westford and I was thrilled with what I found. If the snow hits Friday as forecast, Nashoba will be superb.
Don’t believe the brown
On my way to Westford the only white I saw was the ice on ponds and rivers along the way. It is that brown of the fields and the dark, almost black, color of the pines that tells of snowless winter nights. Imagine my surprise and delight when I glanced to my left on Powers Road and was met with the sight of dazzling white snow.
Nashoba has a great snow crew and they have been able to not only keep snow on their hill but to keep improving it as well. I visited Nashoba on Thursday morning and it was just like having a personal, well tended, mountain of my own. The sun was bright, the air crisp and cold and as I stood in front of the lodge I saw only two skiers coming down the trails in front of me. It was not long before the boots were on and I was on the hill.
Nashoba’s attractive lodge is directly at the foot of the hill, making access fast and easy. The trails directly in front of the lodge are rated black diamond and, since this was to be the first run of the day, I wanted to start on blue (intermediate) slopes. The blue slopes are, for the most part, on the west side of this north facing hill but you can still take the Wardance lift, directly in front of the lodge. All four of the hill’s major lifts lead to the same area on top of the hill, making access to all parts of the ski area easy.
At the top, ski off to the right and the five blue rated trails (as well as the terrain park). The furthest out (west)is the Nashoba trail. It is a nice, challenging, trail and the narrowest on the hill. It is also very much shaded and on cold days, like Thursday, its surface can be more frozen than the other trails and it had two, small and easily avoided, icy spots.
Take the Sundance lift back up and try Indian Run, another blue, a bit wider and slightly less affected by the shade. From this lift all of the large and small feature of the Terrain park are visible. If challenging the terrain is your thing, Sundance is the lift of choice.
More Blues, if you choose
Back at the top, move over a few feet east and try Sundance, Nashoba Glades (fairly open tree runs), and Nashoba Slope, using the Snowdance lift to get back to the top. This whole section of the mountain is pretty much open territory and it is easy to ski from one part to the other. The snow here was exceptionally good and showed the perfection of the grooming that Nashoba has been able to maintain in spite of the warm and wet weather.
Back in the Black
Snowdance is a good way to get back to the top to tackle blacks, once you are warmed up. Wardance is a handsome black with a nice steep that leads directly to the lodge. At the bottom keep to your right to get to the Wardance lift. At the top, facing downhill, three trails, Bull Run, Chief and Warrior (left to right) seem to run together forming what appears to be one open slope. Choose your path, that whole of it is great fun. With the full sun of noontime shining brightly, this area provided some of the most enjoyable runs I have had this season. The steeps are enough to achieve some speed for carving and the snow, barely warmed by the sun, was firm but not icy and was expertly groomed.
Learning to ski, tubing and more
Even for those who have not skied before, or perhaps especially for those people, Nashoba is the perfect place to give the sport a try. The learning area is completely isolated from the faster slopes and Nashoba has a good team of professional instructors. Nashoba also has the largest snow tubing facility in New England, at 179 Great Road in Littleton, and Nashoba Ski Area and the tubing hill are only about a half hour drive from Boston.
Getting to Nashoba.
From Boston take Route 2 from Cambridge and at the Concord traffic circle near the State prison, take Route 2A/119 north. Watch for Power Road on the right for the ski Area, stay on Route 2A/119 and short distance beyond look for the sign on the right. From other directions get to I-495 and take it to exit 31 for Routes 2A/119 east looking for Power Road on the left after Littleton Common.