The snow squeaks beneath my skis as I slide along freshly set tracks in the woods surrounding Vermont’s Trapp Family Lodge. All around me, snow-laden evergreens sparkle in the morning sunshine—the scene is so magical I almost expect woodland animals to scamper from their burrows and frolic around my poles like characters in a Disney movie.
With a bluebird sky overhead, I kick-glide down the trail, stopping every now and then to catch my breath in the crisp, clean air. Unlike downhill skiing, in which my goal is to log as many runs as possible, I find a day spent on cross-country skis far more meditational. Schussing alongside a frozen creek through a quiet forest makes it easy to slow down and embrace the Nordic concept of friluftsliv (pronounced “free-loofts-lev”), which some translate to “open-air living.” The word means appreciating the beauty and simplicity of nature and enjoying outdoor living—even in the middle of winter.
Perhaps without even realizing it, New Englanders have long embodied the spirit of friluftsliv, and cross-country skiing is a favorite way to do just that. So bundle up, pack a lunch and a thermos of hot cocoa, and get ready to hit the trails. Here are some of Northern New England’s best Nordic ski areas.