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Discover Concord’s cross country skiing

  • Long-time volunteer Frank Muller passes over the trails at White Farm in Concord with a snow groomer as his wife, Kate Fox, skis behind him on Saturday morning.

  • Fresh corduroy is seen on a ski trail after they are groomed at White Farm in Concord on Saturday morning, Dec. 31, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Long-time volunteer Frank Muller passes over the trails at White Farm in Concord with a snow groomer on Saturday morning, Dec. 31, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Kate Fox takes advantage of the newly groomed trails at White Farm in Concord on Saturday, Dec. 31.

  • Long-time volunteer Frank Muller passes over the trails at White Farm in Concord with a snow groomer on Saturday morning, Dec. 31, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Kate Fox takes advantage of the newly groomed cross-country ski trails at White Farm in Concord.



Monitor staff
Saturday, January 07, 2017

It’s 8 a.m. on New Year’s Eve Day. The temperature in White Farm hovers at 24 degrees. And Frank Muller, dressed in a beige canvas coat, orange work gloves and a buff covering the skin on his neck not helped by his hat, climbs on the back of a snowmobile.

He has two hours of work ahead of him, dragging an eight-foot wide grooming machine to tame the windblown snow into a smooth, wide, skier-friendly trail.

Muller is one of several volunteers in Concord who spend hours every winter packing and preparing cross country ski trails for the public to enjoy.

The Capital City is home to three groomed cross-country ski trails at White Farm, Carter Hill Orchard and Beaver Meadow Golf Course. All are free to the public. White Farm and Carter Hill are groomed by volunteers who use equipment bought by the Capital Ski and Outing Club, famous in town for hosting the annual ski and skate sale.

For those without skis, the club providers low-cost rentals at Carter Hill. The ski track at Beaver Meadow Golf Course is maintained by city workers there.

The trails are groomed for both skate and classic skiing. The major difference between the two forms is that classic skiers move their legs back and forth while skate-skiing is side to side. While classic generally requires a parallel, indented track, skate requires a wide, smooth surface.

On the last Saturday morning of 2016, a handful of skiers rounded the 2.5 kilometer track at White Farm under a bright, cloudless sky.

Donna Lannan took up cross-country skiing more than 30 years ago as a way to exercise outside in the winter months. She squeezed in an hour of classic skiing at 9 a.m., before preparing for New Year’s Eve festivities later that day.

“These trails allow us to have that Nordic culture and outdoor experience that other parts of the country may not ever have,” she said. “Downhill skiing is too crowded, it’s a lot of money. I would just rather be out getting into my zone, doing my workout, without a lot of people being around.”

Sam Evans-Brown, who now coaches the cross-country ski team at Concord High School, has noticed a rise in the number of skate-skiers over the last decade.

“There is a fitness crowd who has gotten into skate skiing,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s huge . . . but there’s been a bit of a bump from that.”

Muller got into skiing for the exercise and began grooming the trails more than 20 years ago when his now adult daughters were young. He continued preparing the tracks when they joined the ski team at Concord High School. And now Muller, whose hat says “Ski, Run, Bike, Live,” is recruiting more grooming helpers.

While the volunteers spend hours of un-paid time driving Ski-doos around the trails at 4 a.m., the effort doesn’t come without cost. The Capital Ski and Skate Club purchases and maintains the equipment through donations. A mailbox sticks out of the snow at the start of the White Farm trail and includes donation slips.

Trail information

White Farm is at 144 Clinton St. Skiers can park there and link up with the trails, located behind the complex. Skiers can also park at Memorial Field, off South Fruit Street, and connect with the trails there. The trails loop through the corn field, go under Langley Parkway, pass by the White Farm complex and circle through a field off Clinton Street. The terrain is mostly flat, with some small hills, and good for beginners.

Carter Hill Orchard is at 73 Carter Hill Road. Skiers can park in the Orchard’s lot and ski rentals are available in the barn. The trails begin at the parking lot and pass through the rows of apple trees, up and down steep hills.

Beaver Meadow Golf Course is at 1 Beaver Meadow Drive and includes mostly flat terrain.