Winter activity options aplenty from Concord Parks and Recreation

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  • With all the snow over the last week, sledding at White Park was ideal on Saturday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Beaver Meadow Golf Course in Concord has more than six miles of groomed cross-country ski trails like this one. Courtesy

  • Flynn Redmond, 2, gets a push from his dad, Aiden as they enjoy sledding in front of their house during the storm on Thursday, December 17, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 12/21/2020 1:45:19 PM

All the snow that’s made roads a mess for days has made for pristine cross country skiing at Concord’s Beaver Meadow Golf Course and around White Farm. The 81 miles of hiking trails in the Capital City are all still open and ready for exploring, especially with a pair of snowshoes.

The Black Ice Pond Hockey Tournament may be canceled for 2021, but there will still plenty of other skating, skiing and hiking opportunities in Concord this winter. Parks and Recreation Director David Gill highlighted some of them at last week’s city council meeting as a way to remind residents that outdoor activities are still being offered despite the pandemic.

“We just want folks to take that first step, get outside and enjoy winter,” Gill said. “We want them to be smart about it and be safe about it, and there’s lots of options to do that in Concord. Maybe in the past folks overlooked winter hiking or ice skating or cross country skiing, and we just want to remind them of everything there is to do in Concord and there’s no reason to be stuck in the house.”

The Parks and Recreation Department has one new offering this winter: pop-up ice skating lessons. People of all ages can take the lessons, but they will have to check back on the Parks and Rec website (concordparksandrec.com) and social media pages for more information on the lessons. That will be posted when there is at least five inches of ice and all the “NO SKATING” signs have been removed from the city’s four skating areas – Rollins Park, White Park Pond, White Park Rink and the pond at Beaver Meadow Golf Course. The White Park rink is for pick-up hockey games and has been equipped with LED lights this year. There is a switch next to the rink for the lights, which will remain on for an hour (up to 11 p.m.) once they are turned on. In the past, skating has started around New Year’s Day and can last until early March depending on the temperatures.

The new Merrimack Lodge at White Park  will be open this year, but with limited hours and limited capacity due to COVID-19. There will not be any ice skate rentals this winter. The hill at White Park is always a popular spot for sledding.

If skis are more appealing to you than skates or sleds, there are more than six miles of cross-country skiing trails at Beaver Meadow Golf Course that get groomed daily when there is enough snow. The trails are open from sunrise to sunset and are free to use. The Parks and Recreation Department asks that residents don’t walk or snowshoe on the groomed trails since it negatively affects the skiing, and reminds everyone that no dogs are allowed.

The grooming on those Beaver Meadow Nordic trails could get a major upgrade soon. After being approached by the city’s cross-country skiing community, the Parks and Recreation Department agreed to a three-phase plan to improve skiing opportunities in the city. The first phase of that plan is to raise money to buy a modern grooming machine with tracks, front blade and a rear power tiller that will be much more effective than the current snowmobile grooming. To get involved with the fundraising or learn more about the plan, go to the Parks and Rec website or call 225-8690.

For younger skiers who are taking an interest in cross-country, there’s the Bill Koch Ski League at Beaver Meadow. The program meets on Friday nights in January and February, is open to children from 4-years-old to fifth grade and is run by volunteers with some help from the Concord High Nordic team. Pre-registration for the league is required and can be found on the Parks and Rec website.

There are also cross-country ski trails at Memorial Field that are maintained by the Capital Ski and Outing Club and free to use.

A comprehensive list and detailed maps of all the city’s hiking trails can be found online. Winter hiking can be great, just remember to wear proper footwear and warm clothing since the trails can get very icy and covered in snow. The Parks and Recreation Department also recommends bringing snacks, water and a headlamp in case you get lost.

If all the snow and cold is just too much, the city has options for indoor winter activities and has taken precautions to keep those options safe. There are new screening kiosks at the City Wide Community Center on the Heights and the Green Street Community Center near downtown that use touchless mobile technology to guide guests through a COVID-19 risk assessment. The screening process includes scanning a QR code on your phone, filling out a quick questionnaire, and using a unique, time-sensitive QR code that is generated on your phone to scan at the kiosk to log your visit. Paper forms will be available as a backup if guests do not have access to a phone or if there are problems with the kiosk.

Those centers are hosting a diverse ranges of classes – yoga, Zumba, Tai Chi, American Sign Language, Arts & Crafts, hypnosis, senior activities, indoor pickleball, drop-in gym times for kids and other fitness programs.

For a complete list of classes, times and safety guidelines in place at the community centers, check the Parks and Rec website. Other indoor winter activities offered by the city include skating at Everett Arena (which is also using the touchless kiosks with QR codes) and indoor golf simulation at Beaver Meadow Golf Course.




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