SkiTheBeav looks to City of Concord to help support next phase of cross country skiing initiative

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 07-09-2023 4:00 PM

Local nonprofit Ski The Beav helped the City of Concord pay for a new ski trail groomer last year to keep the cross country ski trails at Beaver Meadow Golf Course safe and smooth. Now the organization is pushing ahead with its next phase of operations: adding snowmaking and lights to make the trails at Beaver Meadow more accessible during the winter season.

In a letter to the city, leaders of Ski The Beav are asking for the city’s support to help spearhead this investment.

“By collaborating with the City of Concord, we can jointly invest in snowmaking equipment that would ensure consistent snow coverage on some portion of the course throughout the winter season,” the letter reads. “Additionally, installing lights along a limited portion of the ski trails would extend the operating hours and allow Concord’s professional and school communities to enjoy this valuable community facility after work and school during the dark winter months.”

Ski The Beav chair Sam Evans-Brown explained that the letter is a formal step for them to get the ball rolling on this project.

“We’re getting a lot of traction with the city now, and they’re starting to understand our vision for Beaver Meadow,” he said. “There’s a lot of buy in from them, but it’s a big project, and I think there’s a realization that if we’re going to do this, we really need to have the city more involved in having these conversations.”

The addition of snowmaking and lights to the city-owned facility, coinciding with the new groomer, would open the windows of opportunity for people to take advantage of the space, including Concord nordic teams, which use the space to practice between ski meets. Not only would the lights make it possible for people to ski after work or school, snowmaking equipment would also make Beaver Meadow less reliant on natural weather patterns for safe use of trails. This past winter was a prime example, as there was little snow until late January, of how snowmaking would benefit skiers.

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Ski The Beav’s letter notes a commitment to sharing in the costs of the project, like it did with the acquisition of the snow groomer, and requests an opportunity to start working out the specifics of this collaboration.

“This facility is poised to be a resource for the entire region,” the letter says. “The development of a winter sports facility at Beaver Meadow would enhance Concord’s reputation as a vibrant and active city making Concord more attractive to residents and enhancing the appeal of Concord’s village of Penacook.”

So far, Evans-Brown said, Mayor Jim Bouley has been fully supportive.

“Frankly it’s very exciting to have the mayor in particular who really gets it,” he said. “He’s been extremely helpful in building bridges to the appropriate city staff, so that has been the most exciting thing about this year so far.”

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