With free learn to snowshoe/cross country ski demo days held at 100 locations this year, the 18th Annual Winter Trails Day was considered a raging success, getting more kids out in the snow than ever before.
“With good snow conditions in many areas of the country and a greater consumer interest in low impact exercise, final numbers are trending above 11,000,” says Winter Trails’ Reese Brown. ““The timing was right on. After last year’s light snowfall and the late start to this year, there was a large group of underserved people ready to get out in the snow.”
With the exception of cold in Colorado and pockets of extended warm weather in the Midwest and New England, many event attendance numbers were sharply up over the past two-year average.
Response from attendees around the country was very positive, not only on the event experience, but also on the sports themselves. “It was a completely new experience for all of us, and we fell in love,” maintains Tahoe-Donner, Calif., attendee Rue Mapp.
The sentiment was echoed in many regions as those new to snow sports tried cross country skiing or snowshoeing.
Each year, Winter Trails offers children and adults the opportunity to try either or both activities free at participating locations throughout the United States. Venues are posted at WinterTrails.org, with events scheduled later in the winter season as well.
As a nod to resorts going the extra mile, Snowshoe magazine highlights programs at the following resorts (visit http://www.snowshoemag.com/2012/10/23/kids-snowshoeing-and-xc-ski-programs-this-winter/ for complete listing):
Great Glen, Gorham, N.H.: Offers three-day camps where kids snowshoe, XC ski and sled. Bonus: The Trail Tracker program, a free, every-day scavenger hunt letting kids search for cartoon animals out on the trails.
Jackson Ski Touring, White Mountains: Offers a kids’ terrain park, a new tubing hill, and the Thursday After School Program encouraging kids to snowshoe or ski to a three-kilometer destination to the Cocoa Cabana.
Snow School: Program offering snowshoeing for kids in more than 40 locations across the nation, such as Cable Natural History Museum in Wis., Bogus Basin in Idaho, and Mt. Shasta in northern California. Info: www.snowschool.org
Loppet Nordic Ski Foundation: Runs one of the largest introductory kids cross-country ski programs of its kind in the country at the Theodore Wirth Park, just minutes from downtown Minneapolis.
Breckenridge Nordic Center, CO: has one of the best equipment exchange programs for kids, whereby there is no charge for kids to trade in their old equipment for similar equipment in bigger sizes.