Peter Goedecke spends a lot of his free time coaching at the Bedford Cross Country Ski Club.
When Goedecke was younger, he and his father started the club in order to fuel a growing passion when his high school cut its program.
After trying to build trails elsewhere, they ended up in Bedford at Legacy Park and started from scratch.
Now, the Bedford club supports many high school ski clubs and provides lessons and equipment to anyone who wants to try cross-country skiing recreationally.
“Here, skiers will help skiers,” Goedecke said.
Learning how to ski is based on how you feel comfortable. Goedecke said there are usually two techniques: the classic technique where you shuffle the skis straight as if you are just walking and the technique that resembles ice skating, where your skis flare out as if you are ice skating.
“You can have fun and just move around or you can go incredibly fast if you want to,” Goedecke said. “We arguably have the best ski trails in southern New Hampshire for racing.”
All trails are open to the public and range from easy to expert. There’s also a ball field to ski around on.
“The trails are so varied that you really enjoy them and never get tired of them,” Goedecke said.
At Gunstock Mountain Resort, they take the sport of cross-country skiing a step further. Dogs are man’s best friend, so why not bring them along? The mountain offers skijoring, a hands-free cross-country skiing experience with your dog and a skijoring harness.
Bill Quigley, director of sales and marketing at Gunstock Mountain Resort, said skijoring might be an adventure for more experienced cross-country skiers. The mountain also offers regular cross-country skiing lessons for those who are looking to get that experience in technique and handling turns.
For beginners, “It’s best to head to a cross-country skiing center that has been groomed for learning,” Quigley said. “If you head out to a golf course, it may not be groomed, which reduces the learning curve.”
Each lesson at the mountain includes rental boots and a trail pass. The instructors will explain proper boot fitting, how to fit the boot into the ski binding and how to slide, Quigley said.
“It really is the best way to get up and going for learning. We are recognized as one of the better facilities in the state,” Quigley said.
For people who know what they’re doing, any cross-country trails or fields can work.
“Down here in southern New Hampshire, if the rocks are covered, we’re all pretty happy,” Goedecke laughed.
However, Goedecke said, wet snow is not ideal because it’ll slow you down. Old snow that’s fallen or packed down works best if you’re going for speed.
Right now, the conditions at Gunstock are good, Quigley said.
“If you’re going to learn, now is a great time to do so,” he said. “We’ve got an extensive trail network. ... We have a sheer amount of terrain and it gives great variety. The access is simple and we’re able to accommodate if someone wanted to take a lesson in the evening.”
Quigley also said his “biggest tip is really just to go out and have fun. Take your time and don’t expect to go to the Olympics. That’s not our instructors’ goal either. The goal is just to get you out and sliding and enjoying the course.”
Goedecke said cross-country skiing can be learned at any age.
“It’s a life-long sport. It’s amazing what you can still do on skis [when you’re older],” Goedecke said. “You can ski forever. It’s really low-impact and it’s rare to get a serious injury.”
As seen in the March 6, 2014 issue of the Hippo.