The Brunswick/Topsham area has quickly become a cross-country skiing hub for the Southern Midcoast. Leading the charge in making the area a great place to ski is a group formed just months ago: Brunswick/Topsham Friends of Cross-Country Skiing (FOXCS). FOXCS is a group of Nordic ski enthusiasts of all levels who came together at the end of the 2019 summer hoping to develop more local opportunities for cross-country skiing.
At their first few meetings the group identified three critical needs: the creation of more trails, improved grooming of the already existing trails, and the development of a communication network to inform skiers about current trail conditions. By addressing those three needs, their hope is to empower more people to get outside and stay active through the winter since grooming and tracked trails are of particular benefit to both inexperienced and older skiers.
Will Wilkoff, one of the FOXCS co-chairs says, “We were all frustrated when trail grooming wasn’t always in sync with the snow conditions and we missed some good opportunities to ski.” Kathy Thorson, another of the three co-chairs, says that historically, “everyone had their own favorite places to ski and would report to their friends the conditions but this was a rag tag, grapevine system that most people in the community were not a part of.”
After several meetings the group approached BTLT who agreed to adopt FOXCS as a community advisory committee. This relationship allows FOXCS to accept donations for things like increased trail grooming, signage, and possibly new grooming equipment. Nikkilee Cataldo, Director of Programs for the Land Trust says, “We’re so excited about this effort. Increasing and encouraging community access to cross country skiing in the winter supports our mission, and we are really glad to be partnering with this great group of volunteers.”
Although this winter’s weather has disappointed outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes, Wilkoff believes it has still been a “very positive winter for cross-country skiers.” Among the positives, he lists the opening of the Woodward Point Preserve by BTLT and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), and Brunswick’s Department of Parks and Recreation’s opening of the eastern portion of Kate Furbish Preserve. Both of these new trails afford opportunities for miles of skiing and snowshoeing. Skiers have also noticed improved trail conditions that better match the snow conditions since both the Town of Brunswick and BTLT have hired professional trail groomers, and skiers are more apt to stay on top of those conditions with the help of up-to-date trail conditions featured on FOXCS’ Facebook Page (facebook.com/BTFOXCS/).
FOXCS has even more plans for the future, too! To get involved or donate to keep the momentum going on trail work and grooming, visit www.btlt.org/FOXCS.
Of course, if cross-country skiing isn’t your style, there are lots of trails in the area open to snowshoeing and fat tire biking, too. Neptune Woods on Brunswick Landing is a great spot to bike, with four miles of wooded trails geared toward beginners. Crystal Spring Farm offers beautiful trails for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, just make sure to have good trail etiquette and not trample the ski track if you are on snowshoes! However you choose to enjoy our area this winter, make sure to stay hydrated and well fed, let someone know where you’re going (or better yet, bring a buddy), layer up, and have fun.