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Half way across the world, the Olympics are in full swing, with snow and ice flying in every direction. As you might already know, Massachusetts has a rich role in our Olympic history, as well as its fair share of Olympians this year, having sent 10 Commonwealth natives to wear the Stars and Stripes in Sochi.
While we don’t all get the chance to ply our athletic skills on the world stage (maybe that’s a good thing?), there are still plenty of places to do it here at home!
From showing your skills on the slopes to perfecting your curling crouch, there are several spots where you can channel your inner Olympian in Massachusetts. We can’t guarantee any medals but we’re pretty sure you’ll have a good time. Take a look!
Downhill skiing is always one of the star attractions during the Winter Olympics and snow certainly hasn’t been in short supply around here this season. With twelve excellent skis areas across Massachusetts that cover skiers of all ages and experience, there are plenty of places to hit the slopes, and if you’ve been looking for an excuse to take a weekend trip to the mountain, February presents the perfect opportunity. For those seeking a real getaway, Jiminy Peak and Wachusett Mountain are both resorts, ideal for a multi-day junket.
To plan a skiing trip, check out the Ski Local page, where you can find info on each of the trails and the current ski conditions. You can read more about each of the ski areas in Massachusetts here and here.
Photo: Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, MA via MOTT
Maybe wind whipping as you zoom down a frozen mountain sounds like a bit much. For those of you seeking some exercise at a slightly more relaxed pace, cross-country skiing is a great option. The Massachusetts State Parks website offers a comprehensive resource, where you can sort the parks by recreational activities depending on your interests and location.
In total, there are more than 50 Massachusetts parks and state forests from which you can pick, including two, Weston Ski Track and Blue Hills Reservation, that have dedicated cross-country skiing sections. Many of these parks also offer snowshoeing and some even allow snowmobiling, which is certainly another exhilarating way to spend a wintry day.
Photo: Cross-country skiing in Martha’s Vineyard via MOTT
That about covers snow. Now, what about ice? Ice-skating is another marquee Winter Olympics sport and there are plenty of places to do that in Massachusetts, too! Boston Common Frog Pond, a winter favorite of residents and visitors alike, is always fun. To see Frog Pond hours and pricing, just click here. For some ice time with a view of the water, Boston Harbor Hotel also introduced their own skating rink, Winter on the Wharf, this past December. Up to 75 skaters can glide over 2,500 square feet of ice through the end of February, with plenty of après-skate treats available, too!
On the other side of Massachusetts, there’s ice in Gardner and Greenfield, where hours for the public are both available. Much like cross-country skiing, you can find an exhaustive list of public skating rinks across Massachusetts on the state website.
Photo: Boston Common Frog Pond via MOTT
Yes, Massachusetts is home to its own curling club! If you’ve been itching to try your hand at one of the Winter Olympics’ more esoteric sports, stones and broomsticks await at Broomstones Curling Club in Wayland, where the ice has hosted friendly competitions for more than 40 years.
Given the increased attention brought on by the Sochi Games, rental ice time has been gobbled up throughout the 2013 – 2014 season and won’t be available until October of this year. Fortunately, Broomstones will host an Olympic Open House on March 1 and there are plenty of open spots for plenty of time slots. There will not be any parking on-site at the club and participants will need to sign a waiver as well, so, if you’re planning to go, take a quick browse of the club website to learn all the necessary details.
And there you have it! Four ways to bring your inner Olympian to life right here in Massachusetts. To find a few more winter activity ideas in Massachusetts, click here. For even more, just click here.