Cross-Country Ski & Snowshoe Right from our Backdoor!
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COVID-19 UPDATE: We plan to be open for x-c skiing & snowshoeing during the 2020-2021 season with some modifications to ensure the safety & comfort of all guests & staff. Masks are required inside the buildings and anytime six foot distance cannot be maintained outside. Masks are not required while skiing or snowshoeing. Distancing from individuals who are not in your party is required. A one-way flow of traffic thru the building will be maintained (i.e., enter one door, exit a different door). Bathrooms will be available on the days that the buildings are open. The warming room will be available on the days that the buildings are open, but visitors are asked to get warm and then go back outside (i.e., no lounging inside longer than what is required to warm up). No food service will be provided (other than breakfast to the overnight guests). Bottled water, can soda, and pre-packaged snacks will be available for purchase. Advance reservations are required for equipment rental and lessons (email email@example.com or call 800-232-5571 to make a reservation). Equipment rental will involve a guided self-service system involving a masked & distanced staff person, with equipment demonstration taking place outside. Visitors are welcome to put their ski boots on inside and to leave their street shoes inside if they so desire. The number of individuals in a lesson group will be limited, lesson participants will need to maintain distance from one another, and masks will be required during the entire lesson session. On weeks that do not include a school vacation time period the buildings will be closed on Tuesdays or Wednesdays (i.e., no equipment rental, no lessons, no bathrooms, no warming room on Tuesdays or Wednesdays during all weeks that do not include a school vacation time period).
GENERAL INFORMATION: Dexter's Inn, a historic country resort-inn with beautiful views and expansive grounds, has partnered with Norsk, one of New England’s best-known cross-country ski operators, to provide an on-site commercial cross-country ski & snowshoe center in the Lake Sunapee region of central New Hampshire just minutes from the Mount Sunapee downhill ski area. Officially known as Dexter’s Inn Trails by Norsk, the nordic operation includes an expansive network of trails, some of which are groomed for x-c skiing and most of which are used for snowshoeing (or hiking on low/no snow days). In addition to the trail network that is mapped & signed, on-site equipment rentals for x-c skiing & snowshoeing are available as well as lessons for x-c skiing. The trail system begins right at the inn’s backdoor, extends through our 20-acre estate, and continues into the surrounding conservation land and a few neighbors' land. Visitors often comment on the panoramic view, the idyllic pastoral setting, and the warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Dexter’s x-c ski & snowshoe trails wind their way through forests & fields with minimal road crossings, and are designed to have that old-time natural feel. The experience is quite different from skiing or snowshoeing on a golf course, frozen pond, or public park. Similar to last year, for the 2020-2021 season we plan to groom only our flatter/easier trails for classic/track x-c skiing (about 5 km) and to focus our attention on beginners, families, and overnight guests who want to x-c ski for an hour or two after checking in or prior to heading home. Our facility & terrain are very well-suited for these types of x-c skiers. Experienced skiers or anyone looking for more kilometers of groomed trails will be better served by one of the larger commercial x-c ski areas. The Eastman x-c ski operation is about 20 minutes from Dexter's Inn and offers 36 km of groomed trails for both classic & skate x-c skiing. Since Eastman does not offer overnight accommodations, we invite anyone looking to spend the night to stay at Dexter's Inn, and for those who do, we will provide a 50% discount on trail passes to Eastman.
For snowshoeing, assuming the snow depth permits, we plan to pack about 10 km of trails for those who like to snowshoe on packed trails and to have an additional 15 km of trials signed & mapped but untouched for those who like to snowshoe on the fresh snow. The ungroomed "back-country" trails that are marked & mapped but not groomed offer a fun wilderness exploring adventure for those seeking that experience. As such, we believe that we have snowshoe trails that can keep you busy for the full day if you so desire. Experienced x-c skiers who wish to venture out on the packed and/or untouched snowshoe trails are welcome to do so at their own risk and with the understanding that these trails are not being groomed for x-c skiing.
Equipment rental for x-c skiing and snowshoeing is available for all ages. For very young children there is a Pulk pull sled for rent that the child can sit in while an adult pulls the sled via a waist harness. Due to the COVID-19 situation we request that you make advance reservations for equipment rental by either sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 800-232-5571.
Lessons for x-c skiing are available. Advance reservations are required for lessons. We believe that taking a lesson will greatly enhance your understanding & enjoyment. Our "We Love Begnner's" special includes a one-hour group lesson, equipment rental, and use of the trails for the remainder of the day for $45. This beginner's special is typically available at 10 am on Saturdays, Sundays, and school vacation days, weather permitting, but if you wish to take a lesson you should contact us in advance to make a reservation. Private lessons are available at other mutually convenient times with advance notice. Once again, contact us in advance if you want to take a lesson and also if you wish to make a reservation for equipment rental.
The trails that are groomed for x-c skiing are groomed for classical parallel track skiing only (no skate skiing), and all trails are open to snowshoers, who are asked to stay to one side in order to keep out of the ski tracks. There are approximately 30 km (i.e., approximately 18 miles) of trails that are signed & mapped. Approximately 5 km are groomed on a regular basis for x-c skiing. Approximately 10km of trails are packed by a snowmobile for those who wish to snowshoe on packed trails. The remaining kilometers are not packed so as to enable a back-country off-trail experience for those who desire such a thing. All trails are open to both inn guests and the public. For 2020-2021 the trails will be open seven days per week as long as weather and snow conditions allow, but the buildings will be closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays during non-school vacation weeks so that the staff can ski those days (i.e., no equipment rentals, no lessons, no bathrooms on Tuesdays & Wednesdays). A daily trail report that describes the trail status and any important news is posted on our website each day.
A daily trail use fee applies for both inn guests and the public. A daily trail pass costs $12 for anyone ages six & older, but inn guests can x-c ski or snowshoe for $8 per day. Children age 5 or younger can ski or snowshoe free when accompanied by a paying adult. We do not offer half-day, two-day, senior rate, military rate, or any other rate packages, but are sometimes flexible if it is after 2 pm and the individual feels that $12 is a hardship
Rental gear for adults and children is available with an xc ski package consisting of boots, skis & poles at $20 per day and snowshoes at $12 per day. We do not offer half-day, two-day, kid's rate, senior rate, military rate, or any other rate package on x-c ski or snowshoe rental equipment because then we would have to monitor & police the time the equipment goes out & comes back and we would have to ask you for personal information that we don't really want to know. That being said, if it is after 2 pm we are a small enough operation that we are willing to have a conversation with you about a fair rate for a late-day equipment rental. A Pulk kid’s pull-sled is also available for rent at a cost of $20 for two hours and $30 for four hours. In the past we preferred not to take advance reservations for rental equipment, given the inability of most people to accurately describe the size/length of the proper equipment for themselves, but due to COVID-19 for the 2020-2021 season advance reservations are required for equipment rental. We will need to ask some personal questions as part of the 2020-2021 equipment rental reservation process.
Lessons are available at $25 for a group lesson, $65 for a private lesson, or $100 for a semi-private lesson (2 people) with $20 for each additional person. These lesson rates do not include equipment rental, but do include the daily trail pass so you can enjoy the trails for the remainder of the day after your lesson. For first-time skiers, there is a “We Love Beginners” package that includes a daily trail pass, equipment rental, and group lesson for the special rate of $45. Group lessons are typically on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 am, but for 2020-2021 advance reservations are required for lessons.
We are committed to providing a fun, non-competitive, affordable, family-friendly activity that allows you to enjoy some fresh air, experience nature, get some low-impact exercise, and spend some quality-time with your family & friends. We believe that cross-country skiing & snowshoeing are life sports that can be enjoyed by all ages. We also believe that it should be fun and low stress, and we will do our best to make it so for you.
We believe that our facility is particularly well-suited for groups, given our ability to combine skiing & snowshoeing with meeting space, lodging, meals and other on-site activities. If you would like to discuss bringing your youth group, church group, business, or civic organization for a day-of-fun, meeting, retreat, or team-building activity, please contact us via either email or phone (800 232-5571) so that we can discuss what we can do for you.
Dexter’s Inn has comfortable accommodations, food service, a welcoming atmosphere, and hospitable spaces for the public to relax. The inn features a cozy warming room with fireplace, a formal living room with fireplace, a game room, and a tv room. Basic lunch items such as chili, soup & salad are available on Saturdays & Sundays from 10 AM - 2 PM when the x-c ski & snowshoe center is open. Snacks & beverages are available at all times. Visitors are welcome to brown-bag their lunch and there is a microwave available for public use.
Accommodations include 10 varying-sized guest bedrooms in the Main Inn and 7 guest bedrooms in the Annex, each with a private bath. Rates range from $110-$185 per night based upon double occupancy, plus 9% tax. Groups of up to 10 people can use the Holly House Cottage at $300-$450 per night, plus 9% tax. A full breakfast is included with each overnight stay. Children of all ages are welcome, with the understanding that parents are responsible for their children’s behavior at all times. Pets are welcome in some rooms by special advance arrangement, with the understanding that pet owners are responsible for any damages that may occur. No smoking is allowed anywhere inside. Dexter’s Inn currently does not have a liquor license, but guests are welcome to bring their own alcoholic beverages (byob).
Alpine skiing and snowboarding is available at nearby Mount Sunapee, Ragged Mountain, Whaleback and Pat’s Peak. Whaleback and Pat’s Peak offer night skiing and tubing. Shopping and other entertainment is available in the adjacent towns of New London & Newport or about 30 minutes away in Lebanon & Hanover (home to Dartmouth College). Additional information on other activities in our area can be found on our Area Attractions page.
Driving directions can be found on our map & directions page.