Notchview Ski Area Awaits First Snowfall with Expanded Programming
WINDSOR, Mass. — As temperatures drop and leaves fall, the Trustees of Reservations look forward to welcoming cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and even four-legged friends to Notchview in the upcoming season.
The Nordic ski area is located on more than 3,000 acres in the hills of Windsor. It is known as a recreational destination for skiers and snowshoers in the winter and recently adopted hiking and biking in the warmer months.
On the busiest weekend days, the property sees around 500 visitors.
"As an operation and through the trustees, our goal is to continue developing new programming for the community and to inspire the next generation to get outside," Director of Recreational Enterprises Matt Krumme said.
"So we really just want to get the youth involved in cross-country skiing, getting used to coming outside and engaging with nature."
Notchview is open year-round for hiking but after the first snowfall, visitors need a trail pass to enter the property. Skiing and snowshoeing are offered from November through March, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., depending on the weather.
This year, the Trustees opened the area for biking on more than 15 miles of terrain between August and October and found it to be a great success.
"This was really an opportunity for us to see what the environmental impact was of adding bikes to the property and it actually was great," Krumme said. "The trail system is intact and the bikers were very conscious of our trails."
The ski area also partnered with the New England Mountain Biking Association to help mark the paths. Because the trail system is not at an expert mountain biking level, Krumme said it is geared toward families and gravel bikers and adds to the mission of engaging the community.
The mountain is part of the Hoosac Range and its tallest point is Judge's Hill with an elevation of about 2,300 feet.
Since dogs aren't allowed on Notchview's main trails, it recently added a separate trail system for "skijoring," or skiing with your dog. With this feature, visitors can ski or snowshoe with their best pals.
There are more than 25 miles of trails for cross-country skiing and about half are groomed classic trails with five miles is dedicated to skate skiing for people who want to go fast and do quick loops.
"We have an extensive operations team for grooming," Krumme said, "We have a crew of about five or six guys that are there out there at five in the morning and pushing the snow, moving it, grooming it, laying down tracks, making sure that everything is wonderful after we get some good snow."
Krumme said the ski center saw record-breaking numbers last year during the COVID-19 pandemic when people were itching to get outside. To accommodate the virus, Notchview implemented safety measures such as closing off parts of the property and the visitors center but still had a successful season.
This year, the Trustees want to enhance Notchview's ski school program as well as its hikes and other programming. This includes offering moonlight skis when people are guided into the backcountry with hot chocolate and return to the lodge to roast marshmallows by the fire.
Wilderness tracking hikes are also offered in partnership with Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center.
The property was owned by retired Army Lt. Col. Arthur D. Budd, a decorated World War I veteran, and was bequeathed to the Trustees of Reservations in 1965.
Budd had purchased a number of farms and fields within that area and merged them all under Notchview. Some of the fields remain, but most of the reservation is forested with red spruce and northern hardwoods.
It has been landscaped and shaped by timber, firewood, and charcoal production over the years, leaving some fire roads.
The property has a history of being used by the community for recreation and skiing, as Budd used to open it up to anyone who wanted to come in and use it for winter recreation. Krumme said that is kind of what led Notchview to what it is today.
Notchview's onsite lodge, the Budd Visitor Center, was named after its former owner. At the center, there are rentals for skiers and snowshoers, and visitors can book weekend lessons to learn a new skill or strengthen existing ones.
The Trustees partner with the Bill Koch Youth Ski League to bring around 75 kids to the center every Sunday. Krumme said it is a lot of fun for the children but also involves the parents and makes it almost a family program.
Daily ticket rates range from $5 to $20 and Trustees members can purchase an early bird season pass for $49.
For more information on programs and pricing at Notchview, visit the Trustees' website.
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