By Ben Raderstorf
Two weeks ago (Saturday, February 11th, as a do recall…) a small but bold group of intrepid HOC leaders and members set out to conquer a legendary outdoor destination–a place that many have discussed and even more have heard of, but far fewer have ever ventured–the Weston Ski Track. While there are those who will insist that “this is a terrible winter for cross-country skiing in Massachusetts,” that “a sunny, 45 degree day is better suited for biking or running,” and that “Weston is just a suburb of Boston, hardly anything exotic,” the adventurers resoundingly proved the nay-sayers wrong, proving that even in this unseasonably un-wintery winter, a little artificial snow and a lot of enthusiasm can add up to a spectacular day of skiing.
Rising at ungodly hours to be sure to depart the HOC office by the toll of the 11 o’clock bell, the six voyagers set forth with their skis, warm clothes, and songs in their hearts. Cristi, especially, was eager to see the legendary tracts of white, pushing forward with a spirit that inspired the entire group as they crossed Harvard square to the T station. And while the single ski bag was heavy, the load was enthusiastically shared by all until the train was boarded.
Navigating through the subterranean netherworld of the Boston public transport system, transferring at Park Street, they managed–with some effort–to locate the correct Green Line train to Riverside, and again, they were off, this time in the direction of their final goal: skiing awesomeness. As the Green Line train clattered west through the suburbs of Boston, winding through progressively more forested areas, the enthusiasm only grew. By the time they reached the end of the line at Riverside, the adventurers could hardly contain their excitement.
At that, there was only one final hurdle to their oft-dreamt destination, a simple 15 minute walk across the Mass Pike and through a residential neighborhood. It seemed only a moment until they exited the woods, and there in front of them, like an etherial vision, lay their goal: broad stretches of gleaming snow crisscrossed by gleeful skiers. The place they had heard so much about, it was even more beautiful than any of them had ever imagined.
After a short delay (apparently one of the leaders failed to count out the correct number of skis in the bag and subsequently had to rent one more pair. Whoops. Wonder who that was…), they were skiing and it was joyous. For a group that had, almost in it’s entirety, never skied before, the intrepid band took to the two and a half kilometers of trails like birds to the air. While there were a few stumbles at first, after a few laps the group became more and more confident, their elation growing as they gained balance. Lap after lap, they skied. And they were happy. And there was much rejoicing.
Midway through the day they stopped to rest and snack, a delicious feast of sandwiches, hot chocolate, oranges, ramen noodles, and a box full of strawberry yogurt nutri-grain bars. Sitting in the nordic center, the band chatted, laughed, and bonded over how much fun cross-country skiing is!
And then, in a moment, they were back out on the skis, their enthusiasm could not be contained. They skied lap after lap after lap, until finally, on the brink of exhaustion, Ben declared that he could ski no further. “Besides,” he remarked, “it’s getting dark, and the journey back to Cambridge is long.”
Although they wanted nothing more than to keep skiing, the rest of the group reluctantly agreed, and filled with the uplifting rush of endorphins, they returned by the same arduous path as earlier. Back though the neighborhoods. Across the Mass Pike. And to the Riverside T stop. On the train ride home, the adventurers alternated between laughing, sleeping, and dreaming of whatever delicious HUDS concoction awaited them at the end of the line. And then they were home, back to the comforting den of the HOC office, just as the dinner bells rang forth from the house d-halls. After a group photo, some tearful goodbyes, and a pledge to ‘do this again soon,’ the group bid their farewells and went their separate ways.
While the swashbuckling skiers have all gone back to their more mundane and less ski-filled lives, we can all take heart and learn from their example: adventure is out there, often just a T ride from home.
General Region: New Hampshire (White Mountain NF) New Hampshire (other) Maine Massachusetts Out West Other
Trip Leaders: Ben Raderstorf, Cristi Proistosescu