Preparing for a day outdoors in the cold


What: Notchview Trails Day

When: Free one hour-long cross-country ski lessons will be held at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m.

A guided snowshoe hike through the woods will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For cross-country skiers, Notchview will hold a wax clinic and a ski fit station, both from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Notchview, Old Route 9 in Windsor, a half mile from the intersection of routes 8A and 9

Admission: Half-price trail fee of $8 (the normal price is $15. Meet at the Visitors Center.

Information: (413) 684-0148. What: Project Native snowshoe clinic

When: Saturday, Feb. 1, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: 342 North Plain Road, Route 41, Housatonic

Admission: Free and open to people of all ages. Advance registration is requested. Use of snowshoes will provided free by Berkshire Bike and Board with a 24-hour advance reservation. People may also bring their own snowshoes.

To register: or (413) 274-3433.

Preparing for the trail: Winter Trails Day will bring a special half-price trail fee will at Notchview all day, and free two-hour use of cross-country ski equipment and snowshoes on a first-come, first-served basis.

The free hour-long cross-country ski lessons and a guided snowshoe hike through the woods will be led by both Notchview staff members and volunteers.

Jim Caffrey, superintendent of the Windsor Management Unit for the Trustees of Reservations, says snowshoeing requires little instruction.

"All there is is learning how to put on the snowshoes and how to put one foot in front of the other," he said.

For cross-country skiers, Notchview will hold a wax clinic and a ski fit station.

"Having skis that fit the skier's weight and ability are important to enjoy the sport," Caffrey said.

Keeping warm: When snowshoeing, dress in layers and avoid heavy outerwear, he said. He urged wearing long underwear, outdoor "stretchy" pants, a down or fleece vest, a heavy turtleneck with a zippered neck and a wind-proof outer layer like a windbreaker jacket.

He recommended clothes in fabrics like smart wool and nylons -- and wool or polypropylene socks, along with a hat and mittens or gloves -- saying "Stay away from cotton." Lobster-claw mittens work especially well when cross-country skiing, he said, and don't forget sunscreen and sunglasses.

"Make sure everything fits well," he advised. "Too tight and circulation can be cut off, and you'll get cold."

After a trek in the cold, visitors can warm up in the newly opened Helen's Cafe in the Visitors Center with soup and sandwiches provided by the Old Creamery Grocery Co-op, hot and cold drinks, and cookies, baked by the staff at Field Farm in WIlliamstown, which is also operated by the Trustees of Reservations.

Upcoming events: The Trustees of Reservations will also host the Frosty Snowshoe, Toasty Yoga Adventure series at Askintully Gardens in Tyringham on Saturdays, Feb. 9 and 24, and March 16, from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Explore the fields and gardens and mansion ruins on snowshoes. Following the snowshoe hike, warm up with yoga will be held in front of the fireplace in John McLennan's barn/music studio on the property.

Each session is $25 (snowshoe rentals are available, $5 for Trustees of Reservations members, $10 for non-members) and includes a $5 donation to the Trustees of Reservations. Advance registration is required. Register at or by mailing a check to TTOR, P.O. Box 395, Tyringham, MA 01264, with an email address for details about the event.


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