Text and Photos by Judi Platt
In our third winter at Eastman, we finally got what we came for—snow, and lots of it! After spending a few years looking at lake properties in the Carolinas, we bought at Eastman to cross-country ski (and kayak and hike and bike). We almost got what we wished for immediately after closing on our property at the end of October 2011. The day after moving in, we woke up to find 10” of snow on the ground. Of course, being October, the snow melted quickly, and we never saw another flake the rest of the winter!
The following winter, it wasn’t until late February that we had enough snow for Sonny and his crew to groom the trails. The winter of 2013-2014, however, made up for the first two disappointing winters. Boy, did it! The skis came out in early December and were used every weekend between then and early April. For four months, we got what we came for. The trails from the golf course to Deerpath were superbly groomed; only abrupt changes in weather spoiled the x-country staff’s near-perfection in caring for them. March, being even more fickle than Mother Nature, brought some days in the 40s, only to be followed by freezing temps at nights and consequently some icier conditions on the trails. But with 35 kilometers, we always found someplace we could ski within our comfort levels.
On several occasions, we packed lunches and snacks and stopped at the yurt in John’s Glen for a break and to warm up. What a treat that was to be able to sit and rest, and dry any wet clothing by the wood stove. Outside, the wind swirled around us, but we were cozy, at least for a little while.
We made a couple of trips to the White Mountains this winter, but the conditions at Eastman were as good, and maybe even a little better than those larger centers where we have skied over the past few decades. While we enjoy our “private” community, we were glad to share the trails with the thousands of skiers who used them this year. That’s the beauty of Nordic skiing; you can be alone on a trail soaking in the surroundings and beauty of a winter’s day without meeting up with anyone else, even though there may be dozens of others out on the trails, too.
It was a mere four weeks ago that we skied at John’s Glen. I have to say that in more than 30 years of cross-country skiing, I had never skied in April before. As I reminisce about our “perfect” winter, I have already been out kayaking on the lake. We can probably now say that “winter is over.” Even Mark Twain would be amazed that one season could meld—and melt—right into another so quickly. Yes, we are getting what we came to Eastman for.