Take Advantage of 50 Miles of Free Cross-Country Skiing in CNY
When it comes to enduring Upstate New York winters, people generally fall into one of two camps: Camp A prefers to "hibernate," and Camp B embraces the snow and the many ways to engage with it. If you've been in Camp A but have always been curious about Camp B, there are 50 miles of groomed winter trails in Boonville where you can try it.
FREE CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
The Black River Environmental Improvement Association (BREIA) is a privately-owned network of wilderness trails that’s free for anyone to use. It was established in 1988 by philanthropist Gilbert Butler, whose mission was to conserve the natural landscapes he’d always enjoyed as a youth. With the help of top-of-the-line equipment like the PistenBully, BREIA keeps these trails groomed throughout winter for cross-country skiers and snowshoers alike.
Skiers can also take advantage of BREIA-maintained warming huts. There are two open to the public, one at the trail’s Alder Creek campus, the other at its Jackson Hill campus. Visitors can start a fire in the woodburning stove and refuel with a snack before heading out again. (They ask that visitors please be courteous by taking everything out that’s brought in.)
Visitors must provide their own skis.
For those interested in snowshoeing, BREIA asks visitors to do so off to the side of the ski trails, to maintain the integrity of the tracks themselves. “Bare-booting” – walking along the trails in just boots – is to be avoided entirely. Visitors are also asked to leave dogs at home during the winter to help keep the trails in good condition.
For more information on BREIA, for trail maps, or to sign up for trail condition email updates, visit www.breiax-countryski.org.