trail work

Students participating in the Berkshire County, Mass.-based Overland Summers program volunteered three mornings earlier this month at Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center to help clear snowshoe trails and build three bridges. The Nordic center is undergoing a two-phase upgrade project, including trail work, installation of snowmaking infrastructure and work on the base lodge.

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WOODFORD — The first phase of a major upgrade project at Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center is underway this summer.

After a successful fundraising campaign in the early spring, the nonprofit group that owns and operates the 155-acre ski center off Route 9 said plans call for new cross-country trails, installation of snowmaking infrastructure and other work.

The entire improvement project is expected to take two or more construction seasons, and is estimated to cost more than $1 million. The initial winter/spring fundraising effort, launched in February, collected about $880,000.

The project involves “the addition of approximately 4,800 feet of cross-country ski trails to the existing Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center. The project includes widening of seven existing trail segments, and installation of [snowmaking] infrastructure, including buried and above-ground piping, generator, air-water snowmaker and snowmaking guns,” according to a description from the nonprofit center.

TRAILWORK HELP

Prospect Mountain Association President David Newell said earlier this month that some of the trail work this summer involved assistance from students in the Berkshire County, Mass.-based Overland Summers program.

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The students volunteered three mornings at Prospect to help clear snowshoe trails and build three bridges.

PROJECT DETAILS

Planned work this year to widen existing trail segments is primarily on nearby Green Mountain National Forest land, Newell has said, and the group already has permission from the U.S. Forest Service to do that project. The trails to be widened, Newell said, include Easy Way and Woodpecker.

Other phases of the project will include improvements to the base lodge; installation of snowmaking infrastructure on 1.1 kilometers of trail around the lodge; creation of a new 3.9-kilometer trail farther up the mountain to enhance conditions for certified Nordic races; and eventual installation of snowmaking infrastructure along that new trail.

The planned lodge upgrades include roof work, new flooring and refurbishing in the kitchen, dining areas and restrooms.

Jim Therrien writes for Vermont News and Media, including the Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and Brattleboro Reformer. Email jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com