Every Saturday is a snow day ay Midcoast Conservancy’s Hidden Valley Nature Center this winter. For the rest of January and through Feb. 22, from noon to 4 p.m., Midcoast Conservancy’s gear library of cross-country skis, snowshoes and fat tire bikes are available to rent for only $5 an hour. This is a great opportunity to try out a winter sport for the first time, or shake the rust off a familiar one. No previous experience is necessary. Outdoor Adventure AmeriCorps members from Midcoast Conservancy will be on hand to help fit participants with the right gear, do a demo if needed, and recommend trails appropriate to the user’s skill level. HVNC, in Jefferson, has nearly 30 miles of trails that offer a wide range of terrain; most are groomed after a snowfall and as needed.
Also in February, two Family Days at HVNC will give people a chance to ski or take some the fat tire bikes out on the trails. Staff will be on hand to offer basic instruction and advice on trails to explore. Monday, Feb. 17, families are encouraged to come ski HVNC; skis, boots and poles will be available. Tuesday, Feb. 18, the fat bike fleet will be ready for riders; helmets will be provided to those who don’t have their own. Registration is suggested for both events to ensure that equipment is available; go to https://www.midcoastconservancy.org/explore/events/ to sign up.
After all that practice, everyone is encouraged to put their ski, snowshoe or fat bike skills to the test at the annual winter Biathlon at HVNC on Saturday, Feb. 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. All ages and abilities can have fun in the snow, taking laps around the 1k course between turns on the paintball rifle range. Rifle safety instruction is provided for all racers, four-person teams are welcome, and creative costumes could garner an award at the end of the racing day! Fire pits will be blazing, and chili and cocoa will be available to warm people up from the inside. Register at https://www.midcoastconservancy.org/events/midcoast-conservancy-biathlon-3/