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New Ipswich’s Windblown announces closure at the end of season

  • Windblown Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing owner Al Jenks announced last week that this will be the last season for the ski area. File photos—

  • Windblown Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing owner Al Jenks announced last week that this will be the last season for the ski area. File photos—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/24/2020 9:16:11 PM

After 48 years, this winter is the last for the Windblown Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing, the company announced publicly last week.

“It is time to fold the tent, to look ahead to other adventures, to prepare for the rest of this journey, and to say goodbye to this experience,” owner Al Jenks wrote in an open letter posted on the Windblown Cross Country Skiing Facebook page. “Windblown Cross Country Ski Area will be closing at the end of this season.”

Camping bookings at shelters in the ski area are expected to continue from April to November.

Jenks, a resident of New Ipswich, opened the ski area in 1972, initially intending to start an alpine, or downhill, ski area. When he moved onto the land in 1970, there was only one trail – Stagecoach Road – which was once the main route between Boston, Massachusetts and Keene. Now, that trail is the northern boundary of Windblown’s system of trails, which wind over 25 miles, or 40 kilometers long. Eight kilometers are specifically for snowshoers and backcountry skiers. 

The property, which spans 400 acres, offers views of ponds, valleys, a view of Mount Monadnock, and slopes on Barrett Mountain.

The property also connects to other popular hiking routes, including the Wapack Trail, which passes through Windblown. The trail was created in 1922 by Frank Robbins and Marion Davis. The Windblown property was purchased by Jenks from Marion Davis. In the summer, the Wapack Trail is the only trail where hiking has been allowed. It is also the only section of the trail which offers camping accommodations, with overnight shelter rentals. 

In his post, Jenks said access to the Wapack Trail through the Windblown property would continue to be allowed, with parking on the west side of Route 124. Access to other trails will be closed.

“Many relationships over many years have blossomed and grown through our wintertime connection. Hopefully, the benefits we have received will last beyond the passing of this business,” Jenks wrote. “For me, I cherish long-standing friendships and connections that pass through several generations. I thank you for your support, your love, and your joy at finding a place in these hills called, ‘Windblown’.”

The business’ rental equipment is up for sale throughout the remainder of the season. For the remaining six weeks of winter, 10-20 sets of ski equipment and 2-4 pairs of snowshoes are expected to be sold at wholesale prices. The ski area plans to open on Saturdays in March from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for sales, even if trails are closed. Those interested can pay using cash or check. There is an ATM available in the ski shop.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT. 


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