High atop Sussex County NJ, where the three states converge, there is an obelisk that stands 1,803 feet above sea level. The 360° view is an amazing sight and the monument itself can get your elevation and your heart rate up after climbing inside the 220 foot structure. The view is definitely worth the climb. You will overlook the Catskill Mountains, the Wallkill River Valley and the Pocono Mountains.
Through all four seasons the park sees pretty steady traffic. The camp ground, Lake Marcia, and hiking trails. Even though the trails are covered in snow now, that should not discourage you. When learning about High Point Cross Country Ski Center operating at the park, it was eye opening. The business concept is actually pretty brilliant. Some may think that the park, or at least the trails, were not open for the average hiker, but then after speaking with the owner, Hans Jensen, we found out the true deal.
Hans grew up in Norway and competed in the World Cup for cross country skiing. Racing was his passion. His love for nature and being outdoors was part of his childhood, and as an adult has always been enjoyable for him. "It feels good to exercise and be healthy enjoying winter activity then retreating to the warmth of a roaring fire and enjoying rich creamy hot chocolate. It doesn’t get too much better than that! Being able to share this with other outdoor enthusiasts makes it
all worthwhile." Hans says.
Being in NJ, the weather is pretty unpredictable and so relying solely on mother nature would make it very difficult business to sustain. Operated under contract with the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Parks and Forestry, Hans and his team spend hours and hours grooming the trails and making snow. They use four wheelers to pull grooming machines, setting tracks and manicuring the over nine miles of trails so that you have the most enjoyable experience. This is their 26th season - hard work, dedication, research and experience has produced quite a nice get-away destination at the top of our High Point State Park. The only open to the public park that grooms it’s trails for the complete benefit of the skiers and snow shoers.
Hans explained about the difference between cross country and downhill for novices. He suggested that there is usually a crossover and most skiers will enjoy both. Downhill is a more individual activity where once you have confidence and get into the sport you challenge yourself, go faster, take steeper inclines, be more adventurous and then there’s higher risk of injury! Not too many cross country skiers leave via EMT transport. People don’t generally plow into a tree or fall and break an ankle on the trails..
Cross Country is a continuous exercise, you move at your pace, however you can definitely go with a buddy and both enjoy the workout and fresh air. There are different trails where you may encounter more hills and challenginginclines. There are a lot more chances that you will see some wildlife and absolutely gorgeous surroundings while cross country skiing . You might just might miss out these experiences if you are whizzing down a steep and slippery slope.
Cross country is also a more economical way to go as well. The equipment investment is similar however the trail rates are a mere $20 for the day vs. lift tickets that can be anywhere between $80-100 for per pass. That can equal quite an expensive way to spend the day, especially if you are doing it as a family. “Many are doing cross-country here for the first time,.” he says. Having the ability to include the baby on a backpack or sled is yet another way that you can include the entire family. Literally the cross country skier ranges in age from toddler to 70 or 80 years young. Offering lessons to beginners is really popular and it is usually a shorter learning curve which means they are out on the trails enjoying their adventure pretty quickly.
If you have a case of cabin fever this winter and are considering some outside activities the whole family can enjoy., take a ride up High Point Mountain and explore your possibilities.
High Point Cross Country Ski Center
High Point Cross Country Ski Center
Located at High Point State Park
1480 Route 23 Sussex NJ 07461
Phone: 973-702-1222 http://www.xcskihighpoint.com