Al and Irene Jenks and their sons have operated Windblown Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Center in New Ipswich, N.H., since 1972.
The cozy resort offers 25 miles of trails along the Wapack Range, which runs from Mt. Watatic in Ashburnham, Mass., to North Pack Monadnock in Greenville, N.H. One of the oldest hiking trails in Central New England, the Wapack Trail, follows the ridge of hills for 21.9 miles.
Its ridgeline offers spectacular views westward to Mt. Monadnock, and eastward to the Boston skyline.
News of its operation by the Jenks family for at least one more winter is welcome news to area Nordic skiers. The family has tired of the endless demands of running a Nordic center and a sale has been in the works to the Central New England Nordic Ski Council.
Al Jenks said the $3 million sale would have included land, buildings, and equipment, and would have meant the preservation of the land as open space, and continued operation of Windblown as a ski center.
"The folks who wanted to buy us out haven't come up with the money or investors to make it happen," Jenks told OnTheSnow, "so I'm planning to open as usual, and have it bigger and better and all ready to go."
Why has Jenks been looking to sell the area he created?
"There are a number of factors," he said. "One is my age; another is right now my sons aren't interested in taking over; another is my wife, Irene, has not been excited about continuing the business; and then the ice storm hit two years ago. All those factors came together, and Central New England Nordic came along, and it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to pass it on to wonderful folks who would keep it going and provide a fabulous legacy."
Jenks said that, even though continuing to operate Windblown was not his first choice, he is excited about this winter.
"This will be the 39th year, and it just feels like it has been time to move on, but that hasn't worked out so I'm getting fired up to do it again," he said.
What does the future hold for Windblown? "Central New England Nordic Ski Council is still in the picture; its pledges are good until March of 2011. It will be interesting to see if anything happens between now and then. The options are that they come up with the money; or I would possibly run it one more year, and after that either find somebody to manage it, or close it down," Jenks said.
"My goal is before I leave here, or die, to leave at least the Wapack Trail protected on this property. Beyond that, it's wait and see how things play out," he said.
More information. Or call 603-878-2869.