Cross-country Ski Information
for Rochester, NY, and the surrounding region
Your comments, suggestions, and additions are welcome. Let me know if you find the directory useful. Max Lent
Novice Intermediate Expert Warming hut Refreshments Ski rentals
The following list is alphabetical order
Location: Northeast Rochester, along the shore of Lake Ontario in Irondiquoit. The northern boundary is Lake Shore Blvd. Kings Hwy. runs through the center of the park. The eastern side of the park is accessed by Sweet Fern Rd. Google map.
Description: From long, steep, curving downhill runs to open meadow skiing, Durand Eastman Park has great skiing for skiers of all skill levels. There are miles of crisscrossing ungroomed trails providing a full day of excellent skiing and beautiful landscape.
Comment: Durand Eastman Park was in the news in recent years because of the various attempts to reduce the park's deer population. Homeowners and animal rights activists have fought fierce legal battles over the issue of whether, or how, to kill the park's deer. During the winter cross-country skiers may wish that a law was on the books to control the dog population of the park. Dogs and their owners are frequently seen ruining ski trails. The dogs chase off what little wildlife that remains in the park. The result of the unleashed dogs roaming the park in the winter is damaged ski tracks and dog feces on the trails. Skiing down some of the steep hillsides can be dangerous if there are unleashed dogs below. Dogs will run to or chase skiers causing dangerous situations.
There is a large sledding area on the west side of the park. Skiers should stay clear of the sledding area.
The best time to ski Durand Eastman Park is during extreme weather. The dogs and their owners are gone and new snow covers their damage. On extreme weather days, the park can be spectacularly beautiful.
For skiers, the best entrance to the park is from the east side or the northeast. These entrances are less heavily used than the west entrances near the sled hills.
What is missing from Durand Eastman Park is a warming hut. If this park were in Europe it would have a warming hut with a deck. Inside, skiers could purchase drinks and interesting foods and lounge by a roaring fire.
Location: North central Rochester. Google Map.
Description: Although it is located in the middle of a densely populated area of the city, relatively few skiers frequent the park except on weekends. No groomed trails.
Comment: The skiable area of Ellison Park is smaller than Durand Eastman or Webster Parks. There are sledding hills to watch out for, but the rest of the park can be sublimely peaceful and nearly empty at times. The stream running through the center of the park can be beautiful when the weather turns very cold.
Alert! 2/05. There have been reports of car break ins at Mendon Ponds park. If you park and ski, lock your valuables in your car trunk or just don't leave anything valuable in your car.
Location: Perinton, NY. From Rochester, take Interstate 490 to Bushnell's Basin. Turn left, south, on Pittsford-Victor Rd. Turn right on Park Rd. Google Map.
Description: Miles of ungroomed trails extend throughout the park.
Comment: Powder Mill Park has many beautiful trails. When covered with snow the trails can become a winter wonderland. The skiing is easy and the scenery pretty. What more can one ask of a trails so close to Rochester.
Location: Western Irondequoit. The entrance is the same as the Seneca Park Zoo, which is off of St. Paul St. north of Ridge Rd. The turnoff is Parkwood. Follow Parkwood into the park as far as is permitted. Start your ski at the end of the road going into the park. Continue north. The trail will end at a fence near a neighborhood called the Flats. Google Map.
Description: Seneca Park is across the Genesee River from one of Eastman Kodak's plants. The trail, which usually starts near the Seneca Park Zoo parking lot, offers several miles of novice skiing along the cliffs above the Genesee River.
Comment: Seneca Park is well worth visiting for its easy skiing and spectacular views of the Genesee River. Seeing deer along the trail is common, but may not be if the development outside the park continues.
Location: Off of Jackson Rd. North of Atlantic in Penfield, NY. Google Map.
Description: The trails are level and circumnavigate the swamp. An elevated walkway through the center of the swamp can be skied if there is enough snow.
Comment: Thousand Acre Swamp is an oasis of nature surround by suburbia. There are restrictions regarding the use of the park, but most are common sense requests to keep the swamp as pristine as possible.
Reader Comment 1/04:
Location: Northeast Rochester, along the shore of Lake Ontario. Further east of Rochester than Durand Eastman Park. Google Map.
Description: Webster Park offers a wide range of ungroomed trails including a few steep trails suitable for advanced skiers. Most of the trails follow gently sloping gullies through forested areas. The trail system is extensive and complex. Skiers without a good sense of direction or who are unfamiliar with the park are advised to purchase a map of the park from a sporting goods store.
Comment: Webster Park has two groups competing for park use, horseback riders and non-horseback riders. During the winter horseback riders and skiers sometimes share the same trails. This results in damaged ski trails and frightened horses. The good news is that there are few of either using the park during extreme weather.
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