Cross-country skiing in heart of the Hudson Valley

In the Taconic Mountains of Carmel, New York, you'll find passionate athletes from all over the world. They've come here for one reason: cross-country skiing.

"It's just very free, it's fast and this place is beautiful. They have bluebirds and it's just very peaceful," said skier Gretchen Lebowitz.

Most people are familiar with alpine skiing, also called downhill skiing. But cross country is a whole different beast, said Declan Hennelly, the park supervisor at Fahnestock Winter Park

"It's a sense of floating which you don't get from walking or running," Declan said. "Maybe something like cycling for those people who are into cycling it's a bit like that you just float long and very few people are out in the winter so you often have the words to yourself."

The main difference is that cross country is generally on flatter land where skiers have to put in more effort to keep up the momentum. They also only lock in the toes of their feet to the board, instead of the whole foot, which allows skiers to move more freely.  

Declan said that skiing started as cross country in Norway in the 1700s. At first it was just a way for people to get from one point to another. Eventually it became recreational. 

The ski trails in Carmel are open every day until 4:30 p.m.  The season ends whenever the snow stops.