Out of doors Heart Deliberate for Oak Hill-Storrs Pond Space

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Dartmouth is working with a new non-profit organization to improve the trail system and cross-country ski facilities at the Oak Hill-Storrs Pond recreation area in the city of Hanover.

The new facility will be the home track for Dartmouth’s women’s and men’s Nordic Ski teams. In recent years, poor conditions and the failure of current trails to meet cross-country competition standards have often forced Dartmouth to hold its Nordic Winter Carnival events at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vt., more than 90 minutes from campus.

“This facility will be great for our Dartmouth athletes and for the entire student body,” says Cami Thompson Graves, Dartmouth Ski Director and Nordic Women’s Head Coach. “And as a community member, I think it’s great for the Upper Valley.”

Snowmaking and redesigned trails will allow Dartmouth teams to practice on their home course, and Dartmouth also expects to host the NCAA National Ski Championship races in 2025.

The non-profit organization called Friends of Oak Hill was formed to design, build and manage the new facilities. The first phase of the project focuses on upgrading several core cross-country ski trails and installing a snowmaking system. This will be followed by work on the lighting, improved facilities and improved parking facilities.

In addition to upgrading the home stadium of Dartmouth’s Nordic teams, the improvements will allow for expanded use of the area for recreational skiing, the Ford Sayre Ski Program, Hanover High School and regional club teams, and off-season use by mountain bikers. runners and hikers. Dartmouth’s Office of Outdoor Programs will continue to run programs at Oak Hill, including partnering with the Friends group to host learning to ski events for students.

The trail system includes land owned by Dartmouth and the Hanover Improvement Society. A memorandum of understanding was signed by Dartmouth, the Friends Group and the Improvement Society to guide development and operations.

The cost of the improvements is expected to be $5 million. Dartmouth has pledged to fund half of the total, with the remainder to be raised from private donors. The Bressett Fund of the City of Hanover launched the project, which began in 2017 with a feasibility study, with seed financing.

The permitting process for the project is ongoing and slope works are expected to begin in early 2023 with the goal of building slopes and snowmaking in time for the 2023-2024 ski season. The circle of friends is investigating the use of sustainable snow-making methods. If all permits arrive on schedule, lighting, parking lot improvements and facility upgrades will continue in 2024.