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    Hills, Forests, and Fields of France Park

    January 9, 2008
    Family skiing at France Park, Cass County, Indiana

    A look at one of Indiana's most beautiful rural ski areas.  Deer, turkey, eagles and osprey --all are a common sight at this park located in the forested hills of the Wabash River Valley, in Cass County.

    Stream in Winter
    Paw Paw Creek

    Seventy years ago, no one would have imagined the abundant wildlife, the beautiful forests, and the picturesque prairies that now sprawl along the Wabash River.  A century and a half ago, the Wabash and Erie Canal sliced through what is now France Park, bringing in its wake the railroad industry, and a large stone quarry. But in the 1940's, when mining crews struck a vain to the massive Teays Underground River, tranquility gushed back into this pristine area.

    Today, the Canal is only an eroded icon of the past, with a thick forest canopy hemming in on all sides. The railroad to the north of the Park is silent for all but a few days each month.  And the hundred acres of quarry are now beautiful lakes with crystal blue water, welcoming swimmers, fishing buddies, and scuba divers. Rocky cliffs up to 80 feet tall slice through the park, some carved by quarrymen, others sculpted by the Wabash in a by-gone era.

    Rock Ledges viewed from cross country ski trail
    A few of the many rocky ledges

    Forested knobs and ravines sprawl through the park, as all stream flow to the Wabash River basin.  It is not uncommon to see a handful of bald eagles and osprey during a day at the park, and wild turkey and whitetail always out-number people on a quiet day.

    But that is not all that makes France Park a perfect place to Cross Country Ski.  The broad trails with gentle curves seem specifically engineered for the Nordic sport. Forested trails are well

    Praire as seen from cross country ski path
    View across the prairie

    cleared of tree debri and stones, and prairie paths are mowed during the warmer months.  This commitment to the trails ensures smooth skiing in as little as four inches of snow.  And when we are blessed with a foot or more of powdered fun, then the off-trail forests become as inviting as your sense of adventure.

    XC ski trail through Pine trees
    Pine stand in the Park

    The southern portions of the Park are skiied by only a few, thanks to the distance from the parking lots, yet offer the best trails, the most untouched forests, and opportunities for spotting eagles, great blue herons, and other wildlife.

    When our next snowfall graces Indiana, consider a trip to France Park, ...you will be surprised by this hidden treasure that so eloquently speaks to Indiana's natural heritage.




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    Does Indiana get enough snow for cross country skiing?

    February 18, 2022

    Skiers, courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/people/a4gpa/Yes, Indiana receives plenty of snow for XC skiing... But how far you travel to get to the snow all depends on where you live in Indiana. South Bend averages... read more

    Tags:   snow   places  

    Cross Country Ski Equipment and Gear

    January 14, 2009

    Skis and Ski BootsCross Country Ski Equipment and GearHow to Choose the Right Skis discusses your options for cross country skis, boots, and bindings. Includes our sizing... read more

    Tags:   gear   news  

    How to Maintain Waxless Skis (part 3)

    January 7, 2009

    waxlesszoneHow  to maintain the kick-zone on a waxless ski: A simple guide to cleaning, repairing, and waxingGo to Part One | Go to Part TwoNow what about the... read more

    Tags:   news   gear    

    How to Maintain Waxless Skis (part 2)

    January 2, 2009

    How to prepare the ski and apply glide waxGo to Part One | Go to Part ThreeThe five minute method is to purchase glide wax paste, of which several brands are... read more

    Tags:   news   gear  

    Skiers' Health and Fitness

    January 1, 2009

    The Health Benefits of Cross Country Skiing Explores the reasons that Nordic skiing is the best all around form of exercise. Includes a chart of calories... read more

    Tags:   health   news  

    How to Maintain Waxless Skis (part 1)

    December 16, 2008

    Waxless Cross Country SkisWhy (and where) you need to wax your waxless skis: A brief explanation of friction, suction, wax and structureGo to Part Two | Go to Part ThreeSo you've... read more

    Tags:   news   gear    

    How to Choose the Right Skis

    November 16, 2008

    How to Choose the Right Skis, Bindings, Boots & PolesThe equipment you choose for cross country skiing depends on how and where you intend to ski.  ... read more

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    The Health Benefits of Cross Country Skiing

    July 6, 2008

    Woman XC skate skiingThe low-impact, total body workout of Nordic Skiing has numerous health benefitsIt's the ultimate cardio exercise, the number one calorie burner, provide... read more

    Tags:   health   news  

    Pre-Season Conditioning (part 3)

    December 15, 2007

    ← Back To Part 2Up to Part 1 ↑Part 3: Toning your Muscles for Increased EnduranceYou are an active person. But the busy-ness of summer seldom gives... read more

    Tags:   news   health   conditioning    

    Pre-Season Conditioning (part 2)

    November 30, 2007

    ← Back To Part 1Skip to Part 3 →Part 2: Improving Your Balance and StabilityRemember the first time you put on a pair of cross country skis and... read more

    Tags:   news   health   conditioning    

    Pre-Season Conditioning (part 1)

    November 12, 2007

    Part 1: Stretching to improve flexibilitySkip to Part 2 → Cross Country Ski Season is right around the corner. The chill in the air all of a sudden... read more

    Tags:   health   news   conditioning  

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