The Balsams Resort (1000 Cold Spring Rd., Dixville Notch, 800/255-0600, www.thebalsams.com ) offers some of the best cross-country skiing in New England, with nearly 100 kilometers of tracked and groomed trails that plunge deep into the heart of the North Woods. With a four-star resort running heated shelters at regular intervals, however, you are never far from civilization. The Balsams also has a handful of alpine trails with a 1,000-foot vertical drop; it is particularly accommodating for telemark skiing.
For the ultimate in backcountry skiing, the Phillips Brook Recreation Area (Gorham, 603/447-1786) offers an experience found nowhere else. A system of seven wilderness yurts are connected by trails on land owned by a paper company and leased to a nonprofit organization. What you’ll get is a chance to lose yourself in the woods with only moose, spruce, and, if you are lucky, the sound of lightly falling snow for company. Rates per night are more than reasonable, at $34 for a bunk or $145 for a whole yurt, which sleeps six.