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Vermont Ski Areas We Love!!

Vermont Ski Areas We Love!!

For a small state, Vermont is wonderfully dense with some enviable destinations: from craft breweries to ski areas to hidden natural gems, from charming New England hamlets to the mellow small city vibes of Brattleboro and Burlington, every explorer of Vermont is sure to find something that awes, excites, comforts and thrills. With its temperate climate, snowy winters, and industrious population, Vermont is especially rich in excellent cross country ski centers. A storied history of skiing (including the first rope tow, the first American Olympic Nordic medalist, and some of the oldest ski centers) has created in the state a vibrant cross country culture and ski community—it is dedicated members of this community who continue to work hard to share this wealth with the world. Here are some of the fruits of this labor, our favorite Nordic ski centers in Vermont. Happy Skiing!

Viking Nordic Center

Tucked alongside the gentle West River in Londonderry, amongst farms, dense woods and beaver ponds, Viking Nordic is about as Vermont as it gets. 26 km of comfortably narrow trails roll along a small range of approachable hills, Viking’s network strikes the perfect balance where trails are narrow and hilly enough to let skiers loose in a thrilling winter wonderland, but well-groomed and accessible enough that everyone can get a safe taste of that Nordic magic.

Viking Nordic Center
Stowe, VT
Stowe Cross Country Center

Tucked in the dense forest alongside Stowe Mountain’s Tollhouse Double, the Cross Country Center boasts 45 km of excellently groomed trails, as well as over 30 km of ungroomed, at-your-own-risk backcountry terrain. The trails range from the flat Burt Trail, which runs along the babbling Ranch Brook, to the steep and thrillingly difficult Peavy and Double Bit trails. Be sure to ask the folks at the fully equipped Nordic center for advice on which of their well mapped routes is right for you.

Rikert Nordic Center

Rikert’s picturesque Middlebury location is as charming as it is convenient. Just outside the bustling college town, in the heart of the green mountains, Rikert’s famed forests were once home to the poet Robert Frost and now house some of the finest Nordic ski trails in Vermont. An FIS homologated race course loops through the center of the trail network, while 55 km of wide well cared for paths climb and drop past brooks, fields and historic stone walls. Be sure to start and end your adventure at the lovely lodge, which boasts a expansive lineup of rental gear (with the wealth of staff knowledge to back it up), as well as a crackling fire, steaming soups and hot chocolates with which to warm yourself.

Rikert Nordic
Trapp Family Nordic
Trapp Family Lodge

The von Trapp Family’s utterly unique Nordic center is as historic as it is vast. The 2,600 acre mountaintop lodge and ski mecca has the distinction of being the oldest Nordic center in North America—an honor only amplified by the fact that its founders were the legendary von Trapp family of Sound of Music fame. Today, almost 40 miles of trails flit up and down the higher elevations of Stowe, topping out at epic vistas and stopping by a cozy, soup-serving warming hut. Back at the Center, you can get geared up for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, or even backcountry skiing—and afterwards, be sure to work your way back to the gorgeous brewery and accompanying bierhall for an après pint!

Woodstock Nordic Center

Tucked at the southern edge of the picturesque village of Woodstock, in the seasonally converted Woodstock Golf Club, this Resort-owned Nordic center holds a hidden wealth of world-class skiing behind its small-town façade. After getting outfitted by the pros at the ski shop with the latest in cross country ski, fat-bike or snowshoe gear, over 45 km of superbly groomed trails spread over two local mountains await adventurers. One of these peaks, Mount Tom, is also home to Vermont’s only national park—trails there offer postcard-perfect views of the Vermont town, as they bob through rolling fields, thick spruce forests and mountain ponds and streams. Back at Mount Peg, which rises up above the Nordic center and golf course, wide, switchbacking trails work their way up to gentle ridgelines, while narrower snowshoe and mountain bike trails offer shortcuts and alternative routes for the intrepid.

 

 

Fat Bike
Wild Wings Ski Touring Center

Hidden away in the wilds of Peru (Vermont, that is) this one-of-a-kind destination is traditionally a classic-ski only spot. Only in the last few years have the folks at Wild Wings opened up a couple trails for skate skiing—and skiers looking for excellent classic skiing should still certainly make a point of coming to this southern Vermont spot. Renting skis and selling tickets out of a converted horse barn, and with trails arranged on a simple loop system, Wild Wings offers skiing pared down to its barest essentials. Narrow trails, no trail maps, straightforward track grooming—there is something nostalgic and heartwarming about this basic combination of skier, ski and track that is sure to make any skier, new or old, (re)discover the wonder of Nordic skiing.

Catamount Outdoor Family Center

Perfectly situated in the low hills between Burlington and Mount Mansfield, Catamount’s trails are easily accessible to visitors of the Queen City, and offer adventure and fun for every member of the family. With 35 km of rolling terrain open to skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking—and a 4km lighted loop for night skiing—Catamount is equipped to suit the tastes of every winter wanderer.

Grafton Trails and Outdoor Center

An offshoot of the much-loved Grafton Inn, in the southern Vermont hamlet of Grafton, this outdoor center maintains a picturesque 15 km of trails, well-suited for skate and classic skiing, snowshoeing, fat-biking, and even sleigh-riding! A 600’ tubing hill ensures that thrill-seeking families can get their fix, and a 5 km loop equipped with a snowmaking system ensures pristine conditions all season long. Also be sure to try some of the world-famous Grafton cheddar on one of the Center’s wonderfully Euro wine-and-cheese ski or snowshoe tours.

Sleepy Hollow Inn Ski Center

This Huntington, VT ski destination, located within spitting distance of Camel’s Hump, is anything but sleepy. Its 35 km of well-groomed trails and 2km snowmaking loop offer adventure for inn guests and day visitors alike. For those looking for a romantic rendezvous or a little post-work workout, this loop is also lit up until 9 pm each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Sleepy Hollow Eclectic Car
Craftsbury Scene
Craftsbury Outdoor Center

A year-round mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, this Northeast Kingdom destination is equipped with a state-of-the-art snowmaking system, a sizeable and stunning central lodge, and a jaw-dropping 105 km of ski terrain. Before heading out on a perfectly hilly loop, or a rewarding out-and-back adventure to Charley’s Cabin, be sure to fuel up with a sandwich, coffee or tea at the Activity Center Café—and on the way out, don’t miss the café’s famous brownies! Though Craftsbury is known as a Nordic racing hub, the staff at the Center are there to ensure every guest enjoys the wonders of its landscape and of the sports it offers—whether folks are season pros or skiing for the first time.

Smuggler’s Notch XC Ski & Snowshoe Adventure Center

Long known as “the granddaddy of family resorts,” Smugg’s Nordic Center extends the inviting powder and deep-woods terrain of the Alpine slopes to 30 km of rolling, well-varied cross country terrain. Offering skate and classic skiing, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing and ice skating, this center’s rental shop and trail network has something for everybody. Of special interest are their excellent guided tours and “choose your own adventure” program, which lead intrepid guests on explorations of the local beaver ponds and higher elevation destinations; through these programs, you can also learn the basics of wilderness survival, soak in the magic of winter firework displays, or create the Vermont outdoor experience of your dreams.

Timber Creek Cross Country Ski Area

Spread out over a winding network of wooded terrain in the foothills of Mount Snow, this West Dover Nordic destination offers big mountain views and thrills with small mountain hospitality. Wander along the gentler hills of the lower trails or climb up for some epic views of the mountainous Packages Ridgeline. Timber Creek’s Nordic center has adventurers of all abilities covered, with a full range of rental ski and snowshoe gear, group and private lessons, and full- and half-day passes available.

Memphremagog Ski Touring Foundation

Maintaining a unique 25 km of trails alongside the gorgeous, glacial lake Memphremagog, this Ski Foundation is an adventure-filled venue for learning-to-ski families and dedicated racers alike. Single tracks designed for Summer mountain biking transform under snow into excellent snowshoe and fat biking, while wider, carefully groomed trails provide plentiful skate and classic terrain. Dog lovers will especially like these trails’ canine policy, which allows unlimited dog-accompanied ski tours—so long as it is not during the hours of the youth Nordic program practices.

Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center

One of the southernmost Nordic centers in Vermont, Prospect is within easy driving distance of Boston, Portland, New York, and Connecticut. Built into a repurposed downhill mountain, Prospect’s lodge is large and reminds one of Vermont skiing of yore, while the trails flit beneath chairlift cables and across precipitous drops. With 30 km of expertly groomed terrain looping out from the historic base lodge, Prospect takes full advantage of its high elevation snowfall and maintains impeccable ski conditions much of the season, suited for all kinds of skiers. Be sure to indulge in a hearty meal or light snack at the lodge restaurant before or après your ski, where the stone fireplace and pub-like fare will warm belly and soul.

Edson Hill

Another top-notch Stowe destination, Edson Hill has been grooming out its pristine network of trails since the 1950’s. Careful maintenance and a dedicated staff of instructors and guides makes the most of this Country Inn’s 9km of forested terrain. The whole operation is run out of a charming Nordic barn, lending the ski experience a rustic, perfectly Vermont feel.

About The Author

Pete Wilson

Pete is a Vermont native with a lifelong love of being outside. Ever since he bushwhacked a ski trail through his parents’ property, he’s been hooked on getting into the woods--whether it’s on skis or snowshoes, or going out for a trail run or a long hike. He studied English at Carleton College, and now after four years in Minnesota is back in the Green Mountains exploring the endlessly beautiful and intriguing locales across the Northeast.

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