Snowshoeing is an excellent way to get some outdoor physical and mental fitness in the winter and it can be a great warm-up for skiers or snowboarders. At alpine ski areas snowshoeing can be a great activity for those joining family or friends who may not want to ski at the resort.
Recognizing a market when they see one, many ski resort operators in Vermont over the past several decades have continually increased their snowshoeing offerings, including snowshoe-specific trails, tours, and rentals. Moreover, each resort tries to carve its specialized snowshoe niche, just as they do for the other aspects of their ski and snowboarding business.
Here, in alphabetical order, are some snowshoeing highlights at some of Vermont’s alpine ski and riding resorts. Each resort has a wide variety of rates, rentals, and tours so contact them directly for additional details.
Bolton Valley Resort
Aside from section 22 of the Catamount Trail (the longitudinal Vermont statewide trail), Bolton Valley has 5,100 acres of backcountry terrain and a connection to Mount Mansfield State Forest. The Bolton Valley Nordic Center, which provides this backcountry access, also offers snowshoe rentals and lessons. Snowshoe rentals are available and once equipped there’s 100 km of snowshoeing and cross country ski trails.
During the snow season, the resort offers a variety of guided tours, which they often modify based on the whims and abilities of the snowshoers. For example, some tours are easy, and some bushwhack around Bolton’s sometimes steep forests. Most tours usually last 1 – 1.5 hours for those aged 10+. The Bolton Valley Resort base is at a higher elevation compared to most of the other resorts in Vermont. 802-434-3444 X1071
Burke Mountain in the town of Burke provides access to the Dashney Nordic Center and nearby Kingdom Trails for snowshoeing. Dashney Nordic Center is on the access road to Burke Mountain and it offers 18 km of ski and snowshoe trails. Also, just down the road, Kingdom Trails (well-known for mountain biking) opens ungroomed trails and groomed fat bike trails to snowshoers in the winter. However, you’ll have to leave your pup home to access Kingdom Trails. Snowshoe rental equipment is available at Dashney 802-626-1466.
Jay Peak Resort
Jay Peak Resort is a mecca for daring tree skiers, but the northern Vermont resort also has trails for snowshoe enthusiasts. The Jay Resort Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Center has seven short snowshoe trails up to 1.7 miles (2.7 km). The resort also typically offers guided snowshoe tours throughout the season, which may include equipment, guide services, and hot beverages around an outdoor fire pit. Call to make reservations. Snowshoe rentals and guided tours available (minimum of 3 people) in the Tram Haus Lodge 802-327-2199
Near the Killington Resort is Base Camp (802-775-0166) which is a retail outlet on Route 4 at the junction of the Killington access road that has snowshoe rentals and guided tours. A two-hour snowshoe rental is $20 and a 90-minute tour on flat terrain which includes a waterfall is $70 ($40 for kids). If you’re interested in an extended stay for more snowshoeing, try the snowshoe-friendly XC ski area at the Mountain Top Inn in the nearby town of Chittenden.
At Mount Snow in southern Vermont, there are guided tours and trails all over the valley. Check out the NatureSpa 802-464-6606 for a snowshoe tour package ($66 per person for snowshoes, guide for 1.5 hour hike) out of the Grand Summit Resort Hotel and Mount Snow Sports. Timber Creek XC is directly across the Mt. Snow access road off Route 100 and they have snowshoe rentals and trails. 802-464-4041.
In Ludlow, Okemo Resort has dedicated snowshoe trails at the golf course at Fox Run Nordic Center, separate from the Nordic ski path, along the banks of the Black River. There are 10 kilometers to snowshoe, but snowshoers can wander off the trail to explore meadows and forests in the shadow of Okemo Mountain. Fox Run has a restaurant, snowshoe rentals, and an indoor golf training facility. Okemo also has an ice house and snow tubing that is great for the family if you want a break from snowshoeing, skiing, or snowboarding. 802-228-1396
Family-friendly Smugglers’ Notch in Jeffersonville offers a wide range of snowshoeing programs, tours, rentals, and lessons. Smuggs programs range from a gentle introduction to the joys of stomping through the winter woods. Take advantage of some of Smugglers’ special guided tours. The Vermont Experience provides the opportunity to search for animal tracks and learn about local history. Look for the bear claw marks on the beech trees. Other guided tours explain the maple industry and the process of making maple syrup while snowshoeing the forest. Or, for the adventurous, learn winter survival skills while you snowshoe. The apres dinner/drink experience on the Snowshoe Adventure Dinner takes snowshoers up to a mountain slope cabin for those aged 18+. 802-644-1173
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Resort has rental snowshoes, backcountry equipment, and gear for children aged three or older (including kids snowshoes). You may want to book your equipment in advance.
The trails take snowshoers on guided tours into the state forest. “No road crossings, no buildings, no skiers,” said a staff member. 802-253-3658. Also nearby is the Trapp Family Lodge which has more than 100 km of trails.
Stratton and the Sun Bowl Nordic Center offer guided snowshoe hikes highlighting the magical scenery among the trees. Try the Sunrise Snowshoe Hike on Sundays or the Nordic Lights tour on the lantern-lit trails Saturday evenings. Before or after your hike, you can enjoy snowshoeing on the 3 km of snowshoe trails at the Stratton Mountain Nordic Center. Snowshoe rentals available. 802-297-4567
Keeping with their adventurous motif, Sugarbush in Warren, VT, offers both self-guided and Outback Guide-led tours that include snowshoes rentals and a lift ride to access trails at higher elevations on the mountain. Take the lift with rented snowshoes for $79 ($64 with your own snowshoes).
If you’re interested in self-guided tours, explore their marked snowshoe trails (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) daily between 9 and 4 pm. If you didn’t bring your snowshoes, they have rentals available at the Farmhouse Building at Lincoln Peak in Mt. Ellen Base Lodge.
The guided tours will give more than an afternoon jaunt on snowshoes. For example, one 2.5 to 3-hour guided tour brings guests to the Slide Brook Wilderness Area, a prime habitat for bears, moose, and lynx. Guides will often find tracks and lead the group to them. As an alternative, the guided tour of their advanced trail, the Gate House Loop, which also includes a large variety of wildlife and animal tracks. 802-583-6504
SnowshoeMag.com and Matt Sutkoski contributed to this content.
Most dedicated winter sports enthusiasts are familiar with the major season passes such as Epic, Ikon, Mountain Collective and Indy Pass, among others. So far, these multi-ski area passes have been geared toward Alpine skiing and snowboarding. Not anymore! Make way for a new season pass specifically for cross country (XC) skiing and a deal that highlights XC skiing for Alpine skiers and snowboarders.
The new Indy XC Pass recently introduced for the 2022-23 season will provide two days of trail access to (as it stands now) more than a dozen XC ski areas for $69 adult and $29 youth (12 and under). XC skiing will also be included in the regular Indy Pass marketed to alpine skiers and snowboarders ($279 for adults) at 100 alpine ski areas, where applicable. The price is an early season offer and the Indy Pass prices was expected to increase on May 17 (the Indy XC Pass is still $69 in end July).
The Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA, which is an organization of XC ski areas) is partnering with Indy and will be receiving 10% of the Indy XC Pass proceeds. The initial XC ski areas are located in different regions where XC skiers can ski two times at each area and they include High Point XC Center, NJ, WhiteGrass Touring Center, WV, Maplelag Resort, MN, Enchanted Forest Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoe Area in NM, Woodstock Nordic Center and Rikert Nordic Center in VT and in NH Jackson XC and the Adventure Center at Waterville Valley. Treetops Resorts in Gaylord, Michigan has been added and alpine ski areas that have XC skiing at Black Mountain of Maine, 49 Degrees North in WA, and Meadows Nordic Center at Mt Hood, OR have been added. Manning Park and Sovereign Lake in British Columbia, which are Canadian resorts are participating, too. These areas provide a wonderful cross section of experiences and destinations and it is anticipated that the Indy XC Pass will have another couple of dozen XC ski areas sign on by the start of next winter.
Depending on where one lives, that cost for XC skiing can be reduced further. Currently, those who live in the northeast can receive eight ski visits (two visits at each of five resorts in New England and New York within reasonable driving distance) for the $69 Indy XC Pass or less than $7 per visit. As more locations are added to the Indy XC Pass, the savings will become more widespread. However, the $69 price tag allows current XC skiers to discover new areas to visit and also offers an attractive enticement to those who are interested in learning the sport.
Most XC ski areas charge about $25 for a day pass to ski on their marked, maintained, and groomed trails. Many of these trails have set manicured tracks that make it easy for anyone to ski. Taking advantage of the Indy XC Pass will save a small amount and help XC skiers to discover some new ski areas to visit.
Promoting the Indy XC Pass will increase awareness of XC skiing and it will educate nonskiers and alpine skiers about XC skiing at areas that provide marked and regularly groomed trails. The image of XC skiing to many
people is going out to ski at parks when it snows, breaking trails, or skiing in a previous skiers’ tracks in ungroomed snow conditions. Cross country ski areas use machines to groom the trails to provide consistent ski conditions all winter. Additionally, there are more than 50 areas that can produce machine-made snow because sometimes Mother Nature can be snow-stingy in the winter.
XC skiers who go to a few XC areas because of the Indy XC Pass may very well discover the joy of XC skiing regularly and raise it to a higher status as a prime recreational endeavor in their quiver of things to do in the winter. For more information, see https://www.indyskipass.com/ or https://xcski.org/
The Indy Pass is adding cross country skiing to its resort lineup for the 2022-23 ski, snowboard, and cross country ski season.
Ask the general public to name an alpine skiing “Mecca” — described as a location where people, who share a common interest, yearn to go — even those who don’t ski can come up with at least Aspen or Vail, if not Killington and Sun Valley.
You might save money by giving your kids outdated and hand-me-down cross country ski equipment, a heavy nylon parka, and a fur-lined cap with earflaps, but this gear will increase your kids' chance of having a rotten time while cross country skiing.
Plan to gather up the kids and head to the hills. No need to head to warmer climes - winter can be snowy, yet mild, and perfect for a family vacation with plenty of activities such as cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Northern Minnesota is beautiful and punishing in winter. The crystalline snow crunches underfoot. Every naked birch is illuminated by the distant sun, and the silent world is drenched in white. Some days the snow is so cold that it sounds like squeaking Styrofoam. On the best subzero bluebird days, I have one clear purpose: to Nordic ski as fast and far as I can before my face freezes off.
This may be the best year to purchase a season pass to cross country ski at a nearby ski area. Such ski areas maintain and improve their trails. Why do ski areas need to charge for skiing? Because they staff an operation, groom the trails, use fuel to groom, and keep buildings warm, maintain the upkeep of their facilities, and so on.
After Jessie Diggins crossed the finish line of the Tour de Ski cross-country race in Val di Fiemme, Italy, she collapsed onto her belly with arms and legs splayed on the snow, body heaving. A grueling eight-stage race held over 10 days, the Tour de Ski is the World Cup cross-country ski circuit’s marquee event and, by most accounts, its toughest.
The Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA) has been conducting online sessions with its cross country (XC) ski area members since last spring, focused on sharing information about how X-C operations should respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Discussions resulted in the widespread adoption of plans aimed at minimizing risk of virus transmission for staff and guests.
With a torrent of people hitting the trails and the outdoors across the country, XCSkiResorts.com wanted to give a shout out to hidden gem destinations for cross country (XC) skiing this winter. There may very well be an overflow of skiers at the most popular XC ski trails, so this guide will share some of the lesser-known but excellent destinations.
Cross country (XC) skiing dates back 6,000 years depicted in cave drawings and recently there have been some significant transformations in XC skiing to the benefit of everyone who does it.
If you get frustrated with reservations, social distancing, and the scene at alpine ski areas this winter, perhaps this is the winter you might want to try cross country skiing.
What happens when an American wins the first-ever Olympic gold medal in cross country skiing? She writes a book. Brave Enough by Jessie Diggins with Todd Smith was just released by University of Minnesota Press and it is just what the doctor ordered if you need a pick-me-up while staying at home during COVID.
Often on the cross country (XC) ski trails the clothes that many of the uninitiated wear are malfunctioning…that is, they are dressed for downhill skiing such as insulated ski jackets and pants, alpine ski gloves or mittens, and ski goggles. XC skiing is a form of recreation that involves moving and thus lighter clothing is appropriate and recreational XC ski garb is versatile, functional, and fashionable, which is different than either outfit for downhill skiing or the suction suits worn by the XC ski racers seen at the Olympics.
Want a guilt-free way to indulge yourself with food while exercising? Cross country (XC) skiing and snowshoeing are some of the best forms of aerobic exercise, but if you go on a "Gourmet Ski Tour" on your XC skis or snowshoes, you may very well eat your way to fitness at a number of trailside food stops. What a grand time so go ahead, eat, ski, and be merry - appetizers, wine, champagne, fondue, entrees, desserts, and more.
The cross country ski waxless “skin” base, uses inserted mohair strips on the ski base, which is extremely effective for all temperatures and snow conditions. It is high-performance waxless base technology for the classic skier, who prefers to use a waxless ski.
Plan to gather up the kids and head to the hills during the school breaks next winter. No need to head to warmer climes - winter can be snowy, yet mild, and perfect for a family vacation with plenty of activities such as cross country (XC) skiing and snowshoeing. According to the experts, who regularly update XCSkiResorts.com, the nation's top XC ski resorts are exceedingly family-friendly with lots to enjoy together both on the snow and off. What families want and need is exactly what an xc ski vacation delivers: multi-generational participation, quality time and shared memories.
There are at least three unfortunate typecasts that are really important to the cross country ski world: