Vermont is New England's winter sports capital, and if careening downhill on skis or a snowboard isn't your thing, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy playing in the fluffy white stuff. Here's your guide to nine places in Vermont where you can cross-country ski or snowshoe—great exercise, without the risk of knocking your noggin on the slopes.
Trail passes are free (although a $10 donation is suggested for day visitors) and homemade soup for lunch is the perfect way to warm up after a day of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on about 60 kilometers of ungroomed wilderness trails at Blueberry Hill Inn's Outdoor Center. The rental shop has cross-country skis available as well as snowshoes for kids and adults.
You're guaranteed good cross-country skiing conditions on well-groomed trails at Mountain Top Inn's Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Center, the oldest commercial cross-country ski center in the state. That's because the resort uses a snowmaking system on 2 kilometers of its 60-kilometer trail system. Ski and snowshoe rentals and instruction are available.
You'll find 100 kilometers of groomed and backcountry Nordic trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Bolton Valley Resort. Whether you're a beginner on snowshoes or an expert, you can book a guided snowshoe tour or venture out on your own. Rental and demo equipment is available.
The Woodstock Inn has been welcoming snow sports enthusiasts to its Winter Sports Center since 1910. Now, the Woodstock Nordic Center maintains 45 kilometers of groomed trails for skate and classic cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and additional ungroomed trails are accessible to snowshoers and fat bike riders, too. Rentals and lessons are available. The Nordic Center is open to the public and inn guests.
Ready for a cross-country skiing, ski skating, or snowshoeing adventure? Ole's Cross Country Center invites outdoorsy types of all skill levels to experience its 30 miles of mountainview trails. Guided tours, rentals, and lessons are available. Ski free if you're 5 and under or 75 and up.
Children 5 and under ski free all the time at Viking Nordic Center, where you'll discover varied terrain along 32 kilometers of trails. Adults can ski free, too, if they stay overnight at Viking's Farmhouse or Apartment. There are 4 km of trails exclusively for the use of snowshoers, too. On select winter nights, 3 km of trails are illuminated with romantic antique lanterns. Cross-country skis and snowshoes are available for rent. Kids who search the wooded trails for wooden snowflakes and Viking helmets can earn a cookie, and adults can play the Great Cookie Search for a chance to end the day with a sweet treat, too.
Craftsbury Outdoor Center - Craftsbury Common, Vermont
Home to the annual Craftsbury Marathon Ski Festival, this Northeast Kingdom Nordic ski center extends its already long cross-country season by making snow. More than 100 kilometers of groomed trails take you through river valleys, forests, and villages. You'll love warming up beside the woodstove inside Charley's Cabin. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available.
Stowe boasts 45 kilometers of groomed trails and 30 kilometers of backcountry terrain for cross-country skiers and snowshoers at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Rentals and both group and private lessons are available. And when your legs grow weary, you can feast on Vermont cuisine at the state's only mountaintop restaurant, The Cliff House.
Founded by the von Trapp family of Sound of Music fame, the Trapp Family Lodge has a full-service cross-country skiing facility that is as remarkable as the resort's history. With 37 miles of groomed trails and 62 miles of backcountry trails, its varied terrain makes it an ideal destination for both beginners and experienced skiers. Break for lunch and warm up by the fire inside the Slayton Pasture Cabin. Trail passes, rentals, instruction, and guided tours are available to day visitors as well as overnight guests.