Photo by Justin Thibault/Bolton Valley
Winter in Vermont can feel like the longest season of the year if you’re not taking full advantage of outdoor activities. The best way to enjoy this time of year and beat the winter blues is to get outside and play in the snow. Here are seven ways to make the most of the winter months in the Green Mountain State.
The wildly popular sport of fat biking seems like it has come out of nowhere, but the sport has been around for years. While the origin of fat bikes is up for debate, the sport has deep ties to Alaska and the Southwest. Here in Vermont, there are many places to enjoy fat biking, from Kingdom Trails in East Burke to the Catamount Outdoor Family Center in Williston to ski areas across the state including Killington, Jay Peak, and Stratton.
Ice Skating at the Vermont State House
The new ice rink on the front lawn of the Vermont State House in Montpelier is the perfect place to lace up your skates and try some figure eights. The 40’-by-80’ rink is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on the weekends from noon until 7 p.m. through the winter season, weather permitting. Skating at the rink is free and open to the public. Visit www.facebook.com/MontpelierIceRink.
A walk in the woods after dark is one of the most peaceful activities you can find in the winter. If you’re looking to take a guided moonlight snowshoe tour, resorts such as Smugglers’ Notch, Killington, Mad River Glen, Bolton Valley and other ski areas offer programs, as do local businesses including Umiak Outfitters in Stowe.
What better way to experience Moonlight in Vermont than skiing or riding after sunset? Bolton Valley, Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond, Hard’Ack in St. Albans, and Northeast Slopes in Corinth offer skiing after dark. Bolton Valley, which has been offering night skiing since opening 50 years ago, runs lifts until 10 p.m. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, tickets are just $19.66 starting at 4 p.m. Visit www.boltonvalley.com.
Nothing beats the thrill of careening down a hill on a sled. Great places for sledding include Casey’s Hill in Underhill, Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, Calahan Park in Burlington, Lincoln Gap Road in Warren, and Mount Philo State Park in Charlotte.
Skiing at a Local Hill
Enjoying a day on the slopes doesn’t always have to be at a big ski area. It’s worth trying some of the smaller, lesser known local hills with old-school rope tows and t-bars, such as Northeast Slopes in Corinth, Hard’Ack Recreation Center in St. Albans, Living Memorial Park Snow Sports Ski Area in Brattleboro, Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond, and Lyndon Outing Club in Lyndonville.
Exploring the Notch
Route 108—also known as the Notch—is a fantastic spot for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice climbing, and hiking this time of year. The Notch, which runs between Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch, is one of the most scenic drives in Vermont in the spring, summer and fall. But when the snow flies, a three-mile section of this scenic, winding road is closed to traffic and perfect for winter exploration.
For more winter activities, visit www.vermontvacation.com/seasons/winter.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors in winter?