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cross_country_skiingThe Catamount Trail in Vermont is the longest backcountry cross-country ski trail in North America. It is 300 miles of trails stretching the whole length of Vermont, from North to South,  all the way from Quebec to Massachusetts… a winter Long Trail for skiers and snowshoe lovers!
Today, I came across a great article in NY Times about the Catamount Trail, which made me feel like grabbing my skis, jumping in the car and getting to the Catamount Trail immediately to ski it from one end to the other. It reminded me of this magical week-end I had with my son years ago, skiing 2 sections of the Ski Marathon in Canada over a week-end. About 35 kilometers of trails, flat terrain (mostly), open fields, blue sky and immaculate landscape… simply magical. But coming back to the Catamount Trail, I’ll let you read Sarah Tuff’s article. She is doing a wonderful job at describing her experience and making you dream…
She has you imagining the great landscapes the trail crosses, the wide-open farms, the trees covered with snow… Thanks Sarah!
Divided in 31 sections and going through about 200 private lands and 135 miles of public land, the Catamount Trail was started in 1984 and its last section completed in 2008. It follows remote wilderness routes, cross-country ski trails and old logging roads. It also goes through a number of Nordic Centers and you’ll find 12 inns along its way (according to the NY Times article).
The various sections are of different levels of difficulties and interestingly the Catamount Trail Association offers a large number of free and guided tours, for every skier group, including 3-, 4- or 7-day tours. You can consult their website for the tour schedule (check often for updates!). Upcoming multi-day tours include a 6-day tour in Southern Vermont from March 5 to 10.

For more information:
Catamount Trail Association website

General map
of the Catamount Trail
Detailed maps of each of the 31 sections

Some of the inns along the trail
:
Blueberry Hill Inn, Goshen
The Old Tavern, Grafton
Highland Lodge, Greensboro
Mountain Top Inn, Chittenden
Sleepy Hollow Inn, Huntington
Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe
Woodstock Inn, Woodstock

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Snow tubing
Snow tubing is a really fun winter activity, not only for kids but truly for the whole family. There are a few places in Vermont where you can enjoy sliding down in those inflatable tubes. Following popular demand, we have decided to give you a complete listing of the spots where you can enjoy snow tubing in Vermont. We are listing hours of operation, but you may want to check the websites, particulary early in the season to make sure they are open, or check special hours of operation during holiday periods. Note also that some websites are listing places which actually don’t offer snow tubing, such as Killington, Stratton, Stowe and the White House Inn. In some cases, they used too… but don’t anymore. And now… dress warm, get out… and enjoy snow tubing!

Northern Vermont

Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Smugglers’ Notch, VT
Sir Henry’s Hill is the place for snow tubing at Smuggler’s Notch – only available to guests of the resort however. It is included in the Club Smugglers’ Advantage Package.
Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
No ski boots.
Mon- Wed- Fri-Sat: 5-8 pm
More information at: Smugglers’ Notch Resort snow tubing

Central Vermont

Okemo Mountain
Ludlow, VT
New 4-lane snow tubing park, located off the magic carpet in the courtyard at Jackson Gore.
Minimum requirements: children must be at least 42” of height; children under 18 must have parental signature; waiver to participate
Mon and Fri: 3-5 pm
Sat: 3-6 pm
Extended hours during February vacation.
$9 for 1 hour. Tickets can be purchased after 2:30 pm. Chance that it can sell out, due to high popularity!
More information at: Okemo Mountain activities 

Southern Vermont

Grafton Ponds
Townshend Road, Grafton, VT
One of the best snow tubing spots in Vermont with its 600-foot slope!
Your own tubes are not allowed.
Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm
$15 for 2 hours
More information at: Grafton Ponds

Magic Mountain
Londonderry, VT
Tubing runs at the Alakazam tube park.
We are in contact with the ski resort for more information. 
Website: Magic Mountain

Mount Snow
Tubing Park is located in front of the Grand Summit Hotel in the Main Base Area
West Dover, VT 05356
Weather and conditions permitted.
Spaces limited. First come, first serve.
No ski boots.
Fri: 2:30-8 pm
Sat-Sun: 10:30 am to 4 pm
Check schedules for holidays.
$20 per session
More information at: Mount Snow – snow tubing

For location, consult our Vermont map of ski resorts.

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Vermont Farmhouse Chowder
This winter, six Vermont ski resorts (and more to come) are offering something really special on their menus: a hearty Farmhouse Chowder, featuring products locally grown by Vermont farmers. How it was conceived and developed is truly a fascinating story, but more importantly to all of you skiers, it is delicious!
We had the opportunity to taste it ourselves at the Statehouse cafeteria last week. The chowder has a really nice smoky taste and is truly the kind of hearty food all skiers want to have when they come into the lodge for lunch, after a few hours of skiing.
With this chowder, Sugarbush Executive Chef Gerry Nooney created something truly distinctive for Vermont. The soup is made with Peaslee’s Potatoes, Cold Hollow Apple Cider, Vermont Smoke and Cure sausage and of course, fresh Vermont cream, all local Vermont products. And it does have a very distinctive taste!
And at $6.50 for a bowl at Sugarbush, it costs the same as other prepared soups… but it’s Vermont-made and always fresh…never frozen!
In addition to Sugarbush, the Vermont Farmhouse Chowder is also available at Mount Snow, Bromley, Stratton, Stowe and Smugglers’ Notch Resort, and we’re being told that more ski resorts could join soon. And non-skiers will be happy to know that they can also buy it in a number of delis and local markets or make it at home (see recipe).
Finally… for those of you who are interested in the story of how it came about: it started with a simple idea of promoting local produce, similarly to the Vermont Ski Burger last year.
Chef Gerry Noonley worked hard to develop the recipe. Ski Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture worked together, along with some private businesses such as Cold Hollow Cider, Vermont Smoke and Cure, and Black River Produce (the distributor) to make it happen! “It is a remarkable example of what Vermont small community can achieve when working together” says Chef Gerry Noonley… Indeed… and the success is there to prove it: the chowder has already been produced in volumes that are twice the team’s initial expectations.

Note: The Vermont Ski Burger is available at Okemo Mountain, Stowe, Burke Mountain, Stratton and Mount Snow. It is made of Vermont-raised all-natural beef from Boyden Farm, and cheese from Cabot Creamery, with some “personalized touches” by the various ski resorts.
Ski Vermont Ale, made by Long Trail Brewery, is another Ski Vermont initiative that you can try at Stratton.