Local opportunities to enjoy a snowy Vermont day

Bridget Higdon, Culture Editor

The Green Mountain state is looking pretty white right about now, and it’s only going to get snowier.

Take a drive down Route 89 and you’ll see a white-capped Camel’s Hump, snow-covered barns and tree branches encased in ice.

Vermont is without a doubt my favorite place to spend the winter. Since I was in middle school, my family would drive six hours from northern New Jersey to  spend our weekends skiing in the Green Mountains.

Although the snow is frustrating when it needs to be shoveled from your front steps or brushed off the roof of your car, it’s also immensely beautiful and incredibly inviting.

This semester, avoid cabin fever by grabbing a pair of snowshoes or skis and take advantage of all Vermont has to offer.

Here are some places to enjoy the snow less than an hour away from campus.

Although each of these places provides rentals on site, students and faculty can also rent winter gear from the Outing Club, which offers snowshoes, poles, backpacks and more.

Catamount Outdoor Family Center

Catamount Outdoor Family Center is located less than 20 minutes from campus in Williston. COFC began as a cross country ski center in 1978 but has now grown to include other winter activities such as snowshoeing and sledding. The trails can even be used for fat biking, a kind of off-road cycling on a bike with oversized tires.

With 50-acres of property and a 20-mile trail network, the center provides plenty of space for outdoor discovery and appreciation.

Trail fees and rentals are reasonably priced and half-day passes for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing cost only $15. If you have your own headlamp, go at night and spend only $9.

Since 2005, the COFC has been operating as a non-profit, so you can be sure your money is going to preserving the land for the future.

Trapp Family Lodge

The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe was the first cross-country ski center in the country. The original lodge was opened by Maria and Georg von Trapp in 1950, and their son Johannes opened the ski center in 1968, according to the lodge’s website.

Snowshoe rentals are $25 and cross-country packages are $30. While skiing or snowshoeing at the Trapp Lodge is more expensive than other options, at $25 for a full day pass, its scenery is not to be missed.

For beginners on cross-country skis, the Sugar Road loop is the perfect place to start. If you are on snowshoes, hike up to the chapel on Luce Hill.

Blueberry Lake

Located in the Mad River Valley, Blueberry Lake Cross Country and Snowshoeing Center is only 45 minutes from campus.

Handwritten signs and a wood stove greet you when you arrive at the center, and the entire place has a comfortable and cozy feel.

All of Blueberry Lake’s 11 trails are groomed regularly. With most trails winding and twisting through the woods, you’ll be sheltered from blustery winds. Day passes and rentals are both $16.

On your way back to campus, make a stop at the Warren Store. The small general store is self-proclaimed “almost world famous” and offers sandwiches made to order, local specialty foods and plenty of hot tea and coffee.


Whether you’re a skiing extraordinaire or just looking for a scenic place to spend time with friends, there are plenty of local opportunities.