We asked our own Nordic pro, Ollie B., to share his favorite XC trail systems in Vermont. He also reveals his favorite trails at each one - and he doesn’t do that for just anyone. Here at Ursa Major we like to work hard and play hard, so we’ve included where to head post ski for a rejuvenating brew and bite. Now, get out there and have fun!
Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury Common. Since taking over in 2009, owners Dick Dreissigacker and Judy Geer have turned this once-hidden gem into one of the premiere trail systems in the East. With trails for both beginners and elite skiers, Craftsbury caters to the whole spectrum of XC skiing. Plus, trail passes are only $10!
Best Trail: Pack a snack and ski from the Outdoor Center down Grand Tour to Craftsbury village and then to Highland Lodge in neighboring Greensboro. The skate- and classic-groomed trail rolls through the woods, featuring steady climbs and hair-raising descents through sugar bush and evergreen forests.
Post Ski: Head down the road from Highland Lodge to Hill Farmstead to pick up a growler of the famous Edward. Grab a tasting flight to quench your thirst while you wait in line.
Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. Perched above town, this resort was started by the von Trapp family (of The Sound of Music fame). The ski trails cut through pastures and climb up and around Round Top, providing lung-busting climbs or easy tours.
Best Trail: climb Parizo and the Cabin Trail to Slayton Pasture Cabin, then drop back down via Chris's Run's flowing switchbacks for the classic Trapp's tour.
Post Ski: Finish your ski Euro-style with a stop just down the hill from the touring center at the Deli Bakery for a pint (or a boot) of the flagship Trapp Lager.
Sleepy Hollow Ski & Bike Center in Huntington. This family-owned and operated inn has an old school feel and gorgeous views of Camel's Hump peak. New for 2015 is an updated version of Butternut Cabin, which provides one of the best views in northern Greens.
Best Trail: Explore the edges of the trail network on the rolling Hinesburg Hill Loop.
Post Ski: Drive over to the Hinesburg Public House for a local brew and farm-to-plate burger.
Prospect Mountain Ski Area in Woodford. Somehow this little mountain top touring center gets an absurd amount of snow. The trails wind through the woods and skiers can often get that rare sensation that they're alone in the forest.
Best Trail: Follow Workout to get exactly what its name suggests. Have fun on the corners, they're tight and fast.
Post Ski: Search out a bottle of Backacre Beermakers' hard-to-find Sour Golden Ale. Drink it yourself or bring it home to the Belgo-phile in your life. You won't regret it.