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Nordic Skiing in Vermont: A Gateway to Physical Fitness

Nordic skiing is a fantastic way to get (and stay) in shape!

Nordic skiing has long been considered as the most healthy and beneficial winter sport. It is an ultimate calorie burner and total body workout. Couple those benefits with clean air and a stunning winter landscape, and you have the cure for the winter blahs. It can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels, and can be purely recreational or highly competitive.

Vermont is home to some of the most well equipped Nordic resorts and stunning trails with sweeping views of the Green Mountains. Snowmaking and grooming also make it a top destination for Nordic enthusiasts and national competitions. 

Trapp Family Lodge
Imagine effortlessly gliding through a spruce forest. The landscape rolls up and down under your feet as you kick up the hills and glide down the back side. Your heart rate rises and falls correspondingly. Each trip out allows you to go further and further. That is the beauty of Nordic skiing, you get exactly what you put into it. The more you ski the better your technique becomes in addition to raising your fitness level.

Aside from the physical benefits there are the mental and emotional remunerations.  Nothing feels better than the freedom of afforded by the rhythmic kick and glide of Nordic skiing. A whole universe of exploration opens when you take to the snow and efficiently move across it. This, ultimately, is how the sport endears itself most to its participants. This is where the soul is nourished in nature. Those benefits that can’t be calculated but fill one with a sense of being.

Trapp Family Lodge offers daily group lessons, equipment rentals and terrain for all abilities. Whether you like to gently glide through the woods or shave seconds off your race pace, Trapp Family Lodge’s Nordic Ski School and Center has the equipment and program to take your interest and put it on the trail. They make it easy for you to enjoy the many benefits of Nordic skiing.

Topnotch Resort & Spa
The resort’s Nordic Barn Recreational Center provides rental equipment and clothing for all varieties of resort activities, including downhill and cross country skiing.

Rikert Nordic Center
Enjoy the benefits of an exhilarating Nordic ski in the heart of the beautiful Green Mountains. Rikert’s new 5 km snowmaking system will be in full swing as early as possible to allow all levels of ability to start skiing regardless of Mother Nature’s whims.

Rikert has developed programs to allow parents of young children to enjoy the outdoors in the middle of the winter and introduce their  young children to the great sports of Nordic skiing and snowshoeing:

  • Mom’s Monday - This program is designed for moms who want to get out and ski with their young child behind them in a Pulk Sled. Join other like-minded moms for skiing, a 2 hour pulk rental and a bowl of soup for just $20
  • Toddler Tuesday -  The Toddler Tuesday Program is designed to let mom or dad get an hour and fifteen minutes of adult time while we teach your toddler the basics of Nordic skiing.  If we are not skiing we will be sledding, enjoying the woods or sitting by the wood stove.  $20 includes child ski lesson & child rental.  Child must be potty trained.  Adult ticket and rentals are not included.  Program starts in January.

Woodstock Inn and Resort
The Woodstock Inn Nordic Center, located at the Golf Club, maintains two trail systems totaling 60 KM (37.28 miles) of well-groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. The center provides skiers with an abundance of mapped trails that surround the picturesque village of Woodstock, VT. Experiences include trails on Mt. Tom which is part of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. The Nordic Center shop offers rental and retail ski and snowshoe equipment, as well as clothing. Both private and semi-private lessons are offered. With Woodstock Inn & Resort’s Ski Free Program, guests staying at the resort Sunday – Thursday, excluding holiday periods and all the time for children under 14, will receive passes to the Inn’s Nordic Center and free lift tickets to Suicide Six Family Ski Area.

Mountain Top Inn & Resort
Snowmaking and grooming at the Nordic Center at The Mountain Top Inn & Resort has been the key to their success over the years. The goal is twofold: to offer cross-country ski trails that provide “first-timers” an enjoyable experience in the hope of having them return; and to offer conditions for the expert, competitive skiers who want a difficult workout to train or just for the fun of it.

Mountain Top’s grooming approach is daily for high traffic trails and as needed based on weather for remaining trails. Trails do not open for the season until we have groomed them. Their arsenal includes an SMI Pole Cat Fan Gun for coverage on 2km with an average base of one foot compacted snow and a Pisten Bully 100 Nordic Groomer with Power Tiller and Dual Track Setter.

Alpine resorts with Nordic options:

Bolton Valley
Bolton Valley offers up 100km of Nordic and backountry skiing. About 18km of trails are groomed for skate and classic skiing. The remainder of the terrain is open for exploration on skis or snowshoes. The backcontry terrain serves as a great introduction to backcountry skiing for those new to the backcountry and, with 100 kilometers of terrain to explore, there is ample terrain to keep even the most avid backcountry skier engaged all season long. See the website for more information:

Burke Mountain Resort
The Northeast Kingdom Nordic Club, based at the Kingdom Trails Nordic Center, started a Bill Koch Youth Nordic League in 2010. The first season saw promising participation with over 40 kids ranging from 3 to 13 years old.  In 2012, Kingdom Trails saw over 60 kids through this growing program. With surprisingly sufficient snow coverage all season long, the kids of the Bill Koch Youth Nordic League participated in games, instruction, and fun races. Several clinics were also held with help from the staff and students of the Burke Mountain Academy Nordic Program. Kingdom Trails has committed to constructing specific race and training trails just for this league and the organization is thrilled with the support and enthusiasm of the community to keep this League going strong. Although the Kingdom Trails Association is mostly known for mountain biking, the association is committed to maintaining a 60K Nordic Trail system in the winter.

Jay Peak Resort
Twenty kilometers of Nordic trails wind up and around the forest that surrounds Jay Peak. And the best part is that they all lead back to the Nordic Center’s bar.

Mad River Glen
The Mad River Valley’s two cross-country centers, located in the rolling landscape of East Warren, offer an extensive network of classic and skating trails for all abilities. These well-maintained trails traverse both wooded and open terrain.The Catamount Trail also winds its way though the Mad River Valley.  Learn more about cross country skiing at

Okemo Mountain Resort
Extending across snow-covered meadows and rolling hills, a hidden world of beauty and adventure invites outdoor enthusiasts to discover the joy of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Okemo Valley Nordic Center. The well-marked trail network features 22 km of tracked and skate-groomed terrain for skiers, and 13 km of dedicated snowshoe trails. Nordic trails are suited to all ability levels and groomed daily using state-of-the-art grooming machines. Inside, visitors can browse a fully stocked Nordic Shop with the latest in outdoor clothing and accessories. Demos, rentals, repairs and waxing are available. Dressing rooms with showers and lockers make a nice change from the rustic facilities typical of Nordic centers.

Quechee Ski Area
Nordic ski lessons are available through the ski school and Quechee grooms approximately 12 km of double tracks on the golf course and a skate lane after each snow event.  They also groom 15km of wilderness trails with single tracks and a packed lane for snow shoeing. There is no charge for these amenities.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Discover the beauty of the winter landscape on Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s network of 30 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails and 24 kilometers of snowshoe trails, which wind their way through woods and meadows. The full-service Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Adventure Center offers equipment rentals, lessons, snacks to purchase and a wood stove to warm up by. Cross-country lessons include 1.5 hour group lessons, one hour private lessons, and Mom & Me/Dad & Me lessons in which parents learn the sport with their children ages 6 and older. Incorporated into the level learning area is a “Nordic terrain park” that features a series of three gently rolling small hills for gaining confidence with balance, movement and speed control. Daily access to Smugglers’ Nordic network is part of the lift ticket inclusion on the resort’s three vacation packages. (

Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort's Cross Country Ski Center offers 45 km of groomed trails and 30 km of backcountry terrain.  A full menu of Nordic snowsports gear including snowshoes, touring gear, performance skate ski and classic ski packages, backcountry, telemark gear and kids gear is available on-site. Also available is a Pulk sled for parents with infants/toddlers. More info at

Beginner trails include: Timber Lane and Bruce Trail Loop / Round Trip, 6km.
Intermediate trails: Peavy Trail, Bear Run and Burt Trail / Round Trip, 9km.
Advanced trails (along outer perimeter of trail network): Peavy Trail, Double Bit, Bear Run, Ranch Valley Cruise, Stowe Derby Trail / Round Trip, 12km.

Stratton Mountain Resort
Nordic skiing and snowshoeing make fitness fun with real-world winter work outs in the great outdoors. Set at the Sun Bowl, Stratton Nordic Center offers cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals, and features classic New England terrain for beginners and experts. The 20k trail system is unique and varied with secluded trails winding through hardwood forests and over streams.

Snowshoe tours also head to the summit of southern Vermont’s highest peak and out to the historic fire tower where views stretch clear across four states and mountain ranges.

Yoga on snow offers another twist on winter fitness bringing core awareness, balance and breath to the ski turn with classes offered weekends and holidays as part of The Living Room yoga curriculum with nearly 30 classes a week throughout the year.  It’s an invitation to Be. Active. Adventurous. Relaxed. Inspired. Together.

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