Snowshoeing at Vermont's Alpine Ski Resorts
01/12/2023 - Written by Roger Lohr of XCSkiResorts.com.
Snowshoeing is an excellent way to get some outdoor physical and mental fitness in the winter and it can be a great warm-up for skiers or snowboarders. At alpine ski areas snowshoeing can be a great activity for those joining family or friends who may not want to ski at the resort.
Recognizing a market when they see one, many ski resort operators in Vermont over the past several decades have continually increased their snowshoeing offerings, including snowshoe-specific trails, tours, and rentals. Moreover, each resort tries to carve its specialized snowshoe niche, just as they do for the other aspects of their ski and snowboarding business.
Here, in alphabetical order, are some snowshoeing highlights at some of Vermont’s alpine ski and riding resorts. Each resort has a wide variety of rates, rentals, and tours so contact them directly for additional details.
Bolton Valley Resort
Aside from section 22 of the Catamount Trail (the longitudinal Vermont statewide trail), Bolton Valley has 5,100 acres of backcountry terrain and a connection to Mount Mansfield State Forest. The Bolton Valley Nordic Center https://www.xcskiresorts.com/bolton-valley, which provides this backcountry access, also offers snowshoe rentals and lessons. Snowshoe rentals are available and once equipped there’s 100 km of snowshoeing and cross country ski trails.
During the snow season, the resort offers a variety of guided tours, which they often modify based on the whims and abilities of the snowshoers. For example, some tours are easy, and some bushwhack around Bolton’s sometimes steep forests. Most tours usually last 1 – 1.5 hours for those aged 10+. The Bolton Valley Resort base is at a higher elevation compared to most of the other resorts in Vermont. 802-434-3444 X1071
Burke Mountain in the town of Burke provides access to the Dashney Nordic Center https://www.xcskiresorts.com/dashney-nordic-center and nearby Kingdom Trails for snowshoeing. Dashney Nordic Center is on the access road to Burke Mountain and it offers 18 km of ski and snowshoe trails. Also, just down the road, Kingdom Trails (well-known for mountain biking) opens ungroomed trails and groomed fat bike trails to snowshoers in the winter. However, you’ll have to leave your pup home to access Kingdom Trails. Snowshoe rental equipment is available at Dashney 802-626-1466.
Jay Peak Resort
Jay Peak Resort https://jaypeakresort.com/ is a mecca for daring tree skiers, but the northern Vermont resort also has trails for snowshoe enthusiasts. The Jay Resort Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Center has seven short snowshoe trails up to 1.7 miles (2.7 km). The resort also typically offers guided snowshoe tours throughout the season, which may include equipment, guide services, and hot beverages around an outdoor fire pit. Call to make reservations. Snowshoe rentals and guided tours available (minimum of 3 people) in the Tram Haus Lodge 802-327-2199
Near the Killington Resort is Base Camp (https://basecampvt.com/, 802-775-0166) which is a retail outlet on Route 4 at the junction of the Killington access road that has snowshoe rentals and guided tours. A two-hour snowshoe rental is $20 and a 90-minute tour on flat terrain which includes a waterfall is $70 ($40 for kids). If you’re interested in an extended stay for more snowshoeing, try the snowshoe-friendly XC ski area at the Mountain Top Inn https://www.xcskiresorts.com/mountain-top-inn-and-resort in the nearby town of Chittenden.
Mount Snow Resort
At Mount Snow https://www.mountsnow.com/ in southern Vermont, there are guided tours and trails all over the valley. Check out the NatureSpa 802-464-6606 for a snowshoe tour package ($66 per person for snowshoes, guide for 1.5 hour hike) out of the Grand Summit Resort Hotel and Mount Snow Sports. Timber Creek XC https://timbercreekxc.com/ is directly across the Mt. Snow access road off Route 100 and they have snowshoe rentals and trails. 802-464-4041.
Okemo Mountain Resort
In Ludlow, Okemo Resort https://www.okemo.com/ has dedicated snowshoe trails at the golf course at Fox Run Nordic Center https://www.foxrunnordic.org/, separate from the Nordic ski path, along the banks of the Black River. There are 10 kilometers to snowshoe, but snowshoers can wander off the trail to explore meadows and forests in the shadow of Okemo Mountain. Fox Run has a restaurant, snowshoe rentals, and an indoor golf training facility. Okemo also has an ice house and snow tubing that is great for the family if you want a break from snowshoeing, skiing, or snowboarding. 802-228-1396
Smugglers' Notch Resort
Family-friendly Smugglers’ Notch https://www.smuggs.com/ in Jeffersonville offers a wide range of snowshoeing programs, tours, rentals, and lessons. Smuggs programs range from a gentle introduction to the joys of stomping through the winter woods. Take advantage of some of Smugglers’ special guided tours. The Vermont Experience provides the opportunity to search for animal tracks and learn about local history. Look for the bear claw marks on the beech trees. Other guided tours explain the maple industry and the process of making maple syrup while snowshoeing the forest. Or, for the adventurous, learn winter survival skills while you snowshoe. The apres dinner/drink experience on the Snowshoe Adventure Dinner takes snowshoers up to a mountain slope cabin for those aged 18+. 802-644-1173
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Resort https://www.stowe.com/ has rental snowshoes, backcountry equipment, and gear for children aged three or older (including kids snowshoes). You may want to book your equipment in advance.
The trails take snowshoers on guided tours into the state forest. “No road crossings, no buildings, no skiers,” said a staff member. 802-253-3658. Also nearby is the Trapp Family Lodge https://www.xcskiresorts.com/trapp-family-lodge which has more than 100 km of trails.
Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton https://www.stratton.com/ and the Sun Bowl Nordic Center offer guided snowshoe hikes highlighting the magical scenery among the trees. Try the Sunrise Snowshoe Hike on Sundays or the Nordic Lights tour on the lantern-lit trails Saturday evenings. Before or after your hike, you can enjoy snowshoeing on the 3 km of snowshoe trails at the Stratton Mountain Nordic Center. Snowshoe rentals available. 802-297-4567
Keeping with their adventurous motif, Sugarbush https://www.sugarbush.com/ in Warren, VT, offers both self-guided and Outback Guide-led tours that include snowshoes rentals and a lift ride to access trails at higher elevations on the mountain. Take the lift with rented snowshoes for $79 ($64 with your own snowshoes).
If you’re interested in self-guided tours, explore their marked snowshoe trails (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) daily between 9 and 4 pm. If you didn’t bring your snowshoes, they have rentals available at the Farmhouse Building at Lincoln Peak in Mt. Ellen Base Lodge.
The guided tours will give more than an afternoon jaunt on snowshoes. For example, one 2.5 to 3-hour guided tour brings guests to the Slide Brook Wilderness Area, a prime habitat for bears, moose, and lynx. Guides will often find tracks and lead the group to them. As an alternative, the guided tour of their advanced trail, the Gate House Loop, which also includes a large variety of wildlife and animal tracks. 802-583-6504
Banner photo by Todd Powell. SnowshoeMag.com and Matt Sutkoski contributed to this content.