Winter is a season of stark beauty, made magical by a fresh blanket of white snow and the giddy feeling of catching flakes on your tongue. The whole season is meant to be adored, and sometimes that calls for slowing it down and appreciating the winter at a leisurely pace.
We love alpine skiing here at The Lodging Company, but there’s something delightful about traveling through a winter landscape with snowshoes or Nordic skis strapped to your feet. At Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont, there is ample opportunity to do just that.
With 45 kilometers of groomed trails, 30 kilometers of backcountry trails, and 8 kilometers of snowshoe trails, there are plenty of ways to experience the slower side of winter at Stowe.
Stowe’s on-mountain Cross Country Center has everything you need for a day on the trail. Grab your trail pass ($29 for adults, $17 for kids and seniors), a trail map, and rental gear if you need it. The Cross Country Center has a wide selection of rentals, including snowshoes, skate skis, and classic skis for kids and adults. There are even little snowshoes for the tiniest members of your family (ages 3 and up)!
Get dressed in the warming hut before heading off on your adventure. For those who are new to Nordic skiing, or whose skills could use brushing up, group lessons are available every day at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm during the peak winter season. A small practice loop allows you to clear off the cobwebs before tackling the longer trails.
Where to Nordic Ski
Stowe’s 45 kilometers of Nordic trails are groomed for classic and skate skiing, and each is marked with their relative difficulty (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). New skiers will have fun on the Timberland/Bruce Trail loop, which winds through the trees for six kilometers on a wide, well-groomed trail.
Advanced skiers can test their leg strength and lung capacity on the hills of the Burt Trail and Bear Run. Unique to Stowe, your Nordic ticket includes a lift pass for the Toll House Double Chair. The chairlift provides access to the most challenging parts of the groomed and backcountry terrain, without having to climb 600 feet of elevation gain to get there!
Backcountry Skiing at Stowe
Stowe also offers 30 kilometers of backcountry routes that are accessible from the Cross Country Center and the Toll House Double Chair.
“Those trails exist beyond the groomed area,” explains Dave Merriam, Stowe’s Director of Mountain Recreation. “They are some of the old, original downhill ski trails, like 'The Bruce,' which is out of the ski area boundary. It’s an old historic trail that drops down into the Ranch Valley.”
These backcountry routes do not require full alpine touring gear, but they do require a beefier setup than what the groomed trail requires. “People use gear like metal-edged, fish-scale skis and heavy-duty cross country boots,” says Merriam.
The backcountry trails are hilly, challenging, and best suited for experienced Nordic skiers.
Where to Snowshoe
Eight kilometers of trails leave right from the Cross Country Center. The Logger’s Loop is a short, scenic path that is perfect for families. To really stretch your legs, try out Lefty’s Lane, which weaves through the forest and crosses a number of Nordic trails as it gains and loses elevation.
Guided snowshoe tours are available at Stowe Mountain Resort’s Adventure Center. Tours are offered every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during ski season, and daily during holiday and school vacation weeks. Join a guide for a one-hour tour in the morning, a two-hour tour in the warmth of the afternoon, or the 1.5-hour Twilight Tour right as the sun goes down. Headlamps provided!
Where to Après
Après skiing isn’t just for alpine skiing! After a day on the Nordic and snowshoe trails at Stowe, make your way to the Matterhorn Bar, which was voted the number one après bar in the United States by the readers of USA Today. Other après hot spots include The Den at Stowe and the elegant Solstice at Spruce Peak.
Experience the beauty of winter with a Nordic ski or snowshoe at Stowe Mountain Resort. Make your winter vacation reservations today with The Lodging Company, and get ready to enjoy the slower side of winter.