Vermont’s Must-Visit Cross-Country Skiing Trails

Cross country skiing, Vermont
Cross country skiing, Vermont
Photo of Christopher Crosby
4 January 2018

Road tripping to Vermont for a cross-country skiing trip? Want to ski, but don’t like alpine? With extensive networks of groomed, backcountry trails, silent escapes promising solitude and wintry contemplation, Vermont is a Nordic skier’s paradise. Here are just a few of our favorite places to break into the powder.

Catamount Outdoor Family Center

This privately-owned outdoor recreation center offers over 35 kilometers of groomed trails, classical and skate cross-country skiing. The landscape varies between flat stretches and hilly, wooded trails, which give way to fields with scenic vistas. With rentals, sledding, fat tire riding, and cocoa to warm you by the fire, seems there are more reasons to stay than leave.

Catamount Outdoor Family Center, 592 Governor Chittenden Rd., Williston, VT, USA, + 1 802 879 6001

Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Ski Resort
Map View
Winter outdoor junkies will find a trinity of downhill skiing, cross country and sledding just an hour outside Burlington. Smugglers’ Notch—routinely ranked among the east’s best resorts—offers a network of 30 kilometers of cross-country trails that wind their way through meadows and woods.

Stowe Mountain Resort

Overshadowed by the Trapp lodge just minutes away and the mountain’s alpine offerings, Stowe Mountain Resort is no underdog. With some 45 kilometers of groomed trails and 30 kilometers of backcountry terrain, it has something for everyone. While the more experienced trails ring the perimeter, beginners can rent gear and take to the family-friendly paths near the centre.

Stowe Mountain Resort, 7416 Mountain Rd., Stowe, VT, USA, + 1 802 253 3000

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Mad River Valley

No longer just an entry on your alpine skiing bucket list, the Mad River Valley boasts two cross-country centers—Ole’s Cross Country Center and Blueberry Lake Cross Country—with an ample network of trails. Whether classic or skating trails, there’s dozens of kilometers of terrain for all ability levels, and guides will not only teach you the basics, but detail the region’s natural history. The well-maintained network of trails to traverse are just minutes away from Sugarbush Resort and Mad River Glen, popular downhill skiing resorts.

Views overlooking Mad River Valley | © Albert Lew/Flickr

Burke Mountain Resort Dashney Nordic Center

Organizers here certainly know how to lay on the charm. Just picture: “a quilted landscape of old logging lanes, forgotten country roads, and rolling Vermont farmland. Explore the beauty of the Northeast Kingdom at a slightly slower pace.” We’re in: with hot cocoa, lessons, rentals, and a dearth of fatbikes, this pet-friendly Nordic center offers some 16 kilometers of groomed Nordic skate lanes and classic trails. When combined with neighbours at Kingdom Trails, there’s more than 160 kilometers of networked, non-motorized trails for all level and abilities.

Mountain Top Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Center

Stunning, with even better lake and mountain views, the Mountain Top Inn’s cross-country ski center offers some 60 kilometers of trails for beginners to intermediates alike. Classic and skating Nordic lanes are offered, while a snow-making machine allows great conditions independent of what the weather is doing. Afterward, a cup of hot chocolate wrapped in blankets in front of the fireplace is a must.

Mountain Top Inn & Resort, 195 Mountain Top Rd., Chittenden, VT, USA, + 1 802 483 2311

Bolton Valley Resort

Map View
Nestled high in the Green Mountains, Bolton Valley offers an astounding 100 kilometers of Nordic and backcountry ski trails spread over 1,200 acres. Some 15 kilometers of trails are groomed for skate and classic skiing, while the remainder is open for exploration on the fresh powder. You can ski into the lodgings, and after a long day on the slopes, unwind and warm up in the heated pool, Jacuzzi and sauna.

Jay Peak Nordic Skiing

A popular site for downhill skiers, Jay Peak also has more than 20 kilometers of Nordic trails (all of which return to the bar) that wind through a golf course. Novices can dip their toes into the powder, while the technical routes still provide experts with plenty to do. For those sick of the snow, the year-round (indoor) water park is a surreal experience.

Jay Peak Resort, 830 Jay Peak Rd., Jay, VT, USA, +1 802 988 2611

Trapp Family Lodge Nordic Center

Oh yes, that Trapp family. Memorialized and fictionalized in The Sound of Music, after fleeing Austria from the Nazis, Baron Georg von Trapp made Vermont his home in 1942. After building a massive lodge that looks like something elegant landed straight out of the Alps, the family has carved miles of cross-country skiing trails over the 2,500-acre grounds, which pass through silent spruce forests and open up to fields overlooking Stowe. Daily group lessons are offered, and there’s equipment and terrain for all skill levels. After, cozy up to the fire or pop down to the brewery, whose excellent lagers are quickly becoming an East Coast staple. Imbibe too much? There’s accommodations in the lodge for that.

Trapp Family Lodge, 700 Trapp Hill Rd, Stowe, VT, USA, + 1 800 826 7000

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