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Family Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont

by Barbara Rogers

Feb 19, 2024

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Destinations / North America

Family travelers looking for outdoor sports in winter but feeling discouraged by the increasing ticket prices at mountain ski resorts can find a more economical way to enjoy the snow in Vermont. Although traveling along a level trail through snow-covered forests may not have the thrills of mountain skiing, it has pleasures of its own, and at a much cheaper price tag.

 

Vermont’s best-known cross-country center is also its oldest, Trapp Family Lodge, opened in 1968. Sixty kilometers of trails are groomed for track and skate skiing, another 50 are untracked and an additional 100 kilometers meander through the backcountry for more adventurous skiers. The center offers lessons; rentals; trailside warming huts; and a kids’ program, Kids Mountain Club, that mixes movies and indoor games with learning to ski.

 

Farther south and easily accessed from western Massachusetts, Grafton Trails and Outdoor Center is equipped for snowmaking on 30 kilometers of its valley trails, with more challenging back-country trails extending up Bear Mountain. Ten more are groomed for snowshoes, which you can rent there, along with skis. Kids will love the 600-foot-long snow tubing hill.

 

Not far from Grafton, Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry is a particular favorite of kids who love looking for wooden snowflakes and Viking helmets as they ski along 26 kilometers of groomed trails. If they find one, they can claim a cookie as a prize. The prize for parents is free skiing for all kids under age 5.

 

Family skiing at Blueberry Hill Outdoor Center, located in the Green Mountains near Middlebury, is by donation, and its 60 kilometers of groomed trails are among the highest altitude in Vermont. This gives the trails an advantage in winters with light snowfall elsewhere.

 

You can ski or snowshoe free in Vermont’s state parks, although the trails and backroads are not groomed. Our kids like this better, enjoying the adventure of skiing outside the lines and looking for the tracks of woodland animals as they explore. Little River State Park in Waterbury has a 4.5-mile loop that works off a lot of energy for older kids, and the 3 miles of trails at Gifford Woods State Park in Killington traverse more level terrain.

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