With COVID-19 safety guidelines and travel restrictions, winter is looking very different this year in Vermont. Since not many people can travel and are staying home, there's been a huge uptick in people venturing outside and discovering what their backyard has to offer. Outdoor activity is a great way to get exercise, de-stress and spend time with your household. More people getting outside is great news! However, the influx is a concern because of the strain on natural resources. Services such as ski resorts and search and rescue will also be effected. With this resource guide, our goal is to provide some ideas to getting you outside in a new way, while offering other options for people to check out, in order to spread people out in any given area.
Since we already know that ski resort offerings such as lodging and chair capacity will be limited this season, it might not be the year to hit the resorts every weekend like you are used to (click here to read up on the guidelines). It will, however be a great opportunity to try a new winter activity such as cross country skiing, backcountry touring, snowshoeing and winter hiking.
We encourage you to use this guide to find new ways of getting outside. Get educated, especially if you are going to venture into the backcountry; know before you go and share your knowledge with others. Nature is for everyone and we all share the job of making it comfortable and welcoming to others, as well as sustaining its natural habitats and beauty. As a reminder, please support the organizations (many are listed below) that maintain areas and trails in Vermont and provide educational resources.
1. General Vermont Guides
- VT SKI + RIDE: your guide to Vermont’s mountain sports and life. VT SKI + RIDE report on the latest news in Vermont’s mountain towns and resorts, cover the amazing adventures our state offers, and share the beauty of our mountains in every season.They also provide expert advice on everything from great places to stay, local brews and bars and fun family fun, to expert tips on skiing and riding and epic backcountry adventures. Skirack's own Doug Stewart is a columnist for VT SKI + RIDE.
New this year, in addition to their website, e-newsletter and social media platforms,VT SKI + RIDE publishes a glossy, four-color print magazine four times a year with special editions for Fall (Sept. 15 –Nov. 15), Holiday (Nov. 15-Jan. 15), Winter Adventures (Jan. 15-Mar. 15) and Mountain Summer (Mar. 15-Sept. 15).
- Vermont Sports Magazine: Vermont is New England’s playground and Vermont Sports is the largest outdoor magazine in the Northeast. Like a regional Outside Magazine, Vermont Sports covers everything from running and cycling to backcountry skiing and ice climbing. Their issues have regular columns on gear, health and fitness, news, travel and the most extensive calendar of outdoor activities and sporting events in the state. They’ve been around for more than 30 years and our content is now available on print, digital, e-newsletter and social media platforms
- Seven Day’s Staytripper: this free newspaper has created a great resource guide for rediscovering Vermont this summer into winter called Staytripper. The guide has something for everyone. Grab a new issue every Wednesday or check online for regular updates.
- Vermont Tourism: plan your Vermont vacation, find travel ideas, trip inspiration and additional outdoor recreation resources.
- Vermont.com: a privately-owned web portal, promoting businesses, recreation and events in the State of Vermont.
2. Kid / Family Resources
- KidsVT.com: Vermont's only parenting magazine, a reliable resource for family-friendly events, activities, camps and classes since 1994. Find tips on health, fitness, food, shopping, books, crafts and more. This free, monthly magazine is available at more than 600 locations in northern and central Vermont.
- All Mountain Mamas: Vermont's Family Ski and Ride Guide.
3. Cross Country Skiing / Snowshoeing
- Skivermont.com: a list of cross country areas in Vermont
- XCountrySki.com: more than a decade of cross country ski reporting in Vermont
4. Hiking / Walking / Trail Running / Snowshoeing
- The Green Mountain Club (GMC): The GMC provides the go-to guide to hiking in Vermont. Memberships and volunteering is needed in order to support the Long Trail and other Vermont hiking trails. Before you go, make sure you are up to speed on GMC’s COVID-19 response.
- FindAndGoSeek.com: is a fun and easy way to search, discover and talk about what's great to do in Vermont.
- AllTrails.com: provides trail info, maps, detailed reviews, and photos curated by millions of hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you.
5. Skirack Favorites: Cross Country Skiing / Snowshoeing / Walking / Trail Running (and more)
- Catamount Outdoor Family Center
- Craftsbury Outdoor Center
- Intervale Center
- Rikert Nordic Center
- Sleepy Hollow Ski and Bike Center
6. Downhill Skiing / Snowboarding
- Skivermont.com: a list of downhill / snowboard areas in Vermont
- OnTheSnow.com: find the latest snow reports for Vermont mountains, updated daily throughout the winter season with new snow totals for the last day or three days.
7. Backcountry: Alpine Touring / Splitboarding
- Catamount Trail Association: works to expand access to Vermont’s backcountry through stewarding the Catamount Trail and a growing network of world-class backcountry terrain, protect access to the mountain lands that support backcountry recreation through conservation easements and the acquisition of public land and pioneer programs to expand equitable access to skiing so that everyone can enjoy our sport, regardless of their income or background. Click here to become a member.
- Skivermont.com: some Vermont ski resorts offer uphill travel, which is a great way to get out and earn some turns, especially if you are a beginner. When making plans to skin up at a resort, make sure you read over their uphill travel policies and follow them.
8. Backcountry: Safety and Avalanche Preparedness: you can't talk about the backcountry without talking about safety and avalanche preparedness. Since many resorts will have limited capacity and lodge accommodations this year, more people will be seeking to earn their turns instead. As mentioned previously, this is a concern because it puts a stress on Vermont Search and Rescue Operations as well as natural resources. We at Skirack have seen a sharp increase in backcountry gear sales already, which is great for us. However, our job is not just to make a sale - we need to also help educate our customers and community before they venture out. Keep an eye out for future blog and social posts on this topic.
- Catamount Trail Association: the CTA also provides educational information as well as tours, which is a great way to get started.
- East Coast Avalanche Education: is certified by the American Avalanche Association (A3) to instruct Avalanche Level One and Avalanche Awareness Courses.
- Backcountry Magazine: each issue of Backcountry is packed with high-definition photography and stories, trusted avalanche safety skills and reliable, unbiased gear reviews. This magazine covers many areas, but they are based in Jeffersonville, VT. We highly recommend supporting them and subscribing to their informative magazine.
- Petra Cliffs: focuses on climbing and mountain-related education and recreation, accessible to all ages and abilities.
- Local Motion: currently based in Burlington, Local Motion’s mission is to bring walking and biking within reach for all Vermonters. You can find biking (and walking) routes around Vermont on their website and printed maps at their physical location.
- Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA): head to the chapter webpage to search locations of groomed fat bike trails.
- How to Host a Bike Trainer Group Ride using Zwift: keep up the social aspect of riding bikes, setting up an indoor bike trainer group ride on Zwift can be a great option while getting some exercise.
10. Adaptive Sports
- Vermont Adaptive: is committed to empowering individuals with disabilities. They promote independence and further equality through access and instruction to sports and recreational activities. Click here to check out some places to play.
- Kelly Brush Foundation: mission is to inspire and empower people with spinal cord injuries to lead active and engaged lives.
- The Green Mountain Club Accessible Trails: a list of scenic vistas accessible by car, and a sample of new and interesting wheelchair-accessible trails.
11. The Seven Days Vermont Restaurant / Local Business Guides
We are including restaurants and local businesses to this guide because as you travel to new Vermont areas to recreate, please make an effort to dine or shop with them. Spending locally keeps the dollars in the state and helps the economy. This could be a simple ice cream or souvenir; and if you prefer to not go inside - get some takeout or shop using curbside pickup, online (if available) or purchase a gift card. Word of mouth is very important - so tell your friends, share on social media and write a Google review.
- Restaurant Guide: searchable by region, cuisine and keyword search.
- The Register Local Business Guide: searchable by region, cuisine and type of business. The focus of this guide is locally owned businesses, but some larger chains are mixed in.