Not everyone who visits a ski resort wants to or is able to ski or snowboard, so resorts offer other activities. Among those options, guests can explore and enjoy the outdoors on snowshoes. These snowshoe outings at ski resorts range from guided naturalist tours to nearby destinations to athletic fitness treks reaching the top of the mountain. Snowshoeing options at ski resorts are booming and becoming ever more creative.
Smuggler’s Notch Resort known as a prime Vermont family destination has one of the most comprehensive mixes of snowshoe programs available. There are snowshoe treks for families with young kids, and outings for adults or families with older kids, who want a bit more in terms of the length of the trek, the topography covered, and the insights shared about the natural world and outdoor skills.
Programs are scheduled for specific days and times at different prices for adult and children. Special family snowshoe programs that are easy include the S’mores Snowshoe Tour, which is a guided snowshoe trek on Wednesday’s 6-7:30 PM through the woods to a rustic pavilion and bonfire.
The Sugar On Snow Snowshoe Trek is where you learn a bit about the history and process of Maple Sugaring. Upon your return to Smuggler’s Nordic Center, enjoy a sweet treat of Sugar on Snow, a Vermont tradition. On Tuesday evenings, Smuggler’s Notch hosts a dramatic dining feature atop Sterling Mountain for adults, who ride the Sterling lift to a mountain cabin lit only by candles. There’s a gourmet meal served with appetizer, salad, choice of main course, and dessert. After dinner, those calories can be burned off with a 40-minute snowshoe down to the Base Lodge.
Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, Colo. has a variety of snowshoe tours via the Strawberry Park Express chair lift. There are guided naturalist snowshoe tours for two hours that include the gear and a map at $175 for two people. The group tours are $73 per person. On certain days the 3-hour Fit Tour is available and there’s also the Wine Excursion Snowshoe Tour. On Fridays, there’s the Fondue & Snowshoe Tour and on Wednesdays the Women’s Walk and Wine is offered. The Family Tour is 4-5:30 with a guide, hot cocoa and snacks. The private guided snowshoe tours include the two-hour outing at $285, the half day at $395, and the All Day Snowshoe Tour is $600. Following each tour, the Osprey Fireside Grill welcomes guests into its slope-side, mountain-modern elegance – where Executive Chef Conor Shedor presents decedent culinary and wine pairings befitting of a post-snowshoe hike. Click for a link to Beaver Creek Resort.
At Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Mich., there are daily guided snowshoe tours and evening moonlight snowshoe tours. One of the popular treks is to the Michigan Legacy Art Park, which is a 30-acre preserve on 1.6 miles of hiking trails within Crystal Mountain. The Art Park features over 40 sculptures (20 in the winter), poetry stones, an outdoor amphitheatre (open in the summer). Another snowshoe option is the two-hour tour taking a scenic ride up the Gold Hills chairlift where snowshoers on the tour trek through the majestic alpine forest into the Bullion Basin area. On the tour there’s a rest stop to take in the beautiful views and fuel up with some snacks and water before making the way down the gentle slopes to the base area for a family-style dinner at the base lodge. Click for a link to Crystal Mountain.
Stop by the Base Camp at Big Sky Resort in Montana for snowshoe adventures. They have a 2-hour snowshoe tour on the Moose Tracks Trail for up to 10 people at a time led by two local women guides. There are designated trails for snowshoers to go out on their own, but they are asked to pay a $5 trail pass. Click for the resort website video about the guided snowshoe tours that are available at $50 for guests aged 12 or older at Big Sky Resort .
Back in Vermont, a resort that presents a different option is Mount Snow where snowshoe tours are available via the Grand Summit Hotel lodge’s NatureSpa. There are planned and marked trail routes at the ski area and the unique “Guided Snowshoe Tour & Massage,” that includes (for $185) a guided snowshoe tour followed by a sorely kneaded massage after returning to the spa. Trail loops can take an hour or two and snowshoes are available to rent. Click for a link to the NatureSpa.
Guided snowshoe tours take about an hour for $45 per person including the snowshoes, poles and a group guide. There are also private tours available and outings offered to people who are more athletic and looking for a fitness workout on snowshoes or an environmental tour with a local Vermonter talking about animal tracks or local geography. Trail maps for snowshoers are available at Mount Snow Sports, where snowshoe rental equipment and a trail pass can be acquired. The trail pass is $10 per day and rentals are $25 per day or $15 per afternoon.
It was necessary this year for some of the Smuggler’s Notch snowshoe treks to be on the alpine slopes due to low snow in the valley. Snowshoers used the lifts to access a high elevation tour and a backcountry tour. The Smuggler’s Nordic Director commented, “When the skiers saw the people snowshoeing on the slopesides, they wanted to get out of their skis to come and try it.”
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