To prove that innovative ski area operators must cater to the snowshoeing crowd, one must glance at the slopes before the lifts start running. You’ll likely see skiers and riders creeping up the edges of the trails on snowshoes first thing in the morning.
Snowshoes are not only an excellent way to warm up for skiers and a split-board alternative for riders but a great activity for those joining family or friends at the resort.
Recognizing a market when they see one, ski resort operators in Vermont over the past several decades have continually increased their snowshoeing offerings, including snowshoe-specific trails, tours, and rentals. Moreover, each resort tries to carve its specialized snowshoe niche, just as they do for their much larger ski and snowboarding business.
Here, in alphabetical order, are a few snowshoeing highlights at some of Vermont’s big downhill ski and riding resorts. Each resort has a wide variety of rates, rentals, and tours for snowshoers to check out this season!
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Bolton Valley Resort
Aside from section 22 of the Catamount Trail, Bolton’s selling point is its 5,100 acres of backcountry and connection to Mount Mansfield State Forest.
The Bolton Valley Nordic Center, which provides this backcountry access, also offers snowshoe rentals and lessons. Once you’re equipped and ready, head out on the 100km of snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails.
During the snow season, the resort offers a variety of guided tours, which they often modify based on the whims and abilities of the snowshoers. For example, some tours are easy, and some bushwhack around Bolton’s sometimes steep forests. Most tours usually last 1 – 1.5 hours for those ages 10+.
Burke Mountain provides access to the Dashney Nordic Center and nearby Kingdom Trails.
Dashney Nordic Center offers 18km of ski and snowshoe trails, most of which you can enjoy with your pup. Also, just down the road, Kingdom Trails (well-known for fat biking) opens ungroomed tracks and groomed fat bike trails to snowshoers in the winter. However, you’ll have to leave your pup home to access Kingdom Trails.
Jay Peak Resort
Jay Peak Resort is a mecca for daring tree skiers, but the northern Vermont resort also has some trails for snowshoe enthusiasts.
The Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Center has seven short snowshoe trails up to 1.7 miles (2.7 km). The resort also typically offers guided snowshoe tours throughout the season, which may include equipment, guide services, and hot beverages around an outdoor fire pit. Call 802-988-4653 for rates and to make reservations.
In addition to their summer hiking trails, Killington offers private snowshoe tours for guests via an independent company, Bear Trax Adventures. Tours include snowshoes and poles, with snacks and water provided by the guides. Just remember to dress appropriately for your outing.
If you’re interested in a more extended stay for more snowshoeing, try the snowshoe-friendly Nordic Center at the Mountain Top Inn in the nearby town of Chittenden.
Read More: Autumn Hiking in Vermont
Okemo Mountain Resort has a dedicated snowshoe course, separate from the Nordic path, along the banks of the Black River. It’s 10 kilometers long, but snowshoers can and often do wander off the trail, exploring meadows and forests in the shadow of Okemo Mountain.
Okema also has an ice house and snow tubing that is great for the family if you want a break from snowshoeing, skiing, or snowboarding.
Kid-friendly Smugglers’ Notch in Jeffersonville offers a wide range of snowshoeing programs, tours, rentals, and lessons. They are one of our top snowshoeing resorts (in Vermont and North America) for a reason. Their programs are there to give you an introduction, a gentle one if need be, to the joys of stomping through the winter woods.
Try their special family snowshoe programs, including a Family Snowshoe Scavenger Hunt (geocaching, anyone?). For extra fun, guides will take you near the mountain top Thursday evenings to check out fireworks displays from a lofty vantage point via the Fireworks Snowshoe Tours.
In addition to family-friendly adventures, the Jeffersonville resort gives you a chance to get smarter while you’re snowshoeing through the woods, at least if you take advantage of some of Smugglers’ guided tours.
The Vermont Experience provides the opportunity to search for animal tracks and learn about local history. Look for the bear claw marks on the beech trees. Other guided tours explain the maple industry and the process of making maple syrup while snowshoeing the forest. Or, for the adventurous, learn winter survival skills while you snowshoe. Finally, let’s not forget the apres dinner/drink experience via the Snowshoe Adventure Dinner for those aged 18+.
Stowe Mountain Resort
If you’re a newbie to the sport, it’s no problem. Stowe Mountain Resort has you taken care of for your Vermont snowshoeing adventure. Their rental shop offers snowshoes, backcountry gear, and gear for children aged three or older (including kids’ snowshoes). Just make sure to book your equipment in advance.
The trails take also take skiers and snowshoers into the state forest. “No road crossings, no buildings, no skiers,” said a staff member. Heaven, unless you’re used to seeing people around and worry about getting lost or wild animals. First aid and other assistance are available on open and designated trails, 8 of which are snowshoe-only trails.
Read More: Top Places for Snowshoeing in Stowe, Vermont
Stratton Mountain and the Sun Bowl Nordic Center offer guided snowshoe hikes highlighting the magical scenery among the trees.
Try the Sunrise Snowshoe Hike on Sundays or the Nordic Lights tour on the lantern-lit trails Saturday evenings. Before or after your hike, you can enjoy snowshoeing on the 3km of snowshoe trails at the Nordic Center.
Keeping with their adventurous motif, Sugarbush in Warren, VT, offers both self-guided and Outback Guide-led tours.
If you’re interested in self-guided tours, explore their marked snowshoe trails (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) daily between 9 and 4 pm. If you didn’t bring your snowshoes, they have rentals available at their shops.
Check out their guided tours if you want more than an afternoon jaunt on snowshoes. For example, one 2.5 to 3-hour guided tour brings guests to the Slide Brook Wilderness Area, a prime habitat for bears, moose, and lynx. Guides will often find tracks left by these animals and lead the group to them. As an alternative, check out the guided tour of their advanced trail, the Gate House Loop, which also includes a large variety of wildlife and animal tracks.
Would you go snowshoeing at any of the Vermont ski resorts above? Which resort is your favorite? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
This article was first published on December 20, 2004. Susan Wowk most recently updated and re-published it on September 8, 2022, to include updated information on snowshoe tours and events.