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Skiing Vacation A New England Winter: Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 3 – 15 mi  |  Daily Skiing: 2 – 4 hr
Pre-trip Extension:
Burlington · 1 night $145   
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Detailed Itinerary 2014

Day 1 - Arrive in Middlebury

The tour begins at the award-winning Swift House Inn in Middlebury, Vermont. If you are flying to the tour, VBT will offer a shuttle from the Burlington International Airport departing at 2:00 p.m. The shuttle will be coming from our pre-trip hotel with VBT guests. Please allow time for traffic delays.

If your flight arrives after this time, you will need to arrange for transportation to the Swift House Inn at your own expense. Please call one of the following taxi companies: Benway's Taxi (telephone: 802-862-1010), Jessica's Vital Transit (telephone: 802-349-8833) or Middlebury Transit (telephone 888-666-3471). Travel time from the Burlington airport is approximately 60 minutes. 

For guests driving to the tour, check-in time at the Swift House Inn is 3:00 p.m. If you think you will arrive earlier than this, please contact the inn to confirm that they can accommodate your arrival. Parking is available without charge at the Swift House during your stay in Middlebury. Due to the limited size of the Swift House parking area, before the tour leaves Middlebury, let your VBT Trip Leaders know that you have a car. The tour finishes in Stowe, close to the Interstate 89 corridor. If you plan to leave the tour directly from Stowe, you should plan to drive your vehicle from Middlebury to Stowe when the rest of the group shuttles in the van.

If you would like to leave your vehicle in one place for the week, you can park directly at VBT Headquarters in Bristol, Vermont. A shuttle will pick up guests from the VBT Headquarters (iconic yellow barn located at 614 Monkton Road, one mile north of Bristol) at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday. You will be transferred back to VBT at the conclusion of our ski tour (approximately 3:00 p.m. on Friday).

VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: You have another morning to enjoy Burlington. At 1:30 p.m., the shuttle will meet and transfer you to the Swift House Inn in Middlebury. The shuttle will stop at the airport to pick up arriving VBT guests.

Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at 3:30 p.m. in your active winter clothes for a brief introduction and safety clinic. This will be followed immediately by a walk into historic downtown Middlebury. Later, gather for an orientation meeting and welcome cocktail at the hotel, followed by a candlelit welcome dinner.

Day 2 - Morning ski at Rikert Ski Touring Center / Robert Frost Cabin / Exploration in Middlebury

After a hearty breakfast, we'll meet to review the day's events and logistics. At 9:00 a.m., we will take a 30-minute (15-mile) transfer from our hotel to the Rikert Ski Touring Center.

Rikert is located at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English campus, famous for its classic yellow buildings with green shingled roofs, which house students during the college's summer Masters-degree programs. The area got its name from Bread Loaf Mountain, the iconic mountain that overlooks the meadows below. In the winter, the meadows and woods surrounding Bread Loaf turn into a skier's paradise, known as the Rikert Ski Touring Center. 

Shortly after arriving at the ski area, our Trip Leaders will hold a ski-fitting session to help us get outfitted with equipment. Skiers may opt for a lesson and will be accompanied by a Trip Leader or a ski instructor from the center. Advanced skiers have the option of skiing on their own with trail recommendations provided by our Trip Leaders. 

Following the lesson, choose to ski or snowshoe through the woods to the famous Robert Frost Cabin, where the acclaimed poet wrote many of his most famous works, including “The Road Not Taken,” “Mending Wall” and “A Cabin in the Clearing.” Frost spent his summers from 1939 to 1963 living at the farm and lecturing at the Bread Loaf School of English and its annual writers' conferences.

After exploring the fields and woods around the Bread Loaf campus, we will return to the Rikert Touring Center for a hearty lunch.

In the afternoon, we will return to Middlebury, where we'll have the opportunity to relax at our inn, or venture off to explore the town at leisure. The college town of Middlebury is a historic New England town, with its Main Street of shops, restaurants and galleries. Visit Cannon Park and view a historic marker commemorating John Deere and his invention of the plow that broke the plains. From 1821 to 1825, Deere apprenticed at a local blacksmith shop before moving to Illinois, where he built the world's first steel moldboard plow.

Later, we'll drive to a local winery, Lincoln Peak Vineyard, for a tour of the facility and chance to learn more about the blossoming wine culture in Vermont. Of course, we'll have a chance to sample the wines as well!

We'll return to Middlebury in time for dinner on your own. Our Trip Leaders can direct you to one of the town's many great restaurants, all located within walking distance of our inn.

Day 3 - Morning ski at Blueberry Hill / Otter Creek Brewery

Today, we travel deep into Vermont's Moosalamoo National Recreation Area to reach the Blueberry Hill Ski Center. Surrounded by more than 22,000 acres of protected wilderness, Blueberry Hill gets its name from the vast fields of blueberry bushes that adorn the hillside in summer. In the winter, the ski area looks out over the Champlain Valley and across to New York State's Adirondack Mountains.

Our ski options will take us on some of the 30 miles (50 km) of groomed ski trails at Blueberry Hill. Entry-level skiers can cruise along the 3-mile (5-km) “Beginner's Loop,” while advanced skiers can explore the hillier outer loops, including one featuring a gradual climb to the Romance Mountain overlook. Once again, for folks not interested in skiing, exploring the trails on snowshoes is an option.

Meet at the Nordic Ski Center afterwards for a lunch of warm soup and good company. If you're feeling a little adventurous, bring your swimsuit with you and warm up après-ski in Blueberry Hill's outdoor sauna!

After two days of skiing, you'll enjoy some free time in the afternoon to relax at our inn in Middlebury. Before dinner, we'll give you another taste of local culture during a visit to the Otter Creek Brewery. With more than a dozen tempting varieties to choose from, you'll have a hard time picking a favorite! 

Dinner will be on your own at one of many local restaurants in Middlebury.

Day 4 - Transfer to Stowe / Ski at the Trapp Family Lodge

After our final breakfast at the Swift House Inn, we say good-bye to our hosts and make our way out of the Champlain Valley and into the heart of the Green Mountains: Stowe, Vermont.

Stowe, known as the “Ski Capital of the East,” is home to Vermont's largest alpine ski area. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the town is nestled in the foothills of Vermont's highest mountain, Mount Mansfield. We'll stop in Stowe for lunch on your own and a chance to explore the village. Then we'll regroup at the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum in downtown Stowe for a brief tour. As a prelude to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the museum currently features an exhibit dedicated to the history of cross-country skiing in Vermont. You can also see prototypes of Jake Burton's first snowboards; the sport was invented right here in Vermont.

After our stop in Stowe, we'll continue our drive up Mount Mansfield to the famous Trapp Family Lodge.  The Von Trapp family—whose lives were the inspiration for The Sound of Music—purchased the lodge after emigrating from Austria during World War II. The family welcomed its first guests to the lodge in the summer of 1950. In 1968, Johannes Von Trapp, son of Maria, opened the Cross Country Ski Center—today, it continues to be one of the country's leading Nordic ski areas.

We'll start at the ski center and get outfitted with fresh equipment. We'll have several options for our afternoon ski, as the lodge boasts more than 37 miles (60 km) of groomed ski trails. If you'd rather take a break from the skis, there is also an extensive network of snowshoe trails. When you're done skiing, you can check into your room.

This evening, we'll head to the Trapp Lager Brewery—just a short walk from our lodgings—to sample some of the Austrian-style lagers that are brewed on-site. If we're lucky, Sam Von Trapp, Maria's grandson, will be on hand to talk with us about Austria, skiing and his family's legacy here in Vermont. We'll follow our beer-tasting with dinner at the brewery.

Day 5 - Ski in Stowe / Visit downtown Stowe / Sugaring tour / Farewell dinner

Today, it's all about the skiing. We'll start with an expansive, Austrian-style breakfast spread. Then our morning ski will start at the Nordic Barn in Stowe. The flat trails take us along the Lamoille River toward the town of Stowe. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also ski directly from the Trapp Family Lodge to the Nordic Barn and into Stowe itself.

Stop in town after your ski for lunch on your own at a variety of local restaurants. After lunch, we'll return to the lodge, where you can relax and enjoy the wellness center, or venture out for a few more kilometers of skiing.

Interested in spending a day away from the cross-country trails for some gravity-assisted downhill skiing? Today would be an ideal day to rent alpine skis and spend a day at Vermont's largest alpine ski area, Stowe Mountain Resort. A complimentary shuttle runs to and from our lodge and the base of the slopes.

Later, we'll work up an appetite for dinner with a sunset maple-sugaring tour. Vermont is the nation's largest producer of maple syrup, and we'll snowshoe out to the lodge's sugarhouse to learn how sap is collected in buckets, and then boiled down in a wood-fired evaporator to create syrup. Even if the sap's not running, this will be a great introduction to maple sugaring.

In the evening, we'll enjoy our farewell dinner in the lodge's main dining room.

Day 6 - Ski in Stowe / Transfer to Burlington Airport

Wake up at your leisure for our final morning at the Trapp Family Lodge. Choose to get up early and ski, or sleep in and enjoy a relaxed breakfast before departing. For those choosing to ski today, we'll cruise up to the Slayton Pasture Cabin, a 3-mile (5-km) gradual climb. Stop at the cabin to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or cup of soup and sandwich. It's almost all downhill from the cabin back to the lodge.

VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle to take us from the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe back to the airport at 12:00 noon (showers will be available at the spa after we check out of our rooms). We'll stop in Waterbury, where you'll have time for a final lunch on your own, before continuing on to Burlington International Airport, arriving around 2:30 p.m. If you need to get to the airport prior to that time, the transfer back to Burlington will be at your own expense.

If you drove to the start of the tour and then drove to the Trapp Family Lodge, you can leave at your leisure on Friday. If you left your car at VBT Headquarters, you will be driven back to Bristol after guests are dropped off at the airport, arriving at VBT around 3:30 p.m.
 

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