Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont with VBT

HX 2014 Secondary for web

Welcome to week four in our five-part series about the great cross-country skiing vacations that VBT is offering this winter. Last week we told you about the fascinating geothermal features, amazing skiing and unreal wildlife viewing you’ll find on our new Yellowstone in the Winter: Skiing America’s First National Park cross-country skiing vacation—make sure to check out the answer to the trivia question at the end of this blog if you tuned in last week. But first, let’s discuss another new vacation we’re offering this winter: A New England Winter: Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont. With four departures throughout January and February of 2014, there are plenty of chances to take this fantastic winter vacation into the heart of the Green Mountains.

VT_LeadOne of the great things about a Vermont ski tour is the state’s close proximity to many locations on the East Coast, offering the opportunity to try a VBT ski vacation without having to travel by plane.  Plus the Green Mountains are a fantastic place to ski, steeped in a rich history of winter culture—which we’ll learn about when the tour visits the Vermont Ski Museum in Stowe. The new tour begins in the idyllic New England town of Middlebury, with the first skiing locale being the Rikert Ski Touring Center at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf campus a few miles outside of town. The campus got its name from Bread Loaf Mountain, the iconic peak that overlooks the meadows below, a virtual skier’s paradise in winter. During your day, you may opt for a lesson or choose to ski on your own with trail recommendations provided by our Trip Leaders. One Picture10highlight is a trail 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.

Trapp Family Lodge

Later in the trip we’ll head to the town of Stowe which offers much more than just an alpine resort on Vermont’s largest peak. Here, we’ll stay and ski at the historic Trapp Family Lodge, which offers snowmaking on their cross country trails as to insure excellent conditions even in a marginal snow winter. 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, and opened its Cross-Country Ski Center in 1968. Today the Trapp Family Lodge is one of the country’s leading Nordic ski areas with more than 37 miles (60 km) of groomed ski trails and an extensive network of snowshoe trails.  The lodge itself has all the amenities you’d expect on a VBT vacation as well as including an indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, and wireless internet. We’ll also visit the Trapp Lager Brewery where we’ll sample some of the Austrian-style lagers that are brewed right 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 a delicious dinner at the brewery.

Lincoln Peak Vineyard cropVermont is quickly becoming famous for its wineries and microbrews.  And this vacation also features a tasting and tour of the Lincoln Peak Winery, which produces their wine with grapes grown right here in Vermont.  We’ll taste their northern varietals and learn about what makes this wine so unique.  At the Otter Creek Brewery, we’ll have the opportunity to sample Long Trail, Shed, and Otter Creek beers.  If wine and beer isn’t your thing, then your taste buds will be excited to know that we’ll stop at the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory for another special taste from Vermont.

Another great cultural activity you’ll experience on this vacation is a maple sugaring demonstration as Vermont is the sap bucket2largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S.  We’ll work up an appetite for dinner on our final night with a sunset maple-sugaring tour at the Trapp Lodge’s sugarhouse. You’ll learn how sap is collected in buckets, and then boiled down in a wood-fired evaporator to create the maple syrup. Even if the sap’s not running, this will be a great introduction to maple sugaring and its production process.

Thanks for reading this week and we hope to see you out on the trails with us this winter in some of the world’s most fascinating winter destinations. Remember, on a VBT vacation you’ll enjoy world-class cross-country skiing combined with expert local Trip Leaders, comfortable accommodations and plenty of wonderful interactions with the locals. For more information on the A New England Winter: Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont​ ​vacation you can visit us online or request a catalog here. See you next week as the series concludes with a blog about another fun-filled winter vacation.

Additional Links:
Ski Middlebury Article:  http://www.addisonindependent.com/201304could-middlebury-become-ski-destination

Trapp Family Lodge: http://www.trappfamily.com/

Cross-Country Skiing in Yellowstone National Park with VBT

Cross-country skier on Old Faithful Trail.
With four departures throughout January and February of 2014, there are plenty of chances to take this one- of-a-kind winter vacation—Yellowstone in the Winter: Skiing America’s First National Park—to one of the most spectacular geological regions on earth.

 Image Courtesy of the US Forest Service

Image Courtesy of the US Forest Service

On this vacation, recently featured in the Travel section of the LA Times, travelers can experience Yellowstone’s snow-covered splendor in the hush of winter. Few wilderness experiences match it and this winter wonderland is perfect for exploration by cross-country ski.  Although a few brave souls began visiting the park in the winter in the late 1800’s, it wasn’t until 1948 that and wingless “snow planes” on skis—think  winter versions of air boats found in the Everglades—first brought groups of travelers into  the park. Eventually the snow planes gave way to the snow coaches of today and by 1971 the Park Service began packing down and smoothing the winter routes to Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs.

Picture10If you’ve never been to Yellowstone—or even if you just visited in the summer—you’ll love the solitude a winter trip to the park offers in stark contrast to the busier summer season. With VBT you’ll spend your days skiing along the spectacular Yellowstone River to Tower Falls and take in enthralling winter viewings of some of the park’s different geothermal features with visits to the Geyser Basin and the Paint Pots.  Geysers such as Old Faithful and Lone Star shine even more so in the winter, as the combination of colder temperatures, ice and snow, coupled with hot water and steam, offer the very best viewing.   At night you can relax by the fire or take a rejuvenating soak in the hot tub after a hearty meal of Bison short ribs or wild Alaskan salmon at comfortable, amenity-filled Park lodges.

You’re also in for a special treat on the final full day of the 6-day vacation as you’ll go on a Buffalo wintering in the Upper Geyser Basin.  Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.sunrise visit to the Lamar Valley, known locally as the “American Serengeti”, which hosts a vast range of wildlife including wolves, elk, bison, antelope and bighorn sheep—fortunately, there won’t be any worrisome bear encounters thanks to hibernation! And the snow-covered winter landscape makes spotting wildlife much easier.

We hope to see you out on the trails with us in some of the world’s most fascinating winter destinations. Remember, on a VBT vacation you’ll enjoy world-class cross-country skiing combined with local Trip Leaders, comfortable accommodations and plenty of wonderful interactions with the locals. For more information on the Yellowstone in the Winter: Skiing America’s First National Park ​vacation you can visit us online at www.vbt.com or request a catalog here.

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