Main content

Backcountry skiing to a scenic vista on Middlesex Trail

Backcountry skiing in Vermont on Middlesex Trail

On the day before Easter, I wanted to try a new backcountry route. I convinced the Skimeister to drive to Montpelier, Vermont, and head north a bit to ski on the Middlesex Trail toward the summit of Mt. Hunger.

Saturday was a beautiful day: blue skies with mountains that were frosty-white on the top. It was windy, but it didn't bother me as I marched my way up the mountain through the snow. No one had been on the trail for some time, so we were breaking trail. In some places the wind packed the snow so it wasn't too deep, but other spots collected the snow and it could be 8 inches deep or so.

Rain and sun the week before had created a crust that was under the new snow. In some sunny and windswept places along the half-mile access to the trailhead, that layer of ice was all that was there. When you were on those patches, you really needed ice skates to do anything. I just went for the ride.

As we got to the start of the Middlesex Trail, we put skins on our skis. The snow started getting better, and deeper as we ascended. We ducked under ice-laden branches and fallen trees along the way. We climbed up to the intersection that branched off to White Rocks and Mount Hunger. We headed toward Mt. Hunger knowing that there was a vista in this direction. It would make for a good place for lunch in the sun and a point to turn around.

The vista point was beautiful, and I sat in the sun and soaked it all up. We looked east toward the Northeast Kingdom and New Hampshire. If you positioned yourself right, you could also see the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. What a place to be on a clear day!

I've hiked Mt. Hunger in the summer from the Waterbury side of the Worcester Range (Mt. Hunger is bald at the top, making for wonderful panoramic views), but this was the first time I had been on the eastern side of the range. From the vista point we could check out the top of White Rocks above us; it is just south of Mt. Hunger. The trees were so icy and snowy that they looked like they were made of frosting.

The descent was quick—it always seems so much faster than the climb up! We got some decent turns, although I wiped out about five times because the crust and powder combination was tricky for me and my light backcountry gear.

We estimated the round trip from the car to be about 4.5 miles. Someone had skied or snowshoed part way up after us and poached some of the powder (!), but otherwise, we didn't meet anyone on the trail.

It was a <link category backcountry-skiing external-link-new-window external link in new>backcountry ski that had a great reward at the vista point. Afterwards, we dined at NECI's Main Street Grill. That's the New England Culinary Institute's restaurant in downtown Montpelier. A nice spot with some good pub food. All in all, it was a great day to be <link internal-link internal link in current>skiing in Vermont!

Share This Blog Post

Latest posts

Photo of a ski swap with people looking at lots of skis

SkiMaven’s 2021 list of Vermont ski swaps

Posted 9/7/21

Updated 9/22/2021 PM When there's a chill in the air and we start to reach for fleece layers, that's a sure sign that ski swaps will soon take place in Vermont! Here's our annual round-up of ski…

Photo of a skier moving through the woods with blue sky

Spring has sprung! Gotta make the most of the snow!

Posted 3/20/21

We're looking at a stretch of sunny (yay!) and warm (not so yay!) weather in Vermont. Better get out on the snow while we have it! Forty-six inches of snow at the stake atop Mt. Mansfield. That's…

Photo of mountain view while Nordic skiing on February 8

Bring on the snowstorms, March! We know you can do it!

Posted 3/3/21

Recently we've been enjoying the snow any way we can — from powdery goodness to challenging crust.  This morning after a thaw-and-freeze cycle, it was nice to cross-country ski on groomed trails with…

Photo of thick rime ice on branches in the woods

Now more than ever, we’re so grateful for snow!

Posted 2/5/21

We’ve been clicking into our skis a few times a week lately. We especially like getting out on the snow before we work from home. It's such a great way to start the day. Here in northern Vermont the…