Cross-country skiing at Sleepy Hollow Ski Center

Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 05:30 PM

You can ski to a rustic hilltop cabin at Sleepy Hollow Ski Center.
Descending Butternut Cabin Trail.
A snowplow came in very handy!
A mellow practice meadow.
The Lower Saddle Trail...
...where they tap trees for maple sap.
Arriving at Sleepy Hollow.

One of the benefits of buying a season pass to a Vermont Nordic center is that typically you get one free pass to most of the other cross-country centers in the state. It is a good incentive to try new Nordic centers or revisit those you haven't skied for years. The latter was the case for me as I drove to rural Huntington, Vermont, today to ski at Sleepy Hollow Ski Center.

Nordic centers are reveling in all the snow that dropped during the holidays. The skiing is great pretty much everywhere in Vermont. It was wonderful to see a near-full parking lot as I arrived because last year was such a tough season. Just a bit of warning, you will drive on snow-packed dirt roads to get to Sleepy Hollow right now, since we've had so much snow. Summer tires won't do.

From the lodge, I knew I wanted a bit of a view, so I climbed Bishop Trail to get to the rustic Butternut Cabin, which affords a view of the hills and countryside. It sits at about 1,300 feet. Today it was snowing lightly so the view wasn't as long as it can be, but it's not in my blood to complain about snow! You can see Camel's Hump on a clearer day.

I paused here and several times on the trail network to just enjoy the sound of silence. Just some wind moving through the hardwood trees and, on one trail, a woodpecker. Huntington is pleasantly away from highways. You are truly in the woods here.

From the cabin I schussed down the Butternut Cabin Trail. The lower part of this has steep downhills and turns. I employed my snowplow liberally and the packed powder allowed for a lot of control.

Later I returned to the lodge area and skied in the other direction -- down the Lower Saddle Trail. This is a great, rather wide beginner trail. And the grooming was very good. In fact, I moved aside on this trail as a snowmobile passed with grooming equipment. It left some fresh corduroy for afternoon skiers. 

On this trail you'll come upon blue maple tap lines. The owners collect maple sap here to make syrup. 1,200 taps bring in enough to make 85 gallons of syrup. Cool. 

While the Lower Saddle Trail had a relaxing modest downhill grade, I had to turn around at some point! I skied a modest uphill grade on the Liberty Meadow Trail to get back to the lodge. There are a couple of meadows in the trail network and the one closest to the lodge seems to be the place for cross-country skiing lessons.

There's a nice variety of trails here and well maintained trails. (By the way, they also have a Pisten Bully groomer and tiller -- you know, much like the kind they use at downhill areas.) Sleepy Hollow is not really a sleepy place and I didn't feel like I was in a holllow; it's just a nice, quiet place to ski in the woods. 

Sleepy Hollow Ski Center at a glance 

  • 34 km of ski trails
  • 20 km of snowshoe trails
  • Rentals & lessons available
  • Night skiing Mon/Wed/Fri
  • Citizens races on Wednesday nights
  • Limited snowmaking, as needed
  • Located at 1805 Sherman Hollow Road, Huntington, Vermont
  • Follow this link for a link to their snow conditions page

 

 

Filed in: Cross-country skiing, Sleepy Hollow

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