I had a first today: I saw deer roaming in the forest while I did a cross-country ski tour at Trapp Family Lodge Nordic Center in Stowe, Vt.! We saw three of them in the woods between the Russel Knoll Trail and Sugar Road. They saw us, but didn't raise their tails and take off—we were quite a distance away. How cool is that?!
As for the other animals I mention in the headline, they made up some of the trail names that we encountered today. Our rather long ski tour brought us up the The Cabin via Sugar Road and the steep Owl's Howl trail. Normally we would take Parizo to the Cabin, but we wanted to shake things up a bit. Owl's Howl is a scenic wooded, climbing trail that may not be super-popular because it's marked as an expert trail. We had it to ourselves this morning.
We connected to the Cabin Trail and soon were sitting in the rustic Cabin enjoying soup and plenty of water. Situated at 2100 feet, The Cabin serves good soups and sandwiches, hot drinks and baked goods. A fire is always going in the fireplace and on weekends you have plenty of company. It's a popular destination on a winter day. (It's a 5 km ski to get to The Cabin and requires quite a bit of uphill skiing, so you can tell yourself you've earned a treat!)
We mixed things up a bit more for our return to the Nordic center. We did a loop on the pretty Slayton Pasture Trail before jumping on the Haul Road for a short distance and turning right onto Hare Line. The moderate downhill of this portion of the Haul Road is always fun for me. I love it when the trail is straight enough that I can stay in the tracks and zoom downhill. I had skinny, non-wax skis on today and I flew! I even got in a tuck for a bit. Wicked fun!
I paid for that downhill by climbing up the Hare Line trail. It creeps around the back side of Round Top mountain; The Cabin is on one side and Hare Line is on the other. On a clear day there's an opening in the trees on this trail that affords a view of Mount Mansfield. We could see some ski trails today, but not the top of the mountain.
Hare Line met up with a pretty stretch of the Bobcat Trail, which then led us to the fast, turny downhill of the Parizo Trail. The snow cover was great so we had plenty of snowplow power to keep our speed in check. We followed the Russel Knoll Trail back to the Nordic center and enjoyed a celebratory hot cocoa. We chatted with other skiers and watched snowflakes fall outside.
Now I'm pretty darn tired, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
Trapp Family Lodge Cross-Country Center at a Glance
- 60 km groomed cross-country trails
- 100 km backcountry ski trails
- Lessons available
- Snowshoe trails available
- Ski and snowshoe rentals
- Limited snowmaking coverage
- Located at 700 Trapp Hill Road, Stowe, Vermont