Stowe is known for its mountainous landscape and outdoor activities, especially skiing and snowboarding. But, Stowe is much more than skiing in winter – there’s something to do in winter, no matter your interest or age. Snow or not, the choices are vast!
Sunrise Mountain Guides 802-253-2062The local experts in outdoor recreation and adventure, Sunrise Mountain Guides offers beautiful and exciting winter adventures including backcountry skiing, cross-country skiing, ice climbing, mountaineering and snowshoeing. Located at the base of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, they provide easy access to the recreational opportunities in our backyard. In business for nearly 20 years, all of the guides are lifelong locals with a wealth of knowledge and fun!
Dog sledding has gained in popularity over the last few years and is now being done in and around Stowe. Bred for endurance, speed, and friendliness, sled dogs enthusiastically pulling passengers on exhilarating rides. Their energy and excitement are undeniable, and their teamwork and strength are impressive.
Eden Mountain Dog Sledding: 802-635-9070 (summer or winter activity).Eden Mountain is a working dog sled farm and touring center surrounded by 3,000 acres of mixed protected Vermont wilderness, with ten miles of private trails that are set aside exclusively for dog sledding. Meet and get to know the “free-range” huskies and mixed breed dogs, help harness and hitch up, and even try driving the team. All rides require advance registration.
Peace Pups dog sledding offers twilight dog sledding tours at the base of Stowe Mountain Resort. See the ski slopes of Stowe Mountain Resort in a whole new way while being pulled in a hand-built sled by a regal team of huskies.
Umiak Outdoor Outfitters: 802-253-2317For a quick taste of husky dog sledding, Umiak offers a sled pulled by ten dogs conveniently located behind the Stoweflake Resort.
Gentle Giants 802-253-2216Sit back and snuggle up on a sleigh pulled by beautiful Percheron and Belgian horses. Conveniently located along the Mountain Road and the Stowe Recreation Path, rides travel along the West Branch River, through a covered bridge, and over a pristine meadow.
Trapp Family Lodge 802-253-8511Explore the magnificent grounds of Trapp Family Lodge by horse-drawn sleigh. Rides flow through the meadows and woods of the 2,400-acre resort, in a custom-built sleigh – for 4 or 10 people – pulled by a team of Belgian horses.
This is THE local sledding hill. It is steep and it is fast! Bring your own or buy or rent a sled or toboggan at Shaw’s General Store on Main Street. The hill is located behind the Stowe Elementary School, right in the heart of Stowe Village. There is also a great playground at the school for the kids to enjoy!
Cross Country Skiing
While Stowe is best known for downhill skiing and snowboarding, it is also home to miles of trails for Nordic skiers. Because Nordic skiing requires only a few inches of snow, the season starts earlier and often ends later.
Stowe Mountain Resort Cross Country Center 802-253-3688
This quaint little center features 42 kilometers of groomed trails along with 40 kilometers of high-elevation backcountry trails in the Mount Mansfield State Forest. Rent brand-name equipment right at the center, including classic skis, skate skis, backcountry skis, snowshoes, boots and poles for adults and children. Group and individual lessons are offered daily. The best package is the Introduction to Skiing, which includes a 90-minute lesson, equipment, and trail fee. On weekends and holidays, ski out to the little “Bear Hut” to warm up next to the warm wood stove and sip free hot chocolate!
This world-class touring center offers 100 kilometers of rolling trails and it has recently added snowmaking! Known as some of the best cross country skiing in North America, the trails at Trapps are finely groomed and even connect to the Stowe Mountain Resort trails. Inside the center is a full-service rental shop, waxing benches, and a sweet retail shop to pick up the perfect pair of gloves, technical ski clothing, hats, and the ever-important hand and toe warmers for bitter cold days! Group and private lessons are available, as is guide service and backcountry tours. A popular loop is the 5k ski or hike uphill to the Slayton Pasture Cabin where you can enjoy wonderful homemade soups, breads, sandwiches, and treats while warming up by the giant fireplace. The quick ride back down to the lodge is really a hoot!
Craftsbury Outdoor Center 802-586-7767
Located north of Stowe in Vermont’s unspoiled Northeast Kingdom, you’ll find some of the finest cross-country skiing in New England. A year-round destination on 400 acres, this non-profit specializes in exciting outdoor activities for the whole family. The winter season is magical in Craftsbury, offering guests more than just world-class cross-country skiing. Choose from snowshoeing, orienteering, ice skating, backcountry tours, animal tracking, nature studies, yoga, and more. There is also a certified massage therapist, a sauna, and a fitness room on site, and babysitting can be arranged with advanced notice. In general, trails are groomed and tracked by mid-morning, though that can be pushed back during days of heavy snow. Unless otherwise noted, always assume groomed also implies tracked.
The Stowe Arena features ice from June through March, with stick time and public skating offered daily, and is home to the Stowe High School Raiders boys and girls hockey teams, Stowe Youth Hockey, North American Hockey Academy, and many other local and regional teams of all ages. Skates are available for rent and beginner skaters can use cones and crates for assistance with balance.
Snow Shoe Rentals and Tours
Snowshoeing is easy to learn, fun, affordable, and a family-friendly way to experience the outdoors together. All of Stowe’s walking, biking, and hiking trails are open to snowshoe users, and it is especially fun to do when there is fresh powder! Snowshoe rentals are available at Trapp Family Lodge and Stowe Mountain Resort Cross Country Center, and their trails can be accessed with the purchase of a trail pass.
Umiak Outdoor Outfitters offers a Moonlight Cabin Snowshoe Tour where you will learn how to use snowshoes and then be led to a hidden sugarhouse in the woods by the light of the moon or a headlamp. There, you will enjoy a toasty fire, Cabot cheese, crackers, and hot, mulled Cold Hollow apple cider. Bring friends and a bottle of wine, if you’d like, for a memory to last a lifetime.
Snowmobile Tours 802-253-6221
Located just south of the village in the Umiak Outdoor Outfitters building, Snowmobile Vermont offers guided backcountry tours through the Cotton Brook area of the Mount Mansfield State Forest. The ride cosers twenty-five miles of hills and woods and reaches elevations as high as 3,000 feet. Beginners and experts are welcome. Families can ride single or double, and teens 16 and older can drive. Tours last two hours.
Mountain Road Shuttle
Trolley service from town to the Mountain operates daily in winter months.
A natural gap at the foot of Mount Mansfield, the notch gained its name when Canadian goods were smuggled into New England, prompting the Jefferson Embargo Act of 1808. In the early days it was merely a footpath and horse trail. The first carriage road was built in 1894 and the auto road in 1918. Still narrow, hilly and winding, the road is open only to car traffic and offers many unique rock formations and scenic vistas.
During the winter months the notch is closed to car traffic and used for recreational snow sports, including hiking and cross country skiing.