Snow is softly falling as the car inches up the road towards Stowe Mountain Resort. My husband and I have passed our accommodations, but we want to check out the ski hill so we know where to park the next day.
The trunk is full of winter gear, as well as my skis, his snowboard and both our fat bikes. A mist shrouds the top of the mountain, but we can tell the scale far exceeds anything available close to home.
A road trip to snowy Vermont
Vermont, with its multiple ski hills and resorts, is the perfect road trip destination for those who dream of descents that last longer than mere minutes. Coming from Ontario, this is what we were excited about.
For those who enjoy winter, but not downhill sports, there are other outdoorsy activities in this snow globe state. Our route only took us through a few destinations, but there are so many options to combine two or more areas into one memorable, snowy road trip.
Downtown Stowe is quintessential Vermont
Downtown Stowe is a charming little town that I would sum up as quintessential Vermont. It is surrounded by quaint lodges and inns—there seems to be no shortage of places to stay.
We have secured a cozy little apartment at Golden Eagle Resort, an inviting collection of buildings with an outdoor bonfire and an indoor pool. We’re here for a couple of nights, which allows us to explore the area.
After settling in, we head to the warm, vibrant atmosphere of the Trapp Family Lodge. If you’re thinking the name sounds familiar, that’s because it is the von Trapp family that inspired The Sound of Music. This is where the family settled after touring the United States as The Trapp Family Singers back in the 1940s. Besides its accommodations, the property features cross-country ski and snowshoe trails.
We grab a table at the von Trapp Brewing Bierhall Restaurant, home of von Trapp Brewing and an Austrian-inspired menu. I enjoy a plate of bratwurst, knackwurst and bauernwurst, while my husband tucks into a chicken schnitzel, perfect fare after a day of outdoor adventure.
The next morning, over a leisurely breakfast, we start to see a steady line of cars heading towards the mountain, so we start to chew faster. Here’s the thing, if you’re going for the day, and you want to park, you need to go early. Our parking spot entailed a rather long walk to the lodge and the wait to pick up our tickets took well over an hour. There is a shuttle service that is worth looking into.
Conditions are perfect on our first day. There is fresh powder from the night before, and the views are idyllic. Narrower runs take you through forests of pine and deciduous trees, laden in snow.
Snowshoeing by night
Off the hill, we head to Umiak Outdoor Outfitters for a Moonlight Cabin Snowshoe Tour. With headlamps aglow, our affable guide takes us through a pitch-black forest route to a cabin, where a welcoming fire greets our small group, ready to sip hot apple cider and snack on local treats.
Speaking of hot drinks, PK Coffee is a convenient stop on the way back from the hill, and in town, the line at Black Cap Coffee allows us to browse artisanal goods while we wait. We enjoy the après ski vibe (and the food) at Doc Ponds, which is close to where we’re staying.
Fat biking in Killington
Killington is our next destination, but we take a side trip to Woodstock for lunch. This is another delightful postcard-perfect town. We relax at Bentleys Restaurant, with its throwback, antique ambiance and delicious fried pickles.
I didn’t realize Killington was referred to as “the beast of the east” until after our trip, but the ski resort boasts the second highest summit in the state—Killington Peak tops out at 4,241 feet, with 212 runs. Besides skiing and snowboarding, you can also hop on a ski bike, which is like a giant GT snowracer.
But we have brought our fat bikes to Killington, so we head to Mountain Meadows. A heavy rain followed by a deep freeze makes it a bit icy and crunchy in spots, but we have fun exploring the trails and crossing the lake.
Afterwards, Liquid Art Coffeehouse & Eatery is where we warm up with hot bevvies. For another meal, we thaw out with homemade hot soup at Sunup Bakery. The live music at The Foundry at Summit Pond is a pleasant surprise on the night we decide to dine there. And we get sidetracked (twice!) at the enormous Killington Sports, which sells ski and snowboard brands we can’t always find at home.
More to discover
After our outdoor holiday, we decide to take the scenic route home, which winds us through more small towns. Along the way, we talk about coming back to enjoy this woodsy state in the summer with our mountain bikes and hiking shoes, and again in the winter, so we can explore the other ski resorts on our list.by