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Fun Things to Do in Central Vermont this Winter

Couple Having Fun Ice SkatingWe love the winter. We love the cold weather. We love the snow. It’s one of the many reasons people choose to live in New England. There are many interesting, unique, and fun things to do in Central Vermont this winter. 

When the temperatures drop and the snow falls the outdoor ice skating rinks, ski resorts, snowshoeing trails, cross country skiing trails and snowmobiling trails start to open. You can enjoy outdoor ice skating in late winter, it takes a while for lakes and ponds to properly freeze for safe skating. And an exhilarating dog sled ride with a team of huskies through the backcountry of Vermont is waiting for you. Hike! (that’s dog sled mushing lingo for “get moving”) 

Long Distance Ice Skating 

Lake Morey Resort: When you, your friends, and family are looking for a long distance ice skating adventure you won’t have to travel far. Lake Morey in Fairlee is a short 42+ mile drive southeast of Montpelier. The Skate Trail at Lake Morey Resort is 4.3 miles long, making it the longest ice skating trail in the United States. The trailheads are located at Lake Morey Resort and Fairlee Town Beach. Skating is free (donations are appreciated). 

Rideau Canal Skateway (Canada): Our neighbors to the north in Ottawa Canada open up the 4.8 mile Rideau Canal Skateway for recreational ice skating in the winter. It’s about a 4+ hour drive from Central Vermont, so it would be best to secure overnight accommodations. This will make for a wonderful weekend trip. Skate rentals and food concession stands are located along the canal including a local delicacy known as BeaverTails (a fried dough pastry, available with a selection of sweet and delicious toppings). The canal is typically open from January to late February, depending on the weather. When open the skateway is free and accessible 7 days a week 24 hours a day. 

Local Ice Skating Rinks 

Outdoor Rinks: There are a couple of outdoor rinks just down the road. 

The North Barre Rink is free and opens 8:00am-9:00am during the season. The rink is sponsored by The City of Barre, Barre Blades, and BYSA. They post a simple red or green ice skating graphic on their FB page to let skaters know when the rink is open or closed. 

The Rink at State Street is located on the State House lawn in Montpelier, VT. It is intended for open skating (hockey and broomball are not permitted). The rink is operated by the City of Montpelier. It is free to skate here, weather permitting. 

Indoor Rinks: The BOR Arena in Barre and the Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center in Montpelier both offer public skating sessions. Public skating sessions are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and $12 for a family of four at the CVMCC. 

Ice hockey leagues for all ages (adult, youth, mite, squirt, peewee, bantam) are available at the BOR Arena and the CVMCC is home to the Central Vermont Skating Association youth hockey program and the U32 High School Hockey program. 

Snowboarding & Skiing

World Class Snowboarding & Skiing: Vermont is the perfect place to put your snowboarding and downhill skiing to the test. There are 20 alpine ski resorts in Vermont to explore. One resort, Mad River Glen, does not permit snowboards, but the rest do. Sugarbush, Stowe, Bolton Valley, and Mad River Glen are all local favorites and are a short drive away (each less than 27 miles away from Montpelier). The mountains offer comprehensive lessons for skiers and riders of all abilities. 

Many of our local families bring their youngest skiers and snowboarders to Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond, VT to learn the tricks of the trade. The Ski Tots program, directed by Olympic gold medalist Barbara Ann Cochran, is unique. It teaches parents how to teach their children (ages 3-5) how to ski. The parent must be a competent skier. There are also 4- day lesson programs for beginners and advanced intermediates (ages 6 and older). Cochran’s is a small and fun family oriented ski area. It’s a great place for families to begin to enjoy the sport when moving to Vermont from warmer climates and exploring skiing and snowboarding for the first time, or simply to enjoy a quiet day without the hustle and bustle of the larger resorts. The runs are short. There aren’t any chairlifts, they have two rope tows. A season pass is $295 for the whole family (of any size). 

College Ice Hockey Games 

Vermont Catamounts: You, your friends, and your family can enjoy college ice hockey games in Vermont. The Vermont Catamounts Men’s Ice Hockey team is NCAA Division I representing UVM. Home games are played at the Gutterson Field House in Burlington, VT. General admission tickets are $10 and reserved seating tickets are $17-$35 for the 2022-2023 season. The team is 4-8-1 for the season as of November 19th, 2022 (21 games remain). 

Dog Sled Rides 

Umiak Outdoor Outfitters: This outdoor adventure center and retail shop in Stowe, Vermont offers different adventures all year long. Winter activities include snowshoe tours, ski tours, and dog sled tours. Short evening dog sledding adventures are offered at Stoweflake Mountain Resort. The 30 minute program, with a 15 minute ride, is $150 for the first two passengers. A longer 90 minute program, with a 45 minute ride, is $399 for up to two people (350 lb maximum capacity per sled) in the Mad River Valley Friday-Monday starting at 10:00am. Snow tires and 4-wheel drive are required to reach the Mad River Valley destination. 

Heney Realtors has been serving Central Vermont since 1956. This is where we live, work, and play. We know the local real estate market, we know how to enjoy winter in style, and we would like to help you find your perfect home in Central Vermont. Contact us today!

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