5 Tips for Trying Cross-Country Skiing in Stowe

February 13, 2020


Stowe, Vermont is the birthplace of Nordic skiing in the United States. After retiring from their career as the Trapp Family Singers, the von Trapp family, began operating the first Nordic Center at their family’s lodge in the 1960s. Johannes, the youngest of the von Trapp children, enjoyed gliding through the peaceful fields and forests on his downhill skis with the bindings loosened. After learning and practicing Nordic-style skiing with his Norwegian roommate at Dartmouth College, he brought the sport back to Stowe, made a few dozen sets of skis and boots available for guests to rent and watched as the love of cross-country skiing grew. 50 years later, Stowe is home to many Nordic centers and also one of the largest cross-country ski trail systems in the United States, with more than 3,000 acres of conserved land and 120 kilometers of groomed ski trails for all abilities—including beginners!

If you’re thinking about giving cross-country skiing a try on your visit to Stowe, here are some insider tips keep in mind for your adventure on the trails.

1. Take a lesson.

Don’t go it alone! Taking a private or group lesson is the best way to get started. An expert can help you pick the right equipment, demonstrate and coach you through the basic movements, and help you gain confidence on skis. Working with an instructor can ensure that good habits are developed early on, and bad habits are nipped in the bud.

2. Pick a day with good conditions.

It’s important that your first cross-country ski sessions are on suitable snow and during fair weather so you can focus on mastering skills and moving with ease. Many resorts publish daily “Trail Conditions” updates to help plan ahead.

3. Relax and have fun.

Try not to take yourself too seriously! Cross-country skiing is meant to be relaxing and enjoyable. Getting caught up trying to perfect your form, raise your heels at the exact angle or race ahead of others won’t help you master the sport. Take your time, enjoy the movement, and be sure to laugh at yourself if (when?) you fall.

4. Monitor your breathing.

Keep an even breathing pattern while you get started on the trails. While Nordic skiing is a great workout, getting ahead of yourself, pushing too hard and losing your breath will slow you down in the long run. Match slow, even breaths with your gliding leg movements. Set a pace that is sustainable and comfortable to get the most out of your time on the trails.

5. Après-ski refuel.

Refuel and warm up with something tasty to eat or drink afterwards with your ski buddies. It’s tradition! Stowe has some of the best après-ski eats and brews for all tastes, best served alongside friends, like the von Trapp Bierhall, Idletyme, Piecasso and Stowe Cider. Prost!

About the Author: Ben Gilbert is the Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Trapp Family Lodge. He enjoys peaceful adventures in the woods around Stowe with his husky, Kingsley.

Photos are courtesy of Trapp Family Lodge and Erica Allen/Stowe Mountain Resort.