Best Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont

The mountains of Vermont become a mecca for cross-country skiing when winter hits. It’s difficult to go very far without hitting world-class skiing, making Vermont the perfect destination for any beginning or veteran cross-country skier.

Cross-country ski centers across Vermont have come together to form the Cross Country Reciprocal Program, allowing for one season pass to allow for one-time complimentary access to several participating centers across the state. Some on our list are marked as participators, and we hope to see more joining in the future.

From North to South, here is the list of the best cross-country skiing in Vermont to guide newcomers and to hopefully give experts some new places to explore this winter season.

Best Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont

Jay Peak Nordic Skiing

  • Location: Jay, VT
  • Best Time to Visit: March
  • Skill Level: Beginner – Expert
  • Trail Recommendation: The Outer Limits (Advanced)
    *XC Reciprocal Program Participant

Right outside of Jay State Forest on the northern edge of Vermont is Jay Peak Resort. In addition to plenty of downhill skiing, the Nordic Skiing Center brings 20 km of well-groomed trails to those looking for beautiful views of northern Vermont from a different perspective. These trails move through what is a golf course in the summer, and they give options for anyone just learning to more technical challenging routes.

Inside the resort is an indoor waterpark open through the winter to entertain the kids, and to bring a relaxing end to a long day on skis. The waterpark makes this location a great choice for the entire family.

Craftsbury Outdoor Center

Craftsbury Outdoor Center
Photo Credit: Sterling College
  • Location: Craftsbury Common, VT
  • Best Time to Visit: Early spring
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Expert
  • Trail Recommendation: Sam’s Run (Intermediate)
    *XC Reciprocal Program Participant

Over 100 km of perfectly maintained trails weave through the Northeast Kingdom’s farms and forests. The Craftsbury Nordic Center offers coaching from beginners to racing teams.

As the world changes and weather shifts, it is difficult for natural snow to be fully relied upon. For this reason, Craftsbury Outdoor Center has brought in snow machines that guarantee snow all winter long.

Burke Mountain Resort

  • Location: East Burke, VT
  • Best Time to Visit: Early spring
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced Intermediate
  • Trail Recommendation: Flower Brook (Advanced Intermediate)

The Dashney Nordic Center inside Burke Mountain Resort offers another great opportunity to experience rural Vermont on skis. Its 15 km of trails can be combined with Kingdom Trails to give you the chance to ski on over 160 km.

Kingdom Trails works with landowners to allow maintained trails to pass through private property. This opens up the capacity for long trails. With Burke Mountain Resort as a start and end, this vast network of trails can come to an end by winding down next to a fire, hot chocolate in hand.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort

  • Location: Jeffersonville, VT
  • Best Time to Visit: February-March
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Trail Recommendation: Bobcat Trail (Advanced)

Smugglers’ Notch Resort is ranked among Ski Magazine’s 2020 top family-friendly resorts, service resorts, and in the top 10 resorts in the East.

From December until April, the Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Adventure Center offers 30 km of beautiful trails for the entire family. The center participates in national Winter Trails Day every year in January, offering free classes and gear rental to those trying to get into cross-country skiing.

Stowe Mountain Resort

stowe mountain resort
Photo Credit: Nicholas Erwin
  • Location: Stowe, VT
  • Best Time to Visit: March
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Expert
  • Trail Recommendation: Upper Bruce Backcountry (Experts Only)
    *XC Reciprocal Program Participant

On top of the abundance of downhill skiing here, Stowe Mountain Resort also runs a Cross-Country Ski Center just down the road. The center grooms and maintains 45 km of trails, but it also has over 30 km of backcountry terrain at your disposal.

The rental shop provides gear that will even allow three-year-olds to get an early start on cross-country skiing.

Catamount Outdoor Family Center

  • Location: Williston, VT
  • Best Time to Visit: February-March
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Trail Recommendation: Coyote Turnpike (Advanced)
    *XC Reciprocal Program Participant

Just outside of Burlington, classical and skate skiers can find a variety of trails at Catamount Outdoor Family Center. There is a wide variety of flat, wooded, open, hilly trails to be found on the property here. The center even offers a 4-km night loop.

Trails are marked for ease of use, which can comfort beginner skiers who may not be able to travel the full 35 km of trails.

Ole’s and Blueberry Lake Cross Country Centers

  • Location: Warren, VT
  • Best Time to Visit: Early Spring
  • Skill Level: Beginner – Expert
  • Trail Recommendation: Blueberry Lake Beaver Trail (Beginner)
    *Blueberry Lake is an XC Reciprocal Program Participant

Inside of Mad River Valley Vermont holds both Ole’s Cross Country Center and Blueberry Lake Cross Country. As next-door neighbors, these two centers offer kilometers of trails ranging from expert-level tracks to beginner.

Mad River Valley also has two highly popular downhill ski resorts, Mad River Glen and Sugarbush, providing an array of different skiing experiences for everyone.

Strafford Nordic Center

  • Location: Strafford, VT
  • Best Time to Visit: February-March
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Expert
  • Trail Recommendation: Intervale (Intermediate)
    *XC Reciprocal Program Participant

Strafford Nordic Center brings fun for all with a diverse range of classes for families, beginners, racers, and athletes all winter long. Self-proclaimed as “The Most Convenient Nordic Ski Area in Vermont,” Strafford is only a 2.5-hour drive from Boston and Hartford.

There are more than 30 km of trails located at Strafford in addition to a biathlon range and full ski lodge with affordable gear rentals. As it is only their eighth year in operation, more trails and backcountry skiing are being added every year.

Prospect Mountain Ski Center

Best Cross Country Skiing in Vermont: Prospect-Mountain-Ski-Center
Photo Credit: Joe and Cindy Palm
  • Location: Woodford, VT
  • Best Time to Visit: March
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Expert
  • Trail Recommendation: Downhill Loop (Beginner/Intermediate)
    *XC Reciprocal Program Participant

Bringing the list to its southern terminus is Prospect Mountain Ski Center. This center is the highest of its kind in all of Vermont, meaning it gets the most natural snow and some of the most beautiful mountaintop vistas. The mountaintop trail leads to the summit, with an elevation gain of over 400 feet, which can be brutal but always worth the view.

Prospect offers a great location for those coming out of Albany in order to get themselves quickly to some world-class cross-country skiing, even if just for the day.


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