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backcountry in VT

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My wife and I have been skiing at resorts in south central VT for over twenty years. We've picked up AT gear and I'm wondering if anybody knows of a good source for decent hikes and descents. We're both technically competent and like to hike a lot. Thanks for any information.
post #2 of 11
The standard approach is to buy the Goodman books, then eventually you'll get to know other backcountry skiers who will show you the real goods.

Another nice place to get some initial experience is Bryant Mtn aka the former Berkshire Snow Basin. Only 580' vert at most, and mainly low angle, but nice open terrain and relatively reliable snowpack for southern New England.

Coming up I-91, take the exit for 9W -- once you've been driving for ~25-30 min, keep a lookout on the left for a massively wide ski slope (recently cleared by DCR to provide habitat for wildlife ... like my Dynafit Snow Leopards). Drive another tenth of a mile or so and park in the cleared lot on the right. Once you're booted up, carefully cross Route 9, then skin along the snowbanks until you reach the base area.

If you ski there tomorrow, you'll see my skin track on the right (meanders a bit since I was following a boot track), although you'll also have to deal with a few tight sections up top (where the trail splits in two, and then eventually three), which I haven't cleared up yet.

If you don't ski there tomorrow, then with the rain coming in Sunday, unclear when it will be skiable again, although by then I hope to clear up the top a bit where DCR got kinda sloppy.

Also, although a summit A-frame bldg is still intact, I'd stay far away from that or any other structures -- condition could be dangerous.

The other obvious & relatively accessible spot for you is Greylock/Thunderbolt -- conditions were quite nice this morning (although of course we skied off all the freshies, sorry).
post #3 of 11


I'm also looking to begin some AT skiing in Vermont and have found some pretty good route descriptions at trails.com, more specifically, here http://www.trails.com/stateactivity.asp?area=13607

(The source seems to be the David Goodman books, published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books, that the previous poster referenced.)

You'll need to sign up for the free trial to get to the best of it, which is maps and multi-page route descriptions. But even the free part of the site can at least give you names of and general locations of frequented spots. The main cross country ski center at Stowe seems to be a spot to access many of the trail heads.

If you folks have any interest in teaming up with another Vermont AT rookie, drop me a PM. I'm 36, a solid downhill skier and have limited AT experience from various trips out west. I just got my own gear and am excited about trying to use it here in the East in Vermont and the ADK. (I live in Upstate NY but my family is in Montpelier so I am in VT often.)
post #4 of 11
The backside of Stowe and Smuggs are enjoyable too. Take the chairlift up. Hike off the back, enjoy some deep and steep tree skiing. Its not huge bowls or anything but it is some interesting glades. The only problem is when your done you come down to the road and have to cross country ski back to the base. The road is closed during the winter so there isn't cars but its a schlep none the less.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
We've done some hiking on our skis with skins on and discovered we need a LOT of practice skinning. We're both in good shape( run 5+miles a day), but the different muscle groups used beat us up pretty good. Once we get some confidence that we won't be a hindrance to anybody we'll set some hikes up.
post #6 of 11
One key to skinning is slide the ski forward, don't lift the ski like a snowshoe.

I didn't see this mentioned: www.nelsap.org New England Lost Ski Area's, they are obviously good places to check out.

Here in Northern VT, Camel's Hump is a nice ski.
post #7 of 11
This is something that has interested me for over a year now. OF course there is no back country skiing in the LP of Michigan, but I'd love to get the set up and do this.
Obviously there's a lot to learn.
post #8 of 11
Just out of curiosity, are there any slides here in the east or is the snowpack usually not deep enough?? I have been tinkering with the idea to step out of bounds either this year of next.
post #9 of 11
Slides aren't just about the depth of the snowpack. A three-inch slab of water-soaked snow can kill as well as a two-foot layer of powder under the right conditions.

Generally, many skiable slopes in the Northeast do not regularly slide, with a few notable exceptions: the bowls on Mt. Washington, which are dangerous enough to not be skiable for much of the winter, and the higher peaks in the Adirondacks, which can and do slide now and then. If there's a specific peak you're thinking of climbing and skiing, I encourage you to do your research and get a solid idea of both its historical avalanche activity, and what the most recent snowpack quality is before heading out.
post #10 of 11
I remember one Spring when the Bowl at Tuckerman's slid all at once and left a 15 ft stauch wall, also an avalanche off Lion's Head that took out the old shelter.
post #11 of 11
Mt. Belvidere, is one of the few places in the east that has risk of avalanche risk so bring a beacon.
the mountain is near Lowell


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