Story and photos by Mike Carr
Lots of snow, numerous places to ride, good trails, enjoyable scenery and comfortable lodging perfectly describes Vermont, a rugged and mountainous state that features a fascinating border-to-border trail network plus connections to nearby states.
The Green Mountain National Forest
We set out on a beautiful Monday morning, heading northwest for the Green Mountain National Forest with light snow falling. The trails were wide and well-groomed, winding through rolling, wooded terrain. After just a few miles, I could tell that this was going to be New England riding at its best.
As we approached the Somerset Dam & Reservoir, we encountered two groups of sledders from High Country Tours, which operates out of the famous Mount Snow resort. We paused on the shores of a snow-covered reservoir, taking in the scenic view before resuming our journey.
The trails in the national forest were wide, unplowed roads that were groomed to perfection. The riding was smooth and quick as we cruised over the undulating terrain and around large, sweeping curves. The most memorable segment was along a power line right of way en route to Woodford that featured some roller coaster hills and thrills.
After lunch, we headed south on our return trip, cruising past the Whitington Reservoir, where the trail ran along the base of a huge earthen dam before climbing a steep hill and heading back into the forest. The twisting trail took us up and down, making for a fun and challenging ride through the woods. Along the way we passed a huge, solitary boulder just off the trail that seemed totally out of place, most likely deposited there by a glacier long ago.
Continuing our loop, we crossed Lake Sadawga and Gates Pond, then climbed Hogback Mountain, site of a former ski area. Atop the mountain, we paused to enjoy the scenic view southward toward distant Massachusetts before continuing on the final leg back to West Dover. At one trail junction, we stopped to chat with a father and son who had just seen a moose on the trail, but unfortunately it was gone before we could see it.
To ride in Vermont, you must possess a valid snowmobile registration from any state, as well as a Trail Maintenance Assessment (TMA) permit, which is offered in conjunction with a local club membership.
For more information on snowmobiling in the Green Mountain State, visit the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers web site at vtvast.org. For club and trail information, call the Deerfield Valley Stump Jumpers at 802/464-0042 or visit its web site at dvsj.com.
– Vermont has 4,750 miles of marked, groomed and maintained snowmobile trails.
– Vermont has the highest per-capita dairy cow population in the country.
– Mount Mansfield is the state’s highest point, at 4,395 feet.