You may not realize it, but in the next few weeks Vermont’s ski resorts will host some of the most exciting winter events in the Northeast in ski racing, Nordic events, snowshoeing, ice climbing and snowboarding. Mark your calendar and be early to get a front row seat for the action – or if you think you’ve got what it takes, sign a waiver and step up to the starting line.
Jan 23 – 25: The Smuggs Ice Bash: Jan. 23 – 25
For ice climbers, the annual Smuggs Ice Bash is an opportunity to compete, learn and meet other climbers and experience the thrilling sport of ice climbing. The weekend kicks off with a dry-tooling competition at Petra Cliffs Climbing Center in Burlington and then heads to Smugglers’ Notch (accessed from the Stowe or Jeffersonville side of Vermont 108) for clinics, demos and more.
For more information, visit www.smuggsicebash.com.
Jan. 23 – 24: University of Vermont Winter Carnival at Trapp Family Lodge
The top skiers from New England colleges and universities, including the likes of the University of Vermont, Middlebury College and Dartmouth College, compete throughout the weekend. The format for the skate races will be individual starts and the classic races will be mass start, with 5K and 10K men’s and women’s events.
For more information, visit www.trappfamily.com.
Jan. 31: 34: Annual Craftsbury Marathon
This year, the Craftsbury Marathon will form the second part of the National Masters Cross Country Championship at the center. Ski between 25K and 50K on scenic terrain from neighboring Greensboro to Craftsbury. It’s one of the most beautiful Nordic courses in the Northeast, draws a large crowd and, like the Boston or New York City marathons, is one of the more exciting ski marathons in the region.
For more information, visit www.craftsbury.com.
Feb. 1: Mad River Valley Ski Mountaineering Race
This legendary race has expert skiers ascending the slopes of Mad River Glen, traversing along the Long Trail and descending Mt. Ellen. Watch them take off from the starting line, then head down the road to the base of Mt. Ellen to see the finish, or, better yet, enter. Mountaineering events are more about participating than watching.
For more information, go to www.madriverglen.com
Feb. 8: 78th Annual Fisk Trophy Race
The 78th consecutive running of the Fisk Trophy Race is a classic community racing event down the famed slalom course at Suicide Six, which was one of the first ski areas established in the US. Come for the race, and then head over to the Woodstock Inn and Resort for refreshments afterward.
For more information, go to www.woodstockinn.com
Feb. 13 – 14: Winter Carnival at Middlebury College Snow Bowl
The Middlebury College Snow Bowl and the Rikert Nordic Center host some of the best collegiate-level racers in the country in alpine and Nordic divisions.
For more information, visit www.middleburysnowbowl.com.
Feb 15: Camel’s Hump Challenge
This high-country traverse is approximately 25K and requires about six to eight hours of skiing around the summit of one of Vermont’s highest and most notable mountains, Camel’s Hump. The event is a fundraiser for the Vermont Alzheimer’s Association. It’s a great backcountry experience for a great cause.
For more information, visit www.camelshumpchallenge.com.
Feb. 21: Unconventional Terrain Competition
As part of Mad River Glen’s Triple Crown Series, the Unconventional Terrain Competition challenges skiers with signature “ski it if you can” steeps, bumps, jumps and rocks as they plunge down Chute, the trail under the Single Chair.
For more information, visit www.madriverglen.com.
Feb. 22: 70th Annual Stowe Derby
This legendary race is exciting for both spectators and the competitors alike. Nordic skiers make a hair-raising descent on Stowe’s historic Toll Road and then ski on the bike path to the center of the village. The skilled will make it down the course and to the finish line and the exceptionally skilled will complete it twice. This year, fatbikes get to be part of the action.
For more information, visit www.stowederby.com.
March 7: Castlerock Extreme Challenge
Sugarbush Resort hosts the third stop of the Ski The East Freeride Tour on the challenging Lift Line trail on Castlerock Peak. Competitors pick the best line for a piece of the $1,000 cash purse.
For more information, visit www.skitheeast.com.
March 7: Peak 2015 National Snowshoe Championship:
The Aimee Farm in Pittsfield is home to some of the hardest races in the country in every season of the year. The National Snowshoe Championship in March is no different. This winter, the weekend of snowshoe races will include distances of 6 miles, half-marathon, marathon and 100 miles on a rugged 6.5-mile loop course with a gain of 1,200 vertical feet. The 100-mile race has a 34-hour time limit – no exceptions.
For more information, visit www.peak.com.