1. Downhill skiing/snowboarding
Suicide Six Downhill Ski Area: A mere 10 minutes’ drive from Woodstock’s town green, there isn’t a resort more accessible than Suicide Six. Deadly name aside, it’s also family-friendly! 30% of the trails are rated as beginner terrain, 40% as intermediate and 30% as advanced ー with the longest run spanning 5,280 feet. And as the site of America’s first tow rope – powered by Ford Model T engine, no less – it offers not just 3 lifts and 24 trails for snowy joyriding, but also a slice of history.
- Season: Contact the Woodstock Inn & Resort for dates
- Hours of Operation: 9 AM – 4 PM daily
- Rentals Available: Yes
- Lessons: Yes
Killington Mountain Resort and Pico Mountain: The Big K. The Beast of the East. K-Mart. No matter the nickname, Killington is revered as the largest ski mountain on the east coast bosting the longest season by far. Here, under 30 minutes from Woodstock, 212 trails weave their way down the second highest peak in the state (at 4,241 feet) – with bunny slopes, terrain parks, and double black diamonds alike. Nearby Pico Mountain, like Killington’s little sibling, offers 57 trails with a summit elevation of 3,967 feet.
- Killington: Mid-fall through early spring (contact Killington Resort to confirm)
- Pico: Contact Pico Mountain for dates
- Hours of Operation: 9 AM – 4 PM midweek, 8 AM – 4 PM weekends & peak dates
- Rentals Available: Yes
- Lessons: Yes
Ski Quechee: For children and those new to skiing, the Quechee Ski Hill is a bit of downhill perfection! Here, 15 short minutes from Woodstock, you’ll find three chairlifts, 13 trails, a terrain park, glades – and a horse-drawn sleigh to tote little ones and their gear from lodge to chairlift. What’s more quintessentially Vermont than that?
- Season: Contact the Quechee Club for dates
- Hours of Operation: 9 AM – 4 PM Friday through Sunday
- Rentals Available: Yes
- Lessons: Yes
Additional Ski/Snowboard Areas: If you’re willing to drive a little further, Okemo Mountain is another option for a bit of alpine fun. A little closer in proximity is Mt Ascutney, which is expecting the re-introduction of t-bar lift-service in the 2018/2019 ski season thanks to Ascutney Outdoors.
2. Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing
The Tubbs Snowshoes & Nordic Adventure Center: For access to a serene winter wonderland with stunning vistas – all within Woodstock’s village, secure a pass at the adventure center in the Woodstock Country Club. The pass affords 40 km of maintained wooded trails across Mt Peg and Mt Tom. A cozy cabin in the woods of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is the cherry on top, supplying the perfect spot for a mid-trek break. The remaining 23 km of trails on Mt Tom are left in their natural state for backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, and are free for general use.
The Quechee Club: For members and guests, cross country trails are maintained across the club’s renowned golf courses and the Section 5 trail system, which offers a more secluded, wooded experience. Those same trails can be used for snowshoeing, but hikers must stay outside the groomed tracks. Maps are available at the Quechee Club’s Membership Services desk or The Base Lodge.
Additional XC and Snowshoeing Spots: Although Silver Lake Park is closed in the off-season, trails are still accessible for XC skiing and snowshoeing. Killington Resort also offers snowshoe loops, and the nearby Mountain Meadows Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Center also has groomed trails. Great River Outfitters in Windsor has over 4 miles of groomed trails, available for self-guided hikes from 12 – 5 PM. Trail usage fee is $5, rentals are available.
3. Fat tire biking
When the snow gets deep and heavy, fat tire biking is a boon for those who can’t wait to get out on two wheels! The Tubbs Snowshoes & Nordic Adventure Center’s network of village-adjacent trails mentioned above is available for this high-impact sport (visit the Woodstock Athletic Center for a pass and/or bike rentals). Just outside of Woodstock’s village, you’ll find another bounty of options fit for snow-loving bikers, such as the Aqueduct Trails maintained by WAMBA and Ascutney Trails maintained by STAB. Other options include rentals from Great River Outfitters in Windsor and Fat Bike Vermont at Alpine Bike Works in Killington, with seasonal access to the Mountain Meadows XC Center. Guided tours available by reservation.
4. Sledding and Tubing
The Old Mt Tom Ski Hill: The old Rockefeller ski area is now one of Woodstock’s top sledding spots! With a 500-foot vertical drop, the Mt Tom ski hill is a thrill ride of young and old alike. Just head north past Billings Farm & Museum for this location, complete with a parking area across the street. Ungroomed.
The Quechee Club: Situated behind the Base Lodge on the 18th fairway of Highland Golf Course, the groomed Quechee Sledding Hill is a picturesque spot for slip-sliding fun that’s free-for-all.
Killington Tubing Park: Slide solo to the bottom or race your friends to the bottom of this multi-lane park, complete lift service for easy trips up and down. See website for rates and dates.
5. Sleigh riding
When the snow is falling and friends are calling "yoo hoo," come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you! From the center of Woodstock’s village to the open fields of Windsor, you’ll hear those sleigh bells ringing once the ground is blanketed in snow. Check schedules for sleigh rides within the village at Wassail Weekend (December 7-9) and Billings Farm & Museum. Or for chartered rides, look to Kedron Valley Stables in South Woodstock and Great River Outfitters in Windsor.
With the wind on your face, you’ll whip through trees stooped with snow on a thrilling snowmobile ride through Vermont’s backcountry. December through April, secure a guided one-hour, two-hour, or kid-friendly tour of Killington through SnowmobileVermont.com or go solo after joining VAST, an organization responsible for maintaining and grooming over 4,700 miles of trails in Vermont.
7. Dog Sledding
Mush! Hike, straight ahead! Get your pack ready for a 30 or 90-minute dog sled excursion led by a team of Siberian Huskies, rushing through the trees as fast as 20 miles per hour. Excursions are available through Braeburn Siberians in Windsor, VT.
8. Ice skating
Hit the ice on Lakeland Hole #1’s pond at the Quechee Club or take a spin on Silver Lake in Barnard for a quiet, pristine setting. Or if indoor skating is more your style, visit Woodstock’s Union Arena for public skating and adult pick-up hockey. Check all websites for schedules and conditions.
9. Ice fishing
Ice anglers, take note: Silver Lake is back on the list, this time as our top spot for local ice fishing! After the temperatures drop and a +6-inch crust of ice forms over the water, you can venture out onto the 84-acre Silver Lake to catch trophies fit for your wall or the dinner table. But be sure to purchase your fishing license in advance.
10. Ice climbing
Ever dreamed of ascending a frozen waterfall? Sink your pick into this: there’s no better place than Vermont to find sheer vertical walls of ice ripe for climbing! Through Vermont Adventure Tours in Rutland, expert certified climbing guides provide a safe, educational environment for introductory to advanced ice climbing programs. Go it alone or join a group to learn the ropes, then take a stab at lead and mixed climbing, and even self-rescue. Visit this link for tour rates and rental pricing.
11. Winter backpacking survival course
If the rest of this list doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping, keep reading, because this is the winter activity for you! Join a guided three or four-day backpacking trip out into the swirling snowy wilderness with Great River Outfitters as they impart essential tips for building shelters, finding food, building fires, and navigation in an inhospitable environment. Or, for a brief visit to hostile territory, take part in a one-day course in Cold Weather Survival with Vermont Adventure Tours. Visit linked sites above for more information about reservations and rates.
When traveling outdoors in winter, be sure to pack supplies, check conditions, and use caution.