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Years ago, it was common for Vermont to experience huge snow storms during the winter months. Usually, the snow would would be tallied up in feet rather than inches. Snowbanks along Main St. in Newport, VT. were like small mountains to climb over or find a path through.

During the past few years, Vermont has suffered a bit of a drought when it comes to snow. Last year especially. Ski areas and businesses have suffered and snowmobiles never left the garage. It hasn’t been easy. But that changed in 2017!

The recent storm we had on February 11 and 12, 2017 was a welcome event too many but most likely, a huge inconvenience to others. Nevertheless, snow has arrived to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom with perhaps more to come. There are certain to be a lot of smiles among the skiers, snowmobilers and other winter enthusiasts.

Making the best of a Vermont winter storm

Take the skis or snowboard out of the garage and get them tuned up. The best skiing is just after a storm, when the groomers have done their magic on the slopes. No worries about icy slopes. Just corduroy trails with a nice, soft base. Ski and snowboard heaven!

If you’re not one for the excitement of the slopes, Vermont has plenty of places to go and enjoy cross country skiing as well. The Northeast Kingdom offers a wide variety of trails and places to enjoy the slower pace of nordic skiing.

Gas up the snowmobile and let’s ride! Last year was a bust for many snowmobilers but this winter (and the recent storm) are a delight. Head for the VAST trail network with some friends and ride the carpet of fresh, white snow.

Dog sledding is a great way to have fun in the snow. If this is for you then you should check out this website for locations and information.

Ice fishing is both a tradition and a business for some. Enthusiasts should be fully aware of the ice conditions before venturing out onto frozen Vermont lakes and ponds. Every year, there seems to be at least one tragedy that could have been avoided simply by being aware of the ice conditions. Driving vehicles out onto the ice is particularly risky, with cars and trucks often ending up at the bottom of a lake, due to poor planning and proper cautions. Enjoy a day of ice fishing with buddies and do so safely.

Horse drawn sleigh rides. Dashing through the snow on a horse drawn sleigh is a Vermont tradition for some and people visit each winter from around the world, to enjoy a brief journey on a horse drawn sleigh ride through the woods and open fields of our beautiful state.

No cost or low cost fun on the snow

Dust of the sleds and toboggans! Grab the kids and dogs and head out for the nearest snowy hill. Nearly every Vermont community has such a place for family sliding and no cost fun. If you can’t afford a day pass at a ski area and don’t own a snowmobile, sliding is fun and great exercise.

Ice skating is another great option for family and friends. With the recent cold weather, neighborhood skating rinks are the safest choices for fun, followed by lakes and ponds. As with ice fishing, make absolutely certain that the ice depth is adequate and safe enough to skate on.

Build a snowman or snow castle. Although people often do this at home, some communities actually make it into an area event. Gardner Park in Newport, used to build ice castles during the late winter months, as did other towns.

Snowshoeing is great exercise and a wonderful way to enjoy nature. The nice thing about snowshoeing is that you can do it just about anywhere. There’s nothing like donning snow shoes on a late winter afternoon, just as the sun is going down in the west. Enjoy the quiet serenity interrupted only by the sounds of chickadees and light breezes dancing through evergreen trees.

Kids (and adults) love “snow angels”. Get them outside and let them decorate your lawn with this traditional winter favorite.

Sugar on snow. If you live in Vermont, this is an essential. Here’s how to do it: Boil pure Vermont maple syrup to 122 C or 252 F. Drizzle on clean, well-packed snow. Make sure it is cool before eating. (It is essential that pure maple syrup be used and not any other maple-flavored syrup). Make sure the snow is fresh and clean!

Top of the day with a winter bon-fire. This is the perfect way to wrap up a day of fun outdoors or as a simple event with family and friends. Make it a pot-luck event and everyone brings food, hot dogs and marshmallows to cook over the fire.

All of these ideas should help you to get off to a great start after a big snow storm.

Of course the first thing most of us do is clean out our driveways, shovel off our roofs and clean off our cars. After that, it’s all downhill…especially if you’re on a sled, snowboard or skis!

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