If there’s one thing that the Northeast Kingdom is famous for it’s winter events and activities.
Winter often lingers around a bit longer in the northern regions of Vermont, to the delight of winter sports enthusiasts. Island Pond is well known as the “snowmobiling capital of the northeast” for very good reasons. Discover just a few of the activities and things you can do to enjoy winter in the Northeast Kingdom.
Adult Sports & Programs
Newport Parks & Recreation believes in healthy and active lifestyles for all ages. Adult programs are hosted in partnership with community organizations and volunteers who have a passion to share. Check out this page for more information and the programs offered.
The Northeast Kingdom offers some fantastic opportunities for sledding with VAST trails and clubs in just about every town. You can purchase trail passes online, take part in VAST events and safety courses and much more.
Downhill ski and snowboard deals
Affordable family skiing, just 40 minutes from Newport. Budget priced Tuesdays and Wednesdays are only $25 instead of $58.
Burke Mountain has some great 2019 lift ticket deals
2019 Ski/Ride Club Appreciation Weekends. Are you a member of a ski or snowboard club? Awesome! Burke Mountain has some special weekends set aside for you where you can purchase cheap lift tickets. More great lift ticket discounts available here.
Cross Country Skiing and Fat Biking in the Northeast Kingdom
Memphremagog Ski Touring Foundation grooms about 40 km (24 miles) of cross-country ski trails at the southeast end of Lake Memphremagog. All the trails are groomed for skating, including 20 km that are groomed for both classic and skating. The trail system is composed of 20 km loop connecting the Beebe Spur Rail Trail (bike path) along the lake shore, the Primeau Loops and the Quarry Loops. The Derby Connector is an additional 15 km (out and back) option. Check out trail maps for the Bluff Farm Trail, Eastern and Western trail maps.
For cross country skiing south of the Newport area, check out Kingdom Trails
Lyndonville’s Darling Hill, said to be the “prettiest mile in Vermont”, has 15 kilometers of skating and classic trails that wind through field and forest. You can’t beat the vista from these trails, looking out at Willoughby Gap as you tour next to historic barns, quaint inns and majestic Victorian houses. The Nordic Adventure Center is located at 2059 Darling Hill Road and the building is a yurt- a round tent originating in the middle east.
The Craftsbury Outdoor Center also offers some spectacular cross country skiing as well. Check out their nordic skiing and fat biking trails.
Winter Fat Biking/Snowshoe Trails can also be found at Kingdom Trails
Encouraged by the growing popularity of winter biking you will find a selection of trails to get out there and pedal a fat bike in the snow. This year, they are snowmobile and snowshoe packing the entire network of single track mountain biking trails on the East Side of Darling Hill as well as a portion of the West Side. Summertime favorites such as Pines, Ridge to Rim, and Riverwood can be enjoyed on your bike all winter long now too!!!
Ice Skating, Pond Hockey and Winter swims
Kingdom Games in Newport, VT has a full slate of Winter events planned, including the Memphremagog Women’s Pond Hockey Tournament on February 9th and 10th. Followed by the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival on February 22 to 24. Enjoy the Memphremagog Ice Skating Festival on March 2-3, 2019.
Newport’s Gardner Park offers access to Winter ice rinks. From December to March, locals and visitors flock to Gardner Park and the “Skate Shack” to enjoy beautiful ice rinks, free skate rentals, hot cocoa and restrooms. The park features 3 separate ice surfaces connected by frozen skating paths. The contained Hockey Rink is open for casual stick and puck while the Rec Rink on the south end offers public skating. Weather permitting, open areas and trails on the lake are also maintained for natural skating in the bay. During the winter, the rinks are open Monday-Friday 3:00 – 9:00PM, and weekends Noon-9:00PM.
Some really unique Winter activities…
Dog Sledding Adventures
For a unique experience, check out dog sledding. Kids of all ages will get a thrill leading a team of sled dogs through the beautiful white landscape of a Northeast Kingdom winter. Montgomery Adventures by Mountain Haven Sled Dogs offers sled dog tours for all ages and price ranges. You can even try your hand at being a musher with the help of a pro or enjoy a Moonlit Tour. Of course, there’s hot cocoa and biscuits (for the pups) afterwards.
Ice Climbing at Lake Willoughby
For the more adventurous in spirit, check out ice climbing on the cliffs of Mt Pisgah at Lake Willoughby. Get instruction in rock and ice climbing, mountaineering and much more. You can checkout rates for learning to ice climb and more at Kingdom Adventures Mountain Guides.
December 2019 Events & Things to Do
Evergreen Centerpiece Workshop at MAC Center
The MAC Center for the Arts will host a family evergreen centerpiece workshop on Saturday, December 7, from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Downstairs Gallery at the MAC Center on Main Street in Newport. Ages 9 and up are welcome and cost to cover supplies is $7 per person. The workshop size is limited to 35 participants so preregistration is recommended. For more information, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com or call the MAC at 334-1966. To pick up a registration form participants may stop by the MAC, or email email@example.com.
The Halo Foundation 5K Santa Run/Walk
will be held on Sunday, December 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Race starts at 11:00. To register, go to www.runreg.com/halossanta. The festival will include Santa’s workshop, which includes cookie decorating, ornament making and writing to Santa. For all participants this is included in registration fee. Families not running can participate for a fee of $5 per member. Santa is flying in from the North Pole. This is a family friendly event and walking is encouraged.
All participants will have pizza and beverage at the end of the run. Top 3 men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ finishers will be awarded prizes. Raffle tickets will be sold for a chance to win an 8′ stocking full of gifts. On the day of the event, bibs and suit pickup will be between 10 to 10:45 a.m. onsite at the Orleans Fire Station. Registration will also be available the day of the event from 10 to 10:45 a.m. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fire & Ice Radar Runs
2019 Radar Runs have been moved to February 16 due to ice conditions.
The roar of high-speed engines resonates from Lake Memphremagog during the radar runs outside the Eastside Restaurant during Winter Festival. This one day competition showcases local riders competing for speed down a thousand foot track on the lake. With categories for all ages, some of the fastest sleds have traveled over 130 miles per hour. Winners from a variety of age divisions take home trophies and celebrate with an after-race banquet at 4PM inside the restaurant. Registration at 9AM, runs begin at 11AM. For more information, contact Ken Wells at 802-673-7151 or 802-334-2340.
Newport Winter Festival
The Winter Festival is a nostalgic visit from the past. We use the weekend to celebrate timeless Vermont traditions like snowmobiling, ice skating, broomball, and bonfires. Nothing chases the frostbite blues away like heartwarming time spent with family and friends. Whether you’re participating in a tournament or simply watching, you’re going to love this winter wonderland weekend. More info here.
Age: All Ages
Date: Saturday, February 29, 2019
Location: Prouty Beach
Admit/Rate: Donations support the event
Family Events & Fireworks at Gardner Park
As the tournaments and the day’s festivities wind down, families are invited to gather at the park at 5:00PM for the Winter Festival finale. Finish the evening with free ice skating, bonfire, and a spectacular fireworks display over the bay on Lake Memphremagog at 7PM. Don’t miss the hysterical Hoagie’s pizza eating contest and Chuck-a-Puck 50/50 fundraiser ($5 each) to benefit the Gardner Park Playground and Splashpad Project. Admission to the park is free, but donations are appreciated to support the event
WINTER FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
- 5:00PM Family Activities Begin at Gardner Park
- Free Ice Skating
- Winter Festival Bonfire
- Guy Fortin Broomball Championship Game
- 6:30PM Hoagies Pizza Eating Contest
- 6:45 PM Chuck-A-Puck Contest to support the Gardner Park Playground & Splash Pad Project
- 7:00PM Winter Festival Fireworks
Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival
The only 25 meter winter swim pool cut in the ice in all of the Americas.
Info at http://kingdomgames.co
Register at http://kingdomgames.co/2020-nekowsa-swim-registrations