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Snowshow Magazine

Snowshow Magazine

Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Sculling, Mountain Biking, and Running at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont

535 Lost Nation Road, Craftsbury Common, VT 05827

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The Craftsbury Outdoor Center (802-586-7767, www.craftsbury.com) is a non-profit organization in Craftsbury Common, Vermont whose mission is supporting and promoting participation in cross country skiing, rowing, and running as lifelong sports, using and teaching sustainable practices while protecting and managing the surrounding environment.

Set on the shores of Big Hosmer Pond, Craftsbury's campus is surrounded by field and forest with 85 km of trails groomed for classic and skate skiing. Craftsbury has been the home of the east's largest ski marathon since 1981. An untimed recreational version of the marathon along the same route with gourmet food stops has been held for more than a decade. This year it will be held on its own loop in March.

During the warmer months, the Center offers a wide variety of activities. In 1976 the Craftsbury Outdoor Center hosted the first sculling camp in North America. The Center remains a premier destination for athletes of all ages and abilities to improve their strokes.

In the winter Craftsbury is known for xc skiing. The simple, wood-heated day lounge has a retail shop, snacks, and rental equipment. The Outdoor Center membership for the year is affordably priced at $25 for a student or senior citizen and $50 for an individual adult. Family memberships are $100. The membership provides use of the trails, access to low-cost instruction and programming, year-round member events, as well as discounts on rental gear.

Day memberships are also available. Adults are $10 for the day and only $5 for students and seniors. Kids aged 6 and under can ski for free. Trail use is included for all house guests. XC ski rental equipment is available at $15 for a full day for an adult. The fee to rent ski gear for students and seniors is $10. Skis, boots, or poles can be rented separately, too. Snowshoe rentals are $5 and a pulk sled is $10 for 2 hours.

Private ski lessons are $30 per person or $45 for two. Lessons for 3-8 people are $60 for the group.

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All lodging (whether apartment style, single, shared, or with a private bath, and there are also lakeside cottages) prices include three all-you-can-eat meals in the Craftsbury dining hall - now a member of the Vermont Fresh Network in recognition of the fresh, local, organic ingredients found in the menu. There's a vegetarian option at each meal and the dining hall works to accommodate most any dietary need or restriction.

The facility has free Wifi in all accommodations, a sauna, a fitness room with Concept2 fitness equipment, ping pong and other family games, as well as TVs in common areas. Craftsbury Outdoor Center has been rated a "Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State."

For more detailed info about the Outdoor Center trail conditions click Snow Report.

A unique program at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center is the Road Scholar program, which blends xc skiing with other, often more academic pursuits in weeklong programs. Some upcoming scheduled programs in 2012 include Yoga (1/16-20, 2/26-3/2, 3/4-9), Film & Fiction 2/12-17) and Introduction to Astronomy (1/22-27). For more info check www.RoadScholar.org or 877-426-2166.

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Directions: Try the Craftsbury Web site for Driving Directions and be aware that Google or Mapquest frequently directs drivers to unplowed roads in northern VT.

In general, from the south, get to Hardwick, VT via whatever route you desire. Head north on VT Rt 14N. From Route 14, take a right turn at the "Craftsbury Outdoor Center 6 miles" sign (South Craftsbury Road). Pass through Craftsbury Village, go up a hill, through the village of Craftsbury Common (a collection of white houses at the top of the hill). Continue out of town approximately 3/4 mile past the Common, and look for a yellow curve sign. As the sign indicates, the pavement curves to the left, you want to bear right off the pavement and follow the "Craftsbury Outdoor Center" signs (staying on Mill Village Road). Continue winding on the dirt road for just under 1.25 miles and turn right onto Lost Nation Road. The Outdoor Center's office is located approximately 0.6 miles on the left. You will see a large Craftsbury Outdoor Center sign. The office is in the white farmhouse. CCSAA member. Photos by John Lazenby, Chris Milman, and Kris Dobie.