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Top Outdoor Winter Activities in the Upper Valley

SnowboardingWhen you are dressed and outfitted properly, you will be warm and ready for the perfect outdoor winter activity in the Upper Valley. You won’t want the day to end. But when the sun sets, or the evening session is over, you can return to your Upper Valley home in Vermont or New Hampshire with a smile knowing it was a day well spent. You will be tired, but it will be a “good” tired. You will shake off the snow, store your gear, have a hot meal, and enjoy a perfect night’s sleep. We love the winter, and we think you will too. 

Winter Activity Clothing Basics 

Layering, Moisture Management, and Insulation: You’ll only be as warm as your clothing and gear permit. Choose wisely. You’ll want to keep moisture away from your skin, so that first layer is very important. Your base layer (sometimes called long underwear) needs to be moisture wicking. Your middle layer should hold on to the heat your body creates. Your outer layer should shield you from the snow, sleet, rain, and wind. When shopping for footwear and gloves, we look for products from manufacturers who follow this layering model (i.e. winter gloves, ski boots, snowboarding boots). 

Outdoor Visibility: Goggles are cool. You’re going to look darn snazzy whether snowboarding, skiing or snowmobiling with that fancy eyewear. But it isn’t all about fashion. Goggles are necessary. They protect your eyes from UV rays, shield them from the cold, and allow you to see better (when the right lens is used for the right condition) to enjoy your adventure safely. 

Choose a lens with an appropriate VLT (visible light transmission) rating for the conditions of the day. On a bluebird day (a sunny day) you’ll want a lens with a VLT of 25% or less. On a graybird day (a cloudy and overcast day) you’ll want a lens with a higher “visible light transmission” of up to 70% so you can see what you’re doing. And for stormy weather or night riding or skiing, you’ll want just a light tint or clear 100% rating. All lenses should be rated to provide 100% protection from UV radiation. 

Skiing & Snowboarding 

Upper Valley New Hampshire Ski & Riding: Local ski and ride areas include Whaleback in Enfield, Storrs Hill in Lebanon, and Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme Center. All of the resorts offer lessons and are known for friendly staff and providing a family-friendly environment. 

Storrs Hill is a great little local treasure to enjoy a quick run or learn new skills. The runs are short. Lift tickets are very affordable. Junior tickets (ages 3-15) were $10 and adult tickets (ages 16 and up) were $15 for the 2021-2022 season. Lessons are available for beginners through advanced snowboarding and skiing. Ski jumping, alpine ski racing, telemark skiing, and backcountry skiing lessons are also available. 

Upper Valley Vermont Ski & Riding: Local ski and ride areas include Saskadena Six (formerly Suicide Six) in South Pomfret and The Quechee Club in Quechee. The Quechee Club is a smaller resort but prides itself on being family and beginner friendly. There are 13 trails serviced by one quad chairlift, the “quadzilla”.

Outdoor Ice Skating & Pond Hockey 

Long Distance Ice Skating: The longest ice skating trail in the United States is right here in the Upper Valley. Dress in your cold weather winter finest and grab your skates. You, your friends, and your family are in for a treat! The Skate Trail at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont is 4.3 miles long. The trailheads are located at Lake Morey Resort and Fairlee Town Beach. Skating is free, but donations are appreciated. The resort maintains an “ice report” on its website to let visitors know when the lake is frozen and safe for skating. It will usually open up sometime in January. 

Pond Hockey: The 12th annual Vermont Pond Hockey Championship is scheduled for February 3rd-5th 2023 at the Lake Morey Resort. There are three divisions: open, league, and pond. Games are played 4 on 4 by teams of 6 players. There are no goalies. Games are played in two 15-minute halves. Goaltending, slap shots, and checking are not allowed. This is a fun tournament. Registration is $720 per team. 


New Hampshire Snowmobiling: There are 7,000 miles of snowmobile trails in New Hampshire. This is made possible by partnerships with New Hampshire State Parks, landowners, and club volunteers (who construct and maintain the trails). Snowmobiling is a New Hampshire way of life. You will quickly make new friends by joining a local club. You will love winter, snowmobiling through thousands of miles of the New Hampshire wilderness. 

Vermont Snowmobiling: The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) is one of the oldest snowmobiling organizations in the country. It includes 127 clubs and 24,000 members. VAST maintains and grooms over 5,000 miles of trails throughout the state for your perfect winter adventure. Please keep in mind that 80% of the Vermont trail system is on private land, and VAST trails are for winter use only (mountain biking, hiking, ATVs, and other uses are not permitted unless specifically authorized by a landowner with written permission). 


Upper Valley New Hampshire Snowshoeing: The trails you enjoy hiking at the local state parks in the summer are great places to return in the winter following a snowstorm. Just remember to dress for the occasion, and bring all the important gear (if you forget your snowshoes you won’t get too far). Franconia State Park in Franconia and Pillsbury State Park in Washington are local favorites. Franconia State Park offers easy terrain on the multi-use “Franconia Recreational Path” while intermediate to advanced trails at Pillsbury State Park will bring you to frozen ponds, mountains, and encounters with winter wildlife (moose and otters are common). 

Upper Valley Vermont Snowshoeing: Vermont State Parks are open all year long, and access is free of charge in the off season. The parks are great places for snowshoeing. Mount Ascutney State Park in Windsor is an Upper Valley favorite for snowshoeing. It features five trails covering 12 miles. The trails range from moderate to difficult. The state reminds visitors that snow plowing schedules may affect parked vehicles during inclement weather (this means you should have a shovel in the trunk of your car, so you can dig yourself out if necessary). 

The staff at LindeMac Real Estate is looking forward to helping you find your perfect Upper Valley home in New Hampshire or Vermont. We love the snow and winter adventures. We think you will too. Contact us today!

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