Off-Snow Fun: Maple To Beer, Mineral Springs To Museums
Sugar makers throughout Vermont will open the doors of their sugarhouses, inviting visitors in to experience and enjoy this remarkable time of year when pure Vermont maple syrup is made. (VMSMA)
We all know about the great non-ski things we can do on snow at ski areas — snowshoe, tube, fat bike, snowmobile. But there are also wonderful off-the-snow experiences that showcase local flavor and history for a memorable trip or vacation in the mountains.
When visiting New Hampshire’s Cannon and Bretton Woods, we visited Peckett’s Hill where the first ski school was. Seeing the historic site marker and the gentle meadow made me appreciate ski history more.
Ditto for the visit to the historical museum in Crested Butte. Seeing the miners’ 14-foot “long boards” up close was mindboggling, fostering an appreciation for how rudimentary ski equipment once was.
Here are some suggestions for après action or a day off so you can make some special memories.
Maple Madness to Micro Brews
Maple sugaring season is upon the Northeast so it’s a great time to visit a sugarhouse.
The entire state of Vermont features open houses March 25-26. See the process as well as sample sugar-on-snow and more — from candy-making to pancake breakfasts to the Whitingham Festival near Mount Snow, it’s educational and tasty fun.
The Woodstock Inn and Resort features a Sugar Season Escape through May 18. There’s a spa at the inn, sugarhouses nearby, shopping in historic Woodstock, and skiing at Suicide Six. Plus you can visit Gilbert’s Hill Historic Site where the first U.S. rope tow was installed and the Billings Farm and Museum.
The Maple Taste Around at Suicide Six April 2 (6-8p.m.) features chefs’ maple specialties.
In addition to their sugaring operation, the Adams Farm near Mount Snow offers a fantastic way to entertain and educate the kids — don’t miss all the new baby animals.
You can tour craft breweries from Maine to Utah for another chance to learn, taste and have fun. Would you believe a Shot Ski 404 skis, 1942 feet and 1086 humans long?! The Wasatch Brewery in Park City set the Shot-Ski World’s Record.
Beer festivals abound in summer but Okemo offers Hops on the Snow April 1, showcasing seasonal Vermont craft brews.
Mineral Springs to Museums
Hot water is great for achy limbs and tired bodies so soaking in the world’s largest hot springs pool makes the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort a great day or overnight destination. Located between Vail and Aspen/Snowmass and near Sunlight, you can also stay at the 107-room lodge with numerous amenities.
Check out Idaho’s hot springs as well. You can take a snowmobile excursion to the Burgdorf Hot Springs, soak, and return to Brundage for a truly unique day.
Thrill seekers can enjoy a history lesson as they sit in a quad chair that gives a life-like ride and sail over Mount Superior in Little Cottonwood Canyon at Park City’s Alf Engen Museum. It’s just one of the museum’s four virtual rides on the quad chair Executive Director Connie Nelson said, referring to another virtual thrill of ski jumping.
Exhibits at the Colorado Snowsports Museum in Vail include a history of snowboards, 10th Mountain Division, Vail Dream, competitors, bindings, timeline, etcetetera.
Other major U.S. ski museums include: U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum in Ishpeming, Michigan; New England Ski Museum at Cannon. N.H.: Lake Placid Olympic Museum, N.Y.; Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, Stowe; and the Western Skisport Museum, California.