25 Ways to Win Winter

6. Fatbike the Trail Networks

Most bike shops will let you demo a fatbike but for a day of fun, head to one of the trail systems that’s been groomed for big wheels. More and more Nordic areas are turning parts of their trail systems over to fatbiking with lessons and rentals. The  fat tires roll easily over bumps and grip on ice, making you feel like a kid on a giant Tonka toy.  Grafton Trails and  Outdoor Center in southern Vermont, Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton and Kingdom Trails in the Northeast Kingdom all rent fatbikes and have miles of groomed trails.

Fatbike riders at Winterbike 2019.

7. Take Skate or Classic Ski Lessons

If Vermont’s cadre of Olympic skiers hasn’t already inspired you to do so, this is the winter to learn to skate ski (or classic). Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton is limiting its clients to Vermont residents this winter. With 55 kilometers of groomed trails, snowmaking and rentals, you can get three private lessons (each one hour) for $195 or join in the group lessons (for both classic and skating) that happen daily at 10 am and 1 pm. At the Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center, you can take an adult lesson (minimum of two people) for $40 or do a package with rentals and lift tickets for $85.

8. Become a Biathlete

Become a biathlete and learn to shoot and ski. While the Ethan Allen firing range is closed this winter and the Ethan Allen Biathlon Club isn’t hosting its regular beginner clinics, the Strafford Nordic Center is offering clinics for up to six people by appointment only. Cost is $40 per person, rifle and instruction included but bring your own Nordic gear or rent there.

9. Get Ready to Run

RunVermont, which puts on events such as the Burlington City Marathon, has always had training programs to help newbies or experts get ready to do their best. This year they hope to run the marathon on its regular time slot Memorial Day. But coaching has gone virtual with the  2021 Rdy2Run Digital Coaching Services platform. It includes bi-monthly discussions on goals, mileage tracking, nutrition tips, and access to 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon training plans. The program is free if you sign up for a Passport (which also gets you 20% off races), or you can buy it for $45 to $75, depending on how long your goal event distance is.  Runvermont.com

10. Enter an Online Race

Tired of training on your own, indoors? As long as you have a compatible smart trainer, download the Zwift app (or another) and enter the alternately fun/grueling/obsessive/compulsive world of online racing. You can choose routes based on real rides or runs around the world or from the fictional island of Watopia. You set your pace, your weight and your ability level. Do your own training plan, a preprogrammed one or race against other (alert: you’ll get competitive and yes, people do cheat). The app works with compatible smart trainers for bikes or treadmills.

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