25 Ways to Win Winter

16. Skate for Miles

While there are plenty of ponds and ice rinks around the state where you can circle around for an afternoon or an hour, there is nothing like traveling a distance on skates. If you want to get that sensation, head to Lake Morey. The Fairlee lake claims the longest groomed skating track in the United States — a smooth 4.3-mile loop that’s maintained by the Lake Morey Resort, where you can also rent skate gear. The skate trail, which opens in late January, is free but  donations are appreciated.

Skating the loop on Lake Morey. Photo by Herb Swanson

17. Learn to Track

Ever wondered what those prints in the snow are? The Vermont Wilderness School in Brattleboro offers one-day (Feb. 20) and weekend courses (register to find out when the next one is) and learn how to follow a fox or a bobcat. The Roots School in Bradford is also offering full-day classes ($150) on January 30 and February 27.

18. Count Birds for Science

The Christmas Bird Count might be the National Audubon Society’s most famous event and a way that many get into birding but don’t despair if you missed it. The Winter Bald Eagle Count goes from  January 6-20. If you see one, note the date, location and time of day as well as other markers and you can submit your siting at vt.audubon.org. On Wed. January 20, the organization will also be holding an online Climate Watch 101 where you’ll learn about the  technology and bird identification skills needed for the Climate Watch bird survey which goes until February 15,.

19. Try Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is about as true-blue Vermont as sugaring and wearing flannel. You may not think about it as a sport until you see a gnarly Northern pike on the hook. A number of outfitters can get you started with the gear and guiding you need. Whitetail Strategies Guide Service out of Benson even boasts an ice shanty with wood stove and can rent portable jigging houses.

20. Go Extreme Sledding

Sure, saucers and toboggans are fun. But have you ever tried piloting a Hammerhead sled or a Mad River Rocket down Lincoln Gap? In winter, the “steepest paved mile” in America becomes the “steepest unplowed road” with screaming, hairpin descents. Pretty much any other closed road will also do. Think Mt. Philo, Mt. Equinox… you name it. Just keep it safe.

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