Get Out and Backcountry Ski Festival

by Jim Fredericks, CTA  Director

Bolton Valley and the Catamount Trail Association (CTA) have teamed up to provide a great day of Nordic skiing at the Get Out and Backcountry Ski Festival on Sunday, January 25, 2009. The festival is a terrific opportunity to ski with like-minded folks or, if you are new to the sport, take a guided first step into the world of backcountry skiing. All festival attendees will have an opportunity to explore the Bolton backcountry as well as the groomed trails, ski on some new products provided by manufacturers, and learn new skills. Instructors will be on board to teach everything from traditional classic technique to making sweet telemark turns.

The festival will feature a vendor village featuring new backcountry and cross-country equipment and reps to explain how to use it all. Backcountry and cross-country ski clinics will take place throughout the day. Clinics are geared to first time backcountry skiers and intermediate skiers. Guided tours of Bolton’s un-groomed backcountry trails, including the Catamount Trail, will be ongoing throughout the day. A guided tour is an excellent way to learn some new technique while exploring some new terrain without fear of becoming lost. Participants may also test their newly learned skills in a fun, two person team obstacle race later in the day.

The Festival is held in the spirit of one of Bolton Valley’s earliest owners and ski pioneers, Edward Bryant. A native New Yorker, Bryant purchased 10,000 acres from the American Brass Company in 1922. He and the Bolton Mountain Club would hike into the valley and up the mountain to earn their turns before any lifts, buildings or even the access road existed on the property. Bryant’s name lives on at Bolton Valley as the namesake of the Bryant Cabin, which backcountry enthusiasts rent out year round for camping.

Bolton and the CTA have worked together over the years and in 2008 Bolton granted an easement for part of the Catamount Trail, ensuring that the Catamount Trail will always run through Bolton Valley.

Backcountry ski gear is suggested for festival participants. Bolton Valley has a limited selection of backcountry skis, call ahead to reserve equipment for the day. (802-434-6876) Registration will be the day of the event and starts at 9:00 a.m. The festival starts at 10:00 a.m. at Bolton Nordic Center and is $25 per person. The entry fee includes a Nordic ticket, access to the clinics, tours and the opportunity to try both cross-country and backcountry gear. Bring the family and have a great day of Nordic skiing.

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