By: Maureen Cronin
I started leading snowshoe tours with a group of instructors from the sports center some 10-12 years ago. Back then we hiked the Stratton Golf Course on our way to Pearl Buck’s house where we enjoyed hot chocolate, cookies and some stories about Pearl Buck (the writer of the Good Earth, amongst many others) and the Nearings who started a back-to-earth movement on Stratton Mountain.
Because the golf course could have difficult conditions at times we moved to the Sun Bowl’s cross country trails about 5-6 years ago. Building on our successful format of hike-break-chat-hike, we looked to continue our history conversations in some way in our new location. What we discovered was that history was all around us in the Sun Bowl: old cemeteries, cellar holes, stone boundary walls, original 18th century roads and the history of the people that first settled the town of Stratton.
Most of our snowshoe tour participants are not skiers or boarders nor have they snowshoed before so the chance to experience Vermont, get outside and try a winter sport and have the breaks necessary for everyone to catch their breath opened up the opportunity to share this history with our Stratton guests. It’s been a wonderful way of engaging these new friends and having conversations that go beyond the weather and “where are you from” and leaving these folks with a memorable Stratton experience.
Hope all of you will think about joining us on one of these hikes. It’s great to meet fellow employees as well as guests.