By Adam Wanamaker
What is a glade skiing, powder-stash steward to do when the snow melts in southern Vermont? The most obvious answer is to go hiking.
Hiking is relaxing. It affords 360o movement on the mountain, an opportunity to explore and discover hidden nooks and crannies typically buried in the winter, a chance to meet some of the diverse wildlife and discover the down-right mesmerizing plant life that makes you swear James Cameron spent time in the Green Mountains during his “research” phase for Avatar. Hiking is great exercise, but it’s not the only way to get out and enjoy summer in the mountains.
Cue my personally preferred form of transportation, entertainment, excitement, and dopamine in non-snow bearing months; my mountain bike. It’s not often that two people get back from an hour-long hike and can, without saying a word, connect with a smile, a head tilt, or raising a glass with a mutual respect knowing exactly what the person across the way—a complete stranger perhaps—is thinking. In winter this happens regularly on a powder day in the lift line or in your preferred—ahem—establishment at the end of the day, and it happens after a mountain biking session, too.
Thankfully there is an increasingly large and dedicated community of mountain bike enthusiasts and land owners cropping up around the Stratton area, with most of the trail systems having opened or reopened to public access, planned, and constructed only within the past three years. Momentum is building around the mountain bike movement and clubs like the Manchester & The Mountain’s Bike Club have been busily building trails, organizing group rides, and taking the proverbial torch forward in making a cohesive community with a vision and a mission that area businesses and the Chamber of Commerce have been supporting around mountain biking. That’s why I implore you to go to your local bike shop in Southern Vermont and ask about trails. Not only will you get some great , non-Googleable info, but this is one of the few things where the internet hasn’t kept up entirely with the full-throttle work that’s being done to make steep mountains covered in ankle-deep mud not just rideable, but fun places to get your dopamine fix flying through the trees until winter comes back around. If I can’t convince you to revisit mountain biking or give it a spin for the first time, maybe this kid can.
About the author:
Adam Wanamaker got lost in his neighborhood the day he learned to ride a bike; although just 10 houses down his block, he’d broken into never-before seen territory. After biking all around greater Binghamton, NY and driving to ski Stratton on weekends in winter, he started at Stratton after graduating SUNY Binghamton. Three years ago he was part of a group on resort that started The Activity Hub, where he eventually became the supervisor of The Hub and more recently the Nordic Center. He loves exploring Vermont’s trails but prefers “bush whacking” to find new hidden Green Mountain gems and writing biographies in third person.