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Mountain biking in Vermont

Hitting the trails with the Stowe Mountain Biking Club

  • Aug 31, 2013
  • 570 words
  • 3 minutes
Rick Sokoloff leads riders along the Trapp Family Lodge’s bike trails Expand Image

My legs are burning and I’m out of breath. All I can think about is hopping off my bike and resting in the wet leaves that line this uphill single-track trail. “Stand up! Push through it!” shouts Rick Sokoloff, my 58-year-old guide, pedalling past me as though we were on level ground.

I’d met Sokoloff earlier on this sunny but cool October morning, at the outdoor centre of the Trapp Family Lodge, in Stowe, Vermont. I was expecting a short guided tour and a brief chat before heading off on my own. But before I knew it, Sokoloff, the founding president of the Stowe Mountain Biking Club, was leading me along a five-kilometre trail with a 244-metre elevation.

The route we’re on is part of a network of more than 60 kilometres of private single- and double-track trails that snake across the resort’s property. The single-track trails are notable because they’ve been built with sustainability in mind; each is designed to shed water that would otherwise pool and erode the trail. “Returning home covered in mud shows that you had an impact on the terrain,” says Sam von Trapp, president of the Trapp Family Lodge. “And it’s not great for the moving parts on your bike either.”

Expand Image
Map: Chris Brackley/Canadian Geographic)

After a brief rest at the top of the trail, Sokoloff announces it’s time to head back. With a firm grip on my handlebars I barrel down the hill, forearms vibrating from the rough terrain. Sticks snap under my tires. The wind fills my jacket and lungs. We veer off a wide path and onto a narrow trail. I jolt over rocks and exposed roots and weave my way around trees and sharp turns.

By the time we exit the trails at the on-site Trapp Lager Brewery — where I inhale an open-faced turkey sandwich smothered with gravy, topped with cranberries and washed down with a crisp pint of Golden Helles lager — I’ve all but forgotten about that tiring uphill portion, and realize it was well worth the effort.

After a hard day of riding the mountain-bike trails at Stowe’s Trapp Family Lodge, you’ll want to sooth your aching muscles and treat yourself to some fine food and drink. The three places listed below are a good place to start.

Crop Bistro and Brewery
Start off with Crop’s Vermont cheese board, which includes a spread of three cheeses, a dollop of honey, toasted nuts and croutons, before digging into the likes of asparagus salad, a pulled pork sandwich or beer-battered fish and chips. There’s also an impressive beer, wine and cocktail selection to wash it all down.

Crop Bistro and Brewery
1859 Mountain Road
Stowe, VT, 05672

Topnotch Spa Sports Massage
You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to hit the trails again in no time after getting the 80-minute sports massage, but if you want something truly special, opt for the 110-minute Ultimate Custom Massage, which involves everything from shiatsu to reflexology. 

Topnotch Resort and Spa
4000 Mountain Road
Stowe, VT 05672

Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa
Before turning in for the night, take in a little more of the fresh mountain air as you luxuriate in a long soak at Stoweflake’s outdoor Jacuzzi.

Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa
1746 Mountain Road
Stowe, Vermont 05672


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