catpondThe first Northeaster of the Winter visited nearby Woodstock and the October Country Inn (check us out) a little earlier than usual this season.  A good foot of snow now blankets the hillsides and provides a visual cue that it’s time to prepare for Winter fun.  For many of our guests, this means backcountry skiing.  If this is a brand of Winter fun that interests you, the Catamount Trail (a cross-country ski trail that runs the length of Vermont) Association has significantly expanded its Get Out & Backcountry Instructional Series for 2015.


The Introduction to Overland Touring course is being offered on February 1 and 15.  This introductory course is aimed at the new skier looking to try point-to-point backcountry turning on the Catamount Trail or other similar trails using lightweight nordic touring equipment.  The course will emphasize skill demonstration, practice, evaluation, and feedback.  Likely participants might never have been on skis before, but will probably have some skiing experience and are now interested in getting off the beaten path.  The course covers different equipment types, layering strategies, moving forward efficiently, stopping/speed control, turning, and basic uphill technique.  The goal of this course is to introduce and reinforce the basic skills required to participate on an easy tour over gently rolling terrain.  Once comfortable with the skills presented during this course, you will be ready for the Intermediate Overland Touring course.

catwoodsThe Intermediate Overland Touring course is being offered on February 1, 8, 15, & 22.  It will take the form of a teaching tour where the group will explore easier backcountry trails in search of teachable moments.  The emphasis during this course will be learning by doing.  Topics similar to those in the introductory course will be covered but you will be practicing these skills and putting them to use under slightly more challenging conditions.  Once comfortable with the skills presented, you will be ready to participate in one of Catamount Trail Association’s introductory day tours.

TelemarkThe Telemark Turn Clinic is being offered January 25 at nearby Pico Mountain.  This course is for skiers looking to tackle more challenging terrain, or those who want to spice up tours by being able to take better advantage of skiable downhill areas.  This course will take place on easy, lift accessed, downhill terrain at a ski resort, and will emphasize skill demonstration, practice, and technique evaluation.  This is an introductory level class for the beginning and intermediate Telemark skiers looking to develop and refine their skills.

The Introduction to Mountain Touring course will be offered February 8 & 22.  This course is intended for expert level skiers who are new to exploring the backcountry.  This course will take the form of an instructional tour and will cover layering strategies, what it means to be prepared, navigation, efficient touring and uphill techniques.  At the end of the course you will be more prepared to safely spend a full day in the backcountry.