Category Archives: Recreation

Okemo Mountain Resort to close Sunday

LUDLOW — Okemo Mountain Resort will be closing Sunday after 158 days of skiing and snowboarding.

The announcement was made by Okemo Vice-President General Manager Bruce Schmidt on Thursday on the Okemo Mount Resort blog.

Okemo extended the ski and snowboard season until April 21 but pushed back their closing date a week earlier due to lower skier and snowboarder visits.

“The weather for the past 10 days has been good, but even that has not brought out very many guests. Between those who are buying a day ticket and seasons pass holders, it just doesn’t make sense for us to continue another week,” Schmidt wrote.

The 158-day ski and snowboard season is one of the longest in recent years. The longest on record is 172 days, which ended on April 26, 1992.

Deals on next year’s seasons passes are available until April 30, the blog said. For more information call 228.1600 or visit

Killington to run lift with power from manure

KILLINGTON — Vermont’s Killington ski resort says it’s going to power one of its lifts this season with electricity generated from methane gas recovered from cow manure.
The resort is planning to power its K-1 Express Gondola with electricity generated through Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power program, which enables customers to purchase all or part of their electricity at a premium and support Vermont’s dairy farms
The program works by collecting cow manure, mixing it with wash water from the milking equipment and then pumping that slurry into a digester where it is heated for three weeks. The process converts the manure into biogas that is 60 percent methane.
The methane is then used to power a generator, which sends power to the electric grid.

Missing UVM hikers emerge OK

HUNTINGTON — There’s a happy ending for four University of Vermont students reported missing on Camels Hump.
The students were reported missing Sunday afternoon, a day after they had headed to the mountain for an overnight hike.
Students Sophie Earll, Blake Winkler, Ryan Duffy and Shawn Wasson, all of Burlington, were supposed to meet Saturday with several other UVM students who had hiked to Montclair Glen Lodge earlier that day.
The group was reported missing Sunday by members of the group they were supposed to meet.
As state police and members of Waterbury Backcountry Rescue were preparing late Sunday afternoon to launch a search, the four walked off the mountain.
There were no injuries.

State will not sell off park in Dummerston

DUMMERSTON — The Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation has no immediate plans to change the use of the 13-acre Dutton Pines State Park in Dummerston.
That’s good news for those who worried the state would sell the property off Route 5 that has been declared “surplus property,” but it’s bad news for those who want to see more recreational opportunities there.
The state bought the land in 1937 and the park opened in 1940. Over the years use declined and a summer ranger’s position was eliminated in the 1970s.
The Brattleboro Reformer ( ) reports state parks regional Manage Ethan Phelps says Dutton Pines is “a bit of a liability for us.”
He says it was used more by travelers before Interstate 91 opened a half century ago.

New indoor soccer facility under way

BENNINGTON — A new indoor facility for soccer and other sports is expected to open next month.
It will be called the Bennington Sports Center.
Former Major League Soccer player Bo Vuckovic said the center will provide a place for local leagues, as well as a training facility and camp space for local youths. There could also be opportunities for people interested in other sports to use the turf. Vuckovic bought the building, formerly the Catamount Elementary School, last year.
The Bennington Banner reports Vuckovic, who is also the owner and general manager of the Vermont Voltage minor league team, said new soccer leagues could begin as early as Nov. 1. He said the former gymnasium will have a grass-like turf surface laid down next week.

Staff of national forest prep for leaf peak

RUTLAND — U.S. Forest Service employees of Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest are gearing up for what is expected to be peak foliage in many parts of the state.
Green Mountain National Forest Supervisor Colleen Madrid says it’s a special time for Vermont residents, visitors and the 400,000 acre forest.
Madrid says she expects there will be an influx of local and visitor traffic in the coming weeks and is encouraging motorists to be mindful of where they park and to use extra caution when driving in the forest.
The Green Mountain National Forest serves between 3 million and 4 million visitors a year.

Commission awards grants for development projects

BURLINGTON – The Northern Border Regional Commission has awarded $373,447 in grants for regional development projects in Vermont, the state’s three-member congressional delegation announced Tuesday.

The grants will support the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail in Lamoille County and develop key regional business clusters in the Northeast Kingdom.

The $249,982 grant for the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail will be leveraged by a $5.2 million grant previously secured for the construction of a 93-mile, four-season, multi-use trail across northern Vermont.

The $123,465 grant to the Northeast Kingdom will complement the recently announced $170 million expansion of the Jay Peak Resort.

The Northern Border Regional Commission directly invests federal resources for economic development and job creation in economically distressed regions of northern New Hampshire, New York, Maine and Vermont. Last year, the commission awarded nine grants to the four states totaling $1.45 million, including $206,690 for projects in Vermont.

Long Trail forging partnerships

Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo

The Long, Appalachian and Catamount trails overlap in Killington near the Fox Hollow condominiums.

Businesses invest in the Long Trail

By Bruce Edwards

It’s a partnership that seems obvious: the Green Mountain Club and Long Trail Brewing Co.

Named after the Long Trail, the brewery has put its financial support behind the Green Mountain Club’s efforts to maintain the 500 miles of trails in the state, including 272 miles that make up the Long Trail.

The Bridgewater brewery is one of 85 businesses that support the Green Mountain Club, which has an annual budget of $2 million.

Will Wiquist, Green Mountain Club executive director, said the Business Membership program began in earnest two years ago.

“We wanted to branch out because I think there’s a lot of opportunity for businesses, up and down the state where the Long Trail runs, to support the club and then us to work to support them,” Wiquist said.

Long Trail Brewery’s support of the Green Mountain Club ( ranges from donating a portion of sales from its Centennial Red ale, that in 2010 commemorated the centennial of the founding of the Green Mountain Club, to beer-pairing dinners in conjunction with the Three Tomatoes Trattoria restaurants. The dinners raised several thousand dollars for the club.

Inside the brewery, visitors can make donations to the club and learn about the Long Trail.

Ryan Chaffin, Long Trail Brewing Co.’s regional manager, said the brewery feels a responsibility to help support GMC and the trail.

“We share a lot of the same values,’’ Chaffin said. “Our Long Trail slogan is ‘Take a Hike,’ and obviously we want to support the club that’s maintaining (the) Long Trail.”

Last week, the brewery ( hosted a business social in support of the Green Mountain Club.

Megan Smith, commissioner of the Department of Tourism and Marketing, said partnerships like the one cultivated between the Green Mountain Club and Long Trail not only help promote tourism but also raise the public profile of the business.

Smith said Long Trail Brewing already sponsors many tourism-related events and organizations, which in turn helps build the brand “through people coming to Vermont and then going home and buying their beer.”

She also said the partnerships are becoming increasingly important for nonprofit groups, as grants are harder to come by.

In addition to maintaining the trail, the Green Mountain Club holds educational workshops for adults and children.

Of the club’s nearly $2 million annual budget, two-thirds comes from individual members and businesses with the U.S. Forest Service and the state making up the rest.

“Our volunteers do a great amount of work but we do have overhead costs and the costs of the major projects we have to do,” Wiquist said.

He said future projects include rebuilding the Thundering Falls boardwalk in Killington that was washed away last year during Tropical Storm Irene.

At Onion River Sports in Montpelier, supporting the club is a way to ensure the survival of the Long Trail and it’s also good for business, said Tristan Von Duntz, who calls himself the store’s “outdoor ambassador.”

“They’ve come a long way in the past 10 years, preserving corridors and protecting that whole 272-mile trail from Massachusetts to Canada,” Von Duntz said. “So by giving them that extra incentive, 10 percent off anything hiking-related, I think it helps people support the GMC and also protect the Long Trail.”

The partnership with the business community is a two-way street. Wiquist said businesses also benefit, with the GMC offering corporate partners an opportunity tap into the club’s membership. He said many business supporters offer discounts to club members.

“We do our best to advertise them through our quarterly magazine or Facebook page and our emails to our members,” he said. “We have 10,000 members, one of the biggest membership organizations in the state.”

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GMC hosts business social

BRIDGEWATER CORNERS – The Green Mountain Club will host a business social at the Long Trail Brewing Company  from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The club and the brewery encourage Vermont businesses to attend.

The Long Trail Brewery has long supported the club’s work on the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail as a GMC business member. The Business Membership program connects local businesses with hikers in Vermont through publicity and outreach to more than 10,000 members and 200,000 annual hikers while supporting the trail system that has made Vermont an iconic hiking destination.

Guests will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks presented by Long Trail brewmaster Matt Quinlan. The brewery has organized a raffle, which will include ski passes and merchandise from Long Trail Brewing Company and the Green Mountain Club.

Rutland County Senator William Carris, majority leader of the state Senate, and Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Megan Smith will be in attendance.

Coast Guard rescues 2 kayakers from Lake Champlain

BURLINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued two kayakers from Lake Champlain in Burlington.
Crews received a report Thursday afternoon that a kayak had capsized and one person was in the water near North Beach.
Officials say a second kayaker was on the scene, but unable to pull the person out of the water.
The Coast Guard says rescue crews responded and brought both kayakers safely back to shore.