A Ski at Willoughby

On Sunday, we jumped out of bed early and headed over to the Green Mountain State to meet up with some friends. We planned to meet Amanda and Will at Willoughby State Forest CCC Road on the south end of Lake Willoughby that is the main access point for the Bartlett Mt Ski Area.  Andrew and Lindsay had skied there last February on a desperate search for snow, after we had gotten rain that turned the heavy snowpack icy on the ungroomed trails in New Hampshire.  We had a blast last time and we were anxious to get back there this winter.  The Memphremagog Ski Touring Foundation (website is out of date) grooms the trails here.  The trail mostly follows a skillfully graded CCC road that is open to car traffic in the summer.  There are also a couple of cut-off trails and an easy loop trail to make a full day of skiing.  We easily spent 4 hours skiing around and having a great time and still left some ground uncovered.  We took the upper-out trail, down the connector, to the lower-back, to the 2 mile loop, and finally on the 1.2 mile loop.  There was only one map left at the info board so we took this picture.

Willoughby State Forest ski trails.

After just 10 minutes of skiing on the upper trail we come to this awesome view of Lake Willoughby and Mt. Pisgah.  Freezing fog lifted off the lake and drifted through the valley below.  From this vantage point, it seemed crazy to see Route 5A snaking along the lake shore where it’s route is carved through the ledge.

Amanda, Will, and Andrew taking in the view.

Lake Willoughby

We tried to find the loop that leads off to the left, but we mistakenly passed the ungroomed trail.  Conversation and laughing lead us up and around Bartlett Mountain.   When we reached the summer parking area for Mt Hor (completely snowed in now), we decided to take a short break.  It was colder than yesterday, but the ski up-hill had warmed us all.  Standing still however, we started to feel the temperature.  We packed our snacks and beer away as we started to get cold finger tips.  Lindsay and Andrew remembered the connector from last year and even though it wasn’t groomed we quickly made our way down through the hardwood forest.

Lindsay leads the way down the ungroomed section of trail.

Will and Amanda skiing.

The fluffy snow made the ski down the western slope of Bartlett Mountain so much fun that we all decided to ski part of the way back up and come back down again! 

The bottom of the hill. Weeee!

On the final loop Lindsay noticed a lot of beech trees with bear claw marks.  We also ran into several skiing parties at the main intersection.  They were on waxed skis and asked us if we had taken the connector since we had backpacks and backcountry skis.

Black bear claw marks on beech trees.

We soaked in the view of Mt. Pisgah.

It was a great day skiing and catching up with friends.  If you are ever in the area, this is a must stop.  Not only is the Bartlett Mt Ski Area rich in fun with a variety of trails and terrain, it is in an area of extremely dramatic beauty with the scenic lake framed on 2 sides by sheer cliffs and many miles of hiking trails.  We plan to return to this area during the fair seasons to explore more.

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2 thoughts on “A Ski at Willoughby

  1. Pingback: Ski Loops on the Hill « Outdoor Adventures

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