Top Ten North American Cross-Country Skiing Centers

Sleepy Hollow, Vermont
By Sproule Love
  |  Gorp.com

With the inconsistent snowfall of recent winters in the Northeastern U.S., running a cross-country area would seem like a labor of love. Starting one seems crazy. But that is exactly what Dave and Sandy Enman did in 1999 in Huntington, Vermont, just 20 minutes outside of Burlington in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

To counteract Mother Nature's whimsy, the Enmans plan to install snow-making equipment during the winter of 2001/2002. This coming attraction and the two kilometers of trails that are currently lighted for night skiing make Sleepy Hollow a standout in New England.

When covered in snow, Sleepy Hollow's graceful trails seem to anticipate the rhythm of both classic and skating skiers. There are gentle fields, undulating traverses, and rollicking connectors—many named after Enman family members.

Dave's Dive and Eli's Escape will keep any speed demon satisfied, provided they can stay on top of their skis (hint: soak up the bumps over Bear Claw to avoid getting airborne). Molly's Meadow and Sandy's Slide are for more easy-going souls.

The steady climb up the Butternut Cabin Trail rewards determined skiers with a spectacular view of Camel's Hump, one of the only prominent mountains in Vermont without a downhill ski area marring its face. Ridge Road is an excellent intermediate trail for those who have a handle on the basics.

At Sleepy Hollow, the expertly groomed ski tracks mingle with snowshoe trails and pass by a pond hockey venue that should stir the heart of anyone with childhood memories of a firm check into a snow bank.

The Enmans rehabilitated a comfortable Inn not 10 feet from the trails and filled it with only a fraction of Dave's immense book collection (Dave also runs a used book store in nearby Williston). This is the place for arcane out-of-print volumes on the history of U.S. cross-country skiing.

The literary feel of the place doesn't stop there. Locals say that on a quiet February night, through the snow-dampened silence, you can hear a headless skier screaming down one of the area's steeper trails: Ichabod's Revenge.

If You Go: Sleepy Hollow

Trails: 40 kilometers, skating, classic, and snowshoe

Trail fee: $12 full day, $10 half-day

Rentals: Yes

Lessons: Yes

Where: Sleepy Hollow is located east of Burlington, Vermont, and Lake Champlain, near the town of Richmond.

For more information: www.skisleepyhollow.com, (866) 254-1524.


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