Friday, February 21

10E2328: Wild Wings (Cross Country) Ski Touring Center

One of the gems in southern VT is Wild Wings. This is a classic cross country skiing area, family run, and slightly off the beaten path. Chuck and Tracy Black and family keep the trails groomed (this is Classic x-country with a capital C - no skating allowed on the tracks) - and Tracy now offers yoga in a newly constructed addition with massive woodstove to heat it.

Southern VT has had a long association with cross country skiing - not just because it is a preppy thing to do (though it may be - activate Norwegian sweater) - but also due to nearby Brattleboro native Bill Koch (first American to win an Olympic medal in Nordic skiing, 1976). Infact the New England Nordic Ski Association is commonly called the Bill Koch Ski League.

If you have never tried this Nordic sport it is a huge workout. And to quote Tracy "... ski alone for mental health, or bring the whole family. But get outside and enjoy Vermont's beauty." Wild Wings is in Peru, Vermont (past the JJHapgood Store, off the Hapgood Pond Road)... Had a visit last weekend just to catch-up and have some chili for lunch (using local beef on this occasion). Fantastic.

Pull into the lot and be polite to the attendant... the owner may be the one directing traffic. My younger brother used to work this job on occasion.

#theuniform Carhartts and Kinco gloves. The lady just arriving on right is daughter of sculptor Sam Ogden. We'll need that info for later...

"We love skiing, good, no great [! -ed] skiing and we have great skiing as often as Mother Nature allows. We often get more snow and Chuck owns a Piston Bully, which has a power tiller to grind hard, hard, snow. The only Mercedes we'll ever own." 
"We are open, weather permitting, from the middle of December, to as close as we can get to the end of March. Hours are 9 to 4, unless you have a season pass, then you just have to move for Chuck to groom. We have a soup of the day, and a few snacks. The warming room has picnic tables, you can also bring your own lunch."

For those new to x-country skiing, the thin skis, small boots and fixation with multiple wax types are a fun change from resort downhilling.

Tables are cleared out in the morning and stove cranked for yoga. Later it serves as the new lunch room.

Check in here. $15 gets you 4 hours of heart-pumping, forest-time. $20 for all day. "Get outside. Breath deep, and feel better."

You want frills - go to Stratton... Down to business. Chili on the woodstove. The phone #802-824-6793 one of the oldest in the area.

Owner Tracy Black holding down the fort. Second mother to my youngest brother for many years. #ducttapeisthenewblack. Snacks and a massive water jug for everyone - no water bottles or bottled anything in fact beyond apple juice boxes. 

Mobile by Sam Ogden

Sugarhouse up the hill. Making maple syrup is a cash crop activity, and you can buy their's here too.

Next time you are visiting the area make this place a stop. Even for lunch. Snowshoeing too. Or live vicariously through their Facebook A final quote from their site:
"Trails: Simple yet entertaining loops comprise our trail system. You won't need to check the map every few minutes. All of our trails are one way, ensuring you won't run into anybody and giving a sense of solitude..."
If you have been following the current Olympics, Sophie Caldwell (#sunsoutgunsout... she and her teammates x-country skied in bare arms - seems to have caused a bit of a flap) is a local lady - and can often be found lapping the tracks at Wild Wings. #olympian