Local Flavors: The Complete Guide to Riding in Stowe, Vermont

Nov 28, 2018
by Brice Shirbach  




On October 29th and 30th of 2017, the northeastern United States experienced what weather geeks call a bombogenesis, which is defined as a "rapid deepening of pressures in a storm, which rapidly increases winds near the center of the storm." Over a million people were left without power as a result of this somewhat surprising weather event, from as far south as Pennsylvania to as far north as Maine. In Vermont, wind gusts of over 70 mph were reported, and in the small mountain village of Stowe, a localized monster tore through the one of the town's venerable forests in a way that would leave locals sick to their stomachs. Dozens of acres of Cady Hill Forest had been leveled by the violent tantrum thrown by nature, and the subsequent survey of the land that followed the following morning was initially met with a mix of shock and sadness. Those were quickly followed with a very different emotion.

A week after the storm I was in town attending the Green Mountain Showdown, an annual celebration of mountain bike media with a mostly Vermont-centric tone. The event is organized by Ryan Thibault, founder of MTBVT, and has been held in Stowe for several years. By way of social media, I was aware of the damage done to Cady Hill following the storm, but it wasn't until I saw things firsthand that the scale and scope of the damage hit me. People in town were understandably less than thrilled with the current state of their trails, but I was caught off guard by the almost casual resolve everyone I spoke with seemed to display when it came to the work ahead of them. Truth be told, it was far too early for there to be any semblance of a plan in place, but everyone ultimately seemed to have an understated confidence in their ability to come together to tackle the sizable task at hand. I've known for a while that Stowe was more than your average, "run of the mill" New England ski town, but I had no idea how deeply rooted the collective mountain bike conviction went. A friend of mine from Stowe told me that every skier has a mountain biker deep down just waiting to come out. It seems to me that the same can be said about actual ski towns as well, and Stowe appears to have recognized that many years ago.

Stowe is very much a ski town first and foremost, with a tourism-based economy that supports many of the 4,300 or so people who call this place home throughout the year. Interestingly enough, only 35% of the current population of Stowe are Vermont born. It's reasonable to assume that the influx has something to do with allure of Mount Mansfield and the Green Mountain Range, which flank the village to the northwest. Directly east of town is another amazing mountain playground in the form of CC Putnam State Forest and the Worcester Range. The two ridge lines sandwich Stowe, with exits to the north or south of the valley offering recreational opportunities on a variety of rivers and lakes left behind by the previous glacial period.

Stowe is positioned in the center of the aforementioned Green Mountains, home to some of the oldest hills on the planet. It is estimated that close to a billion years ago, the summits of these mountains reach upwards of 20,000 feet above sea level in what would have then been a tropical setting. Nowadays while it might get into the 80's during the summer, Stowe is most certainly not a tropical climate, and the once towering mountains are now much eroded, with time and nature having had their way as time and nature inevitably will. While the topography of Stowe has long been shaped and refined by ancient forces, last year's windstorm stands as a much more modern example of how nature continues to play a key role in the ever-changing landscape of this beautiful corner of the country.


Brice Shirbach // Local Flavors
Age: 36
Location: Wilmington, DE, USA
Industry affiliations: Pivot Cycles, Maxxis Tires, Stans No Tubes, Kali Protectives, MRP, Julbo, Deity Components, EVOC, Shimano, 9point8, Topeak, Dialed Health, Handup Gloves
Instagram: @bricycles
Favorite Trail in Stowe: Bear's Trail
Riding Style: Whatever's Clever

Vermont is a small state, which means that a trip here can often lead to easy access to a variety of communities and trail networks. Stowe certainly does stand as a fantastic hub to base yourself out of if you were interested in exploring more of the state. For such a small town, it has an abundance of restaurants, lodging options, camping, and bike shops. Roadies, runners, and even people on those roller skate-looking-nordic-ski things alike enjoy the roads here as well as the nearly 6 mile long greenway that runs from downtown to the base of Mount Mansfield. It is also close to 1 of 2 total interstate highways that pass through Vermont, although many of the state roads that weave in and out of town are well maintained and get you where you need to go reasonably quickly. But Stowe is also home to several different and diverse trail networks in and around town, including Sterling Forest, Adam's Camp, Trapp Family Lodge, and of course Cady Hill Forest. While Cady Hill and Adam's Camp feature plenty high-speed flow and purpose built fun, these are ancient forests, and it's not hard to find yourself surfing on a loamer between maples, moss, and hemlocks. There is a lot of quintessential, Vermont-branded fun to have in Stowe, and the locals here know it.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Most of the Vermont essentials are here. Not included: the 32 ounces of Maple Syrup I purchased on my way out of town.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
I was fortunate enough to be present at a trail dedication in memory of a young Vermonter whose life was taken far too early. Biodegradable strings were handed out to all riders, and each of us were asked to tie our string around something on a section of trail that brought us joy. Callagy's Trail is loads of fun, so that was very easy for all involved to oblige.

"You know they say Stowe is nice because it's so close to Vermont," Ryan Thibault tells me over lunch at The Ranch Camp. "Which is kind of a joke because it's its own bubble. It's pretty unique. Prosperity is high here. You have all the symptoms of a rural Vermont town except this place has a pulse, and there are people passing through all of the time. I won't say there is a nightlife, but there's definitely a distinct culture here with great food, great times, great beer; all of these things."

Thibault moved to Stowe from Vermont's Northeast Kingdom when he was 16, and began riding bikes in the woods 2 years later. He founded MTBVT after being inspired by a friend of his from British Columbia who had just published a rock climbing guide. Ryan thought it would be worthwhile to try and put together a mountain biking guide specifically for Vermont. After a few years of traveling and documenting various trails and the people responsible for them, Ryan realized that he hadn't put together much in terms of a guide, but he did end up bridging many communities in his attempt and decided to launch MTBVT.com, a site devoted to sharing his travels around the state, riding, meeting the characters that had invested themselves in the early edition of Vermont's modern mountain bike community. Nowadays MTBVT branded gear and events can be found scattered, yet prevalent, throughout the state. It's less a rallying cry, and more a nod of appreciation among those who call this place home. Ryan has spent the better part of two decades devoted to the cultivation of a vibrant and growing community of riders who call Vermont home, and to him, Stowe represents an epicenter of the lifestyle and sensibilities that many around the country associate with the state. Interestingly enough, for Ryan, the model of proficiency for Stowe and surrounding communities actually stems from his time spent in BC.

"My formative experience in mountain biking," Ryan continues. "Was actually going and living in British Columbia, first the interior and then on the coast. I saw how codified the community was there, and a robust community of locals out mountain biking for the sake of mountain biking, trail building, being very pro-active with stewardship. There was also an industry of that that had taken root, and so I saw that happening out there and I thought, This would be really interesting to apply to Vermont.

"I think the reason Vermont is unique is because, we've applied the same logic to mountain biking that we have to the rest of life and living here, where it's sort of community first. We really have tight knit communities rallying around cycling and so that's true of Vermont towns. Town meeting days, where people still come out en masse to vote in their local elections, and the people here are very much energized around community. So I think that applies to the mountain bike scene. The woodwork tends to run really deep. In that, you can go and explore little corners of the state, two miles from home that you didn't know existed, right? So there's always that sense of adventure. We have the topography to support it, there are of all these weird little dirt road dead ends up into the hollows. Those happen to be trailheads a lot of the time, and for me, I think that is one of the most exciting things; we have these great public trail networks, and we have a ton of clandestine stuff still happening out in the woods, and a ton of people rallying around both."

Looking around the state of Vermont, it's hard to ignore the burgeoning talent among its youths on bikes. I have spent the last few years preparing anyone willing to listen (see: no one) for the onslaught of World Cup and Fest Series riders that are about to explode from the Green Mountain State, and Stowe is looking to get in on that action as well, which in truth speaks to something more important than race results on Saturdays. It speaks to the continued health and development of mountain biking here for generations to come.

"Vermont is a very outdoor centric community," he tells me as we polish off our beers. "Stowe is one of the biggest examples in the state of that. I see our community becoming an incubator for youth riders, and not only youth riders, but prolific, progressive youth riders that are going to dominate the future. The same way that we have Winter Olympians and super high concentration of quality athletes now in Vermont; mountain biking is following suit. We're going to have a dominating collection youth riders in no time. Part and parcel to that would be the development of a cycling academy here. Something that follows suit to what they've done with the ski academy in East Burke. I think that's an inevitability and is in line with our industry pursuit. The industry wants to have more youth engaged from grade school level to high school and beyond, so I just see that as an inevitability. Vermont might not be capable of supporting a bunch of brands because the manufacturing industry here is a bygone era, but on the culture and the participatory side of the industry, we can 100%."

That participation has proven to be an invaluable asset. Immediately after last year's Halloween windstorm, volunteers from Stowe Trails Partnership were assessing the damage. A month later, Tom Lepesqueur, owner of Rochester, Vermont-based trail building outfit Lepesqueur & Daughters LLC, was in town making his first assessments as well. Stowe Trails Partnership along with scores of additional volunteers had spent hundreds of hours during the winter and spring months clearing debris and coordinating the harvesting of wood with the local logging company, so that when Tom returned to Cady Hill in late spring he would have a much clearer idea of what he was up against. Tom and company, including a few builders from another company, Sinuosity Trails, spent the better part of 3 months rebuilding, reworking, and revamping the devastated network, oftentimes from scratch due to the extensive damage. Still, many locals saw this as an opportunity to reshape the trails in a way that would actually improve upon their quality prior to the storm. In many places, a storm of this magnitude might break a community, or set it back several years at the very least. What they've done in Stowe is use the storm as a launch pad. Nature flattened the forest, and instead of whining about it, Stowe took the opportunity to move forward with a staggering amount of momentum.

"We recovered from the storm." Erik Timmerman says. "Rebuilt Florence. As much as it was a great trail before, I think it's better now. The alignment of it was perfect. Tom didn't have to change anything. He just rebuilt it bigger and faster. We've fixed all of the Cady Hill stuff. We've got two new trails going in right now. We're already booking contractors to build stuff in 2019, and looking beyond that, I want to go big. When I've seen the stuff that they do out at Whistler, I think I mentioned that article to you that I saw about the trail called Lord of the Squirrels, which is like thousands of vertical feet of riding. We can do big rides here, but it would be really something else to be able to do a ride that feels like a back country British Columbia type of experience. You know? I've never been to British Columbia, but what I picture British Columbia experience being. We're kind of moving in that direction. As we get better at these smaller projects and learn how to do bigger ones, we want to go really big."

Erik is a ski instructor at Stowe Mountain Resort, and moved to Vermont from North Carolina to pursue that 17 years ago. He described his initial impressions of Stowe as an insular bike community, struggling to find trails, and getting dropped frequently during shop rides. Nowadays, Erik ain't getting dropped, and he's part of a community that is much more willing to share their goods, and much more ready to collaborate with whomever is needed to get trails built. He came here for the skiing, but finds himself struggling more and more every winter to put the bike away. Remember when I told you about my friend who thinks that most skiers, even if they don't know it, have a mountain biker inside them?

"As the trails have gotten better," he tells me smiling. "Those mountain bikers have been released from inside all the skiers. It's nice to be able to help them spread their wings, right?

"I don't think I'm the only person in this town that, as it starts to get to be this time of year, I don't think about skiing as much as I used to. When it happens, I'm pretty glad that it's here. I'm always hoping for a really long fall and then a quick changeover to winter. I don't wanna stop riding. We sure would like to see things start to happen up on the mountain. That would be insane. That would be so awesome to be able to just go up and ride DH for a couple of hours. I can't even imagine how good the kids here would get at riding. I've seen the kids in Burke. They are unbelievable. It would be pretty awesome for us to have access to that here. There's a huge difference when you have a pass and you live in town. There are a lot of people that do what they call 10x10 during the winter. They head up to the mountain for 8:00 opening. They try to get 10 runs in by 10:00, then head into work. Now imagine that on your DH bike."

The mountain is big and beautiful, and I cannot help but scratch my head and ask Erik to give me his thoughts on why the resort hasn't jumped at the opportunity.

"Well, when AIG owned the mountain they had Gravity Logic come in," he says. "They did all the trail design and they got the permits. The park is ready to go. Unfortunately, AIG was also up for sale during this process. I guess when you're for sale you're not really going to spend millions of dollars on creating a new asset that you're never going to get to take advantage of. It's understandable why they didn't do it. Whether Vail's going to do it or not, I don't know. I hope they do. I have the sense that sometimes they feel like the horse is already out of the barn; that maybe it's too late for them to catch up with everybody else.

"My rebuttal to that argument would be that Stowe people are Stowe people. You have all the second home owners that come down from Montreal or someplace like that. They ski in Stowe. If there was a bike park here, they'd be riding the bike park in Stowe. What they're not going to do is drive down Friday night from Montreal and then put their bike on the roof Saturday morning and go down to Killington to ride downhill down there. That's just not the way that's going to work. I think that the management maybe needs to understand what a bike park can be. Just because you can't build Whistler in Stowe, doesn't mean that you don't bother building a bike park. Whistler does millions of skiers visits. We do 400,000 skier visits. It's not like we just say, Oh well, we're never going to be as big as Whistler and close the mountain down, you know? We need to just let Stowe be Stowe."

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
There are a number of women's initiatives and rides in and around Stowe, which draws riders in from across the region.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
There's an eerie beauty to the forest following the destruction from a year ago.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Dylan Conte takes a moment to rest his front wheel on an Adam's Camp trail.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Sections along 'Charlies' trail that were especially damaged by the Halloween Storm of 2017 are now up and running better than they were previously.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Local rider and trail builder, Nate Ringquist, has been hard at work on adding quality miles at Adam's Camp, a network of side country trails at the base of Mansfield.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Creative lines abound on Kimmer's Trail, a favorite for those riding Adam's Camp.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Dylan Conte credits his family's post - 9/11 move to Stowe for the cultivation of his love of the outdoors and subsequent success as a professional rider.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Thibault and pooch take flight at Cady Hill.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Erik Timmerman gets reflective following a clandestine journey into the woods.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Drew Clymer moved to Stowe from Berks County, PA 10 years ago with his family and joined the Stowe Mountain Bike Association board immediately. The consultant by trade was also quick to join the Stowe Education Fund Board, the School Board, the town's Development Review Board, and the Stowe Mountain Rescue Team. Drew's a self-described "both feet guy", which makes sense given he and his business partner took all of 30 minutes over dinner to convince each of their wives to make the move to town a decade ago. He's spent the past 4 years as president of Stowe Trails Partnership, and while he'd love to see membership hit 1,000 members (as I write this they're currently at 99Cool , he has a real appreciation for the work people have put into the trails and community here, regardless of their membership status.

"There are people here that are sort of like OG riders, meaning they've been here forever. We went through a period of time where they weren't buying into everything we (STP) were doing. There was a sense of territoriality among some folks, which to be honest, I totally understand. So it took time. We have people on our board who all move in different circles, and fortunately we were able to bring those people on board. Not always as members, but at least philosophically. The input was reciprocal; there was a lot of constructive dialogue between people. Ultimately, I don't really care if you're a member or not. Being a member is the most obvious way to show support for what we're doing, but I know a lot of guys who want to keep a low profile and don't want recognition. They literally just go out and work on trails every night. I love that."

I asked him how the windstorm affected membership and morale.

"Our membership went up," he tells me. "People understood we needed their support."

"On October 31st, I couldn't even fight my way in there. I literally stopped 20 yards in the woods, I couldn't go any further. It was just that bad. Just as many other people did. On November 1st, that community was there, and I am not just talking about STP. People were itching to play a role. What can I do? How can I help? Where do I send the check? What do you guys need? It was more difficult to hold people back so that we could make a plan. We were galvanized. And that's what we've been working on building since the storm. What we're seeing is there's always been a rider demographic, but we're seeing an uptick in families riding together. We've got a Stowe Mountain Bike team. We've got a kids program where we have 80 kids show up on Wednesday nights and volunteers who show up to run it. It's driven by people who just care a great deal about what we're doing here in Stowe. We build trails. We do what we say we're going to do. We get shit done."

If you were to take a look at Mount Mansfield from afar, you would probably consider it to be one of the more underwhelming high points in the northeast, with summits like Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Mount Katahdin in Maine, or Mount Marcy in New York all relatively close by and with much more prominent peaks. Even within the state itself you can find many other mountains with a more dramatic appearance. Indeed, there's less of a summit on Mansfield and more of an oddly arranged profile of a "face" along an alpine ridge. But in my estimation, Mansfield is emblematic of at least part of the allure of the region: the sense that you are in a corner of the planet with a unique flavor all its own, due in large part to forces of nature, both ancient and new, forces that have sculpted a landscape in a way that has helped Stowe become one of the single most prolific natural playgrounds in the country.

Stowe is, quite simply, a work of art. Nature has done a lot of heavy lifting during the creation of this beautiful and abstract wonderland, chipping and carving away at this block of mountainous, loamy, and densely covered forest landscape. Oftentimes those efforts can leave a coating of dust, perhaps thicker in some spots than others, and on rare occasion appearing to have self-destructive tendencies. But riders in Stowe understand that when the mountains and forests act as a canvas, it's up to the mountain bike community to refine what nature has provided. If Stowe is a work of art, then that must mean that the people who call this place home are, in a sense, artists. They're sculpting, they're shaping, and they're adapting to changes in their canvas brilliantly. It's not always easy to step back to take a look at progress when you're in the thick of it, but what they're putting together here in Stowe is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Stowe Trails Partnership has been working well with Vail Resorts on a handful of initiatives in recent years. Here's hoping that relationship blossoms into a lift-served romance sometime soon!

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Drew Clymer might not be a born and raised product of Stowe, but that hasn't stopped him from being one of it's most important and influential locals.

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Bear's Trail is a great place to hunt for "Easter Eggs".

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT

Photos from Local Flavors Stowe VT
Check out the full gallery of images from my Stowe trip here.




Stowe mountain biking trails



Local Knowledge


Bike Shops: There are quite a few shops for a town of less than 5,000 people. Ranch Camp is way more than a bike shop, but they do have some great technicians, great beer, and amazing food.

Favorite Eats: Ranch Camp eats aside, Stowe has an absurd amount of really good dining options. Sushi Yoshi is a staple and must stop. Piecasso, Sunset Grille, Tres Amigos, Stowe Bee Bakery, the list goes on and on. McCarthy's for breakfast is a must as well.

Area Digs: This is a very tourism-driven economy, and as a result there are almost as many lodging options as there are residents in town. AirBnB will yield several results as well. I stayed just outside of town at Mountain View RV Campground.

Local Mountain Bike Club: The Stowe Trails Partnership has been working their tails off in town, and the dividends are ample. STP is currently working on the next several phases of trail at Adam's Camp, and could use some help. You can read more about it here.

Brice's Key Tips:
1: Be a tourist. Just swallow your pride, and indulge yourself. There's an especially amazing mile long stretch of road on RT. 100 between Stowe and Waterbury where you can stop at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, before moving on to Cabot's Farmer Store, and finally finish your caloric tour de force with a tour of the Ben & Jerry's factory. Then go ride your bike. A lot.
2: The riding season in Stowe typically runs from mid-Spring through the Autumn, but do yourself a favor and make a point to ride during peak foliage. The terrain is already top notch, but when the green tunnel turns to gold, it's otherworldly.
3: Stowe Mountain Resort was really close to opening a bike park a couple of years ago, and then they were bought out by Vail Resorts. Most locals still want it, and everyone else should too. Let them know.



95 Comments

  • + 21
 Growing up in the NEK (snowboarding @ Burke), Stowe was always regarded as "high class" *cough*pretentious*cough*, perfectly described in this article as it's own "bubble". However, I now live on the other side of Mansfield and frequent these trails in the peak of summer. When I want flow (i.e. bermy machine built), this network has it. Florence was one of the first in the area AFAIK (not counting Kingdom).

The big secret is... you can bypass all the touristy crap (or tour it with the family another time) and go ride sick trail... for free (not counting Trapps).

STP, and specifically Cady Hill, was the first trail system I donated to, and also motivated my stingy a** to buy a VMBA membership. I got a Killington DH pass out of it among other things, which more than covered the cost of entry. In any case, supporting the rebuild of Florence alone was worth it.
  • + 17
 An excellent place I`d actually like to go to.... it looks very much like my native Limousin in France, much mountainous though, and I love all these forests everywhere... It seems very peaceful... and I`ve heard there are pretty good cheeses in Vermont; I saw in an article that several american cheese producers worked together with french ones to produce in the US an american Fourme d`Ambert for example - a sort of blue cheese - in reaction to the US embargo/taxes against french cheeses few years ago. Never been to the USA, but Vermont would probably be one my 1rst choices Smile
  • + 9
 Zoom out a little on that Trialforks Map and you'll see that its not just Stowe, but the surrounding areas as well that are booming with trails!

Within 1 hour of Burlington (where the airport is) or Stowe, there are at least 20 different trail centers.

There are miles and miles of well mapped singletrack all over Vermont, and miles and miles more of off-piste places to explore if you know the right folks.

Come visit!
  • + 14
 One of the many reasons I call Burlington home. A lake, an airport close by and a huge variety of trails that never get old.
  • + 4
 @davetrumpore: great to see ya as always, Dave! Looking forward to the next chance I get to head your way
  • + 1
 @davetrumpore: City of the Future...
  • + 3
 I have no doubt about the potential of Vermont, it is very exciting, so you know what mon ami?:
Invite me in Vermont and make me discover all that wonders you have and then I`ll invit you in the South West of France to make you discover that fantastic region we live in, the Pyrenees mountains of course, but not only... one life wouldn`t be enough to visit all the spots there are.
Moreover: I live in Toulouse and by car I`m 3 hours far from Ainsa in Spain, the famous Zona Zero, the spanish enduro mecca.
Cheers from France Bro`Smile
  • + 1
 RhââââââaaaaaAAAAAAAhhhhhhhAHHHHHHHHHHH YES!
  • + 2
 @skijunky05: I wish...I donate 2hrs a week looking for viable careers in the Burlington Area....Just so small and so awesome that I'm not alone. My VT friends joke "Ha yeah, we don't pay very much out here, and on top of that its expensive to live here....but look at how happy we are!" #oneday #mayberetiermentbutoneday
  • + 13
 Iam stoweked
  • + 4
 Brice- You put the Stowe in stoke! Thank you for another ode to a great Vermont riding locale. I appreciate that you and PinkBike give the Northeast the love that it deserves.
  • + 5
 Nice work, Brice! Don't forget that there is killer fatbiking here too. It's not just a ski town in the winter!
  • + 2
 Definitely looks like a fun place..and I lot of hype but wheres the single track? Need the closeness and hidden gnar to really keep me stoked...have a local bike club in my area that is gaining momentum and wants to emulate this type of wide open generic trail system...very disappointing Frown
  • + 1
 Hey Markz! So part of what you're seeing at Cady Hill in a visual sense comes from the destruction that I outlined in the beginning of the story; the insane windstorm that flattened much of the forest. A lot of those trails are still singletrack, but the forest is much more open now. Florence is definitely a wider corridor flow trail, but it's good fun. Bear is much less wide open, but has loads of easter egg features, so it's my personal favorite at Cady Hill. But there's loads of clandestine stuff all over that I obviously wouldn't publish online that would keep your stoke level very high.
  • + 2
 @briceshirbach: thanks for the info..im really not criticizing the amazing work the guys have done...I guess just high traffic areas can't help but become wider and tame. I've had it too good for too long where I live and my wild trails are getting hammered. I'm definitely checking these trails out this summer...great vid but especially your write up..old guys like me appreciate a well written piece.Keep up the good work!
  • + 1
 @markz: no worries, I didn't take it as a critique! I appreciate the kind words...we're cooking up some really cool things for Local Flavors in 2019...stay tuned!
  • + 2
 If you're in academia, I highly recommend seeking out a Gordon Research Conference in Stowe. The conference center they use all summer is nearly across the road from Cady Forest trailhead. Super cool! I don't remember whether I actually attended every talk.
  • + 2
 If there is anything to take away from this write up it is that Vermont has much more to offer than KT. If you have never been to KT, by all means take the time and check it out. However, if you have been there a few times and are starting to know the trails by heart, maybe consider checking out some of the other networks in the state as there are so many of them and they are all amazing. Each with their own characteristics. And yes, the people, beer, and food are awesome as well.
  • + 2
 I got to ride KT, Stowe, and Killington this summer and all of them have amazing riding spots. VT locals know how to build their trails.
  • + 1
 KT is still the only area in vermont you can ride close to 60 miles of trails and not ride a trail more than once except a climbing trail. Burke, moose haven, KT, and victory all combined is a MTB mecca
  • + 3
 I had the chance to ride in both Stowe and Burke this past summer and the trails are sweet! Florence trail in Stowe is such a good lap. The people in town and at the bike shops are all super friendly too.
  • + 6
 Cady Hill is sweet!
  • + 5
 Hero Dirt in the PNW is a closed day at Stowe
  • + 3
 THIS is the truth. wasn't always this way, but can't also complain about new trail...sigh.
  • + 1
 Nice spot sad you couldn't advertise this in the spring instead of the fall when the riding season is over. By the time the weather breaks I will have already read about a hundred other places to go ride in probably completely forgotten about this one.
  • + 1
 Haha to each their own! Glad you enjoyed!
  • + 1
 @briceshirbach: I enjoy most all of your content. If that white stuff starts to get you down come check out some flat Florida flow. All my Buckeye friends that migrate down here are always surprised to find our Hidden Gem trails in a flat state
  • + 1
 @stinkbikelies: Yeah I'm planning on heading your way sometime this winter for some fun in the sun!
  • + 1
 @briceshirbach: Alafaya State Park, Santos vortex, Mount Dora, gft grapefruit Trail and Graham swamp. Most everything else is a soft sand pedalfest. Doris Leeper Spruce Creek put in a new Trail section that is a good technical cross-country section. Unfortunately the old trail section has been turned into a bike path removing any technical feature rock or root by their trail crew. The 16 mile Loop is definitely a fun ride though.
  • + 1
 I went to Stowe a few years ago, Was highly impressed with the mtb enthusiasm ,bike purposed awesome trail building and overall Stowe is maybe the nicest place Ive ever been to in the u.s. as far as cool people and good vibes, Waterbury ripped pretty good too. I hope to find a way to go back there and ride again for a few weeks.
  • + 1
 Whole bunch of those photos are not from Stowe. Just saying... I lived in Stowe until recently moving up the road to Hyde Park. I've got what many would consider a dream job, but still couldn't afford to buy a decent house in Stowe. It's pretty and has a lot to offer, but man, it ain't cheap!
  • + 1
 Thanks for reading! Which photos are you talking about? There are some landscapes that are from areas around Stowe, but all of the riding shots are from in town trails.
  • + 1
 @briceshirbach: The one by my house are in Morrisville, but they're just too fun to pass up!
  • + 0
 @briceshirbach: www.pinkbike.com/photo/16381972 is at the end of Tom G's/Scorpion in Morrisville.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/16381968 looks like the top of Tom G's
  • + 1
 @nivlac-sebboh: Gotcha...on the map it looks to be more in between Morristown and Stowe...I'd say that 2 doesn't qualify as a whole bunch, right?
  • + 3
 It would be best to just leave that last comment out if you would like to keep these trails a little less popular. If not by all means... @nivlac-sebboh:
  • + 2
 @briceshirbach: Not a bunch I suppose, but a few of the scenery ones jump out at me (the big house photo on Stagecoach Rd, the view from the bridge over the Lamoille, etc). Not to criticize, but don't give Stowe all the credit!
  • + 6
 Fluffhead
  • + 4
 Fluffhead was a man with a horrible disease
Could not find no cure, won't you help him if you please?
Fluff came to my door askin' me for change
His eyes were clear and pure but his mind was so deranged
Fluff went to a banker askin' for some bills
The banker said, "I ain't got that but I sure got some powerful pills"
Oh yeah!!!

MTB + PHISH circa 1988 (Amy's Farm)
  • + 0
 Grew up skiing/ snowboarding in Vt. great place but the humid summers make going to vacation/ ride on the west coast a no brainer. Still a charming area but good luck finding a decent job making more than $10 an hour and the property taxes are super high if you plan on moving there.
  • + 5
 I lived there for years. 1) VT does not have legitimately humid summers. More humid than the west, but all the real humidity is south of Pennsylvania. 2) I had a great job and so did the vast majority of my friends.
  • + 2
 @underhawk: Was there for 30 years, guess Im wrong..
  • + 3
 @Beez177: I grew up here, moved to Florida, and am now back... Vermont has nothing on Florida for humidity.
  • + 3
 @Beez177: Visiting or living?

My paycheck was not $10 an hour. That's a fact, so I'm not wrong about that. None of my friends lived like that either. There are jobs there. For skilled workers, there are jobs in most ski towns/tourist destinations/reasonably sized towns.

Riders in Brevard would laugh at you if you said riding in VT was humid.

Saying something is humid is subjective, so we can argue about that. The $10/hr comment is just flat out wrong.
  • + 1
 minimum is going up to $11 this January so it should be pretty easy to find a job that pays more than $10. If you want a decent job in VT just don't get a crappy ski resort job, there is a lot more out there that doesn't pay & treat their employees crap.
  • + 2
 @underhawk: As just a high school student I make 11.25 with many entry level jobs available in the state that will pay a fair bit better.
  • + 1
 @rclugnut: yeah, I realize that but 90-95% is still high. Fall is nice but too short.
  • + 1
 @underhawk: your experience ! good for you on the high paying job. The majority of Vermonters are mid-lower income. Stowe is a pocket of wealth so its a little more unique.

Grew up in New England so I know what Im talking about.

neg prop me because I dont share the POV, alright..
  • + 2
 @vtracer: My dude. I was right next to Manchester always (Londonderry, Jamaica, etc.). I love Manch.
  • + 2
 @Beez177: you're totally right. I left that shithole 25 years ago. Nothings changed. My whole extended family lives there because they'd rather familiar poverty, than take a friggen chance on a better life.
Whatever, it was 73°in Scottsdale today. FVT.
  • + 2
 @scary1: haha, good for you!
These guys were acting like I said something that was way out in left field lol.
  • - 1
 @vtracer: cant exactly buy a house with $11.25 or $15 an hour. Your young and that wage is respectable.

Underhawk is a straight a*shole though.
  • + 6
 You are 100% correct. Small pockets of out of state money and the occasional person who can make six figures working from home and traveling to NY/Boston/wherever a few times a month. Once you get out the bubble of mountain bikers who think nothing of dropping $$$$ on a bike and a truck you might as well be in Appalachia.
  • - 1
 @Beez177: Way to get butt hurt about something that wasn’t personal. I was an accountant in Vermont for years. You’re some tourist who couldn’t admit it and couldn’t even @ me to call me an a*shole. You don’t know VT like you think you do.
  • + 0
 @scary1: Everything has changed.
  • + 0
 @underhawk: accountant = boring
Your undertones were very derogatory, hence the a-hole label. I told you I spent 30 years there. Not a tourist. 2 other natives confirmed my OPINION you're the butt hurt baby. Shut it!
  • + 0
 @underhawk: A hole happy now
  • + 0
 @Beez177: cool! lmk if you wanna shred
sometime.
  • + 3
 @wibblywobbly: Most of the $$$$ bikes and trucks you see riding through Stowe are from tourists coming from Canada or South. Not that this is a bad thing, since it helps keep the local businesses alive. Hating on people making $$$$ is a common theme on this site, but having a bunch of rich people living in your town helps to keep your local economy thriving. Ask any business owner in Stowe. Also, many of the locals have industry hookups, or just scrape and save to buy a nice bike. Worth it to have a nice bike even if its a stretch, since you're on it basically every day during Spring/Summer/Fall.
  • + 1
 @underhawk: No offense to NATS, but it would be so much better if we could just get more trail built other than the high labor required not super fun IMBA trails we have here in manch
  • + 1
 @Beez177: comparing the wages of Vermont and "the West coast" is hilarious, the cost of living is not even remotely comparable. Most people in the LA area probably have similar disposable income to someone in Vermont, the difference is they make 30/hr and have to pay 2500 a month for rent. They can't afford a 5000 dollar bike anymore than a vermonter making 15/hr can. I'll take the trees, roots and rich dirt of the northeast over crowded hardpacked sandy trails any day, humidity be damned.
  • + 2
 Not a local, but definitely would support another bike park in VT. In the meantime, gonna have to check out these Stowe trails and eats this spring.
  • + 2
 Vermont already has the worlds highest density of bike parks by area in the world. A lot of them are either targeting vacationers that arn’t actually mountain bikers and arn’t worth going to, or havn’t built any new trails in a while and could use some more investment in. Of the bikeparks in VT the only ones expanding & have potential or are already have potential are s6, Burke, & Killington. Stratton & okemo have both been building bike parks but are targeting at their condo owners and ( at least Okemo, Stratton hasn’t started building yet) are pretty crappy and are just hundreds of poorly built berms built by people who don’t fully understand how to make berms flow
  • + 1
 @vtracer: Couldn't agree more, I've said for years that the best bike parks in VT were Burke, Bromont and Highland. Wink Now K is in there too.
  • + 2
 Nearly went to Stowe in 2005. Ended up in Lake Louise. Always felt like my life took a different path that year and wonder what could have been if I’d gone to Stowe.
  • + 3
 You made the right decision. Don't look back.
  • + 3
 I don't know about Stowe but Killington was killing it this year. I'll have to check it out.
  • + 1
 Summer vacation trips to Vermont as a kid gave me a heavy desire to play in the mountains. I haven’t been back since the ‘98(?) NORBA. The Falls of Lana in Branbury State Park was a favourite place of mine.
  • + 1
 My wife and I got married at the mountain side chapel on Mt Mansfield in Stowe back in 2009. We love the area and hope someday to move back to the northeast to enjoy the area again.
  • + 4
 Let's be honest, people go to Vermont for the weed...
  • + 1
 It's better in Canada eh?
  • + 11
 You mean the beer? (Alchemist and Hill Farmstead not far away).
  • + 2
 Ah yes?! Good! That confirms my choice...
  • + 3
 @shawnoen: Lawson's as well
  • + 1
 @shawnoen: I don't drink or smoke (helps with the n+1 problem) so I'm just there for the riding
  • + 1
 No, people go to Mass and Maine for the weed, where its legal.
  • + 3
 @SlodownU: its now legal in VT
  • + 4
 Excellent article and photos! Can't wait to get up there next summer.
  • + 4
 YES Thibault!!!!
  • + 1
 Yes Donny!
  • + 4
 Does Brice even lift?
  • + 4
 camera bags and bikes > crossfit Wink
  • + 3
 @briceshirbach: crossfit only matters if you are a vegan...
  • + 1
 Too much good riding, food, beer, skiing and fishing around Stowe. Don't go.
  • + 2
 If you're in Stowe, you also need to check out Stowe Cider.
  • + 2
 Ha. A lot of butt hurts in the comments. Continue on.
  • + 0
 butthurtery is the state pastime!
  • + 1
 Stowe and Waterbury is probably my favorite place on earth....so many good vibes.
  • + 2
 These articles are always great! Thanks Brice!
  • + 1
 Definetly on my "Going back someday" list! Love the string thing.
  • - 3
 Love the Stowe area. Great riding. But Vt ain’t cheap to live in. Love running in to smug and insufferable Mass and CT people who moved to VT six months ago and now hate people who are visiting from CT, MA and NY. They alternately want you to immediately move to VT or immediately get the hell out. Also, if you don’t have a green license plate on your car, the local constabulary WILL pull you over and give you a ticket. Because you are from out of state and obviously must be rich.

For the most part, people are great but Stowe has that money vibe that is much different from the NEK. If you live in north east, it’s worth the trip. I think I give more monetary support to trails in VT than my locals.
  • + 0
 False
  • + 2
 Yea Dylan!!
  • + 1
 Full pull ..pass that goodness to the right hand side
  • + 2
 Great to have you visit!

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