My friend and fellow EasternSlopes.com author Patricia Lyon-Surrey and I were invited to the Lake Morey Resort to participate in the Lake Morey Skate-A-Thon and the nearby Hulbert Outdoor Center’s Winter Skills Day. Surely I couldn’t pass up a chance to try out a brand new winter sport called Nordic Skating, enjoy appetizers and dinner in a tipi, cross-country ski on untracked snow, and learn emergency winter survival skills in the gorgeous setting of Lake Morey, could I? No, not I!!
Pat and I traveled early in the morning of January 8, 2011, to Fairlee, Vermont on snowy roads. We chatted in the warm car cocoon, primed with a good feeling about the weekend’s activities awaiting us. Turns out it was a wonderful weekend, as Pat tells you here.
First on the agenda was Nordic Skating. Nordic what? You heard it right – a kind of long distance skating on natural ice. This nifty sport started in Sweden in the old days and has found its advocates in Europe, Canada and now New England. Jamie Hess is the ringleader in Vermont and owns a shop in Norwich called, appropriately, Nordic Skater. We met him at the Lake Morey Resort that is beautifully situated on the water’s edge. He explained about the 17″ steel blades that give you stability on the ice, the widely curved tips that lift you up and over uneven ice surfaces (unlike conventional figure skates or hockey skates that grab in these conditions), and the warm, supportive cross-country ski boots. Nordic Skating, otherwise known as “Wild Skating” or “Tour Skating” lets you explore places you normally see only by boat in the summer.
As Jamie talked, Pat and I sat lacing a pair of Nordic ski boots to our feet. Then we stepped outside to a bench on the lake and locked our boots into the bindings on the blades. Soooo easy!
We stood up . . . shakily. . . and grinned at each other. We struggled to find our balance. It was too long since we had skated! With baby steps we reached the cleared track on the lake. Then bit by bit we developed a skating rhythm that is similar to cross-country skate-skiing. It felt soooo good!
The wind whipped sharply into our faces so we opted for the 2.5 mile trail rather than the 4.5 mile one that circles the entire lake. The Lake Morey Resort together with the Upper Valley Trails Alliance and the Hulbert Outdoor Center maintain the skating trail with various special equipment and the trail is the longest one in the United States! As it smoothed out we opened up our pace and glided along.
Back on the bench in front of the Resort we clicked out of the blades and headed towards the Inn, passing a couple of smaller rinks where kids were playing ice hockey and a broom ball session was just forming. Guests staying overnight at the Inn receive complimentary use of skates for up to three hours daily. Anyone may stop by to rent nordic skates, hockey and figure skates at the Skate Shack. You can check ice conditions on the Lake Morey Resort website.
Although it was still forenoon we checked into our spacious and handsomely decorated room at the Inn overlooking the lake. Small figures dotted the nordic skating trail while the hills around the lake stood solidly, white. The scene reminded Pat and me of The Mountain Top Inn near Rutland, VT, another lovely inn with a similar view where we had enjoyed swimming, kayaking and horseback riding during the summer. You can read about our adventures here.
The Mountain Top Inn also offers cross-country skiing, though the Lake Morey Inn is the place to go for Nordic Skating. Other locations for nordic skating could be the lake nearest you, a frozen river, in Quebec or on the canals in Ottawa, Canada. Many are the destination options, and I can see how easily you can become addicted to this fun new sport!