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Getting Outside with Teens: Hiking and Mountain Biking at Mount Snow

Mountain Biking Mount Snow

As a parent, one of my goals has always been to encourage my kids to explore and love the outdoors. This was easy when they were younger, but the teenage years have thrown a whole new set of challenges our way. A full school schedule, jobs, and extracurricular activities compete for their precious time. They’re happier on their phones than I would like, and the allure of camping, hiking, and exploring the woods with their parents has definitely worn off. So how are we getting our teens outside these days?

With a healthy dose of risk and adventure.

Mountain Biking Mount Snow

Teenagers are programmed to take risks, at least that’s what scientists at University College London concluded in a 2010 study. Providing teens with a positive outlet for risky behavior promotes healthy neurological development and growth, and it also helps prevent more dangerous, and sometimes illegal, risk-taking behavior.

While I personally have no need for an adrenaline rush to get me outside, my kids are always game for such shenanigans. We have started to seek out more adventurous activities when we travel, and our kids are thanking us for it. We recently discovered downhill mountain biking at Mount Snow here in Southern Vermont, and while we’ve all biked on rugged terrain before, riding the lift with bikes in tow and barreling down a mountain a full speed was a definite first. 

Mountain Biking Mount Snow

A disclaimer here: I actually spent the day hiking this beautiful mountain, but I made sure to catch up with the guys lots and lots for photos.

Mountain Biking at Mount Snow

Mountain biking is a long-standing tradition at Mount Snow, and adventurers have been tearing up the trails here for more than 30 years. Beginners and experts alike can take to the mountain, and we saw plenty of little kids getting in on the action. There are 9 downhill trails requiring a lift pass and two cross-country trails that begin and end at the base of the mountain.

Mountain Biking Mount Snow

Although, my guys have their own mountain bikes at home, we chose to rent bikes that were more fit for the rugged downhill terrain. Mount Snow Sports at the Grand provides DH full suspension bike rentals or hardtails for cross country riding. Riders can also rent pads and helmets for a nominal fee.

After donning an array of serious protective padding and a helmet that made me a little nervous, the guys headed over to the Canyon Express for their first run. They were advised start slow on trail # 7, also known as the Gateway Trail, to find their biking mojo. Gateway is a relatively gentle 3-mile track, where the guys practiced their downhill stances, plus a lot of braking and turning, before racing back to the lift for another run. It was obvious that my skiers were beyond thrilled to be on the mountain again.

Mountain Biking Mount Snow

Mountain Biking Mount Snow

My youngest, Gabe, was actually quite happy riding trail #7 over and over again, gaining speed and confidence with each descent, but Eric and Rowan quickly graduated to more difficult trails, and each time I saw them, they were full of stories about jumps, and berms, and bridges.

Mountain Biking Mount Snow

Their favorite trails of the day were Evolver (#6) and Bullwhip (#9).  Evolver is an intermediate trail through the woods, with lots of cool turns and banks. They loved the smooth ride and the variety of features. Bullwhip is a more difficult trail, with good opportunities for catching speed and air. Each time I spotted those boys, whether on the lift, on the trails, or chilling with a cold drink, their smiles were bigger and their faces dirtier. At 5 pm, they took the last lift up for one final ride, and they were all grins amidst the dust as they coasted back to Mount Snow Sports to return their equipment.

Mountain Biking Mount Snow


Mountain Biking Mount Snow

Hiking at Mount Snow

If you’re like me, and you don’t have the need for speed, you can still enjoy a day on the mountain. There are hiking trails for every fitness level, and even non-hikers can enjoy an easy walk on the summit trail after catching the Bluebird Express to the top. Most of the hiking trails follow wide, open ski trails, so sunblock and sunglasses are a must.

Hiking Mount Snow

I wanted to spend a good portion of my day watching and photographing the bikers, so I chose the quickest, but most difficult path to the summit, the Highline Trail. It was definitely steep, and trekking poles would have been a good idea, but I did okay without them.  I didn’t see another soul on the trail, and it was a little disconcerting to get to the top and find a bustling restaurant and a crowd of people admiring the view! I rewarded myself with a cold drink on the deck of the Bullwheel, and hiked back down to Somerset Road to try and catch my kiddos on camera.

Mountain Biking Mount Snow

Hiking at Mount Snow isn’t wilderness hiking, but it’s a great way to work up a sweat while your kids are partaking in risky behaviors.

The monarch butterflies were out in full force.

Hiking Mount Snow

And I even saw a bit of wildlife.

Hiking Mount Snow

Visiting Mount Snow in the Summer

The Canyon Express and Bluebird Express lifts operate from Wednesday to Sunday, 10 to 5 all summer long. In the fall, after the kids go back to school, the lifts are open from Friday to Sunday, 10 to 5. The Bluebird Express lift is open until 7pm every Saturday, starting in July, and daily during peak foliage season (best to call ahead).

Bluebird Express

Beginner mountain bikers, or anyone looking to expand their knowledge and skills, can sign up for a variety of clinics and lessons run by experienced bikers. All Mountain Mamas has a great write-up about their experience with the First Lift Program – for kids and adults who are new to mountain biking.

Mount Snow Sports

There are four eateries open throughout the summer and fall, serving all kinds of fare at every price range. The Bullwheel, where I relaxed after my hike, is perched on top of the mountain and has live music on Saturdays, incredible views, and a good variety of local beers on tap.

Mountain Biking at Mount Snow is a great way to get outside with your teens, and the Green Mountains are a beautiful backdrop for all kinds of adventures, whether you crave a shot of adrenaline, or just want to enjoy the ride.

Sunset Mount Snow

Want to read more about beautiful places to explore in Vermont? Check out these posts. 

And if you enjoyed reading about mountain biking at Mount Snow, please pin this post for future reference.

Looking for a bit of adventure for your next family vacation? How about downhill mountain biking in Southern Vermont? Mount Snow has mountain biking trails for everyone, from beginners to experts, and the scenery is pretty amazing too!

We’d like to extend our gratitude to Mount Snow, who provided us with complimentary lift passes and  equipment rentals so we could write this post, but as always, our opinions are entirely our own. 

 

 

24 Comments

  1. It is good to see the Resort investing in quality updates for the attractions. These kinds of things will help make the area even better than it already is.

  2. I think this is a wonderful way to bring families together. Even if kids don’t thank you in the beginning, they grow to love the adventures of cycling as their confidence builds. You’ve got some great photos here too.
    Linda recently posted…Everything You Will Ever Need To Know About Mountain BikesMy Profile

  3. This looks like so much fun! What an adventurous family you have. I love the idea that there are things to do there all seasons of the year

  4. Oh gosh this brings me back! People used to do this at the mountain where we had a cabin as a teen and I always thought it looked terrifying! I stuck to running. Guess I missed that reckless drive :p

  5. Hi Tara. It’s been a long time since I stopped by here. It looks like you’ve had a great summer.
    There is so much I can relate to in this post. It was easier to go on hikes when they were young and yes, ‘they’re happier on their phones than I would like.’
    You’re right– they need a sense of adventure to enjoy the outdoors.
    LOVE your photos and like always, they transport me to your part of the world.
    Thank you:)
    Arti recently posted…A trip to Cyprus and post holiday BLUES.My Profile

    • Thanks so much for visiting, Arti! What a busy summer we’ve had. Can’t wait to come and visit your blog next.

  6. Looks like there really is something for everyone there! The hiking and biking would be so much fun in itself but those jumps, yikes! Must have been lots of fun 😀

  7. Both the biking and hiking sound really exciting and cool. Would love to try them. the surroundings make the experience all the more alluring.
    Vyjay recently posted…Top of Europe – Jungfraujoch, A Must See in SwitzerlandMy Profile

  8. I have been addicted to bicycle riding lately but Bangkok doesn’t have mountains or anything close to it. Pretty flat grounds even in the urban locations. So this is amazing! I would be a kid with a toy over here.

    I would love to go Mt. Snow

  9. I’ve never considered the psychology of raising teenage boys! This seems like a genius way to indulge their risk-taker side, indeed. I’m actually terrified of riding bikes down rocky roads quickly!

  10. Looks like a lot of fun! I was just telling my husband that we need to go on more adventurous trips, while we still physically can (currently in our mid-30s!). We’ll add this to the list!

  11. Great to see that you take your kids out for such cool adventure trips!Definitely looks like a fun thing to do.
    Julian recently posted…How to Become a More Sustainable TravellerMy Profile

  12. As I am scrolling through your post, I look at the images and think: I can do this. Mountain biking looks like fun!!! Then I get to the picture of the kiddo jumping through the air. Yeah… not so much! Haha 🙂

    • Maria, if you had seen the really little kids slowly making their way down the trail, you might be tempted to give it a try. I was!

  13. Wow, they really have a lot to offer. A little something for everyone all year round. You’re quite the adventurous mom! I’d be so nervous with 3 adventuresome boys, but you really seem to nourish it in a healthy way!! Great job!
    Stephanie recently posted…Powerscourt Gardens & WaterfallMy Profile

    • Thank you, Stephanie! I really don’t feel adventurous, but I do love being outside, which counts for something.

  14. This is a great idea and looks like a lot of fun. I teach middle and high school students and they always seem so glued to their phones! I bet your kids will always remember this adventurous day!
    Natasha recently posted…Staying at the Golden Tulip Devins Seminyak in BaliMy Profile

  15. Those are great pictures. I’d definitely be the hiker in the family as well, but I do try to get our little one out and about as much as possible to experience that nature beauty. This is a great way to keep those teenagers involved for sure. ^^

  16. Looks like fun mountain biking at Mt. Snow! And a great way to get some vitamin D especially for teens.

  17. Wow those trails look quite impressive. We are not big bikers but we all love to hike. As my 2 girls grow I can see this being a great family activity. We all love being outdoors and in touch with nature. It is so nice to see families doing these type of activities together. Happy Roving!!!
    Joella (RovingJo) recently posted…Top 10 reasons to visit ScotlandMy Profile

    • My kids loved it, Joella, and there were trails for all abilities. We saw lots of beginners on Gateway.

  18. Mount Snow looks like a pretty decent hill (coming from someone who lives in Colorado)….glad your kids seem to like getting out in the great outdoors, not many do anymore!!
    Andrea recently posted…Discover Old-World Glamour At Hotel ElyséeMy Profile

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