Dec 042012
Middlebury College Le Chateau classroom and residential building in the snow

Middlebury College Le Chateau classroom and residential building in the snow

Internationally recognized Middlebury College, located in the Champlain Valley of Vermont, is well known for its challenging liberal arts curriculum and its excellence in foreign language studies.  Founded in 1800, the college is home to 2,500 undergraduates from 50 states and dozens of foreign countries.

Many of its students choose Middlebury for the excellent academics combined with the opportunity to spend four years living at a historic  New England campus surrounded by beautiful views of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks plus unlimited access to all variety of outdoor adventures in any season.  According to Wikipedia, “The campus is known as “Club Midd” because of its bucolic setting and the quality of its recreational and residential facilities.”

If your family vacation or college visit plans bring you to this part of New England during the winter, be sure to save some time to explore the on campus ski options.  Middlebury is one of only a few colleges to own and operate its own nordic and downhill ski areas.  Specifically, the Rikert Nordic Center and the Snow Bowl downhill ski area.   The Middlebury College Snow Bowl has two triple chair lifts and one double and serves 17 trails, plus several gladed areas for skiing and riding in the trees. The mountain’s historic lodge, with a cafeteria and rentals available, was expanded and remodeled in 2003.  Snowmaking makes up for mother nature if needed.

Tweens check out the conditions at the Middlebury College Rikert Nordic Center

Tweens check out the conditions at the Middlebury College Rikert Nordic Center

Just a mile and a half away at the College’s Bread Loaf Campus in Ripton, VT, the Rikert Nordic Center offers 42 KM of trails on unspoiled land in the Green Mountain National Forest  and operates in partnership with the USDA-Forest Service

The Rikert Center has been recently upgraded with the addition of a new internationally recognized 5 KM championship level trail that has been certified for competition at the highest level by skiing’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS).  The center  has completely renovated the lodge  and offers hearty food and first quality rental skis and snowshoes.

The Rikert Center is open for recreational as well as competitive cross country skiers and serves as the base of operations for the college’s Nordic Ski team.  It will also host a number of special events this winter including the Middlebury College winter carnival ski race in February, Adaptive Ski days, half marathon ski races and snowshoe races.

Both the Rikert Center and the Snow Bowl are in first rate condition and offer family friendly on campus skiing, snowboarding and even snowshoe adventures at affordable prices.  Any wintertime visit to Middlebury College and the surrounding area requires at least a half day of skiing to really understand what makes this such a special area all year round.

Rikert Center photo courtesy the Rikert Center, used with permission, copyright 2012, Brett Simison

Middlebury College photo courtesy Wikimedia

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