Institutional News

Like Living in a Snow Globe: Winter in Southwestern Vermont

Get ready for a winter wonderland adventure in Southwestern Vermont.

Image of Bennington barn in snow

When the first snow of the season began to fall earlier this month, people stopped what they were doing and watched. Taking in the snowy scene for the first time, complete with red barns and antique New England houses, it’s like living in a snow globe. Even those who have lived here their whole lives took a moment to appreciate the beauty. 

As cozy as it is to curl up with a hot drink and a good book on a snowy afternoon, it is far more exhilarating to go out and enjoy it. Put on a few underlayers, a warm coat, boots, a knitted hat, gloves, and a scarf for a winter adventure in beautiful Southwestern Vermont. 

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

To many, winter means going to Prospect Mountain, home to 30 kilometers of carefully groomed cross-country trails for everyone from the beginner to the expert. Most trails have tracks set on either side with a wide skating lane in the center. There are also special snowshoeing trails. (Many local libraries loan snowshoes like books!) Downhill types are welcome to climb 400 feet to the top of the mountain, enjoy the view into the valley below, and ski down! 

Downhill Skiing

For a luxurious ride to the top of the mountain on a chair lift or gondola, check out Bromley Mountain in Peru, VT; Jiminy Peak in Hancock, MA; Magic Mountain in Londonderry, VT; Mount Snow in West Dover, VT; and Stratton Mountain in Stratton, VT. Each ski area is less than an hour from campus, and each has a charming little village to explore. 

Ice Skating

Riley Rink at Hunter Park, housed inside the Northshire Civic Center in Manchester, VT, offers “public skate” for a few hours each day and “dollar skate,” a discounted version, on several weekends each winter. People of all ages come out to skate (or learn to skate) to the beat of fun retro music. Renting skates is just a few dollars. For a free skating spot, visit nearby Lake Paran after a few weeks of freezing temperatures. (Note: Ice should be at least 6” thick before skating!)


The pristine expanses of snow, branches of trees each highlighted with white, a tidy covered bridge trimmed with icicles… Whether you are an amateur or a professional, these scenes beg to be captured! Take a walk or a drive to search for your next Instagram post. You are certain to find a calendar-worthy shot. 


The most epic sledding hill in the Bennington area is at Willow Park. Just a few minutes from campus, those starting at “upper Willow” can coast for 150 yards, especially if they get a running start! All you need is your warm winter layers and a sled, which can be found for just a few dollars at any local drugstore.


Now, after a few hours outside, that hot beverage you have been planning on will be all the more satisfying. Visit The Coffee Bar, Powers Market, or Prospect Coffee House for a large selection of drinks and treats. (Prospect features delicious homemade donuts on Sundays!) All three of these special coffee spots offer seats facing large windows, so you can watch the snow slowly blanket the charming New England scene.