First time skiers at CHSA will find that there are essentially three different areas of the trail network to explore, each with its own distinct character. The closest--and the first area to be developed by Camel’s Hump Nordic Ski Center (predecessor of CHNSA) owners, Dave Brautigam and Myra Handy in 1979--is the northern trails located primarily on private land owned by the Handy and Jones families of Huntington. Grooming begins at the trailhead across the road from the parking lot entrance. There is a moderate climb of a couple hundred meters and then a rather level glide for about one km before skiers confront the option of bearing RIGHT onto Gullyjumper, or LEFT at a “Y” intersection and continuing up Pond Road on the Handy trails in the direction of the figure eight loop of Lost Farm Loop and Echo Woods.
Echo Woods is the ultimate destination for skiers taking the Pond Road option, which includes a gentle climb with a couple of moderating switchbacks. Once past the pond, there is a variety of shorter, gentle connecting trails, all of which lead in the general direction of Echo Woods. The allure of Echo Woods is a gentle, ridge-top loop that offers views in all directions. Traveling counter-clockwise around Echo Woods, the observant skier on a clear day will notice, with a look back over the right shoulder to the north, a view of Mt. Mansfield through a notch in the distance. Continuing west to a vantage point at the far end of the ridge, one can see Huntington Village in the foreground and a great view of the Adirondack skyline in the distance. And, as the trail turns south and east, just around a gentle downhill switchback, there is room to step to the side of the trail and enjoy a majestic view of Camel’s Hump with the Handy cabin in the foreground below (this former site of the CHNSC ski shop/warming hut, now called Littlefield Farm, is now available to rent.) Owl’s Glen, which takes one into a hidden ravine and across a bridge, and Skywalker, with its views of the Adirondacks to the west, are also groomed, though less frequently, and offer great powder skiing when the timing is right.
A second option for skiers is the terrain encompassing Windekind Farm to the south end of the trail network. Skiers wanting to access this area of the trail network may take the RIGHT fork onto Gullyjumper about one km out from the trailhead, cross a wide bridge and climb a short, but steep pitch to several switchbacks as the trail climbs to Gullywhumper. To avoid the steep climb, continue a little further on Pond Road’s moderating switchbacks to the beginning of Gullywhumper, a wide, winding downhill leading to Northern Lights or, a little further on, to the intersection of Stagecoach Road. These trails circle the base of Cobble Hill, and both ultimately lead to breathtaking views from Windekind Farm, a scenic gem tucked away at the end of the road. Northern Lights takes one across the top of an open meadow for a dramatic Adirondack skyline view and the prominently featured Giant Mountain. The view to the west across the valley also takes in the upper reaches of our neighboring Sleepy Hollow Inn, Ski and Bike Center.
Favorite trails on the southern portion of the network are Dead River Run, Skunk Brook Trail, Marijke’s Mainline, Jack Rabbit, and of course, the Windekind Meadow Loop, none of which are to be missed. Bear Scat Draw, for some regulars a personal favorite which connects from Stagecoach Road to Skunk Brook and the other Windekind Farm trail options, was newly renovated during the summer of 2010 and is now regularly groomed through a mix of hardwoods and spruce. The Sugarbush trail, our newest trail addition and most southerly on the network, reclaims sections of the abandoned Ullr Run and Bert’s Notch Trails that old-timers will remember, while exploring new terrain and completing a loop back to the familiar Marijke’s Mainline. For more advanced skiers, the backcountry Cobble Hill trail takes one to an 1800’ hilltop view of Camel’s Hump and the surrounding terrain. From the Cobble Hill ridgeline, the old ski center buildings can be seen in the meadow to the west, and on a clear day Lake Champlain can be seen in the distance.
Finally, for those preferring backcountry ski terrain, the northeastern portion of our trail network (upper right on the trail map) takes one to ungroomed trails and the highest elevations on the network. Loggers Loop leads to the Catamount Trail and Camel’s Hump State Park, where the Lion’s Ridge trail loops around on a gentle shelf above 2000’ with the most dramatic views of Camel’s Hump you will find in the area. Make sure you have your camera for this trip! And, if you’re interested in a longer distance ski, park a second car at the maintained parking lot on the River Road in Bolton, just east of the Honey Hollow Road, then drive back to CHNSA and head for the Honey Hollow section of the Catamount Ski Trail that descends 1500 vertical feet to the Winooski River.