When there is snow there is magic. The cross-country ski trails at the Trapp Family Lodge when covered in snow create a special kind of winter wonderland. It felt so good to be enveloped in the snow covered woods without roads or buildings or much other than trees and wildlife in sight. The snow dampened all sound and the air felt cool and crisp. It was definitely a break that we needed.
We went for a three day trip to the Trapp Family Lodge a few days before Christmas before we had kids in 2016. We rented skis and spent three days cross country skiing in the wilderness. I had never been cross-county skiing before and had only been downhill skiing a few times. It turns out it was a great activity for Sebastian (who is an avid and excellent downhill skier) and me to do together. Cross country skiing was a great way to meet in the middle skill-level wise.
We arrived in the afternoon the first day and had only enough time to rent skis and do a quick trial run before dark. Getting up that first hill made me so nervous and was definitely a struggle, but a surmountable one! The second day we made the six mile round trip loop to the Slayton Pasture Cabin. The last day we were out in the morning as the sun was rising to get a few small loops in.
I really couldn’t say enough good things about this trip. The cross-country ski trails take you out into the woods, out of sight of all that is familiar and brings you into this fairy tale world of snow laden trees. Yet, when you come into the lodge for a break or for the evening, it is decked in warmth from a grand gingerbread house made by the bakery to complementary tea and cookies in the afternoon. There are fifteen Christmas trees throughout the lodge each decorated with a different theme, several different lodge style common rooms to relax or play board games in, and crackling fireplaces everywhere you look. The fireplaces are closely tended to with someone adding a log to each of the many fireplaces every half an hour or so in the evening.
We lucked out with a ton of snow on the ground when we visited just before Christmas that year. On our second day, when we did the long loop up to the Slayton Pasture Cabin on the hill, there was a couple of feet of snow on the ground and it snowed almost the whole time we were out. It was a trek uphill, which took quite a bit of work. We paused occasionally to listen to the silence or to hear the snow fall from the trees. It was cold, but we worked up a sweat and didn’t need too much in terms of layers, but good gloves were a must. At the cabin on the knoll there was also a warm fire in the open fireplace and skiers hung their socks, boots and gloves by the fire to warm up while taking a break from skiing. We brought picnic lunches and water, but I believe they offered soup and coffee. The cabin felt like a real log cabin with no frills, large round logs lining the walls and a dark stone fireplace.
The return trip back to the lodge was much faster than the uphill trek. It was mostly downhill. We picked up some speed that at times was thrilling and at times made me nervous as I did not have a lot of experience with slowing down or stopping. I think I only fell once or twice!
Back at the lodge (with our legs still shaking from all the skiing) there was turn down service with little chocolates and a schedule of the next day’s activities left for us. I’ve never had turn down service with chocolates left on the pillows at a hotel before and it certainly made me feel well cared for. After skiing we went down to the lounge, still in our ski attire, for complementary tea and cookies.
We went back up to our room to relax and clean up for dinner. We had dinner at the Bierhall that evening. It was warm and mostly quiet with the crowds not arriving until after Christmas. I had the Chicken Schnitzel and Sebastian had the Bratwurst, Knackwurst, & Bauernwurst. They were both excellent, filling and satisfying and likely what we will order again when we go in a few short weeks.
We returned to the lodge to play cards by the fire in the lounge. A little later a pianist sat down by the piano and played Christmas songs for the rest of the evening. It truly was an incredible day.
The other night that we were there, we ate dinner in the lounge and also listened to someone play Christmas music on the piano. We wandered the halls and looked at all the decorated Christmas trees throughout the lodge. We watched a small portion of the Sound of Music down in a hall downstairs and at one point during the day meandered into the Kaffeehaus for a coffee and a pastry.
I would definitely recommend a stay here. In fact, we returned two years later with our 11-month old who we took skiing in a pulk (baby sled) and we will be going back again this year with our now three children! You’re always rolling the dice when visiting earlier in the winter as there’s no way to know how much snow there will be in.
On our second trip with our 11-month old there was a good amount of snow the day we arrived and we did get some skiing in, but it rained quite a bit on our second day and washed away all of the snow. It was definitely sad to sit inside and look through the window as the rain melted the snow off of the hills. We made the most of our time though and swam in the indoor heated pool and checked out the town.
This time around if we don’t luck out with snow, we have set our expectations to be okay with this and to change our approach and mindset to the trip. We plan to spend a good amount of time at the pool and hanging around the lodge and playing games in the common rooms, along with some excellent meals at the Bierhall and Lounge. It’ll be a great way to get away, reset, and get in some holiday spirit.
What to Do:
- Cross country skiing
- Trail to Slayton Cabin (half-whole day activity)
- Relax at the lodge (common rooms, fireplaces, decorations, play cards)
- Swim at the pool
- Explore Stowe
Where to Eat:
- Kaffeehaus for a coffee and pastry