Bolton Valley Signs Contract to Sell 1,161 Acres of Nordic and Backcountry Terrain

BOLTON VALLEY, VT (3/23/2012) -

Bolton Valley officials recently announced that the Vermont Land Trust has signed a contract to purchase the 1,161 acres of terrain that host the Bolton Valley Nordic and backcountry trails. For Bolton Valley free heeling enthusiasts, this means regaining some of the terrain that was off limits this season and will return the area’s Nordic and backcountry trail offering back to its original 100 km of terrain.

The land is in the center of the Chittenden County Uplands Conservation Project (CCUCP) area—an area that has been a focus for forestland and habitat protection for more than 10 years.
For Bolton Valley All-Access season pass holders, it means regaining access to terrain that wasn’t accessible to the public during the 2011-2012 due to a potential private sale.

“This is great news for our Nordic friends as we will gain all the terrain back that we weren’t able to access this year,” said George Potter, president of Bolton Valley. “A small group of individuals expressed their concern regarding that potential private sale of the land, which ultimately didn’t occur. These people were the inspiration and the force behind preserving this land for backcountry and Nordic use so it’s exciting to see what passionate people can accomplish!”

The Vermont Land Trust joined forces with the Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry (FOBVNB), and the two organizations have kicked off a capital campaign to raise the money needed to complete the purchase of the Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry land. “Our next steps include broadening our base of supporters, engaging the Town of Bolton in our efforts, and raising just over a million dollars by May 2013,” said Ann Gotham, who is the coordinator of the FOBVNB. “Yes, it is a tall order, but we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve this incredible land.”

Set amidst more than 5,000 acres of Vermont’s most scenic and spectacular Green Mountain terrain, Bolton Valley is considered by many to be the gateway to New England’s best backcountry terrain. Snowshoe and skinny ski enthusiasts benefit from the Bolton Valley Nordic Center’s 2,100-foot base elevation, which means more snow, more often. The 100 kilometer Nordic trail system gets snow earlier and keeps it longer and with trails suitable for all abilities, the entire family can enjoy 26 kilometers of machine tracked trails for classic and skate skiing. Trails are also open to snowshoers.

The base elevation is also the highest of any Nordic center in Vermont, extending both ends of the season for winter users. The Catamount Trail runs through the property and provides connections to other popular backcountry routes including Trapp Family Lodge, Mt. Mansfield State Forest, Underhill State Park, and Little River State Park.

The property is easily accessible to Vermont’s largest population center, located just 40 minutes from Burlington and half of Vermont’s population sits within 30 miles of this land. As a result, many public schools, colleges, and universities use the land for outing club events, outdoor education, and ski racing and training. Currently, the property is the practice area for several ski teams and clubs, including Essex and Burlington High Schools, Northwest Vermont Nordic Ski Club, and UVM’s top-ranked Nordic team.

Over the next 15 months, the Vermont Land Trust, and community members who care about the land, will work together on a campaign to raise the money necessary to protect the land and keep it open and always available for public use. If the money is not raised, the property will likely fall to private ownership. There is also the possibility of a development with dozens of homes.

The Vermont Land Trust’s purchase price and related expenses is $1,850,000. Because of the property’s statewide significance, the Vermont Land Trust will approach the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board for a public grant contribution. The remaining $1,050,000 will need to come from local fundraising.

At this time the Vermont Land Trust is meeting with those that wish to make leadership gifts of $5,000 or more. After the initial major financial campaign milestone is reached, VLT will then seek gifts of all sizes.

Bolton Valley is Vermont’s most convenient and affordable big mountain skiing. Less than 10 minutes from I-89 and less than 30 minutes from Burlington, the family-friendly mountain offers skiers and riders of all abilities three mountain peaks with 70 trails and 6 lifts, plus 3 terrain parks including the Burton Progression Park.

Bolton Valley was the first in Vermont and the second in the U.S. to implement wind power as an energy source and is the recipient of the National Ski Areas Association’s 2010 Silver Eagle Award for environmental initiatives. Approximately 100km of high elevation Nordic terrain, a complete Sports Center and Indoor Amusement Center plus Vermont’s most extensive top-to-bottom night skiing and riding are just a few of the extras available to guests. All-inclusive, true ski-to-your-door lodging packages are from $79/person/night. For more information visit www.boltonvalley.com or call 877-9BOLTON.