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a silhouetted person skates on natural ice on a plowed path on a sunny day with white snow all around Image by Seven Days, Vermont

Outdoor Ice Skating at Lake Morey, Fairlee, Vermont

Lake Morey is on the NH/VT border, approximately two hours north of Lowell. Every winter it freezes over and the local resort plows a large 4.5 mile loop around the pond for ice skating. You may wonder why you would drive two hours to go ice skating, but you can't beat this experience!!! Natural ice was once the only surface one could go skating on, but now it's a rare opportunity! Natural ice typically has some texture, and often you can see the various lines and such that appeared in the ice as it formed over the winter, so it's really pretty and very cool to look at! Typically, the ice in February will be between 10 inches and probably 24 inches, depending on the winter conditions. Humans need only about 2-4 inches of ice to be safe, so even 8 inches is VERY thick for us. The resort sends out their plow which weighs a lot more than an average human, and you can be sure they only do that if it's safe! The bonus to using this location is that because it is regularly plowed, the route should be in quite good condition. Once we arrive, we will sit on the outdoor benches, lace up skates and get our skating legs under us. It typically takes 5-15 minutes for most people to get comfortable on skates again. Once the group feels comfortable, we can start venturing a little farther, and consider doing the whole loop around. It is really a unique experience you don't want to miss!

woman sleds down a trail in the woods with a big smile on her face

Sledding at Beaver Brook Farm

Beaver Brook Farm* is just north of UMass Lowell in Dracut, MA. It is a large wide hill on a property that is one of the oldest farms in this region. The first farmhouse was originally built in 1763, and the property is an important piece of history to Dracut. Beaver Brook Farm is in the heart of the environmental justice zone in Dracut, which is based on income, race, nationality, and age. The town is looking to create affordable housing and community gardens here, as well as maintain open farm land and hiking trails.

*Sledding is a new event for the Outdoor Adventure Program. The sledding hill at Beaver Brook Farm is a wide, open hill.

Exertion & Skill Level

Ice Skating: No previous ice skating skills necessary, but bring a willing attitude. At most, we will skate around a 4.5 mile loop, which may take approximately two hours or so. People may decide to do less.

Sledding: No previous sledding skills necessary! Our sledding evenings are intended to be a fun way to get outside and enjoy nature and activity - be a kid again while you're studying to be an adult! The evenings will consist of sledding down the large hill (weeee!) and walking back up again, as many times as you desire. There will be hot chocolate provided at the top of the hill near the van. You can expect that you will get damp in the snow and then warm walking back up. The trips are dependent on snow. If there is no snow, you will be refunded your registration amount.

Tentative Itinerary: Ice Skating at Lake Morey

  • 8:30 a.m. Meet at the Outdoor Center and Bike Shop
  • 9-11 a.m. Drive together to Fairlee, VT
  • 11 a.m. Get skates, get comfortable on the ice. Enjoy some lunch, then skate around the 4.5 mile loop
  • 3-5 p.m. Return to Outdoor Center and Bike Shop

Tentative Itinerary: Sledding

  • 5:30 p.m. Meet at the Outdoor Center and Bike Shop
  • 5:45 p.m. Drive together to Beaver Brook
  • 6 p.m. Enjoy the outdoors sledding down the hill, walking back up, and drinking hot chocolate
  • 8 p.m. Return to Outdoor Center and Bike Shop

Packing List

The items on this list are strongly recommended for your trip. The weather forecast and your thermal perception should be considered when packing.

  • Online medical questionnaire and waiver
  • Sunscreen
  • Chap Stick/Lip Balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Water Bottles warm/hot water in your bottles is recommended
  • Base Layer Cold Weather; tops and bottoms underlayer; wicks sweat off your skin; synthetic, long base layers recommended; no cotton
  • Middle Layer Insulating layer; retains body heat to protect you from the cold; fleece, flannel, or wool recommended; sweatshirts are okay but less recommended
  • Outer Layer Shell Layer; shields you from wind and rain; your winter coat - one that is easy to do a lot of physical activity in.
  • Snow Pants or Waterproof/Resistant Pants
  • Extra outer layer Warm shell layer; for use when standing/waiting at the top of the hill - something warm you can add to your other layers. Down is ideal, or a large fleece.¬†
  • Gloves and/or Mittens Recommend something waterproof or water-resistant, your hands will be in the snow!
  • Buff, Face Mask, or Scarf warms oxygen entering the body
  • Wool or Fleece Hat
  • Thick Wool Socks Warm feet make for a warmer body, safety; an extra pair is advised
  • Snow Boots
  • Backpack for carrying your extra layers, water and snacks
  • Personal Medications
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • *First Aid Safety first
  • *Sleds / Ice skates¬†provided by OAP (If you have your own, you are encouraged to bring them as they will be most comfortable)

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