VERY DIFFICULT 3.5 mile ski (2 to 4 hours)
The Bruce Trail is one of the more exciting steep backcountry ski runs in the Northeast. This ungroomed trail is maintained by the Trapp Family and Mount Mansfield touring centers. The purchase of a lift ticket at the Mount Mansfield at Stowe ski area or a trail ticket from one of the cooperating ski touring centers in Stowe is required to ski this route. See Stowe Mountain Website for more info.
How To Get There:
From Hanover take I-89 North to the Stowe exit, drive into Stowe, and turn left on to the Mountain Road. Go eight miles to the Mount Mansfield at Stowe Ski Area, and take the Forerunner Quad Chair lift to the Octagon. Ski directly away from the chairlift (slightly uphill) and then descend to the junction with the Toll road, turn left and immediately look for the trail entrance on your right, which starts to descend right away. A sign for the SOUTH LINK marks the trailhead.
The trail goes south, dropping straight down the fall line in a broad drainage. The trail is fifteen to twenty feet wide and steep. The Bruce is full of quick corners and surprises. Fast reactions are needed. There is only one steep drop, the “Elevator Shaft,” the horizon line for which is clearly visible in advance.
The Bruce is exposed to the southern sun. Because of this, it tends to have less consistent snow conditions. It is common to encounter a wide range of snow types when skiing the Bruce, which adds to its interesting personality.
The Bruce Trail travels through some long, open birch glades before coming to a clearly marked intersection with the Overland Trail after 1.1 miles. Turning right here will lead to the Underhill Trail, just below the Needle’s Eye. If you have the time, climbing the Burt Trail to the Skytop Ridge and skiing back to either the Trapp Family Lodge or the Mount Mansfield Ski Touring Center makes a great day trip. The ski tour encompasses every type of skiing, from telemarking down a powder run, to backcountry touring, to double-poling or skating your way home on groomed trails.
The Bruce Trial continues straight ahead from its junction with the Overland Trail, ending a mile later at the Burt Trail. The Burt Trail is part of the Mount Mansfield Ski Touring Center. There are 1.2 miles of groomed trail skiing from the end of the Bruce to the touring center. If the skiing on the Bruce Trail is good you can jump back into your car and do it again, or explore the other parts of the mountain. It is an exceptional valley that has the best snow and terrain in the East.