Trapp Family Lodge, renowned for its commitment to “touch the earth gently” while promoting fitness through outdoor activities and home to the first commercial Nordic ski center in North America, recently expanded the scope of their Mountain Bike Programming. The Lodge introduced a comprehensive Mountain Bike Program as a summer guest activity through their Outdoor Center in 2009. This season the lodge has expanded their trails and staffing to offer a new dimension to their summer outdoor activities.
Sam von Trapp, Vice President and Director of Operations, sees mountain biking as a natural counter part to the Nordic skiing and has been instrumental in revitalizing the resort's outdoor offerings as well as engaging a younger local crowd. “All of these things that we're doing are consistent with my family's philosophy of being responsible hoteliers and stewards of the land,” says von Trappwho returned to Vermont and the family business in 2007 from decades in Colorado and Chile where he was a ski instructor. “ We were approached by the Vermont Mountain Bike Association late in 2007 who pitched us the idea of adding mountain biking as an activity for our guests and the public that would provide an enhanced guest experience and an opportunity to link in with local interest groups. It took a bit of convincing on my part for my father (Johannes von Trapp) who is a forester by vocation and worried about possible trail erosion to come on board,” commented von Trapp the younger. Come on board he did however and currently the 2400-acre property supports not only mountain biking but also hiking, tennis, fishing, organic gardens, a herd of Scottish Highland cattle, a variety of musical events and a newly launched micro-brewery.
The lodge worked with trail designer Hardy Avery to designate over 28 miles of trail for bikers of all levels. “Our progression of trails is perfect for first-timers or anyone looking to develop skills and confidence gradually,” says von Trapp. There are currently 8 miles of single track and climbing trails, with more to come, that will satiate the needs of adrenaline junkies and expert riders who can also easily hub on to a broader network of area trails. Beginner and intermediate riders will enjoy 20 miles of well-maintained double track and open trails, there is also a jump park and pump track for kids and daredevils of any ages.
The Bike Center is a full-service shop staffed by experienced instructors and expert mechanics, all of whom are eager to share their love of the outdoors and biking with visitors to Trapp Family Lodge. Leading the Mountain Bike Program is Dana Jourdan with nearly 20 years of riding, repair and instruction experience including as co-owner with Hardy Avery of a legendary Stowe bike shop. Jourdan and his staff are available to assist guests with equipment rentals; repairs, day and season trail passes, group or private lessons and guided rides. A full rental fleet of 40 state-of-the-art Giant mountain bikes from children's cruisers to full suspension bikes allow both lodge guests and day-use guests the opportunity to explore areas less traveled by powering their way through the meadows and forest that comprise the storied central Vermont property.
Another new venture at The Trapp Family Lodge is their microbrewery launched in April 2010 to wide acclaim. Johannes von Trapp had dreamt for years of replicating the lagers found in the small local breweries in Austria and Germany. “I would return to Vermont where we have plenty of good local brewers crafting mostly ales and stouts but I couldn't find a good lager which are lighter in flavor and alcohol content, “ says Johannes. Using mountain spring water from the Trapp estate and fine imported grain and hops, TrappFamily Lagers truly replicate those lighter style lagers. Since becoming available locally in April, Trapp Family Lager has become one of the most popular Vermont beers available on tap. When asked why he decided to diversify and expend in this current economic climate, von Trapp remarked “ with the economy in the state it was in, we had to do something to make us happy!” The father and son interests of brewing and biking complement each other well and indeed have made them both happy.
Trapp Family Lodge will be offering Mountain Bike Clinic Weekends later in the summer. “We thought it would great to combine a weekend get-away with playtime and instruction,” says von Trapp. The first MB Clinic Weekend is planned for the weekend of August 6 through August 8, 2010, “we've put together a weekend of instruction, riding, camaraderie and epic fun for riders of all levels and ages,” adds Trapp Mountain Bike Program Director Jourdan and both weekends will conclude with a “Beers & Gears” send-off party lunch. Currently two Mountain Bike Clinic Weekends are planned with the second one over the weekend of October 24, 2010 to get in some prime fall riding. At this generation's Trapp Family Lodge the hills are alive with much more than the sound of music!