OK to Ski VAST Trails?

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  1. #1

    Question OK to Ski VAST Trails?

    The VAST website says the trails are for snowmobile only but the Catamount Trail Association gives me the impression it's OK to use the trails so long as you give right of way to the snowmobilers.

    I see videos of dirt bikes on VAST trails in the summer and trip reports of people skiing/snowshoeing in the winter. It's mostly private lands with permission given to the VAST members.

    Does anyone know the deal on this or proper etiquette for these trails?







  2. #2
    They may be referring to ATV use. Some trails are for both. I would e mail VAST and ask. The club members pay dues and registration fees to maintain, sign, and build bridges along with treating the land owners to dinner. Plus, the members volunteer there time to maintain the trails. You may want to join a local snowmobile club and help contribute to this infrastructure. There is no free ride and this took a lot of effort to put together.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by bigbob View Post
    There is no free ride and this took a lot of effort to put together.
    Are you a snowmobiler?

    I already spend a great deal of my time maintaining both marked and unmarked trails in Northern Vermont. I'm not looking for a "free ride" as you put it. I've even removed downed trees from VAST trails before.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Huck_It_Baby View Post
    The VAST website says the trails are for snowmobile only but the Catamount Trail Association gives me the impression it's OK to use the trails so long as you give right of way to the snowmobilers.

    I see videos of dirt bikes on VAST trails in the summer and trip reports of people skiing/snowshoeing in the winter. It's mostly private lands with permission given to the VAST members.

    Does anyone know the deal on this or proper etiquette for these trails?
    The a lot of the VAST trails don't allow motorized vehicles on them in the summer. There are VAST trails that are also used by VASA (Vermont ATV Sportman's Assoc) that allow ATVs and Dirt bikes. In the winter, I'm pretty sure that cross country skiing is allowed, especially on State land. The snowmobiles are supposed to yield to you but it is a lot easier for everyone and the snowmobilers appreciate it if the skier yields to them. The skier can hear them coming long before the snowmobilers can see them.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by from_the_NEK View Post
    The a lot of the VAST trails don't allow motorized vehicles on them in the summer. There are VAST trails that are also used by VASA (Vermont ATV Sportman's Assoc) that allow ATVs and Dirt bikes. In the winter, I'm pretty sure that cross country skiing is allowed, especially on State land. The snowmobiles are supposed to yield to you but it is a lot easier for everyone and the snowmobilers appreciate it if the skier yields to them. The skier can hear them coming long before the snowmobilers can see them.
    Thanks for the info. The VAST trails I have used before seemed completely deserted but I always wonder what the rules were. Your advice is sound. I'll just step out of the way and assume it's cool until told otherwise.
    Last edited by Huck_It_Baby; Nov 19, 2013 at 8:22 AM. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Personally I would not ski or snowshoe on VAST trails as some folks snowmobile on them as if they are on the Jersey Turnpike. If you do, you're taking your life in your own hands. Just my personal opinion.
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by thetrailboss View Post
    Personally I would not ski or snowshoe on VAST trails as some folks snowmobile on them as if they are on the Jersey Turnpike. If you do, you're taking your life in your own hands. Just my personal opinion.
    It's a concern I suppose but not that big of an issue in my book. As NEK said you can hear them long before the come up on you.

    Anytime I have been on a VAST trail it has just been briefly to skin up into an adjacent glade for powder. I don't stay on the trail and ski it as an XC skier would.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Huck_It_Baby View Post
    Thanks for the info. The VAST trails I have used before seemed completely deserted but I always wonder what the rules were. Your advice is sound. I'll just step out of the way and assume it's cool until told otherwise.
    My opinion has always been, if snowmobiles are allowed then so are my skis. But TB does have a point. It doesn't matter if you see them or not. It matters if they see you. I would just use your best judgment in bad visibility conditions and wear clothing that makes you stand out.

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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by MadMadWorld View Post
    My opinion has always been, if snowmobiles are allowed then so are my skis. But TB does have a point. It doesn't matter if you see them or not. It matters if they see you. I would just use your best judgment in bad visibility conditions and wear clothing that makes you stand out.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using AlpineZone mobile app
    I tend to feel the same and think that land owners would prefer skiers over the loud sounds of snow machines.

    Common sense goes a long way...not looking to play chicken against a motorized vehicle!

  10. #10
    I would ask and see what the response is. If it's allowed, it may be known to the sledders in that area so they won't be as surprised when they see a non motorized user.

    I used to do a lot of ATVing and when someone was on the trail who wasn't supposed to be, it could really cause you to throw out the anchor in a hurry....and hope the guy behind you is watching closely.

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