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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Updated: December 30, 9:32 AM ET
Ski By Boat


That's one way to break the ice.

We hopped into our trusty 16-foot red canoes and set off to explore a handful of backcountry ski lines alongside one of our favorite Vermont rivers. With plenty of snow pack in the valleys and the main river nearly ice-free, it was an adventure we couldn't resist.

In years past, we had set out canoe-skiing one day at a time. But now, we wanted to try a longer, overnight adventure. On a cool, sunny morning, Justin Beckwith, a whitewater kayaker and the head Nordic coach for Vermont's Green Mountain Valley School, as well as my wife, Emily Johnson, and I set off in our canoes, clad in our ski gear, and with some food and camping gear in tow. We had 15 miles of easygoing river water to look forward to and countless options for skiing right back to our canoes along the way.

Our first ski run through a hardwood glade dropped over 1,000 vertical feet to the river. We climbed and skied another mountain after lunch, and by dark, we had settled into camp.

"I've always wanted to do this," said Justin after putting in on the river. "It was just great to be on the river ... wearing ski boots!"