RASTA builds support for new backcountry skiing zone

Courtesy of ©Ember Photography

Glading is underway in Braintree Mountain Forest.

Project is the first of its kind in Vermont

ROCHESTER—With just a few weeks to go in its summer-long fundraising campaign in support of the new Braintree Mountain Forest backcountry zone, the Rochester Area Sports Trail Alliance (RASTA) is calling on skiers and riders to support their innovative, community-driven project.

As Vermont’s love affair with skiing evolves, communities like Rochester are engaging with both public and private landowners to responsibly manage local terrain for human-powered skiing and riding. Working with former landowners Paul Kendall and Sharon Rives, as well as the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF), which now owns and manages the land, RASTA has begun to develop several glades spilling down nearly 1,000-foot vertical to an existing backcountry cabin within the Braintree Mountain Forest area, just east of Rochester.

“By enhancing our local recreation opportunities, this project is proving to be a major asset to our community,” says RASTA volunteer Zac Freeman of Braintree, who has played a lead role in this project from the beginning. “It helps connect people with the outdoors, promotes conservation of our mountain lands, and provides an economic boost as visitors patronize local businesses when exploring what we have to offer.”

To complement its significant volunteer support, RASTA is currently seeking donations through an online fundraising campaign to help with future glading and ski trail maintenance, the renovation of the Belle Gates backcountry cabin as a warming hut and future overnight shelter, and to cover costs associated with creating a much-needed parking area and related winter plowing.

RASTA is a pilot chapter of Vermont’s Catamount Trail Association (CTA) and works in close partnership with the Vermont Backcountry Alliance (VTBC), a new program of the CTA. Anyone interested in getting involved or supporting RASTA can start by visiting The VTBC seeks to protect, advance and advocate for human-powered backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Vermont. The VTBC facilitates public access to backcountry terrain while promoting the conservation and responsible management of our mountain environment.

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