You have options when it comes to where you take your mountain bike for a weekend getaway. We are here to make that decision easy for you. Pack your bags. It’s time to get away to Stowe, Vermont.
It didn’t take much convincing for us to add The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont to our ever-growing list of Ninja adventure camps. At The Lodge, the hills are alive with the sound of rubber meeting dirt, followed by the clinks of pint glasses and the crunch of Schnitzel with applesauce. Yup, decision-making made easy!Offering a trail network suitable for all riding abilities, lodging options for everyone (including pet-friendly!), bike rentals, several on-site dining options and a bierhall at the trailhead (no joke), this place has it all.
Photo: Gage O’Donnell
The Trapp Lodge trail network offers a skills area for dialing in your technique, 20+ miles of family-friendly trails and 8+ miles of New England rock slabs and roots to challenge even the best of riders. Whether you’re new to riding or ready to take it up a level, our Stowe camp has a course for you. Our weekend program allows you to build your own weekend adventure with your bike buddy or significant other, even if they aren’t at the same place on their mountain biking journey as you. Choose from the full Two-Day Camp, a half day Mini Clinic (Co-ed Fundamentals, Women’s Fundamentals or Jumping) or a one day Intermediate / Advanced course. Mix and match to best suit the needs of your crew!
Gaining confidence (and traction) on rock slaps and wet roots takes more than just power – it takes skill. This is where your certified Ninja Instructors swoop in to help. Unlike your buddy who will tell you, “just let off the brakes and let it roll!”, your Ninja instructors will help you fully understand the how’s and why’s the riding technical terrain. Turns out there’s more to mountain biking and the simply “letting it roll!”.
Beyond the Lodge, the greater Stowe area has even more trails to spin your wheels – Cady Hill Forest, Adams Camp and Sterling Forest to name a few.
How many vacation days do you say you have saved up? You’re going to want to use those.
The Lodge was founded in 1950 by the von Trapps after fleeing Austria and touring the US as the von Trapp Family Singers. Does this story sound familiar? It should! The family that inspired the Sound of Music is the very same that chose to settle in these mountains because it reminded them of Austria. Today you can enjoy “a little Austria, a lot of Vermont” at the lodge with traditional craft brews at the Bierhall, Old World bread at the bakery, and European-style farm-to-table cuisine. Relax in one of the 96 rooms in the main lodge, 18 luxurious Villas or 100 private guest house chalets.
While staying and dining at the lodge is not a requirement to participate in the Ninja clinic, we highly recommend the lodge and encourage you to at minimum stick around for a fresh lager and a Bavarian pretzel (or two).
Ninja is here to help you with your riding. These local establishments can help you refuel:
Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory (yes, you get ice-cream samples at the end of your tour)
Cabot Farmers’ Store (all the free cheese samples you could ever want)
Lake Champlain Chocolate (coffee, ice cream and… well… chocolate)
Smuggler’s Notch Distillery (come for the booze tasting, leave with maple syrup)
Calling all IPA lovers! Check out Idletyme and The Alchemist breweries
Cold Hollow Cider Mill is a must stop for fresh cider donuts and cider steamed hot dogs (yes, that’s a thing and it’s glorious)
Just in case you’re still debating if this is the right getaway for you – did we mention the fall colors? Glorious reds, yellows, and oranges will make it extra challenging to keep your concentration on the trail. Don’t worry, your instructors will understand.
Photo: Gage O’Donnell
Make those decisions easy on yourself. Come for the Ninja clinic, stay for the ice-cream / beer / cheese / chocolate / charm.
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly...
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly for the workout. After racing in an Xterra, I realized that a new bike was in my future. ( I could tell a huge story about the process of purchasing a new MB and the massive amount of miss information you can obtain from bike shops. Especially when you know nothing about bikes. ) Not long after I purchased the new MB, I had my first over the handle bars wreck. I still cannot remember the actual crash. I can see the rut that I am about to hit on the downhill, and then I remember waking up on the trail barely able to breath. The crash gave me some time to catch up on email. One of those emails was a beginners MB clinic hosted by Richard and the Ride Like a Ninja crew. I swallowed my pride and signed up. To date I have done everything I was taught. I made every adjustment to my bike that was recommended. I then had the bike fitted. The skills taught that day are priceless to me. For the first time I understand what position my body needs to be in for each type of terrain. I am not perfect by any means, but in my mind I am shouting the word NINJA to remind myself. I practice the techniques ever time I ride. ~ Hal N.
I have been riding for 1.5 years and still have a lot to learn but Richard and the team are...
I have been riding for 1.5 years and still have a lot to learn but Richard and the team are great teachers. I have been a bit apprehensive about jumping in the past but after two days of instruction with Richard, Aaron, Daniel, Ivan, and Erin I feel much more confident and won't be afraid to take on jumps anymore. The instructor staff are all very experienced riders and it showed. They are all also very friendly and most importantly patient. They aren't afraid to share stories of their mistakes while trying to explain why not to do things a certain way. You truly are part of the Team Ninja family when you are at the classes and I can't wait to go back to another class! Thank you Richard and all of the other instructors. ~Jonathan R
We attended the 2-Day Mountain Bike Skills Camp in Denver CO. I'm a beginner to mountain biking and the class...
We attended the 2-Day Mountain Bike Skills Camp in Denver CO. I'm a beginner to mountain biking and the class exceeded my expectations. The first day was basic fundamental training from bunny hops to cornering your bike. The second day we put those skills to the test by climbing and downhill at all different skill levels, Richard and Aaron even took video to help improve our skills. Well worth your time if you want to improve! ~Russ Anderson
Highly recommend this class for all ages/skills. I will definitely be taking more classes!
Great class! I wish I took this class seven yrs ago when I started mountain biking. Richard and his team...
Great class! I wish I took this class seven yrs ago when I started mountain biking. Richard and his team was awesome. I learned how to approach uphill switchbacks, how to "pre-turn", and most important, how to descend with confidence. Bottom line: I am more efficient and safer rider. As another review said, "best money spent on mountain biking." You can have an expensive bike, but if you don't know how to ride, what's the point? Highly recommend this class for all ages/skills. I will definitely be taking more classes! ~Rean
Everything you need to learn to fully enjoy mountain biking.
Mountain biking is a relatively new sport compared to road biking. So the opportunities to find a good mountain biking...
Mountain biking is a relatively new sport compared to road biking. So the opportunities to find a good mountain biking skill clinic are quite scarce. Richard La China and his team offer such clinic! Richard has the training as a Coach from USA Cycling and the experience as an expert racer to develop in you the skills and therefore the confidence to negotiate the treacherous obstacles on your path as a mountain biker. His clinic has several levels from beginner to expert and is organized incrementally to facilitate the learning of more and more difficult skills. In addition to his and his expert team's demonstrations, I also like his verbal explanations about the why of a specific position or skill to have. Richard and his team have the dedication and patience to teach you anything you need to learn to fully enjoy mountain biking. ~ Anne-Catherine
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.