The Craftsbury Outdoor Center is home to both an elite residential training center for aspiring Olympians in rowing and nordic skiing, as well as a premiere outdoor endurance sports vacation destination for recreational and competitive runners, mountain bikers, rowers, biathletes, and nordic skiers. The calm and protected water of two mile-long Big Hosmer Pond is an ideal training setting, and the Center’s nearly 100km of trails include two race loops and a biathlon range. An indoor training facility stocked with state of the art cardiovascular and strength training equipment provides ample dry-land training capacity, and a team of elite, competitive, and recreational coaches oversee the entire operation.
Sterling College and the Craftsbury Outdoor Center (COC) are symbiotic partners in their mission, and their world class facility is an extension of our campus. The COC is less than a mile from Sterling, and their ski trails traverse our campus. Because of this partnership, all matriculated Sterling students and Sterling staff are eligible for free membership to the COC. Benefits include:
- Free trail access
- Reduced class fee of $5 for Sterling students and staff not actively members of either the running or nordic team (for classes including yoga, Crossfit, community fitness, etc.).
- Nordic and running team athletes can attend classes at no charge as part of their training with a coach’s advanced permission.
- Free use of the COC gym during community/open gym hours.
- Discounted ski rentals. Sterling students can rent skis at a discounted rate of $8 per day for a ski package. COC will continue to offer free use of skis for Sterling classes during class time (including Bounder II and Nordic Skiing).
- Discounted bike rentals ($10 per hour / $15 per half day / $20 per full day)
- Free entry to Tuesday night races (summer 5k trail races; winter ski races)
- Discounted meals in the COC dining hall (available with advanced notice).
In order to use COC facilities, all Sterling students and employees must complete a membership application form *and* a separate gym waiver form if they plan to use the gym. Note that use of other facilities, including the waterfront and sauna, are not included in this agreement.
The Craftsbury Outdoor Center began in 1976 when Russell Spring and his family purchased the Cutler Academy campus and began remaking the facilities into lodging for guests and athletes. A Nordic trail network was cut on the land, with sculling and running camps founded shortly after, providing year round training and athletic opportunities in a beautiful natural setting.
After over thirty years of growth and guidance under the Springs, the Center began a new chapter in its life in November 2008 when Dick Dreissigacker and Judy Geer purchased the Center. Dick and Judy promptly reformed the company as a non-profit organization with a new mission.
The mission of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center is:
- to support and promote participation and excellence in lifelong sports with a special focus on rowing, nordic skiing, biathlon and running;
- to use and teach sustainable practices; and
- to protect and manage the surrounding land, lake and trails.