The creation of Vermont’s newest premiere cross-country skiing destination was founded by three life-long friends whose properties make up the Strafford Nordic Center. Jere, Rett and Earl, in an effort to accommodate a need for local Nordic trails, and use the land to its fullest potential, have restructured their farms and created the Strafford Nordic Center. This project has also utilized the efforts of numerous Strafford residents which demonstrates its community’s support. Having been raised on this land, Jere, Rett and Earl take great pride in the Strafford Nordic Center and strive to make this the best possible skiing experience for their guests.
Jere started skiing in Strafford in a backpack strapped to his oldest brother when he was just a baby. His father, John Linehan, used to take the whole family out on the snowmobile trails for weekend outings. While living in Anchorage, Alaska, Jere got his feet wet in the world of Nordic Racing. After moving back to his hometown of Strafford, he began racing for the Hanover High School Ski Team. Midway through school, Jere followed his friends to the Oak Hill ski jumps where he started his journey in Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined.
As a Nordic Combined skier, he would leave the Upper Valley to train in Lake Placid NY, Steamboat Springs CO, Marquette MI, and Park City UT. Jere competed in several Junior Olympics, National Championships, Olympic Tryouts, World University Games, Continental Cups and even a few World Cup competitions before moving on to compete as a Special Jumper where he continued training with members of the US Ski Team. After traveling around the United States, and Europe, Jere returned home to the Upper Valley.
For the past 6 years Jere and his wife Hilary, with help from their neighbors, have been building, grooming and skiing on approximately 10 kilometers of trail. Jere took his passion for skiing and developed the idea and plan for the Strafford Nordic Center.
A native Vermonter, Rett grew up on Tamarack Hill Farm. Rett’s father, 1976 Olympian Denny Emerson, developed and owns Tamarack Hill Farm, which is one of the top-rated equestrian centers in the country. Rett’s family has been instructing riders and breeding horses for decades. Rett lived out west, and after several years on the rodeo scene Rett decided it was time to move home from Colorado, and made his way back to Strafford to care for the family farm. Summertime is his busy season; from late April to early November Rett can be seen working on every aspect of the farm. Now, in the winters, Tamarack Hill Farm will be host to the newest premiere Nordic Center in New England and will continue to excel at providing outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Earl is another native Vermonter. Born and bred on Rockbottom Farm in Strafford, Vermont he and his wife Amy Huyffer are the founders, and owners, of the Strafford Organic Creamery where they produce the finest organic ice cream and dairy products this side of the Pecos. Earl has been farming in Strafford for the past 17 years after taking over the family farm from his father in 1994 and has continued to be a leader in the organic farming industry.
The combination of old farm roads and hay fields make Rockbottom Farm an ideal place for cross-country ski trails. One of the tallest mountains in town is located on Rockbottom Farm, and we have a trail that will take you right to the top. The long-range views of Vermont and northern New Hampshire are simply stunning from the mountain pastures.