John Morton

Founder of Morton Trails, and the designer of over 100 trail projects across the United States and abroad.  He has developed trails for private landowners, schools and municipalities, resorts, as well as competition venues for major international events such as the World University Games and Biathlon World Cups.  In the spring of 2002, he was part of an international team of consultants that planned the new Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands.

A seven-time Olympic participant, twice as an athlete for the US Biathlon Team and Chief of Course for Biathlon events at the Salt Lake City Olympics, John began designing trails in 1989 after eleven years as head coach for the Dartmouth College Ski Team.  He is a graduate of Middlebury College and served in the US Army in South Vietnam, released from active service at rank of Captain in 1972.

In addition to remaining a competitive runner and skier, John is a frequent commentator on Vermont Public Radio and author of the novel Medal of Honor.   He is a certified course homologation inspector for the FIS (International Ski Federation).


  • Named to US Biathlon Hall of Fame, 2008

  • IBU (International Biathlon Union), International Referee (2004 to present) including Lake Placid World Cup, NY (February, 2004) and Fort Kent World Cup, ME (March, 2004)

  • Trustee, Tilton School, Tilton, NH (January 2007 to present)

  • Member of the Board of Trustees, Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH (2002-2006)

  • Chief of Course, Biathlon events, Salt Lake Winter Olympics, Soldier Hollow, UT (February, 2002)

  • Technical Deligate, Nordic events, NCAA Championships, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT (March 2001)

  • Chief of Course, Biathlon World Cup, Soldier Hollow, UT (February, 2001)

  • Chief of Course, U.S. Biathlon National Championships, Soldier Hollow, UT (January, 2000)

  • IBU International Referee-Course, Lake Placid World Cup, Lake Placid, NY (February, 1997)

  • Executive Council of Vermont Coverts, Woodlands for Wildlife (1994-1997)

  • Chairman of the Biathlon Technical Committee of the FISU (International Federation of University Sports) (1994-1996)

  • Inducted into The Wearers of the Green (Dartmouth College Athletic Hall of Fame) coaches’ category (April, 1994)

  • U.S. Biathlon Team Leader, Winter Olympic Games, Lillehammer, Norway (1994)

  • Appointed International Referee by the International Biathlon Union (Jan.,1994)

  • Member of the Thetford Academy Board of Trustees, Thetford, VT (1991-present)

  • U. S. Biathlon Team Leader, World University Games, Zakopane, Poland (1993)

  • U. S. Biathlon Team Leader, Winter Olympic Games, Albertville, France (1992)

  • One of 14 Vietnam veterans invited to work with Soviet Afghan War veterans on Outward Bound projects in Uzbekstan (1989), and Hurricane Island, ME (1991)

  • Recipient of a full scholarship to U.S. Olympic Academy XII, Penn State University (1988)

  • U.S. Biathlon Team Leader, Winter Olympic Games, Calgary, Alberta (1988)

  • U.S. Biathlon Team Leader, World Championships, Lake Placid, NY (1987)

  • Eastern Regional Coach, U.S. Disabled Nordic Ski Team (1985-1990)

  • Winter Sports Representative, U.S. Olympic Committee / U. S. Collegiate Sports Council (1985-1988)

  • President, Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (1985-1987)

  • U.S. Biathlon Team Head Coach, World University Games, Sofia, Bulgaria (1983)

  • Eastern Collegiate “Ski Coach of the Year” (1982)

  • Member of U.S. Biathlon Association Board of Directors (1980-1992); Chairman of Training, Competition & Team Selection Committee (1984-1990)

  • U.S. Biathlon Team Assistant Coach, Winter Olympics, Lake Placid, NY (1980)

  • U.S. Biathlon Eastern Regional Coach (1980-1988)

  • Head Coach Alaska Team, Junior National Nordic Championships, Alaska and Wyoming (1977, 1978)

Contact him when you're ready to talk about trails: or (802) 785-4229.

I’ve had the amazing good fortune to have participated in seven Winter Olympic Games as an athlete, a coach, the U.S. Biathlon Team Leader, and most recently at Salt Lake, as Chief of Course for the Biathlon events.  I've attended scores of National Championships, World Championships, Biathlon World Cup competitions, and the World University Games.

I grew up in Walpole, NH, and skied four events (slalom, downhill, jumping and cross country) for Tilton School, in Tilton, NH. During four years on the Middlebury College ski team, my aptitude for cross country emerged, first as Eastern Intercollegiate Champion in 1966 and ‘68, then as runner up in the 1968 NCAA Championships.

Following college, a four-year assignment to the U.S. Biathlon Training Center at Fort Richardson, Alaska was interrupted by a tour of duty in South Vietnam as a mobile advisory team leader.  Upon release from active service in 1972, I taught high school English and coached running and skiing in Anchorage. In the autumn of 1978, I was named head coach of men’s skiing at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

After eleven years coaching at Dartmouth, I gave up that position in 1989 to write Don't Look Back, a comprehensive guide to cross-country ski racing, and to begin designing Nordic ski trails. 

Although I began designing trails for cross country skiing, I found that these trails soon became popular with mountain bikers, runners, horse riders, and others.  I found that there are common principles associated with fun, quality trails, and I have since worked on many types of trail projects beyond the initial interest in Nordic skiing.

When not thrashing through the forest laying out trails, I write about sports for several publications, and serve as a commentator for Vermont Public Radio.  In 1998, I wrote a novel, Medal of Honor, I still compete in cross country skiing and distance running.  My family and I make our home at the end of a dirt road, surrounded by ski trails in Thetford, VT.