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Vermont Ski Resorts

Look at this Vermont ski resorts map: Killington, Stratton, Mount Snow, Stowe, Sugarbush, Jay Peak & more. No wonder Vermont skiing is New England's best.

Vermont Ski Resorts Map
Vermont Ski Resorts Map

Vermont has an amazing variety of ski and snowboard areas, from mega-resorts through family-friendly areas to small old-fashioned slopes "free of snowboarding." They're mostly privately owned and operated, meaning that Vermont skiing is also a condominium business.

Large condo developments surround many Vermont ski areas, offering plenty of lodging opportunities, but also a different experience than at the largely government-owned but privately-operated ski areas of New Hampshire.

Compare Vermont Ski Resorts

Resort Vertical Drop Ski Trails Lifts Snow- making

Ascutney

Local

1800

1

1

0%

Bolton Valley

Learning skiers

1625

60

6

60%

Bromley

Family value

1334

43

10

80%

Burke

Unpretentious

2000

43

4

76%

Cochran's

Simple, local

500

5

3

0%

Jay Peak

Big, good snow

2153

76

8

80%

Killington

Largest

3050

212

31

70%

Mad River Glen

Old-time skiing

2037

45

5

50%

Middlebury

College kids

1050

15

3

45%

Mt Snow

Young kids

1700

145

23

76%

Okemo

Well-rounded

2200

115

18

95%

Smugglers Notch

Family, condos

2610

78

8

62%

Stowe

European spirit

2360

48

12

79%

Stratton

Big, ski & snowboard

2003

90

16

83%

Sugarbush

Varied

2600

115

16

68%

Saskadena Six

Woodstock Inn

650

23

3

50%

Southern Vermont Skiing

Ascutney Outdoors

449 Ski Tow Road, Brownsville VT (map)
Once a full-fledged ski resort, after years of problems Ascutney is now an outdoor activities center with a T-bar lift, tubing, and back-country skiing.

Mount Ascutney first attracted skiers in the 1930s, and by the late 1940s was a popular ski area. From the 1960s through the 1980s, Ascutney became a full-fledged ski resort with full facilities.

However, the 1990s brought bankruptcy and troubled times, and in 2010 the area closed, seemingly forever, but in January 2016 a rope tow was put into operation, and there's now a T-bar.

Ascutney Mountain Ski, Resort, Vermont
Ascutney Ski Resort in its golden days...

Ascutney Mountain in Brownsville VT is actually a "monadnock," a mound of residual rock in a region where the other mountains have long since been eroded.

Its summit, 3144 feet (958 meters) above sea level, is wide and spacious, enjoying superb views because it's all alone here, with no other mountains to block the view.

In summer, numerous hiking trails lead to the summit. You can enjoy them as part of a visit to Ascutney Outdoors and Mount Ascutney State Park.

Bromley Mountain Ski Resort

124 Bromley Lodge Road, Peru VT (map)
Family value resort with great snowboard park, 1334 ft (407 m) vertical drop, 43 downhill trails, 10 lifts, terrain park with half-pipe and lots of rails, spines, hips, tabletops and big air jumps."With sun all day long, even the coldest days feel warm," they say.

Bromley Mountain Ski Trails Map
Ski trails map of Bromley Mountain.

Bromley Ski Resort near Manchester Center VT (map) is a family-value resort with a 1334-foot (407 meter) vertical drop, 44 downhill trails, 10 lifts, a terrain park with half-pipe and lots of rails, spines, hips, tabletops and big air jumps.

The 10 lifts include a high-speed quad to get you to the summit (3284 feet, 1001 meters) fast.

Ski and snowboard rentals and lessons are available, of course.

Magic Mountain and Stratton Mountain are visible from the Bromley slopes and trails.

All three ski resorts are a short drive from Manchester Center VT for shopping, dining and lodging (click here for Manchester hotels and inns).

Magic Mountain Ski Area

495 Magic Mountain Access Road, Londonderry VT (map)
Easy, laid-back ambience at this tidy mid-sized ski area great for beginners and intermediates, and not bad for the black-diamond folks. If you want to get away from the press of crowds at large ski resorts such as Stratton and Okemo, consider a trip to Magic Mountain.

With 43 trails served by two chair lifts and two surface lifts, a vertical drop of 1700 feet (518 meters), and snowmaking on 87% of trails, Magic Mountain is just that: a tidy mid-sized ski area great for beginners (28% of trails), intermediate skiers (30%), and not bad for the Expert and Expert-Only folks (41%).

The atmosphere is easy and laid back here, and ticket prices are moderate. The ski area is only about a 25-minute drive from the town pleasures, lodging and dining of Manchester VT.

To get to Magic Mountain, the drive (map) is about two hours from Hartford CT, 2.5 hours from Boston MA, and 4.5 hours from New York City.

Mount Snow Ski Resort

12 Pisgah Road, West Dover VT (map)
Mount Snow is on Vermont Route 100 in West Dover VT, 30 miles (48 km) west of I-91. It's a family resort great if you have infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and up, 1700 ft (518 m) vertical drop, 145 downhill trails, 23 lifts, tubing, snowmobile tours, snowshoeing and spas.

Mount Snow lake & lift, Mount Snow Ski Resort, Vermont
Mount Snow: dramatic views from the lifts & summit, and big lakes for making snow.

A resort this big has all the facilities: nursery, child care, kids' programs, bars, cafeteria, restaurants, equipment rentals, a great ski school, and many miles of cross-country trails, not to mention 135 million gallons of lake capacity for snowmaking. Let Mother Nature go dry, it doesn't matter—so long as there is cold, there will be snow here.

Mount Snow (3580 feet/1091 meters) has a vertical drop of 1700 feet (518 meters), four interconnected ski areas boasting a total of 145 ski trails (23 green, 90 blue, 32 black) totalling 48 miles, 23 lifts including a ski-on gondola, and 85% snowmaking capability.

Three of the four ski areas are great for beginners and intermediate skiers, and the North Face is challenging enough for black-diamond lovers.

Snowboarders enjoy four terrain parks and a superpipe.

It's crowded, yes, because it's close to the cities, and is a good mountain for beginners and intermediate skiers, but it's also got a lot of variety and activities.

Come mid-week to avoid the weekend crowds. On weekends, hit the slopes early and get in some good runs, rest when the crowds arrive, and get some more runs in later in the day.

Getting There

Travel to Mount Snow from:

Boston MA: 127 miles (2.5 hours)

Hartford CT: 117 miles (2.25 hours)

New York City: 213 miles (4 hours)

Accommodations

Hotels, motels and inns near the slopes are easily found. More...

Okemo Mountain Ski Resort

77 Okemo Ridge Road, Ludlow VT (map)
Well rounded family-owned, five-mountain resort with something for everyone, 2200 ft (671 m) vertical drop, 115 downhill trails, 18 lifts, six terrain parks, nordic (x-c) ski center. Okemo Mountain, near the pretty town of Ludlow VT, is the third-largest ski resort in Vermont. It has been an all-service, all-satisfying ski resort for years.

Okemo Ski Resort, Ludlow VT

Okemo's Mountains

Okemo boasts a vertical drop of 2200 feet (671 meters), 121 trails (38 green, 44 blue, 39 black) totalling 42.5 miles (68 km), 20 lifts including one six-seat heated high-speed, 9 quads (4 of them high-speed, one of the heated), 9 terrain parks for snowboarders, a nordic (x-c) ski center, and 98% snowmaking coverage—the most snowmaking coverage in Vermont.

Accommodations

The 50-room Mountain Lodge at Okemo is the traditional ski-in, ski-out base-lodge hostelry, and the separate Jackson Gore area, with its luxury 250-room Jackson Gore Inn on Okemo Mountain and all up-to-date services, keeps Okemo in competition with its similarly big and busy southern neighbors, Stratton Mountain and Mount Snow.

Accommodations are also available in the neighboring town of Ludlow.

Here's how to find a hotel, motel or inn at Okemo:

 

 

Getting There

Travel to Okemo from:

Boston MA: 155 miles (3 hours)

Hartford CT: 130 miles (2.75 hours)

New York City: 250 miles (5 hours)

Stratton Mountain Ski Resort

5 Village Lodge Road, Stratton Mountain VT (map)
Great skiing, not to mention championship snowboarding with six terrain parks (best in eastern USA), 2003 ft (611 m) vertical drop, 90 downhill trails, 16 lifts (some very fast), great trail grooming. Stratton Mountain Ski Resort is on a country road between the villages of Bondville and Jamaica VT, off VT Routes 30 and 100.

The Village, Stratton Mountain Ski Resort, Vermont
The Village, Stratton Mountain Ski Resort, Vermont.

The village, built as a commercial center for the ski resort, has shops, boutiques, cafés, restaurants, and heated sidewalks that stay clear of snow in winter.

The mountain (3936 feet/1200 meters) has a vertical drop of 2003 feet (611 meters) and 90 ski trails: 38 green, 28 blue, and 24 black, served by 16 ski lifts.

GPS units are issued to students (especially kids) in the ski schools so they can track their distance, speed and elevation, and as a safety measure to record their locations on the mountain. Other skiers can rent the GPS units as well.

Snowboarding is big at Stratton, and both riders and skiers are happy that snowboarders have their own parks with plenty of hips, tables, rails, pipes and half-pipes.

In fact, snowboarding was invented here in the early 1980s when Jake Carpenter snuck onto closed slopes to test and improve his first snowboard. (He went on to found Burton Snowboards.)

Accommodations

Accommodations at Stratton are mostly condominiums, with several ski hotels and clubs. There's something for everyone.

 

Getting There

The nearest large town is Manchester VT, about 20 miles (35 minutes) away.

Travel to Stratton from:

Boston MA: 140 miles (225 km) SE, 3 hours

Hartford CT: 120 miles (193 km) S, 2.5 hours

New York City: 235 miles (378 km) S, 4 hours

If you're driving, take I-91 to Exit 2, then VT Route 30 for 42 miles.

Central Vermont Skiing

Killington Ski Resort

4763 Killington Road, Killington VT (map)
Vermont's largest and tallest, with 3050 ft (930 m) vertical drop, 200 downhill trails, 31 lifts (including a gondola), extensive snowmaking, terrain parks, and many off-slope dining and entertainment options. Killington Ski Resort, 15 miles (24 km) east of Rutland VT, is big!

Killington Ski resort, Vermont

From the summit of Killington Peak (4241 feet, 1293 meters), the vertical drop is over 3050 feet (957 meters)—the longest among New England ski resorts. Six other peaks—Skye, Ramshead, Snowdon, Bear Mountain, Sunrise Mountain and Pico Mountain—add to the fun. (Bear Mountain and Ranshead have terrain parks and halfpipes.)

There are 212 ski trails (92 miles/148 km), 250 inches (635 cm) of natural snow annually, and 1850 snow guns to generate more snow if nature disappoints.

To get you up the mountain there are 11 quad lifts (seven of them high-speed express), five triple lifts, three double lifts, seven surface lifts including three Magic Carpets, and three high-speed, heated express gondolas, all with a total capacity of more than 52,000 skiers per hour.

If that sounds like a mob scene, I must admit that it does get crowded, but also that it's a big mountain, well managed, and there does seem to be room for everyone.

Dozens of hotels and inns are available for lodging. More...

If you don't choose a ski package plan which includes room, meals, and lift tickets, Killington Resort has various packages just for the slopes, including special rates on lifts for two to seven days, or plans with which you get lifts and lessons for two to seven days at reduced rates, or all three—lifts, lessons, and equipment rentals—for one price.

 

Mad River Glen

Mad River Resort Road, off Vt Rte 17, Waitsfield VT (map)
Preservationist co-op keeps this area traditional, uncrowded, "free of snowboarding," with 2037 ft (621 m) vertical drop, 45 trails, 5 lifts, "where skiing is a sport, not an industry."Mad River Glen, near Waitsfield VT (map), is for ardent, purist skiers, and is proud of it.

Big-time development changed most other ski resorts, but Mad River sees its role in life as being to maintain a 1950s ski resort spirit and challenge well into the 21st century.

Mad River Glen is owned by a skiers' cooperative of nearly 2000 members dedicated to preserving the ski area's uniqueness, and the natural beauty of the mountain.

"Ski it if you can" is the slogan here, and the challenge is accentuated by the annual Mad River Glen Triple Crown: an Unconventional Terrain competition (rocks, small jumps, steep slopes, even cliffs), the Vertical Challenge (only on the steepest, straightest trails), and the knee-punishing Mogul Challenge.

Telemark is big at Mad River Glen, and the annual North American Telemark Festival is held here each March.

You get a special feeling of accomplishment after a day on the slopes here, but it's not just for hard-bitten skiers: there are good kids' programs and lessons as well.

Where else can you find a single-chair ski lift? Mad River Glen had one of the first ski lifts in the USA (1947), and it's still in operation—the only single chair lift in the Lower 48 states.

Mad River skiers like it.

They like the contemplative 10-minute ride to the top of the mountain, and the fact that a single chair lift keeps the volume of skiers lower—more like the old days.

There are several other lifts (including two double chairs), and some snowmaking capability (50%), but the point is this: General Stark Mountain (3662 feet/1116 meters) is a challenging mountain (good mostly for experienced intermediate and expert skiers, but with some slopes for the less experienced), and it's kept that way for the joy of those who love the challenge.

Services such as trail grooming and patrols are minimal, the base lodge facilities are "primitive" by the current standards of the more highly-developed Vermont ski resorts, but all this only adds to the old-time atmosphere.

Though Mad River Glen has a terrain park, it's for skiers only. The facilities are not well adapted to snowboarding, and to keep the ski spirit intact, snowboarding is not allowed. If you want that, they suggest nearby Sugarbush. In fact, dedicated skiers can purchase ski packages that include lift tickets for both Sugarbush and Mad River Glen.

The vertical drop is 2,075 feet (632 meters), with 45 ski trails (8 green, 16 blue, 21 black), and four ski lifts (three double chairs and the famous old single-chair).

The preponderance of trails (4/5 of them) are for moderately well-trained or expert skiers, although the Birdland area is for novice and beginning-intermediate skiers.

Not up for skiing? Try snowshoeing on the miles of marked trails around General Stark Mountain.

Mad River Glen is west of VT Route 100, an easy drive along Route 17 from Waitsfield VT.

Bolton Valley Ski Resort: 45 miles (72 km) N, 1 hour

Boston MA: 180 miles (290 km) SE, 3.5 hours

Hartford CT: 196 miles (315 km) S, 3.75 hours

Montpelier VT: 32 miles (52 km) E, 50 minutes

New York City: 295 miles (475 km) S, 6 hours

Sugarbush Ski Resort: 10 miles (16 km) S, 20 minutes

Stowe Mountain Ski Resort: 40 miles (64 km) N, 1 hour

GMTA (Green Mountain Transit Agency) operates shuttle buses between Mad River Glen and the Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen ski areas of Sugarbush Mountain Resort.

Mad River Glen has a ski shop, rental shop, a ski school, and a nursery.

Middlebury Snow Bowl

VT Rte 125, Middlebury VT (map)
Small, friendly college ski team area with 1050 ft (320 m) vertical drop, 15 trails, 3 lifts, and good affordable food.Maintained by nearby Middlebury College, the Middlebury Snow Bowl is open to the public, who mix easily with the college's Panthers ski team.

No condos, no commercialization! Only mountain scenery and friendly people, and only a 15-minute drive up into the Green Mountains from scenic Middlebury VT.

Despite its small scope, this is a satisfying, family-friendly ski area. Ski racing is a popular activity, and numerous champion skiers have honed their edges here since the first skiers came to these slopes in 1934 (when you had to hike to the top of the slope if you wanted to ski down).

The summit of Worth Mountain is 2750 feet (838 meters), the vertical drop is 1050 feet (320 meters). The 15 trails and three glades are served by three lifts: a triple and two doubles. Snowmaking covers 40% of the trails and glades.

Here are the nearest hotels, motels and inns:

 

Sugarbush Ski Resort

1840 Sugarbush Access Road, Warren VT (map)
Varied resort with six interconnected 4000-ft peaks, 2600 ft (792 m) vertical drop, 1151downhill trails, 16 lifts, two snowparks, half-pipe.

At Sugarbush Ski Resort in Warren VT, the slopes and trails come down 2600 feet (792 meters) from top to bottom—the third-longest vertical drop among New England ski resorts— and they're laid out so that close to half of them are rated as suitable for expert skiers, but the majority are for beginners and intermediates.

Sugarbush Ski Resort, Vermont
Happy to be at Sugarbush!

The southern Lincoln Peak (3975 feet/1212 meters) is the traditional center of downhill ski activity. From Lincoln Peak Base Lodge with its lodgings, a general store, casual and fine-dining restaurants, ski schools and equipment rentals, nine lifts wisk you around the rolling ridges, as well as to adjoining and Castlerock Peak just to the north (3812 feet/1162 meters).

  Somewelcome...
  Some welcome...

The ambience at Sugarbush is more laid-back than at the larger, grander resorts, and the lift lines are generally shorter

Nearby Mad River Glen also participates with Sugarbush on some special lift-ticket packages that allow skiing at both resorts.

Mount Ellen's trails and slopes descend 2,600 feet (792 meters) from the summit to the Mount Ellen Base Area, and about half the runs are classed as good for the median-level skier. But a look at the mountain trail plan will show you that taking the 4-person chair lift to the top of Mount Ellen (elevation 4083 feet/1245 meters)—the highest lift in Vermont—will start you on some very long and pretty tricky runs. This is where the ski bums and wanna-be bums go for more adventurous skiing and riding.

Sugarbush Ski Resort Trail Map
Lincoln Peak to the left (south) and Mount Ellen to the right (north), with Castlerock Peak in between.

Lincoln Peak has 36 trails and slopes in all, and its altitude and northerly location usually a good amount of cover for a long season. Gadd Peak (3150 feet/960 meters) and Inverness Peak (2750 feet/838 meters) round out the skiing and snowboarding possibilities.

Lifts include five high-speed quads, five fixed-grip quads, two triples, one double, and three surface lifts—sixteen lifts in all, with an uphill capacity of 25,225. Rentals, instruction, and cross-country ski trails are all part of the establishment.

The ski school offers a ski-week "saturation skiing workshop," which claims to instruct students in centeredness and energy awareness as well as techniques on the slopes.

The Husky Cat is a 12-passenger tracked, heated snowcat that can take you up Lincoln Peak for a candlelit dinner at the Allyn Lodge summit restaurant, a chance to watch grooming operations, or for first-tracks at sunrise.

Indoor sports? Swimming, a rock-climbing wall, health club, and simulated sports such as baseball, bowling, hockey and shooting.

Accommodations

It's easy to find hotels and inns near Sugarbush. Here they are.

 

Getting There

GMTA (Green Mountain Transit Agency) operates shuttle buses between Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen ski areas, and to Mad River Glen Ski Area. More...

Soaring

The air currents around Sugarbush make it good for soaring or gliding, and the Sugarbush Soaring Association can fill you in on getting airborne. Just so you'll know: you can qualify for solo glider flight in less than two weeks of good, full daily lessons and flights.

Saskadena Six Ski Resort

247 Stage Road, South Pomfret, Vermont (map)
Woodstock Inn's own small ski area, founded in 1937 as Suicide Six, has a 650 ft (198 m) vertical drop, 23 downhill trails, 3 lifts, half-pipe. As part of the Rockefeller-owned Woodstock Inn & Resort, Saskadena Six has solid financial support, which is probably why it's been able to survive as a small, simple ski area in an age of mammoth resorts and wholesale condo-ization.

Woodstock VT is only 3 miles away, so everyone in town skis here: li'l kids, big kids, college students, couples, families and grandparents.

The vertical drop of 650 feet (198 meters) is not enormous, but the mountain's 23 trails served by three lifts hold a lot more fun that its modest height might seem to indicate.

No long treks through enormous parking lots, no complicated trail maps with multiple mountains—get out of your car, walk a few minutes, step onto your skis and go!

To find the ski area, follow signs in the town, which will lead you on a 10-minute drive north on Elm Street (VT Route 12), bearing right onto Pomfret Road, then left onto Stage Road to Saskadena Six.

Package plans are available through the Woodstock Inn; lessons and equipment can be had on the spot in the base lodge which also houses a ski rental shop, restaurant, and lounge (tel 802-457-1666).

In addition, the Woodstock Ski Touring Center, at the Woodstock Country Club, VT Route 106, Woodstock, VT 05091 (tel 802-457-2114), has nearly 50 miles of marked trails for skating and classic technique, plus equipment rental, cross-country ski shop, restaurant and lounge, lessons, ski tours, and midweek ski-free plans with the Woodstock Inn.

An indoor sports center is located a mile away and connects to X-C trails.

Northern Vermont Skiing

Bolton Valley Ski Resort

4302 Bolton Valley Access Road, Bolton Valley VT (map)
Family and learning-skier resort, 1704 ft (519 m) vertical drop, six lifts, 64 downhill and 100 km of cross-country trails, 1500-ft terrain park and half-pipe, indoor tennis and basketball, and child care center.Vermont's kid- and family-friendly Bolton Valley Ski Resort is a complete, self-contained ski resort in the valley at the end of a steep 4-mile (6.5-km) climb up a winding road.

Bolton Valley Ski Resort, Vermont
Last run of the day at Bolton Valley.

Located eight miles north of Interstate 89 between Vermont's largest city of Burlington and its capital, Montpelier, Bolton gets lots of local skiers from those cities, especially college students from the University of Vermont and Champlain College.

The Interstate makes it a convenient choice for out-of-towners as well.

Founded in 1922, ownership of the ski area has changed several times over the decades. It's now back in the hands of the DesLaurier family who had bought it in 1964, sold it in 1997, and bought it again in 2017. The family is devoted to teaching kids how to ski, and hosting them and their families for enjoyable times on the slopes.

Bolton's three peaks and four skiing areas provide plenty of variety (see the map on the right-hand side of this page). Most of the trails end back at the main lodge, making it easier for families to find one another and keep in contact during the day.

The vertical drop is an impressive 1704 feet (519 meters), with 71 trails (34% Beginner, 38% Intermediate, 28% Advanced/Expert) served by six lifts: 2 quad chairs, 3 double chairs and a surface lift. Plenty of opportunity for night skiing and riding, too.

For snowboarders, there's a 1500-ft terrain park and half-pipe.

Those who don't do winter sport can stay busy at the indoor swimming pool and spa, Jacuzzi and sauna; and the indoor basketball court and the aerobics and weights exercise room. The child care center can watch the young ones.

The annual snowfall is also impressive, at more than 300 inches (7.62 meters), partly because Bolton has the highest base elevation (2100 feet/640 meters) of any Vermont ski resort. The summit's elevation is 3150 feet (960 meters) at Vista Peak, the skiable area 300 acres (121 hectares).

As for Nordic/cross-country skiing, Bolton has 62 miles (100 km) of trails, 16 miles d(26 km) groomed.

The delightful town of Stowe is just around the corner, with lots more lodgings and Mount Mansfield, a different skiing experience, if you'd like variety.

Burke Mountain Ski Resort

223 Sherburne Lodge Road, East Burke VT (map)
Unpretentious old-time atmosphere in lots of snow, 2000 ft (610 m) vertical drop, 4 lifts, 43 open, gladed, meandering and contour-tracking trails, five-acre terrain park and junior park.When skiers think of skiing in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, they think of the big Jay Peak Ski Resort with its average annual snowfall of 30 feet (9 meters).

Well, Burke Mountain is in Vermont's unspoiled Northeast Kingdom region, it has lots of the same beauty and a substantial amount of the same snow, yet it's mid-sized, without the crowds and crowding of larger resorts.

The mountain is big, but readily comprehensible. The beginners' area with magic carpet is set off from the faster runs so beginners need not worry about fast skiers barrelling down on them. And all runs end at the Sherburne Base Lodge, so some families choose to split up and ski their preferences, with parents not worrying about their kids.

Many championship skiers have sharpened their skills here, preferring it because of the long vertical drop (2000 ft/610 meters), plentiful snow and uncrowded trails.

Burke has four ski lifts, 45 open, gladed, meandering and contour-tracking trails, a five-acre (two-hectare) terrain park, and a junior park. Not only that, you get a guarantee that your wait in a lift line will be no longer than 5 minutes. (A longer wait is rare, but if it happens, you're granted a discount on your next lift ticket.)

Being farther from Boston and New York, Burke Mountain appeals to the dedicated conoisseur skier more than the more populous resorts of southern Vermont.

Not only that, because it is far from the major cities, a ski vacation at Burke Mountain is considerably less expensive than at resorts closer to the cities.

Spend a bit more time driving, and a bit more on gas, and save substantially on lift tickets, lodging and meals.

A good variety of lodging is available: condominiums right at the slopes, cozy Vermont inns (such as the Wildflower Inn) out in the country, and other inns and motels in the towns of Lyndonville (such as The Colonnade Inn), Lyndon Center, and East Burke.

Cochran's Ski Area

910 Cochran Road, Richmond VT (map)
A small, affordable beginners' ski area only 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Burlington, and not far from Bolton Valley, Stowe, and Sugarbush, Cochran's was the first non-profit ski area in the USA.

It's small: vertical drop is only 500 feet (152 meters). The 30 acres of skiable area have 5 trails served by 3 lifts (including a T-bar and a rope tow).

But this modest learners' area may have the most U.S. Ski Team-member-to-vertical-foot ratio of any ski area.

Cochran's Ski Area, Richmond VT

Founded in 1961 and converted to a non-profit ski area in 1998, Cochran's has a mission "to provide area youth and families with affordable skiing and snowboarding, lessons and race training, in the Cochran tradition. No child will be denied the opportunity to ski or ride."

With that mission, and perhaps the most family-like atmosphere of any New England ski area, lots of young people get to try and enjoy skiing at Cochran's, and plenty go on to championship careers.

Lots of youth races fill weekdays, with lots of ski lesson sessions on weekends.

Cochran's is located 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Burlington VT, just south of I-89 in Richmond VT. Coming from the north or west, use Interstate 89 Exit 11; coming from the south or east, use I-89 Exit 10.

Jay Peak Ski Resort

4850 Vt Rte 242, Jay VT (map)
Snow and slope are why you drive to Jay Peak (3968 feet, 1210 meters)—an average of 30 feet (355 inches; 9 meters) of snow per ski season, the most snow in eastern North America!

The summit, Jay Peak VT
The "peak" at Jay Peak. It's all downhill from there.

Vertical drop is another reason to come: 2153 feet (656 meters), among the highest in Vermont.

Just in case, there's also a high-efficiency snowmaking system covering 80% of the slopes just to guarantee good conditions, but in fact Jay Peak prides itself on being "unfake, unfancy and unpretentious:" real skiing for real skiers.

Jay Peak's 76 trails are 20% beginner, 40% intermediate and 40% advanced, and thus suitable for all skiers, but biased toward the skilled and experienced. To have a Jay Peak lift ticket on your ski jacket is to class yourself with the pro's and near-pro's.

By the way, Jay has 24 distinct gladed runs, more than almost any other New England ski resort.

The trails are served by eight lifts, including Vermont's only aerial tramway, three quads, a triple chair, a double, a T-bar and a Moving Carpet.

Naturally, not everyone coming to Vermont's Northeast Kingdom will be an expert skier (note the T-bar and the Moving Carpet), so Jay Peak is in fact a well-rounded ski resort with trails, lessons and programs for skiers of all abilities.

For snowboarders, there are four terrain parks, including two for novices—so it's a great place to learn the sport, and also to try every trick you ever learned—and some new ones.

Hotels are nearby, such as the 15-room Jay Village Inn, with a restaurant and hot tub only 2 miles (3 km) from the slopes; and the larger 57-room Tram Haus Lodge at Jay Peak Resort, with fireplace-equipped suites located right on Jay Peak. Services include swimming pools, hot tub, sauna & spa. More...

Want to speak French? Fully 50% of Jay Peak's skiers come from Canada for the same reason Americans come: great snow, great slopes, real skiing for real people. Jay's international ambience is fun, especially for kids who have yet to travel outside the USA.

Distances (map) to Jay Peak from...

Montréal: 85 miles (137 km, 1.5 hours)

Burlington VT: 70 miles (113 km, 1.5 hours)

Boston MA: 230 miles (370 km, 3.5 hours)

Hartford CT: 250 miles (402 km, 4 hours)

New York City: 371 miles (597 km, 6.5 hours)

Smugglers Notch Ski Resort

4323 VT Route 108 South, Smugglers Notch VT (map)
Family resort with good ski schools, 2610 ft (796 m) vertical drop, 78 downhill trails on three mountains, 8 lifts, snowboarding, 30 km of cross-country ski trails and 20 km of snowshoe trails, condo accommodations and a family soul. The ski school is outstanding.

View from the summit of Madonna Mountain, Smugglers Notch VT
View from the summit of Madonna Mountain, Smugglers Notch VT.

The views from Madonna Mountain are spectacular—all the way to Canada on a clear day.

"Smuggs," as it is called affectionately by those who come here often, is located on the north side of Smuggler's Notch, 12 miles (19 km) north of Stowe in northern Vermont. It's a ski resort designed with families in mind, meaning that it offers everything: besides skiing, snowboarding and 30 km of cross-country ski trails, there's snowshoeing, ice skating and ice fishing, dogsledding, and snowcat rides up the mountain. Then there are the bonfires and fireworks, magic shows and movies, live music and pool parties, arts-and-crafts, savenger hunts...think of fun, and you'll probably have it at Smuggs.

For safety and educational purposes (tracking distance, elevation, speed, etc), GPS units are provided to ski students, and may be rented by more experienced skiers.

Accommodations

Accommodations are in or near Jeffersonville VT, the nearest town, or in condominiums on the resort property, perfect for families and small groups.

 

Although Smugglers Notch Ski Resort is just a few miles north of Stowe VT, the road through Smuggler's Notch is not open in winter (map).

You must drive 32 miles (52 km) around the mountains from Stowe to reach the resort on the north side of the notch at Jeffersonville. The drive takes almost an hour. Plan your travel time accordingly.

Stowe Mountain Ski Resort

5781 Mountain Road, Stowe VT (map)
Vermont's highest peak, a town with a European spirit, vertical drop of 2360 ft (719 m), 48 trails, 12 lifts, night skiing, terrain parks, half-pipe, and recent expansion and improvement.

There's no doubt that Stowe Mountain Resort, 37 miles (60 km) east of Burlington VT, is northern Vermont's major ski resort. The town has been a summer and winter resort for a long time—since the early 1800s, in fact, when visitors came by stagecoach to climb Mount Mansfield. Skiing began here in the 1930s.

Mt Mansfield & Stowe, Vermont
Mount Mansfield looms above Stowe, Vermont.

The Stowe Mountain Resort experience: you approach the town of Stowe along Vt Route 100 from Waterbury VT, the home of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream (yes, there are factory tours).

You enter Stowe to find a pretty Vermont mountain town complete with iconic white church steeple, comfy country inns, and other historic buildings.

Following Vt Route 108, the Mountain Road, north from the town center you parallel the Stowe Recreation Trail, a great resource for walkers, joggers, hikers and bicyclists. You pass inns, resort motels, restaurants, boutiques and shops.

A turn to the left (west) is signposted for the Trapp Family Lodge, founded by the family famous from The Sound of Music.

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe VT
Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe VT
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Mount Mansfield

As you approach Smugglers Notch and the ski slopes, Mount Mansfield looms huge to the left (west) laced with white ski trails. To the right (east) rises the great bulk of the The Lodge at Spruce Peak, closest lodgings to the skilifts, except for the many condominiums available for rent by their owners (when they're not here skiing).

Stowe's 116 alpine ski trails and 12 terrain parks on 485 acres (196 hectares) are in six distinct ski areas down the slopes of both Mount Mansfield (4395 feet/1340 meters) and Spruce Peak, the mountains on either side of the Smugglers Notch defile (map).

They are served by 12 ski lifts, including a high-speed summit gondola, an inter-mountain transfer gondola, 4 high-speed quads, 2 triples, 2 doubles, and 2 surface lifts.

Stowe boasts that it has more mile-long lifts than any other ski resort in the eastern USA: the 8-person gondola travels 1.45 miles, the Forerunner and Sensation quads and the Lookout double are all over a mile. Toll Road is its longest ski trail at 3.7 miles (6 km).

The longest vertical drop is 2360 feet (719 meters). Snowmaking covers 83% of the trails.

The variety of trails is such that there's plenty of adventure for everyone, no matter what your ability: Beginner trails 16%, Intermediate 55%, and Expert 29%. Beginners will want to start off at the Toll House slopes, near the base of the toll road up Mount Mansfield. The next logical step is to Spruce Peak, across the valley. After you've mastered that, go on to the more difficult among the Mount Mansfield trails and slopes.

Lessons and equipment rentals are available, and there are plenty of restaurants.

Accommodations

Because of Stowe's year-round popularity, there are lots of hotels, motels & inns from which to choose, but you may be looking for a cozy rental condominium with kitchen, living room and several bedrooms and baths. Here they are.

 

Winter Carnival

A big event of the winter season at Stowe is the annual Winter Carnival, held during the second week in January, when special races, church suppers, square dances, hockey and skating matches, a snow sculpture contest, and even a Queen's Ball are held. See the Stowe tourist info page for more information.

Novels by Tom Brosnahan
by Travel Info Exchange, Inc.