|Stowe Mountain Ski Resort, Vermont|
|Vermont's highest peak, a town with a bit of a European accent, and northern Vermont's largest ski resort: that's Stowe.|
There's no doubt that Stowe Mountain Resort, 37 miles (60 km) east of Burlington VT (map), is northern Vermont's major ski resort.
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.
As you approach Smuggler's Notch and the ski slopes, Mount Mansfield looms huge to the left (west) laced with white ski trails, and to the right (east) rises the great bulk of the Stowe Mountain Lodge, a 312-room alpine-style luxury hotel, with the maze of Spruce Peak ski trails behind it.
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 Smuggler's 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 restaurants at Cliff House (top of the Mansfield gondola) and Octagon (top of the toll road), as well as at the base camps.
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.
The town of Stowe 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.