Vermont Skiing & Boarding
You will certainly be charmed by the picture-pretty Vermont villages, but there is serious skiing in this New England state, with an array of resorts boasting at least 2,000 feet of vertical. Vermont has 17 alpine ski resorts, 30 cross-country touring centers and, in total, 5972 acres of alpine terrain, 1,187 trails, 175 lifts, and 1870 km of Nordic trails! Vermont ‘firsts’ include the USA’s first ski lift (1934), the first cross-country ski center in the US (1968) and snowboarding, introduced by Jake Burton some 25 years ago.
The following Vermont ski resorts work with international tour operators and regularly host overseas school groups.
This small but highly-rated resort in the Green Mountain National Forest is great for families. Facing south, the mountain has 10 lifts and 45 trails, all leading back to the base lodge. Ideal for intermediates and beginners, Bromley is also board friendly – Jib Park has fat bumps, rails, spines, slides and spools. For its popular KidsRule Mountain Camps program, Bromley has a brand new kids facility and plenty of youth rental equipment. New this year: a GET (Guaranteed Easy Turns) program to get first-time adult skiers on the slopes quickly and successfully! The program includes a clinic with a highly trained ski & snowboard school instructor in a dedicated learning zone, complete equipment rentals and a limited lift ticket for guaranteed easy to ride lifts.
This ski area is conveniently located in southern Vermont on Route 11, just six miles east of historic Manchester, Vermont, with its many designer stores and the historic Hildene Estate.
Activities: Ice skating, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing
Trails: 46 trails (28% easy, 37% intermediate, 35% advanced), 6 glades, 4 terrain parks
The state’s northernmost resort has been undergoing a major expansion that includes the new Hotel Jay and Tram House Lodge, an NHL-sized indoor ice arena and the largest indoor/outdoor waterpark in north-eastern USA! Jay Peak is best known for its glade system and amazing annual snowfall (31 feet) – making it a favorite spot for specialty glade, powder and backcountry clinics. The aerial tramway is one of eight lifts that sweep up two mountains to 50 miles of trails, glades and chutes.
For beginners, one of the mountain’s better-kept secrets is The Zone - Jay Peak’s learn to ski and ride lift, trail and glade system. Four lifts access 80 acres of gentle, wide, easy to maneuver slopes, including the most intermediate and beginner glades in the East. The Zone also includes two freestyle areas (the Grom Park and Rail Garden), designed for entry-level skiers and riders. Underway is the new Mountain Learning Center which will be home base for Jay Peak’s littlest skiers and riders. The facility will include the Ski and Ride School, indoor learning area, kids rental, and a daycare center. The Progression Terrain behind the new Mountain Learning Center will include the Playtime Riglet park developed by Burton, Snow Park Technologies (SPT) in conjunction with Disney. It will be the only one of its kind in the East. Jay Peak also recently purchased nearby Burke Mountain, known for its ski academy that has produced 50 Olympians.
Activities: The brand new Pump House waterpark with the only indoor Aqua Loop on the continent is a kid’s dream, plus ice skating, cross country skiing ( 20km of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing), a spa and fitness center and on-site restaurants.
Trails: 77 trails (20% novice, 40% intermediate, 40% advanced), 24 glades, 4 terrain parks, 100+ acres of gladed terrain
Awards: In Ski Magazine’s Top 10 East Coast Resorts 2013, Jay Peak was ranked #1 for Snow and #2 for Terrain Challenge.
‘The Beast of the East’ is the region’s largest ski and snowboard area with seven mountains, including Pico Mountain. This resort sits on 3,000 acres in the heart of the Green Mountains. Killington provides skiers and riders of all ability levels a choice of wide-open groomed cruisers, narrow classic New England runs, moguls, steeps and trees — serviced by 22 lifts including two express gondolas. There are also numerous trails left untouched for the mogul enthusiasts, including “Outer Limits” – the steepest, longest mogul slope in the East. For snowboarders and freeskiers, there are eight terrain parks, including the all-new Skier/Boarder Cross Courses; Burton’s The Stash, an all-natural terrain park with more than 50 features, as well as a 500-foot long Superpipe with 22-foot walls.
While Mother Nature graces Killington with an average of 250 inches of natural snow each winter, coverage is backed up with the world’s most extensive snowmaking system, covering 600 of the resort’s 752 skiable acres. Killington’s 17-vehicle Grooming Fleet grooms 50-80% of open terrain on a nightly basis.
Activities: Snow tubing, snowmobile tours, dog sledding, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dog sledding and spa treatments.
Trails: 140 trails (34% novice, 30% intermediate, 36% advanced) served by 22 lifts
Awards: Ranked #1 for Après Ski by the readers of SKI magazine among Eastern US ski resorts (2013).
Sugarbush has two great uncrowded ski mountains offering something for everyone, from the beginner area at Lincoln Peak to the challenge of Castlerock – plus 2,000 acres of backcountry in the Slide Brook Basin. At the heart of Sugarbush is Lincoln Peak — think quintessential Vermont meets modern slopeside living. Here you’ll find the majority of Sugarbush terrain with classic New England trails leading to the nascent Lincoln Peak Village which includes Clay Brook slopeside hotel and residences, a general store, plus casual and elegant dining. Five miles north, Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen boasts a more casual feel and is home to Vermont’s highest chairlift, a rippin’ terrain park, and a variety of woods and bump terrain. Sugarbush was recently named “Best Ski Town in the East” by Outside Magazine, and ranked #9 in Ski Magazine’s Top 10 East Coast Resorts for 2011-2012.
Trails: 111 (Easy: 22%; Intermediate: 46%; Advanced/Expert: 32%), 21 glades, 3 terrain parks
Mad River Glen is a ski area like no other; a cult resort where you go back in time to the good old days. Mad River Glen is one of the last bastions of natural snow skiing in New England and is one of only three areas in North America that prohibit snowboarding. The trails were cut to follow the mountain’s natural contours. Skiers can descend the entire 2,037′ of vertical on true expert terrain with absolutely no run-outs. There is a special camaraderie among the skiing community, with its co-op ownership, non-commercial, family-friendly atmosphere, dedicated staff, and – of course- the Single Chair, America’s favorite ski lift! The various facets of the Mad River ski experience appeal to different skiers in different ways but together they create a feeling and sense of place that is truly unique.
Trails: 49 (33% novice, 27% intermediate; 41% advanced)
Awards: In Ski Magazine’s Top 10 East Coast Resorts 2013, Mad River Glen ranked #1 in Overall Satisfaction, #1 for Terrain Challenge, #2 for Value, and #1 in Character.
Mount Snow is Vermont’s closest mountain resort to most of the Northeast’s major metropolitan areas. This resort offers four mountain faces of downhill skiing and snowboarding – including the East’s Number One Terrain Park, Carinthia. The mountain offers the only high speed detachable six passenger bubble lift in North America called “the Bluebird Express”. The bubbles on this $8.5 million technologically advanced chairlift provide guests similar protection as a gondola cabin but with the convenience of being able to keep skis and boards on their feet for the smooth, seven-minute ride from base to summit.
New for the 2012/2013 season, Mount Snow is introducing the Official Burton Learn to Ride Center, in concert with the world’s largest snowboard manufacturer. The center features programs for aspiring riders as young as 3 years old all the way up to adults who need help honing their skills.
For families, there’s a top-notch child care facility for children as young as six weeks and ski programs. The Mount Snow Valley has an abundance of places to stay (including slopeside) and plenty of things to do off the slopes. Get pampered with a massage or facial at Mount Snow’s Naturespa located in the Grand Summit Resort Hotel, enjoy a quiet glide through the woods on cross country skis at The Hermitage or Timber Creek, or, cruise through the Green Mountain National Forest on a snowmobile during a tour from High Country Snowmobile Tours located right at the base of Mount Snow.
Activities: snow tubing (with a Magic Carpet), ski lessons, snowboard lessons, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing
Trails: 80 trails (15% green, 70% blue, 15% black); 10 terrain parks; 467 skiable acres PLUS all in-bounds tree terrain.
Awards: Mount Snow was ranked #2 for Terrain Parks by the readers of SKI magazine (2013).
Spread across five mountains, southern Vermont’s highest vertical (2,200 feet) is coupled with a modern lift system and impeccable grooming. Snowboarders love it for the exciting Zaugg Pipe Monster, Dew Zone and Ross Powers Superpipe. More thrills are on offer in the Adventure Zone, with its Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster — sled-like, rider-controlled cars that traverse a 375 vertical-foot descent along 3,100 feet of curving track! Winter sports enthusiasts love Okemo’s vertical ski challenge and the vast trail network — an exceptional skiing and riding experience for all ability levels. New this year: three more gladed areas and another Waffle Cabin at Jackson Gore – grab a hot Belgian waffle at the end of your run!
Activities: The Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster, Snow Cat Excursions, The Firepit & Snow Fun Playground, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating and snow tubing. New is the Spring House which offers state-of-the-art fitness facilities, sauna, an oversized hot tub and family swimming pools with slides, splash features and fountains.
Total Trails: 119 (32% novice, 36% intermediate; 32% advanced), 7 glades, 7 terrain parks
‘Smuggs’ regularly wins awards for being the best family ski resort in North America. But there is something for everyone. With a 2,610-foot vertical drop, its three interconnected mountains offer trails and glades for beginners through to experts. The 78 trails include the Black Hole, the only triple-black diamond in the Northeast. Go crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing from your door in the self-contained slopeside resort village, with its general store, restaurants and babysitting. Smugglers’ is located 35 miles east of Burlington.
Expert instruction for children and adults is provided by the Resort’s Snow Sport University in skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The resort’s fully certified child care center is open throughout the year for children from ages 6 weeks up to three years old, and offers an introduction to skiing for children 2-1/2 – 3 years old.
Activities: snow tubing; ice skating; zip lining on a 9-line canopy tour; airboarding; snowmobiling; swimming in the indoor pool and enjoying the hot tub; craft and health and wellness classes; and family games and climbing inflatables in the indoor FunZone. .
Total Trails: 78 (17% novice; 51% intermediate; 32% advanced), 14 glades, 4 terrain parks
Awards: Ranked #1 for Family Programs in Ski Magazine’s East Coast Resorts Readers Poll for 2013 and #3 among all resorts in the East.
Ski buffs know Mt Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak (4,395 feet), for the testing double-black diamond runs on the legendary ‘Front Four’ trails. But Stowe Mountain Resort also offers lovely long intermediate cruise trails as well as beginner trails. Stowe’s improvements include a brand new High-Speed Quad on Mt. Mansfield, new high-speed lifts on Spruce, RFID technology tickets and gates, and an inter-mountain transfer gondola connecting Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak. This year also saw an additional 4.7 million dollars invested in new equipment and upgrades for even more state-of-the-art snowmaking.
For accommodation, Stowe Mountain Lodge is a 312-room hotel and spa already recognized as one of the greenest and most luxurious mountainside lodgings in the world. For off-slope entertainment, there is a new Performing Arts Center at Spruce Peak with live music and concerts, theater and more. Picturesque Stowe village is a destination unto itself — filled with restaurants and shopping.
Activities: Snowshoeing, dog sled tours, mountain tours, nordic center and award-winning Spas
Total Trails: 116 (16% novice; 59% intermediate; 25% advanced), 6 glades, 3 terrain parks
Awards: Ranked #2 in Dining and On-Mountain Food among East Coast Resorts in the US by readers of SKI magazine.
This winter, the resort’s 50th Anniversary season, sees four new runs on the Sun Bowl side of the mountain. Stratton’s 600+ acres have 96 trails for beginners to experts, plus a world-famous half-pipe among the challenges for boarders. Regulars love the busy village at the base, with shops and cafés. The ski school is outstanding and Stratton also hosts the US Open Snowboard Championships. Tip: popular programs fill up quickly. Reserve your KidsKamp snowschool programs, childcare (for ages 6 weeks and older) and Kids Night Out in advance.
Activities: Crossing country skiing, snow tubing, ice skating, a spa, mini snowmobiling for kids, full moon snowshoe hikes, dog sled tours
Total Trails: 96 (Easy: 41%; Intermediate: 32%; Advanced/Expert: 27%), 15 glades, 6 terrain parks
Awards: Ranked #3 in Service among East Coast Resorts in the US by readers of SKI magazine.
For more information:
- View the full list of Vermont skiing and boarding areas (Vermont Tourism web site)
- Vermont Ski Areas Association: the latest ski conditions, travel trips and lodging deals
- VOGA (Vermont Outdoor Guide Association): cross country skiing and snowshowing centers, backcountry trails, guide and tours