The Snow Report
This is Vermont, a state whose culture is to lean into environmentalism. To that end, Stowe permanently protected 2,000 acres of open space, 10 of which are on Spruce Peak’s wildlife-filled summit, where a new 110-million-gallon snowmaking lake makes use of stormwater runoff. This Vermont hideaway is the only U.S. mountain resort to have been certified as an Audubon International Sustainable Community: Its cabins are EPA five-star rated, 50 percent of the mountain’s energy comes from hydropower, and traffic-reducing measures include a trolley, a new intermountain gondola, and a highly walkable base area, called Spruce Plaza.
Whereas Stowe does phenomenally around eco-concerns, it doesn’t do quite as well on safety ones: The rescue program is a few miles away, the ski patrol is small, and there’s no onsite doctor or even a full-time risk manager.
However, Stowe lovers overlook all that for the 2,160 vertical feet packed with 116 mostly intermediate-level runs. There are just 485 skiable acres but 333 inches of annual snowfall, with 13 diverse lifts. Spruce Peak’s broad, gentle trails are where kids learn, while adults can take a “Stowe for Starters” class. The faculty here consists of more than 300 instructors, including Dave Merriam, who headed the national PSIA demo team. Other snow-related amenities: a terrain park, snowshoe tours, and sleigh rides.
Some of the lodgings here offer ski valets, including the ski-in/ski-out AAA 4-Diamond Stowe Mountain Lodge, whose recent revamp gave it an “alpine aesthetic” and a new spa. The sophisticated Topnotch Resort and Spa only has 68 rooms but a sprawling 120 acres. Also nearby are a plethora of cute B&Bs, an array of rental condos and houses, plus campsites by which to better experience a Green Mountain winter.
Stowe itself doesn’t have a ton of off-hill recreational options, but there is an ice-skating rink as well as a movie theater nearby, and more than 30 bars (the merriest nightlife scenes play out to live music at Rusty Nail & Matterhorn and Rimrocks). For tamer entertainment, the new, 410-seat Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center presents shows by maestros like Itzhak Perlman. And the best restaurant in town is Solstice, a AAA 4-Diamond affair whose finely crafted dishes rely on local Vermont flavorings.
For 10 days in mid-January, the Stowe Winter Carnival livens things up with tourneys of all types, including hockey, snow golf, snow volleyball—plus parties, ice-carving, and a slew of kid-friendly activities.
CONTACT: (800) 253-4754, stowe.com
SEASON: Late November to mid-April
TICKETS: General: $79, children: $58, ages 65 and older: $66, children age 4 and younger: free