Vermont’s Best Ski Resorts
Powder snobs often overlook Vermont's small, friendly skiing, which means more fun for the localsand you. Here's where to get your Green Mountain State fix this winter.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Heli- and cat skiing have long been luxuries afforded only to western skiers. Sugarbush changes half that with its new cat program, which gives 13 skiers free rein on the venerable resort’s New Englandstyle trails any morning the fresh stuff falls. Congregate in Timbers Restaurant at 6:45 A.M., then pile into the Lincoln Limo, a flatscreen-TV-equipped cat that rolls the crew to Sugarbush South’s 4,000-foot summit. Reservations are best made a day in advance. (We suggest you bookmark NOAA’s storm-watch Web site, noaawatch.gov, and look for eastbound weather systems above the Great Lakes.) From $75; sugarbush.com
Stowe Mountain Resort
With its exposed, alpine-style peak, international crowd, and plummeting trails, Stowe has always felt like a grand European resort. Now it finally has the lodging and amenities of one. Opened in 2008, the stone-and-timber Stowe Mountain Lodge affords Vail-style luxury (doubles from $230; stowemountainlodge.com), while the nearby Spruce Camp Base Lodgea complex of après bars, retail shops, and outdoor fire pitsprovides post-skiing fun. The slopes have been upgraded, too: Intermediate-friendly Spruce Peak has two new high-speed quads and a fully automated snowmaking system, plus a ten-person gondola accessing Mount Mansfield’s superior steeps. Lift tickets, $84; stowe.com
: Mad River Glen
Mad River Glen
The only news coming out of Mad River Glen is that there is no news, and that’s how its 1,800 ski-hard shareholders like it. In fact, the closest thing to an upgrade happened in 2007, when Mad River renovated its legendary single-chairthe last in the lower 48with an electric motor. Everything else remains the same. Which is to say, untamed. Steep trails follow the mountain’s fall lines, huck-worthy boulders abound in the glades, and lurching lifts ensure that slopes never get crowded. Showboat down the bump-rutted Chute, beneath the lift’s highly opinionated audience, then nurse your bruised ego over a pint of Magic Hat’s Single Chair Ale at the General Stark’s Pub. Midweek lift tickets, $39; weekend tickets, $62; madriverglen.com
Due to its high prices and Manhattanite-choked slopes, Killington gets the worst rap of all Vermont ski areas. Which isn’t entirely fairon this coast, the resort’s size and terrain go unmatched. Spanning seven miles across six peaks, Killington serves up more than 3,000 feet of vertical. Then there’s the Stash, a year-old, all-natural terrain park designed with the help of Jake Burton. The half-mile-long park offers glades, log slides, and even a sugar-shack warming hut, whose steeply pitched roof doubles as a massive kicker. At day’s end, saddle up to the Lookout Bar and Grill’s mountain-view deck, then crash at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel and Spa. Doubles from $199; lift tickets, $77; killington.com
Skiing Back West
Fly Like a Grommet
There’s a reason those X Gamers make their aerials look effortless: They’ve got the world’s best training facilities at their disposal. Oh, and talent. This winter, Woodward at Copper, a new action-sports training academy at Colorado’s Copper Mountain, begins offering at least half that recipe with a three-story Snowflex center. Coaches like Olympic gymnast Phoebe Mills and X Gamer Jess Cumming will have you landing flips (in a foam pit) after the first lesson. Daylong courses, $199; woodwardatcopper.com
Mazama, Washington’s year-old, steel-and-wood Rolling Huts take minimalist prefab architecture into the adventure realm. Set on 40 acres in the ponderosa-heavy Methow Valley, the six fireplace-and-WiFi-equipped huts, designed by architect Tom Kundig to resemble a souped-up trailer park, provide direct access to the Methow’s 125-mile network of groomed nordic trails. Hut rentals, $110; rollinghuts.com