For most ski enthusiasts, the best ski slopes are on the West Coast. Eastern slopes are often underrated, though with Vermont in particular providing around 25 feet of natural snow each winter, an array of challenging courses and family friendly cruisers. From the most challenging backcountry skiing to gentle gliders and practice courses, here is your definitive list of must-try ski vacations in the Green Mountain State.
1. Jay Peak
If you’re looking for a snowy wonderland, Vermont’s Jay Peak is the destination. Only one and a half hours from Montreal, QC, Jay Peak hosts an average snowfall of 322 inches. Although this resort may not be the most refined vacation spot, there are many varied trails to keep any skier happy. The resort prides itself on its off-the-beaten-path trails and backcountry skiing. Jay Peak also offers special terrain parks for new adventurers, such as the Terrain Based Learning Area, which includes a mini-pipe, perfect slope and banked turns.
2. Smuggler’s Notch
Smuggler’s Notch is the family friendly option, with programs catered to children as young as 2 ½! With activities like the Funzone 2.0, which houses lazer-tag, ping-pong and mini-golf, “Smuggs” also offers lots of teen ski programs, like the Airboard Slalom course and the Snowboarding night school. For adults, Smuggler’s Notch has no shortage of challenging courses, including 40 intermediate and 25 expert trails. The “Zone” at Smuggler’s is their most difficult terrain park, with narrow, twisty paths and exhilarating landings. Conveniently, you can ski right to the Sterling and Madonna lifts from the resort’s mountainside lodging.
3. Stowe Mountain Resort
Opened in the 1930s, Stowe’s resort town is known for its old New England charm. While at Stowe, vacationers can test out one of the first chairlifts in the country, unveiled in 1937. Between the resort’s two main mountains, Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, there are more than 116 intermediate trails, and plenty to do if you’re looking for a little extra entertainment. The resort also offers freestyle terrain parks, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Mansfield triple is an entire section of the park with top to bottom freestyle terrain - directly off the lift! Children’s activities include Stowe’s “Early Riser” lessons, with private lessons available for children ages 3 - 18.
4. Okemo Mountain Resort
Okemo Resort is the best vacation spot if you’re looking for an all-in-one package. The resort is not only family oriented, but is known for its great dining and easy access. Coming from the Southern Vermont Regional Airport or the Rutland Amtrak Terminal, you can hop on one of the resort’s two round trip shuttle busses, for $80 dollars total. Even though Ludlow is not known for high snowfall, their trails are very well balanced for those who are searching for a more relaxing ride. Twenty-one glades and 32% novice trails make the resort a welcoming place for all beginners, but the resort also features the highest vertical drop in southern Vermont, at 2,220 feet. In 2016, Okemo Mountain opened their AMP energy superpipe, over 500 feet in length and the only superpipe on the entire east coast.
5. Mount Snow
Probably the most skiable terrain in Vermont, Killington also boasts the second largest vertical drop on the East Coast. With a big après-ski scene, Killington is very popular among younger crowds. Its 155 trails offer a wide array of slopes to choose from, with as many as 60 trails and 16 glades for the expert skier, yet plenty of options for intermediate and beginner skiers too. This all-encompassing resort is also home of “The Stash”, an all-natural terrain park, featuring a 500-foot-long Superpipe with 18-foot walls.