Vermont Ski Areas

Vermont Ski Areas

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Vermont might be one of the least populated states in USA, yet there is a decent concentration of Vermont ski resorts, some of which have long histories and are classic household names in the skiing fraternity. Vermont is located in New England in north eastern USA and the state has the Canadian province of Quebec sitting to the north, New York to the west, Massachusetts to the south, and New Hampshire to the east. Many of the Vermont ski resorts are within easy driving distance of the major cities in these adjacent states.

Characteristics of the Vermont Ski Resorts

There are about 15 ski resorts in Vermont. Whilst a few of these are low frills, most are big name resorts that share some common characteristics that are quite different to those in western USA. What the skiing in Vermont may lack when it comes to mountain statistics, the resorts tend to make up for with history, skiing culture, and a party or family oriented vibe.

The average acreage of the main ski areas in Vermont is small at only 543 acres (220 hectares), compared to the averages for Utah (2,500 acres), Colorado (1,800 acres) and California (2,600 acres). Yet the density of trails packed into the terrain at the Vermont ski resorts is high, and the number of trails at the resorts is similar to those found in the western USA states.

The elevation of the Vermont ski resorts is significantly lower than those of Colorado and Utah. Killington Ski Resort has the highest top elevation at just 4,241 feet. Compare to this to the Colorado ski resorts where the average top elevation is 11,500 feet. There’s no fear of getting altitude sickness at the Vermont ski resorts.

The proximity of most of the ski areas in Vermont to big cities such as New York, Montreal and Boston, makes them incredibly popular. Skiing in Vermont can be very crowded, especially on weekends and holidays, and without huge skiable terrain there’s not enough room for the hordes to spread out. A few of the resorts are on the Ikon Pass (Killington Ski Resort, Stratton) or the Epic Pass (Stowe, Mount Snow, Okemo), which further compounds the problem.

Vermont Snow

The amount of snow at the Vermont ski resorts varies somewhat. The average snowfall per season at Jay Peak is 359 inches (9.1m), whilst Mount Snow is not very aptly named with only 156 inches (4m), and the average for the main resorts in 250 inches. What’s predictable amount the snow in Vermont is the unpredictability of the snow volumes, with some seasons providing famine and others a feast with big blizzards coming in from the NE. To make up for the hand that Mother Nature dealt them, many of the VT ski resorts have extensive snowmaking capabilities. Nearly all the trails at resorts such as Stratton, Okemo, Smuggler’s and Mount Snow have snow making capacity.

Unpredictability of the snow quality is also present in the state that is infamously known for its eternal winter. Vermont gets powder, but with occasional ice rain, brutally cold temperatures, and high skier traffic, don’t be surprised to find plenty of icy slopes. Thank goodness for world class grooming.

The Best Ski Resorts in Vermont

Killington is known for its vibrant night life, yet the skiing and snowboarding is also impressive considering its diversity of terrain. It’s also the biggest ski resort in the East and has good lift infrastructure that copes relatively well with the crowds. There is limited lodging near the slopes, with most of it spread along the access road.

Killington Lodging Listings
Killington Ski Packages

Stowe is delightfully quaint and has the charm that you’d expect of New England, along with plenty of drinking holes. The Stowe Ski Resort is accessible on the Epic Pass and has some nice challenging terrain. There is not much lodging close to the slopes and most people stay in the town of Stowe, about 15 minutes away, or on the road between town and the ski resort.

Stowe Accommodation Listings
Stowe Ski Packages

Sugarbush is a good sized ski resort by New England standards with a good lift system and a decent variety of terrain as well as cat skiing. Sugarbush is easier on the hip pocket compared to some of the other big name ski areas and it doesn’t attract the same crowds. Associated with this general lack of trendiness, the nightlife is pretty quiet. You can stay at one of two base areas of the ski resort.

Sugarbush Lodging Listings
Sugarbush Ski Packages

Mount Snow is one of the best Vermont ski resorts for its intermediate groomers and terrain parks. It’s close to New York City and Boston and it’s accessible on the Epic Pass, so it can get crowded. It’s very vogueish and has an associated price tag. Mount Snow offers plenty of slopeside lodging.

Mount Snow Lodging Listings
Mount Snow Ski Packages

Stratton is one of the best Vermont ski resorts for its ski town culture and après ski scene. It’s also renowned for its terrain parks. The ski resort has lots of beginner terrain, along with well balanced terrain for other ability levels including lots of moguls.

Stratton Lodging Listings

Okemo is very popular with families and park junkies with its multiple terrain parks and superpipe. Okemo is on the Epic Pass. There is plenty of lodging at the two main base areas of the ski resort.

Okemo Accommodations
Okemo Ski Packages

Jay Peak is also liked by families (so expect a quiet nightlife). It’s located close to the Canadian border and it has a bit of a French Canadian flavor. Jay Peak receives the most snow of the East ski resorts and it is also known for its tree skiing. You can stay at the resort as there’s no nearby town.

Jay Peak Resort Accommodations

Whilst many wouldn’t consider Mad River Glen as one of the top Vermont ski resorts because it’s so low frills and non-commercial, it’s the old school culture that makes it stand out. It’s staunchly remained a skiers-only mountain and it’s also held onto its single chair lift which is a rarity in the USA. With only 150 inches of snow on average per season, and some of the most challenging terrain in the east, you’ll need to bring you’re A-game (and not your snowboard).

Lodging Near Mad River Glen

Smuggler’s Notch is one of the best Vermont ski resorts in terms of family friendliness, in part due to the abundant ski-in ski-out condos, but also due to the many kids’ activities on offer. It receives about 280 inches of snow per season and has lots of trails packed into its small acreage. It’s located a little further afield from Boston and New York, so crowds aren’t usually outrageous. You can stay in the resort village which has plenty of facilities.

Smuggler’s Notch Resort Accommodations
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