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Best Resorts in Vermont

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Just got notice of air fare from my place to Vermont.

 

What are the length of runs like In Vermont?

 

What resort in Vermont would be consider the best one to go to?

 

Does Vermont get really really cold for skiing?

 

What do you all recon?

 
post #2 of 26

Im pretty young so, choose to believe me or choose not to but, heres what I think.

My entire family loves Killington, most terrain on the east, I think it has a vertical of around 2,000ft.  They have some pretty good runs, probably some of the best in vermont.  

The big resorts are like Killington, Okemo, Stratton, and thats all i can think of now...Also Whiteface is pretty big but thats in New York.

 

Its cold.  Nothing too bad but if you get a really cold day in February  it could be like -10 at the peak, but usually its not too bad, in the early morning its in the teens, by afternoon 20ish.  At least thats what it was like when ive been there.

 

Its completely different from out west, almost ALL of the snow is machine made and usually on a windy day some of the runs get very icy.

Still fun!

 

I think Killington has some of the hardest runs in the east too for a big resort.

Edit: Also has some pretty wild night life I think, last time I was their Snoop Dogg was playing at one of the local bars....I sh*t you not..I have no idea why.

 

post #3 of 26

Depends of what you mean by "best".  Best terrain for advanced/experts is up north - Jay, Stowe, Sugarbush, Mad River.  Best groomed cruisers for intermediates is places like Okemo, Stratton and Mt. Snow.  Best for families would be Pico, Smugglers and Bromley.  And Killington has the best nightlife (plus a great mix of skiing for all abilities).

 

Yes Vermont can be cold, especially in January.  But more typically its teens and twenties during the day.  If I had to get on a plane, I would go out west to Rockies.  But New England has a certain charm and the skiing can be great.  It's just not nearly as reliable as the west. 

post #4 of 26


Quote:

Originally Posted by JimH View Post

Depends of what you mean by "best".  Best terrain for advanced/experts is up north - Jay, Stowe, Sugarbush, Mad River.  Best groomed cruisers for intermediates is places like Okemo, Stratton and Mt. Snow.  Best for families would be Pico, Smugglers and Bromley.  And Killington has the best nightlife (plus a great mix of skiing for all abilities).

 

Yes Vermont can be cold, especially in January.  But more typically its teens and twenties during the day.  If I had to get on a plane, I would go out west to Rockies.  But New England has a certain charm and the skiing can be great.  It's just not nearly as reliable as the west. 

 

The further north, the more reliable snow.  Also, the further north, the colder it's likely to be.  Especially at Jay, where you face Canada and the arctic air coming right in your face on the chairlift.

 

Stowe is usually on the short list of "best" mountains on the East Coast, but it's also one of the most expensive.

 

Most of the bigger mountains are around 2,000-2,500 vertical.  Stowe can get you 3k in one shot fairly easily if you hike a bit.  Killington can as well, but there's a lot of traversing and runouts to get there.

 

If you're into parks (I'm not), Stowe, Mt. Snow, Stratton are all supposed to be pretty good.

post #5 of 26

If you have never skied in New York/New England you will find it unbelievably cold.  But after two days you will adjust.  You will need a helmet with a liner under it, a neck gaiter, and mittens.  The other posts are correct;  the hardest terrain is in the north, and the best grooming in the south.  Stowe is a fabulous place to ski and to stay, and it has the steepest terrain in the East.  (There's lots of easy skiing too)  All the places have kids programs, and all the big places have 2000 of vertical.  KIllington claims 3000 feet, but the bottom 1000 is a boring run out, so it too is really a functional 2000.  I would say that Stratton is the most mascara-mountainesque these days, but the skiing is fine.   

post #6 of 26

If you're from Thunder Bay, I doubt a little cold weather is going to scare you off.

post #7 of 26

Cold.....for a Canuck?!  Meh.

 

Remember:  There is no bad weather; just bad gear.

 

wink.gif

post #8 of 26

He's a canuck, should feel right at home in the coldtongue.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeddyO View Post

If you have never skied in New York/New England you will find it unbelievably cold.  But after two days you will adjust.  You will need a helmet with a liner under it, a neck gaiter, and mittens.  The other posts are correct;  the hardest terrain is in the north, and the best grooming in the south.  Stowe is a fabulous place to ski and to stay, and it has the steepest terrain in the East.  (There's lots of easy skiing too)  All the places have kids programs, and all the big places have 2000 of vertical.  KIllington claims 3000 feet, but the bottom 1000 is a boring run out, so it too is really a functional 2000.  I would say that Stratton is the most mascara-mountainesque these days, but the skiing is fine.   



 

post #9 of 26

Like what has been said earlier, it depends on what you define as best.  Having grown up in Vermont, here is what I can tell you:

Killington has the best night life.  No questions

Mount Snow, Stratton, and Okemo are tailored more to the luxury vacation, with easier skiing.

Jay Peak has some of the best terrain and snow in the east.  Its a trek to get to though, and often very cold

I grew up in the Mad River Valley, skiing Sugarbush and Mad River Glen.  These would be my two suggestions, but I am biased.  It would allow you to get two pretty different skiing experiences in in one trip: Mad River is rustic and laid back, while Lincoln Peak at Sugarbush caters more to upscale resort.  Mount Ellen at Sugarbush combines the two: local atmosphere but at a more modern resort.

I would have to that Stowe probably combines all aspects the best.  The Mansfield side has some great inbounds skiing, as well as some hike to above the lifts.  The Spruce Peak side provides luxury and cruising runs.  Plus the new Forerunner Quad this year.  Also, Since you mentioned airfare, Stowe and Mad River/Sugarbush are each about 40-50 minutes from Burlington, closer than any of the other major mountains.

post #10 of 26

Having spent all my early years learning to and skiing the north east, I must say it is the toughest and perhaps best place to learn. Killington is the biggest with probably the most varied terrain. From memory I´d say Mad River leans towards advanced where as Sugarbush, Mt. Snow & Stowe offer more for all level skiers.  Stay away from Whiteface unless there is a lot of snow.......we called it Iceface.  Vermont is great skiing if you can handle both icy conditions and cold temps.  It can be freezing.  If you have a choice, I agree with JimH........the rockies are far more reliable, much better snow and more of it.   

post #11 of 26


Quote:

Originally Posted by spokes58 View Post

Having spent all my early years learning to and skiing the north east, I must say it is the toughest and perhaps best place to learn. Killington is the biggest with probably the most varied terrain. From memory I´d say Mad River leans towards advanced where as Sugarbush, Mt. Snow & Stowe offer more for all level skiers.  Stay away from Whiteface unless there is a lot of snow.......we called it Iceface.  Vermont is great skiing if you can handle both icy conditions and cold temps.  It can be freezing.  If you have a choice, I agree with JimH........the rockies are far more reliable, much better snow and more of it.   



Sorry to nitpick here, but the northern VT areas (Stowe, Smuggs, Jay, and Bolton Valley) get just as much snow (300"+) as half of the Colorado areas.  The major difference is the lower elevation which leads to freeze/thaws and deterioration of the snowpack.  Combine that with a much higher skier density, and you get the variable conditions.

 

I know it's a technicality, but I've got to stand up for the my Coast.

 

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by St Bear View Post


Quote:



Sorry to nitpick here, but the northern VT areas (Stowe, Smuggs, Jay, and Bolton Valley) get just as much snow (300"+) as half of the Colorado areas.  The major difference is the lower elevation which leads to freeze/thaws and deterioration of the snowpack.  Combine that with a much higher skier density, and you get the variable conditions.

 

I know it's a technicality, but I've got to stand up for the my Coast.

 


I would say "variable" is a quite charitable description.

 

Anyway, yes it's really freaking cold in Jan and half of Feb (at least). The best places are Stowe, Smuggs, Sugarbush, and if you've got some gnar in you, Mad River Glen.

 

Killington (often referred to unlovingly as K-Mart) is a zoo, with every yahoo in CT, NY and Jersey doing their testosterone fueled thing for the weekend, and endless traverses if you don't know where you're going. Okemo and Stratton are flat and defy any attempt to have a personality. Stratton is gapersville, full of NYC dentists with full-up Spyder get-ups, Volkl (of course - they're the best rolleyes.gif), who pose at the top of the gondola platform and you might even see a full-face at a place with a vertical that resembles a pool table. Okemo has a mind-numbingly dumb lower lift layout, with the upper mountain trails stunningly similar - take any of them -  they're all the same.

 

So anyway, go S'bush or farther north to get the goods.

 

post #13 of 26


Thank you for helping me make my point.  Next time, I'll remember to highlight every adjective I use in a sentence.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by St Bear View Post


Quote:



Sorry to nitpick here, but the northern VT areas (Stowe, Smuggs, Jay, and Bolton Valley) get just as much snow (300"+) as half of the Colorado areas.  The major difference is the lower elevation which leads to freeze/thaws and deterioration of the snowpack.  Combine that with a much higher skier density, and you get the variable conditions.

 

I know it's a technicality, but I've got to stand up for the my Coast.

 


People from florida could never hang with the best of the EC, and last year with out a frost freeze from New years to president's day, we had the best skiing in the country for 5 weeks. If your smart you ski where noone skis anywhere so skier density does not really matter.

 

 

post #15 of 26

My favorite is Killington. Never been to Stowe or Jay peak but heard they are great as well.

 

I do not like smugglers notch. The Chairlifts are way to slow. Always seems to be freezing mega cold when I go to.

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuintinAdam View Post

My favorite is Killington. Never been to Stowe or Jay peak but heard they are great as well.

 

I do not like smugglers notch. The Chairlifts are way to slow. Always seems to be freezing mega cold when I go to.



Just a quick counter-point.  I ski Killington, Smugglers' Notch and Bromley most often.  If you can include some midweek, non-holiday time at Killington, it is really quite good.  The point about the lifts at Smugglers is accurate ... they are fixed lift, older-style, slower lifts.  Other than that, however, it really is a great place.  You cannot beat the ski school and activities for kids, and there is more than enough challenge and terrain on Madonna and Sterling.  While I am not a big fan of slow lifts either, I take that as a small compromise for everything else the place offers.

 

On this year's list to try out ... Stowe and Magic!

post #17 of 26


Quote:

Originally Posted by hobbes429 View Post



Just a quick counter-point.  I ski Killington, Smugglers' Notch and Bromley most often.  If you can include some midweek, non-holiday time at Killington, it is really quite good.  The point about the lifts at Smugglers is accurate ... they are fixed lift, older-style, slower lifts.  Other than that, however, it really is a great place.  You cannot beat the ski school and activities for kids, and there is more than enough challenge and terrain on Madonna and Sterling.  While I am not a big fan of slow lifts either, I take that as a small compromise for everything else the place offers.

 

On this year's list to try out ... Stowe and Magic!



If the lifts at Smuggs bother you, then you're going to have the same issue with Magic.  No detachables.

 

On the otherhand, slow lifts mean less people on the trails.

 

post #18 of 26

The good skiing in VT. starts at Killington/Pico & then work your way north from there. I'd include Magic but they just don't get as much snow as the more northerly areas. Any area can be a zoo on weekends. If you can ski during a non holiday mid-week it's ideal. Even a place like Killington is not crowded during the week.

 

As others have mentioned Sugarbush, MRG, & Stowe would be the closest to Burlington Airport. I'm not really a fan of Bolton Valley but it's the closest one to the airport & they do get plenty of natural snow. Take your pick they're all excellent. I love VT. skiing, have a good time.


Edited by steamboat1 - 11/3/11 at 8:16am
post #19 of 26

One additional consideration, natural snow.  Mad River has no snow making (or at least very little).  This makes conditions unique for the East.  I really like natural snow.  You can get it off trail at other mountains.  That's one reason the woods are so revered.  But when the mountain freezes up the snow becomes rock hard cement and that's what the conditions will be until the next big storm.  So when conditions get icy at other mountains skiers stay out of the woods and ski on the man made groomers - while at Mad River, the conditions just suck.

 

The problem with conditions in the East is the thaw/rain cycles.  300" in New England is not the same as 300" at Aspen.

 

Magic also has natural snow which makes the skiing exceptional when it snows.  Both Magic and Mad River can be rough on the skis when the conditions are bony.

post #20 of 26

I've skied Killington on a mid-week pass for the last 4 years.  I've also skied Killington on weekends.  If I'm in the Rutland area on weekends, I'll ski Pico however (Pico is a big small mountain just down Rt 4).  Killington is a different place mid-week vs weekends.  I will never ski Killington again on weekends.  It's a zoo and the animals are plentiful.  I like to ski the canyon runs.  These are steep and not too wide.  Even these get gummed up on weekends with a moving avalanche of nimrods who are in over their heads.  Do not ski Killington on weekends (except maybe very late season). 

 

Last year was a good season back east.  I got in 30 days.  Not sure about this 300 + inches claim for VT -- must be including the snow equivalent of the rain.  Because it always rains in VT.  It rains in order to ensure a nice hard and shiny surface and a nice hard surface is desirable in case it snows.   This way the snow will blow off the hard pack and you'll be left with just hardpack.  Had I been out west, I would have gotten in 60-70 days.  Think I'll go west this season.

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpsrfun View Post

I've skied Killington on a mid-week pass for the last 4 years.  I've also skied Killington on weekends.  If I'm in the Rutland area on weekends, I'll ski Pico however (Pico is a big small mountain just down Rt 4).  Killington is a different place mid-week vs weekends.  I will never ski Killington again on weekends.  It's a zoo and the animals are plentiful.  I like to ski the canyon runs.  These are steep and not too wide.  Even these get gummed up on weekends with a moving avalanche of nimrods who are in over their heads.  Do not ski Killington on weekends (except maybe very late season). 

 

Last year was a good season back east.  I got in 30 days.  Not sure about this 300 + inches claim for VT -- must be including the snow equivalent of the rain.  Because it always rains in VT.  It rains in order to ensure a nice hard and shiny surface and a nice hard surface is desirable in case it snows.   This way the snow will blow off the hard pack and you'll be left with just hardpack.  Had I been out west, I would have gotten in 60-70 days.  Think I'll go west this season.



sorry that killington sucks so bad. But Stowe, Smuggs, and Jay do average 300 inches + of snow each year.

 

Last year I think it rained twice all ski season and hard and shiny wasnt found that often and when it was you just had to find the soft snow.

post #22 of 26

My personal faves are Sugarbush/MRG which is a best of both worlds combo and easy access from Burlington if that's where you're flying.  Same could be said for Stowe and/or Smuggs I'm sure but I'll let other speak to those.

 

One KEY point - avoid top-tier VT resorts during NY/MA school vacations.  Presidents' week in February, MLK weekend in January. Just not worth it IMHO.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post



sorry that killington sucks so bad. But Stowe, Smuggs, and Jay do average 300 inches + of snow each year.

 

Last year I think it rained twice all ski season and hard and shiny wasnt found that often and when it was you just had to find the soft snow.


No, Killington is just fine.  It just sucks on weekends, especially Saturdays.

 

And last year was a better than average year in the east.  Still, K got less than your 300+ inches.  In fact K averages more like 250 or less in an average season.  So in an average year with about 250 inches and numerous thaw cycles (and of course the required rain and high winds) K will be lucky to keep a base of over 45 inches.  But if you can pick your days and go during the week K offers a lot.

 

post #24 of 26

I make my trips up from NY and its totally worth it to pass right on by Killington (while its huge, meh) and go straight on up to Sugarbush or keep on driving and go to Jay Peak which is arguably the best skiing east of the Rockies.  If you're a fan of the glades, you'll be THRILLED with Jay, hell there are some trails that you dont know where the glades begin and the trail ends..... Oh man I cant wait!!!!!

post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by St Bear View Post


Quote:



If the lifts at Smuggs bother you, then you're going to have the same issue with Magic.  No detachables.

 

On the otherhand, slow lifts mean less people on the trails.

 


I think no high speed lifts at MRG either although they seem to run a bit faster than the real slow ones. Correct me if I'm wrong because that's how I remember it.

 

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post


I think no high speed lifts at MRG either although they seem to run a bit faster than the real slow ones. Correct me if I'm wrong because that's how I remember it.

 



the new single runs faster, but the chairs have wider spacing. Its put out exactly the same amount of people(250 per hour) to the top at max capacity than the old one.

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