|Originally posted by AtFlagStick:
I am skiing Mont Tremblant, Quebec for a few days and want to hit the Vermont area on the way home. Any suggestions on MUST ski areas??? I have a few ideas: Killington, Jay Peak, Okemo which all sound great. Thanks for the input!!!
After the boilerplate Ice of Mont Tremblant you will no doubt want a place with soft snow. Unless there has been a huge dump in the last 48 hours, avoid Killington. If you are an expert and desire a wide variety of challenge then avoid Okemo, Mount Snow, and Stratton.
All the ski areas in vermont have their own merits that make them attractive to various types of skiers. That's why not all the areas groom the snot out of everything and other areas do. Both kinds of skiers exist in New England.
The areas I would consider "Must-Ski" are as follows (determined by terrain, snow, and lack of really bad crowds):
Jay Peak - Classic European feel, more so than Tremblant which feels more american than french canadian, fantastic intermediate and expert terrain, by far the most snow of any non-backcountry area east of the rockies.
Smuggler's Notch - Delightfully segmented into an experts mountain, an intermediate mountain, and an entire novice mountain, very good natural snow, great off-piste powder stashes.
Stowe - only midweek as it can be bombed on the weekends, but classic and storied terrain, great for experts (nearly unlimited off-piste), good for intermediates, a little lacking in the novice department, and rather pricy (but since you can afford Tremblant you probably don't care about that).
Mad River Glen - relatively new compared to truly old vermont areas like Pico, Bromley, Stowe, and Glen Ellen, but feeling and looking far older than any of them. They still run their single chair (surprisingly fast) and dont groom the expert terrain at all, ever, but it can be a hidden gem for intermediates and novices, and is true heaven with fresh snow, also the best ski school for advanced skiers in the state.
Sugarbush - Huge, absolutely huge, if you include the backcountry "slide creek" area in the acreage this area is nearly three times the size of Killington, with a 2,665' vertical that is truly continuous it offers the longest runs in the state, and probably the best moguls as well. The offial tree skiing could be better, but the off-piste stashes are incredible. Just be prepared to kick your wallet in the teeth.
Burke - Great place to avoid the crowds and get free lessons. Just follow the Burke Mountain Academy racers around and do whatever their coaches tell them to do. Fantastic Glades and steeps, fantastic cruisers and one of the best novice areas in New England. Lift tickets are super cheap, most of them under $40, and they recieve the second most snow in the state behind Jay Peak a few miles to the northwest, over 300" at the summit. Their grooming is second to none but not overdone.
Magic Mountain - Experts paradise, but only truly great after a fresh snow since their snowmaking system is a piece of rusty junk, but it's quickly become my favorite, and home, mountain. Their most expensive ticket is only $42, dropping to $20 every tuesday, and state by state discount days on selected fridays are $15. If you find that food and whatnot at Tremblant were more than you planned on, this is the place to go to remind yourself that great skiing and food can be had for a fraction of the price.