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Tell Me About Stowe

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Tell me all there is to know about Stowe and the surrounding area.

Looking for mostly intermediate runs (groomers), where to stay, what not to miss.....etc., etc..

The gf and I are in the beginning stages of planning a mid week trip to Vermont from Maine. I have come to realize that when it comes to New England skiing I am biased towards Sugarloaf. I'm thinking Stowe would be a good place to expand my horizon here in the NorthEast.


Please don't point me to the search. I am looking for up to date and fresh info.
post #2 of 11

Nearly useless reply

Well, this is not going to be of much help, but here goes... The only reason I go to Stowe is for the Front Four. (I've read good things here about their woods, but have never quite figured out where to enter and which ones are skiable.)

As to lodging -- the only place I've stayed recently is "The Inn at the Mountain." It looks mondo elegant on the website, but the inside is really 1950's motel. It's a deal early and late season, but otherwise it is priced as if it has too high an opinion of itself. (Though I did enjoy browsing the library -- cheap novels from the early 1900's.)

There are about 3000 different motels/inns/condos on the access road, but I have no info on any of them.
post #3 of 11

I'll take a stab at giving you an overview of Stowe skiing, lodging, dining, etc.:

The ski area consists of 2 mountains - Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak. The 2 mountains lie on opposite sides of VT route 108. They're linked by a gondola, new within the last few years.

The Spruce Peak side has a lot of intermediate terrain, including a few good top-to-bottom runs. I haven't skied on Spruce in a few years, but I understand that they've replaced some of the old lifts and upgraded the snowmaking coverage. Spruce is also home to Stowe's new base development, which will include high-end homes, condos, etc.

Mt. Mansfield consists of 3 base areas. The Toll Road base serves beginner terrain. The other 2 bases -- Mansfield and Gondola -- serve green, blue, black. The Mansfield base has 3 lifts -- a high-speed quad, a double, and a triple. The quad and the double both provide access to top-to-bottom runs. The triple doesn't go quite as high, but still gives access to good terrain, and is a great alternative when the quad and double are crowded.
As for trails, there are the Front Four -- Starr, National, Liftline, and Goat. These are <> to <><>, depending on snow coverage, conditions, bumps, etc. Other <> trails include Nosedive, Haystack, and Centerline. For blue trails, good choices are Lord, North Slope, Standard, Tyro, and Gulch.

Over at the Gondola base, the 8-passenger gondola serves mostly blue trails. Perry Merrill and Gondolier are wide cruisers.

Lodging and Dining
There lots of options, primarily off-mountain. Lodging options range from cheap to very expensive. At the high end, there's the Trapp Family Lodge and Top Notch at Stowe. Good options for a bit less $$ include The Golden Eagle, Mountain Road Resort, Grey Fox Inn, The Green mountain Inn, and the Town & Country. Go to http://www.gostowe.com for a complete listing.
Stowe village and the Mountain Road are loaded with dining options. Some of my favorites include The Shed, Cactus Cafe, Charlie B's, and the Foxfire Inn.
post #4 of 11
Nice post, Snowsport. I've been thinking of trying Stowe this season for the first time. I appreciate the info.
post #5 of 11
I think Stowe is an awesome mountain for intermediates. You'll be going mid-week, so crowds shouldn't be an issue. The trails at Stowe are looonnngggggggg, and they all have "character" -- i.e., they're far more then tilted bowling alleys.

If you're standing atop the quad, then the further to skier's right you go, the easier it gets. Stowe has some very legitimate expert terrain, which is all in the vicinity of the high-speed chair.

Virtually all the blue terrain at Stowe is groomed regularly, with the exception of Gulch and Switchback. If you're looking to try something a little steeper, then Centerline is a short black. Nosedive is also a "tamer" black (it does have some legitimately steep sections though), although it's sometimes left to bump up. Ask patrol or look at the grooming report.

And some here will laugh for sure, but Toll Road (a top-to-bottom green run) is possibly one of the oldest ski trails in the country. If you're at all interested in skiing history, then it's worth taking some time one day and skiing down it.
post #6 of 11
I'll try to add a few things. Given the current layout of bases we tend to park at Spruce and then take the transfer lift to Mansfield. The transfer lift ends near the Gondola. We then skate over to the quad. If you park at the old Mansfield base lodge you have to deal with "heart attack" hill to get to the lifts; we'd rather skate over from the transfer lift. Midway lodge provides a reasonable alternative. From the forerunner quad there is a network of blues on your left as you get off the quad, these include Ridgeview, Lord, Sunrise, Standard, North Slope and I think Tyro is now available (it was a terrain park). Lord and North Slope have some sections that are fairly steep for blues. The Upper part of Gulch is usually bumps. You should ski toll road at least once. It's a road and is pretty flat but it really has some terrific views. Lullaby lane is a beautiful green cruiser. The Toll Road area has some lovely green terrain and sometimes untracked powder areas. Few folks ski over there because it's easy terrain and the lift is wicked slow. But if you're looking for some gentle terrain with few folks, give it a try. I'd really like to see Stowe put in a decent lift over there and emphasize it as a place for novice skiers. Centerline is a short introductory black (sometimes groomed and sometimes not). If it's cold and windy the last part of the ride on the forerunner quad can be pretty cold. The triple tends to be more protected and gives access to much of the intermediate terrain on that part of Mansfield -- and there are never (at least that I've seen) lift lines. Off the Gondi Perry Merrill and Gondolier are blue cruisers. Switchback is a variant that generally seems to be left ungroomed but it's not steep and often has great soft snow. Mansfield can get pretty shady in the afternoon while Spruce gets the afternoon sun. I often like to go back over to Spruce to finish the day. Lots of blue terrain and some easy greens where most of the ski school group lessons are given. I believe Main Street will become the new terrain park this year. And Sterling is a nice winding cruiser with very nice views. Yes, there are new lifts on Spruce. Both the Sunny Spruce Quad and the Sensation lifts are high speed detachables. On the mountain Jose's Cantina offers decent Mexican in the Midway Lodge. Haven't tried the restaurant at the top of the Gondi but I think it's somewhat upscale these days. Otherwise I find the food available at the mountain to basically be typical overpriced ski resort food. In the village there are lots and lots of dining options, most of which I've not yet tried. The Matterhorn and The Shed are probably the best known Apres Ski bars. The Matterhorn has very good wings and good pizza -- Don't think I've tried anything else there. The Shed has good pub grub and a more extensive dinner menu. Cactus Cafe offers very good Mexican. We've had good luck at Trattoria La Festa -- a cozy, moderately priced, Italian restaurant. Gracies is very good for lunch (great onion rings, IMO). There are many other restaurants we've heard good things about. I'm sure others will add more.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Geez, I just got back to this thread and I am very pleased with the input.
Thanks a ton. Sounds like a level 6 will have some great terrain to ski.

How about Smugglers Notch?? We will be skiing 3 consecutive days. I am thinking Day 1 Stowe. Day 2 Smuggs. Day 3 back to Stowe. Is there another mountain within an hour that we must visit?? How far is Smuggs from the village of Stowe??

Great replies!! Thanks!!
post #8 of 11
Haven't been to Smuggs. As the Crow flies Smuggs is just very near Stowe. Indeed, part of Smuggs is on the backside of Spruce. But 108 is closed in the Winter. It's probably 45-minutes to an hour to drive from Stowe to Smuggs. Lots of folks really like Sugarbush, that's probably within about an hours drive as well. Again, I've not been but I'd take a look at it if you want to try another mountain.
post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post
Geez, I just got back to this thread and I am very pleased with the input.
Thanks a ton. Sounds like a level 6 will have some great terrain to ski.

How about Smugglers Notch?? We will be skiing 3 consecutive days. I am thinking Day 1 Stowe. Day 2 Smuggs. Day 3 back to Stowe. Is there another mountain within an hour that we must visit?? How far is Smuggs from the village of Stowe??

Great replies!! Thanks!!
Stowe to Smuggs is probably a 45+ minute drive, as the direct road between them is closed in the winter.

There are quite a few ski areas in that area -- Sugarbush, Mad River Glen (although MRG isn't really known as an intermediate's mountain), and Bolton Valley are all close by. I haven't been to any of them in years though. Of those, Sugarbush is by far the largest.

All the towns in the Stowe / Sugarbush region (Stowe, Waterbury, Warren, Waitsfield) are picture-postcard Vermont villages that are well worth a look (in case your legs give out early on one of your days, or the weather is less then perfect, etc).

I'd recommend spending consecutive days at Stowe though (as oppossed to going somewhere else on the "middle" day) so that you can take advantage of the price breaks on multi-day lift tickets. i.e., the 2-day lift ticket is cheaper then buying two one-day lift tickets.
post #10 of 11
I'm heading up there tommorrow - will report back. That gostowe thing is pretty good.

I got a membership from the classicskitours.net you might want to look into. I think it was $35 and you get a free lift ticket (2 for 1) among other deals.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
ct55.....Should be plenty of snow for a great ski outting.

Have a good one.

Thanks KevinF.
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