Robin, I hope this helps. We ahve been sking at Stratton of and on for 10 years, and bought a place there (Solstice) in 2003. Our three sons are now 18,19,24 and have skiied all over, including 20-30 days per year a Stratton. My two cents worth:
A. If you are spending all the time and money to be there, get the early pass and ski at 7;45AM. The sun bowl is empty from 7;45-10am, crouded until noon, then empty until 4. We typically ski there, then move to the snow bowl for mid morning, or take a long break.
B. I find Equip, Norse House, and Starting gate as the most helpful with gear. All are helpful if you need clothing, but these three have the best gear help. All will work with you on a demo program so you can demo as many skis as you want without cost, as long as you ultimately buy skis. prices on the end of season are very competitive.
C. In the sad case where someone is hurt (I have three sons...) the Carlos Otis Clinic near the Gondola is fantastic. It does not look like much outside, but underneath is nearly a hospital, with an orthopedic on site every weekend. I am a regular donor to their fund (they are independant) and a huge fan, they get you back on the slopes or to real help if you need it.
D. Mulburry's is best for pizza, Muligans best for Burgers, Verde is very nice but expensive and needs reservations, partridge in the pantry makes a great sandwich for lunch. Shoppig for food in the village is expensive but convienent, they have reasonable stock. their is a nice grocery store at the bottom of the hill across from the 7-11. Regular prices, regular food, plus some VT specialty stuff. partridge has stuff you can throw into the oven (pasta, etc)
E. As a home owner you get a "red card" that gives you the same prices as employees at the stratton stores (first run, etc), most of the other stores will give you this as well if you ask.
F. The sports center is 1/2 mile from your condo is a reasonably good gym and pool. You can join or buy day passes.
G. NO ONE SKIS EARLY ON HOILIDAYS, OR WHEN IT IS SUPER COLD. naturally, but the skiing is great then and you have a nice warm house to come back to. 90 minute or 2 hour ski periods on the togh days are actually fun and the skiing s really good.
F. Sorry to be a parent, but we had a rule when the kids were younger that no TV nor game/internet while Lifts are running. that was a good idea.
G. If you are interested in church services the Chapel in the Snow is across from the Gondola and is a real neat old church. Saturday evening and sunday noon services.
H. Stratton has a "book of 10" family and friends tickets. They are about 20-25% less than normal tickets, but you have to buy 10. We get a book and keep it for guests, most repay for the ticket, and it eliminates the trip to the ticket line/etc, and saves money. We have about 30 guests per year (3 sons....) so this works for us.
I hope this helps, and we hope you enjoy Stratton and the surrounding area/mountains.