Skiing + Snowboarding in Northern Vermont
Concierge.com's insider take:
Vermont has a total of 5,700 acres spread across 17 alpine resorts, with up to 300 inches a year. And when Mother Nature plays coy, there are plenty of guns 'n' hoses to keep you covered; 70 percent of the lift-served terrain has snowmaking.
Jay Peak in the Northeast Kingdom attracts packs of powderhounds due to a weather pattern that dumps snow on its flanks while leaving other areas dry (Rte. 242, Jay; 800-451-4449; www.jaypeakresort.com). The mountain also has excellent tree skiing and a loosey-goosey backcountry policy that sends skiers and riders whooping into the woods. Slope-side lodging and dining facilities are a bit dumpy, but you're here for the snow, the 76 trails, and the low lift prices. Also in the Kingdom, and a ten-minute drive from the Wildflower Inn, you'll find Burke Mountain Ski Area, a low-key peak with 45 trails, most of them intermediate (223 Shelburne Lodge Rd., East Burke; 800-626-4124; www.skiburke.com).
No Vermont ski area is more storied than Stowe Mountain Resort, which epitomized the heyday of Bogner-clad ski bunnies and long-planked show-offs in the '60s and '70s (5781 Mountain Rd., Stowe; 800-253-4754; www.stowe.com). It hasn't changed much since then—with the exception of a $400-million sprucing up and a new gondola between the advanced trails of Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak, the beginner area. Adding to lodging options such as Topnotch, a few miles away, the swanky Stowe Mountain Lodge will open at Spruce in spring 2008. On the other side of Stowe (but a 45-minute drive away, thanks to winter road closings) is Smugglers' Notch, which is geared toward families (5323 VT Rte. 108, Smugglers' Notch; 800-451-8752; www.smuggs.com). Still, the 78 trails and 2,610 feet of vertical keep grown-ups happy, too, including the only triple black diamond on the East Coast.