by: Bill Deaton - 20th February 2010

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • 2Aprés Ski
  • 2Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Good Expert Runs; Excellent Ski School; Variety of Terrain, Adaptive Program
Shorter Runs; Snow Can Be Sticky or Slushy Late In Season; High Price Cafeteria

Full review

First off…Full Disclosure. I held a season pass to Bromley for two years when I lived close by. I organized several very large group trips at Bromley for the non-profit organization I used to work for, and I know a few of their long time staff members, volunteers, and the director of the Adaptive Skiing center at Bromley, having said that, I will now try to be as objective as possible. Bromley’s claim to fame (well, one of them) is that it is Vermont’s Sun Mountain. While it is true that Bromley’s slightly southwesterly facing slopes do get more sun on sunny days, it also means that a good wind ripping up the Valley of Vermont hits Bromley square on…so be prepared to still be a bit chilly there even on sunny days. It also means that a nice sunny day will make Bromley’s snow just a little bit looser and while that might mean you won’t be skiing on boilerplate, it also means that it’s gonna freeze overnight and will require some grooming in the morning. Don’t worry…Bromley’s groomers are some of the best in Vermont, but they also know what not to touch as well. So expect to find some good bump runs on the slopes primarily served by the Blue Ribbon quad lift. I hadn’t skied at Bromley in four years and when I made my latest visit I noted not much had changed. The terrain parks had been moved around a bit and had expanded as well. The price of a bread bowl of clam chowder had gone up too, but everything else seemed to be in order….just the way I had left it. I was skiing with a pretty large party that day. There were eight of us there, many of which had never skied Bromley before. We planned to be at Mad River Glen that day, but due to weather MRG was closed, so we opted for Bromley since it was on our way to Stratton, our destination the next day. In spite of the previous day’s rain and the sudden plunge in temperature overnight, Bromley managed to get most of it’s easier and intermediate terrain groomed. The more advanced terrain was groomed in some places, but the mogul runs were left untouched and were frozen solid. These sort of conditions are extremely rare and it was something I almost never encountered in Vermont in late January. Normally, Bromley is operating at full capacity and the snow is in great condition. Bromley is much smaller than its neighbor, Stratton, just across the valley. It offers few of the amenities and après-ski activities found at Stratton as well, but in many cases, Bromley is the superior mountain when it comes to the actual skiing. Unlike many of the Black Diamonds over-yonder at Stratton, Bromley’s slopes are steeper and more narrow giving an expert skier a good run-for-the-money. Peril, Panic, Havoc, and Stargazer are all challenging runs with a good variety of terrain. Similarly, novice and intermediate skiers and riders will have a fun time navigating Bromley’s plethora of greens and blues. Even an advanced skier such as me can have some fun cruising the Green Dot Run-Around trail. With spurs and sides that cut back and forth between Thruway, Boulevard, and back again to the Run-Around, it is fun just to see how many different combinations of runs you can take over essentially the same terrain. Another thing I really like about Bromley is the Blue Square Glade. This is a perfect place to learn how to dodge trees. Too many resort glade runs are either too steep or too tight for a novice tree-skier to learn how to ski a glade. Not so at Bromley. While there are other steeper and tighter glades at Bromley “The Glade” is perhaps one of the best trails anywhere to get familiar with tree skiing. Like a lot of resorts, Bromley has moved and improved its terrain parks over the years to meet the demand for harder and increased freestyle terrain. Several years ago a park existed in the Lower East Meadow intended for younger jibbers, but now a bigger, but still introductory level park is located mid-mountain on Lift-Line. The Plaza and Lord’s Prayer area also serve freestyle terrain. Apres-ski at Bromley is limited. As a local I never stayed in the Sun Lodge adjacent to the slopes. I simply went home. Now I stay with friends or at Frank Sutton’s guest house in Manchester. The Boar’s Head Tavern at Bromley is a good place for a sit-down meal and when compared to the prices at the cafeteria, the slightly higher price at the Boar’s Head is actually worth it. If you really want good eats in the area, head back down towards Manchester and start picking out places to eat. There are few “bad” restaurants in the Manchester area, my personal favorites based on years of eating at them are Sherrie’s Café for breakfast; Zoe’s Deli for lunch; and Candelero’s or Laney’s for dinner. If you want pub grub and a good après-ski bar check out The Perfect Wife just a short drive down the hill from Bromley. Overall, if you want a good day of skiing or riding and you don't want to get jacked by the higher-priced resorts, Bromley is a great deal. Just avoid Super Bowl weekend as that tends to be a very busy weekend due to the influx of 600-800 Boy Scouts who come every year for the ski weekend Bromley has hosted for over 30 years.
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