In winter, large steel gates block the entry to one of Vermont's most picturesque mountain passes. On one side sits Stowe Mountain Resort known for its legendary runs down the back of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak. On the other side of the pass—for those willing to commit the extra hour (give or take) to circumvent the craggy ridge line by car—lies Smugglers' Notch Ski Area, which get its name from the narrow pass. Here, rather than the large crowds often found at Stowe, is a three-mountain wonderland of vastly gladed and challenging terrain whose beauty is only surpassed by its seclusion.

Smuggs, as its fondly called, offers a great lineup of season passes and daily lift ticket alternatives that will accommodate all skills and interests. All season passes to Smugglers' Notch are on sale through October 31.

Their classic Season Pass provides unlimited access, all day, any day with no restrictions. The Family Pass allows one or two adults and one or more children to get the same access at a discount. For college students, Smuggs has teamed up with nearby Bolton Valley to provide the 2 for U College Pass that grants full-time scholars access to both resorts for a combined 148 trails, hundreds of gladed acres and 8 terrain parks, plus night skiing at Bolton.

If extreme steeps or acres of trees aren't your idea of fun, Smuggs offers the Morse Fun Pass, limited to Morse Mountain, that provides plenty of fun and exciting trails for the beginner or corduroy cruiser to enjoy. And if you don't want to commit to a full season pass, the Bash Badge let's you pay just $25 a day to ski any time throughout the season. But upgrade to the Bash Badge Plus and enjoy free skiing and riding from opening day until December 14, 2012 and March 10, 2013 through closing day.

Awesome terrain and stellar 360 degree views (from the top of Madonna Mountain) aren't the only perks of carrying a season pass at Smuggs. Season Pass and Bash Badge holders receive big discounts on rentals, lessons, use of cross-country trails, retail, demos, tuning and more. And pass-holding parents can enjoy some quiet turns together with big discounts on Smuggs' nursery and child care programs, and children's ski and snowboard camps. Now isn't that always worth driving a little more for?

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