fun fast trails, glades, views, food price
false vertical drop claim, slow outdated top lifts, way to far north
I found a deal on a lift ticket for $38, so I decided to make the 3-hour trek up to Burke. I kept hearing about this mountain, and the reviews were mixed so I chose to see for myself.
First of all don’t be fooled by the claimed 2011 vertical ft. In reality the mountain is split in two; the beginner area and the actual mountain where all the more challenging trails are (just look at the trail map). The main part probably tops out at no more than 1600 ft vertical, and the beginner area makes for a nice extra 400 ft end of the day run down to the car, but it is very flat.
Beyond that my only criticism is the lift to the top of the mtn. It is pretty slow, not as slow as Smuggs but close. The estimate on the ride time up varied anywhere between 8 and 14min. I never timed it but it was noticeably slow, 13 min sounds about right. Also a foam back pad would be welcome, the current metal bars are torture on the way up especially when it is 5 degrees with wind. When I went it was really cold, two heat packs on each foot and hand and heat saving thermal socks did little to help much. This place is far up north, dress accordingly!
The trails are great, fast and fun with a quite a few lips and ledges to launch off of. Deer run is perhaps the only real beginner trail from the top, other than that I would not call any trails from the top of the mountain beginner friendly. Some of the blues would indeed be black diamonds at other mountains. East Bowl what looks like a nice blue cruiser turned out to be a beautiful powder covered narrow trail with plenty of boulders, moguls and ledges to jump off of in some places other places you have to skate ski. (snowboarders stay away!).
Some good glades can be found here, including a fun beginner glade at the bottom called Enchanted forest, great for learning how to ski in the woods. The park is small and flat, good to learn on nothing more.
A nice fat cheese steak with grilled peppers and onions with a healthy dose of fries and pickles ran me $8.75, which seemed reasonable compared to other resorts who charge the same for a school cafeteria pet-food grade excuse for a burger. Then again I paid $2.25 for a small fountain soda ☹.
I went on a Saturday and there were no crowds at all.
Over all I would say in enjoyed skiing here, it is another mountain I can check off on my to ski list. Would I come back…no. Driving up from Massachusetts you pass plenty of mountains that offer similar and better skiing. Driving three hours to ski here is just not worth it. If I lived closer and the lifts were improved, I might give it another go. But really this is nothing special, especially when you pass Cannon and Wildcat on the way. If you are going to drive three hours there are plenty of other choices in Vermont.
I will say this though, being a mountain biker in the non-snow seasons my interest in the kingdom trail network and the supposed trail on Burke has been sparked…