I have been to Strat twice: the first time I skied on a thursday, this year, 2008, on a Friday.
TERRAIN ETC-- I am an intermediate skier, so the absence of double black diamond trails is not a problem for me, nor do I seek the super steep terrain that some do. I therefore confess that I love the simplicity of the easy trails at stratton and feel they are perfectly sufficient. They have a great green cruising trail that starts at the TOP of the mountain (not a measly 1/3 of the way up, like at sugarbush), and I saw skiers and riders of all levels enjoying those, as well as the blue trails. The trails are also nicely designed (I found some of sugarbush's ugly and oddly empty of pine).
CROWDS--I have no way to know if this particular Friday was more crowded than usual, but the crowds were a bit annoying. It was not so much the wait to the Gondola or lifts- bc that was not more than 5-7 minutes, maybe 10 min max. & Once on the slopes, everyone fanned out and we had the trails almost to ourselves. But the parking situation was completely absurd.
The garage available is micro-sized, and can only hold what seems to be 100 lucky skiers, and many of these spots were taken up by SUVs spreading over 2 spaces. The land surrounding the lot is taken up by condos. The overflow lot was about 4 miles down the road and a shuttle bus was needed to get back--really frustrating. I have never seen such an insane set up. Stowe, Sugarbush, Windham and several other mountains have massive lots right in front of the lodge/mountain, so there is no confusion, and if they do have overflow lots, these are just a few hundred yards away. There was another lot in front of the lodge area, but this was reserved for special people - one assumes this means condo owners, but someone told us it is season pass people as well as employees. Employees? THOSE are the people who need to be on a shuttle!!
This really bugged us and made us not want to come back, as the access was so clumsy and time-consuming. It also made us feel as though we were not welcomed.
SKIERS - As for the demographics of the crowds, I really cannot see that there is any scientifically proven way to sift the wasps from the non-wasps, nor the city people from the locals. So many posters (from VT??) seem to be annoyed at alleged NYers or Bostonites invading their territory. Frankly, who cares? I have met many native Vermonters on the slopes and far way from them who were plenty arrogant, cold or unfriendly.
Since I am from Brooklyn, I cannot really see how my presence ruins the nature experience for others. I am teacher and hardly a power-yuppie strutting around in Manhattanite uniform. But if NY mountains had more or better snow, I would also be happy to stay closer to home and not waste time and fuel trekking northeast.
I recommend Stratton, with warnings about what surely must be a horrific parking scene on saturdays.