Great variety of terrain; quick lifts; friendly staff
limited grooming; ski school supervision
We spent a week at Sugarbush March 12-19 with the whole family. I ski, while my wife prefers her snowboard, and the kids went to ski school, so we got a fairly good sampling of what the resort has to offer. Spent 4 of our days skiing at Mt. Lincoln and 2 days at Mt. Ellen. Lines were never a problem and the lifts were quick and well operated.
I loved skiing the Mt. Lincoln area. There was so much variety. Nice wide cruisers like Pushover or Hotshot off of the Gatehouse to beautiful tree covered trails like Sleeper, Lower Jester, and Moonshine gave you two different experiences. Then up to the top lifts for Organgrinder, Middle Earth, and the Birch Run was yet another type of fun. When we were there most of the black runs were left to bump, and some of the blues as well (Moonshine, Birch). Organgrinder had bumps for the top portion and then transitioned into a nice fast cruiser at the bottom. A nice workout. There were many more trails I would recommend, but my overall recommendation is just to explore as much as you can. Never found a trail I didn't enjoy.
I did wish they would have groomed some of the more advanced runs, but talking to staff they indicated that while the late season conditions were the reason for the lack of grooming. When we started the week conditions were great, but towards the end of the week it would be a little icy in the morning and quite slushy by the afternoon.
I was less impressed with the Mt. Ellen area, mainly due to conditions there being icier and most of the black trails having bumps the size of an old VW bug. I did thoroughly enjoy Lower F.I.S. Absolute solitude in a stunning mountain environment. Even saw moose tracks across the trail at one point and didn't see another skier for the entire 30+ minute run. It does flat out at the bottom, but the scenery is so beautiful that the extra work was well worth it. Semi-tough was also nice, but the rest of the trails were a let down after the days at Lincoln.
Ski school for the kids (6 and 4 years old) was hit or miss based on the instructor. The kids had one instructor for two of the days (1st and 3rd day) that they really enjoyed and we could see great progress. We also skied with them after ski school. Second day the instructor couldn't really be bothered to push them when they wanted to stop, so I didn't feel it went all that well. The last day was the ultimate disaster. Around pick-up time my wife was headed for the ski school building to pickup and encountered my six year old daughter being helped by a non-staff good samaritan and hysterically crying. My daughter had fallen down and the teacher must have lost count/track of class and left my daughter behind about halfway down the mountain. She had trouble gathering her skis and soon fell out of sight of the class and was crying for help when the passerby found her. They got her down to the school, where I will give credit that the teacher immediately apologized and took responsibility for the problem, but the damage was done. It took a lot of effort to get my daughter back out on the slopes and on my list of inexcusable mistakes leaving my child on the slope unattended is at the top. My rating would have been five stars for Sugarbush if not for this one very bad experience.
I still would recommend Sugarbush and plan on returning.