Endless Terrain and Variety, Mountain isn't over-groomed
Wish there were a few more high speed lifts
After skiing practically every mountain in Vermont, this place somehow put a spell on me and I couldn't stay away! From the very start to the end of the season, conditions are always well managed despite the finicky weather experienced in the Northeast. Instead of writing an essay, heres some key bullets on pro's and con's for the mountain:
> Terrain nicely spreads crowds, with very few (if any) dangerous intersections. Even on packed holiday weekends, there are many line-free lifts.
> Moguls, moguls, moguls! Many of the great trails are very nicely bumped up - unlike many other places in the east, this place keeps a good amount of trails un-groomed.
> Terrain variety is unmatched in the east - between both base areas.. you can not ski the same trail for a whole weekend; even after 2 years here I am still finding new "stashes"
> Lot's of off trail "hidden" gems, and "back-country" excursions (such as slide brook) that make this place not just your ordinary ski-resort. If you like to explore, this place is endless.
> Vertical drop (2,600ft) is for real ; unlike other resorts that post #'s that are additive and not continuous, here it is, and top to bottom skiing is a real leg-burner. A true run from the top of Mt. Ellen to the base is truly a 20+ minute excursion and very reminiscent of western resorts.
> Lifts are staggered across at different elevations, and allow you to ski where it's best. For example, if more snow fell higher up in elevation you can stay on lifts high up and do laps in the good stuff; if it's cold and crusty up top, and warmer/softer conditions are only towards the base, you can do laps on the lower lifts and avoid the icy conditions. This is sometimes hard at other resorts (i.e.: Stowe) where most lifts go all the way to the summits.
> Place has great snow preservation; snow doesn't blow off trails easily, good aspect away from sunshine
> Apre-ski is actually better than you think, good crowds, bands, etc.
> On-mountain lodges are great!
> Free hot-cider at the end of the day; friendly staff.. what more could you want
> Slide Brook Express was down a lot last season; hopefully this won't happen again
> Resort could add additional glades; although there are some great tree runs, the resort definitely isn't tapping into its potential
> Adding some more high speed lifts/gondola to the mix would be nice (i.e.: Heaven's Gate, Lynx, and Ellen Summit areas)
> Terrain Park - definitely lacking; I don't think the half-pipe was even constructed this past year.
> Hard to think of any more...
If you haven't been, I'd strongly recommend visiting. It truly is worth the extra drive.