Stratton Mountain, Vermont

Vermont Ski Resorts

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Top Rated Vermont Ski Resorts

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A ski resort with terrain for all levels and closeby lodging, lots of apres ski activities and a good ski school make for great vacations on snow.

Most Popular Vermont Ski Resorts

Planning a Vermont ski trip? Browse our collection of skier and snowboarder-submitted reviews for Vermont ski resorts to see which mountains claimed the top spot in each category. Vermont reviews rank ski areas on a scale of one to five stars in the following categories: Overall Rating, All-Mountain Terrain, Nightlife, Terrain Park and Family Friendly. See how your favorite Vermont ski area stacks up among the top rated in terms of skiing and après.

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Vermont Ski Lodging

Vermont Ski Resorts FAQ

The Green Mountain State of Vermont is a favorite for skiers and snowboarders from all over the Northeast United States, Eastern Canada and, for that matter, around the world. Ski resorts in Vermont are located along the spine of the state from the classic Mount Snow in the south to Jay Peak almost at the Canadian border.

Skiing in Vermont combines a sense of history with what’s become known as “Eastern Skiing” – plenty of steep trails with more modern Western-like slopes in places for beginners and intermediates.

But that sense of history is everywhere: The story goes that Bunny Bertram, a Dartmouth College ski instructor, joked after installing a rope tow on “Hill 6” in 1935 that it would be “suicide to ski down that steep slope.” Hence Suicide Six in So. Pomfret became the state’s first ski area. The next year, landowner Craig Burt, Sepp Ruschp and the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club opened a rope tow on the Toll House slope and Stowe began its run to becoming the King of all Eastern Skiing.

No matter which resort you choose, Vermont skiing and snowboarding is right up there with the best of the resorts in the United States. Just different.

 

What are Vermont's best ski resorts?

Well, it’s hard to pick, but here is a variety of choices up and down the state.

Top rated ski resorts in Southern Vermont

Stratton Mountain, about 30 minutes from the shopping mecca of Manchester, is possibly the most upscale resort in the state. It’s a beautiful setting (winter and summer) with a lively village at the base of the mountain. It’s family friendly and a good mix of slopes and trails for all abilities. Bromley, across the valley in Peru and even closer to Manchester, is a throwback ski area dating back to the thirties and created by Pabst Brewing Company scion Fred Pabst. Today, it still has the laid-back feeling, but with modern lifts and services. Magic Mountain in Londonderry completes the ”snowy triangle" of Stratton, Bromley and Magic. It’s a smaller resort with a Swiss flavor and has been upgraded in recent years.

Mt. Snow in Dover came online in the 1950s and became an instant favorite. Developed by Walt Schoenknecht, a classic ski industry character, it was famous in 1960s for Fountain Mountain, a 350-foot frozen fountain in the middle of Snow Lake. Today, it remains a family-friendly, good skiing and riding mountain. It is now owned by Vail Resorts.

Okemo Mountain Resort is technically in South Central Vermont, but why quibble? This always has been one of the best run family mountains and continues to be since Vail Resorts acquired it in 2018. It sits in Ludlow, a relaxed town at the base of the mountain. Look for the iconic village clocktower.

Top rated ski resorts in Central Vermont

Killington, or as it is widely known, “The Beast of the East,” is a big, sprawling ski mountain spread over 7 peaks. This resort is BIG. Ski or ride over 3,000 acres with more lifts on a single mountain (21 lifts carrying more than 35,000 people per hour) than any other in North America. Yes, it's the biggest in Vermont. Every possible type of skiable terrain can be found here and it’s surprisingly manageable. The resort sits just east of Rutland with more lodging, bars, honky tonks and whatever than you can handle on a weekend or vacation. The snowmaking alone is incedible.

Sugarbush, along the Rte. 100 corridor in the Mad River Valley, is a long-time skier favorite in Vermont. There are two mountains, Mt. Ellen and Lincoln Peak, nearly 600 skiable acres plus 2,000 acres of backcountry skiing in the Slide Brook Wilderness area. Originally nicknamed “Mascara Mountain” in the '60s because of the New York Park Ave. crowd who hopped into a ski bus and partied to, during and from the mountain every weekend. And, yes, the glamorous Stein Eriksen led the ski school in the '60s after being lured East from Aspen. The ski area has been totally transformed and the lodging is catching up, too.

Mad River Glen, less than five miles from its neighbor Sugarbush, is a throwback ski area with narrow runs cut among the trees and a longtime motto: “Ski It If You Can.” Sure, there’s lots and lots of tough stuff on the mountain (probably the toughest in the East), but here’s the dirty little secret. Even beginners can ski and learn here by using the rope tow on Calle’s Corner. The ski school will get them reaqdy to tackle the main mountain quickly. Give it a try. The skier fanatics here are legendary and loyal. By the way, leave the snowboard at home. Not allowed.

Top rated ski resorts in Northern Vermont

Bolton Valley is a snowball’s throw from Burlington (OK, 30 minutes). It’s a mid-sized comfortable mountain for all members of the family to enjoy. This is a self-contained high mountain village with 71 trails and glades and 100km of Nordic and backcountry trails. The annual snowfall average is 312 inches. Your wallet won’t break here either.

Stowe is well-known as the granddaddy of American ski resorts, certainly in the East. The village of Stowe mountain resort is about 45 minutes from Burlington. The area's lift system includes a gondola that shuttles guests between Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, and its "sister," easier, mountain, Spruce Peak. The Lodge at Spruce Peak, located in the base village, is a luxury, ski-in/ski-out hotel and spa. The famous “Front Four” trails – National, Goat, Star and Liftline - on Mt. Mansfield offer the challenge for your trip. Stowe, now owned by Vail Resorts, is the first Vermont mountain to offer the Epic Pass.

Smugglers’ Notch, as noted above, is one of the most family-friendly ski resorts in the country and has held that rightful designation for many years. Jeffersonville is a tiny town Smuggs calls home. The “Notch” is created by the closed Route 108 that separates Stowe from Smuggs. Getting there is about a 45-minute drive via Rte. 100 N and I-15 W.

Jay Peak, in the way-northern town of Jay just south of the Canadian border, may have the most abundant snowfall in the Northeast. Look for some of the East’s best terrain providing skiers and riders with exciting tree glades, long groomed trails, and abundant natural snowfall. There’s also a terrific water park. It may be somewhat hard to get to, but worth the trip.

Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond is a delightful small ski area that originally served as training headquarters for the famed skiing Cochran family with the hill literally in their back yard. Barbara Ann won gold at the Sopporo, Japan Olympics in slalom in 1972. All four of Ginny and Mickey Cochran competed in the Olympics. Now, all these years later, Barbara Ann’s son Ryan took home a silver medal in the Super G in Beijing. There’s no better place to learn to ski than at this little gem.

 Which Vermont ski resorts are best for beginners?

The truth is almost all Vermont ski areas are suitable for family getaways. Smugglers’ Notch at the top of the state in Jeffersonville is recognized nationwide as a perfect place for the family and its many programs cater to welcoming them. Bolton Valley is an ideal, small resort close to Burlington that knows how to welcome families as well. Stratton Mountain, Mount Snow and Okemo ski resort in Southern Vermont are all good choices.

Is there a great party mountain in Vermont?

Oh, yes, there certainly is and, hand’s down, it’s Killington in Central Vermont, just up Route 4 from Rutland. The main access road up to the mountain is loaded with bars, restaurants and nightlife. So many choices: The Wobbly Barn and Pickle Barrel are the most notorious, but apres ski, head for the Lookout Tavern. Many offer a shuttle so you can party-hearty. The all-day place to party Euro-style is the Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar at the base of Superstar.

Where’s the most Vertical drop in Vermont?

Killington wins that one, too, at 3,050 feet, with Sugarbush at 2,650 feet and Smuggs at 2,610. Not exactly Rocky Mountain numbers but your legs will feel like it.

 Are there good terrain parks in Vermont?

Killington is the big winner. You’ll find the best park set-ups in New England here from the Stash to Dream Maker to Timberline, meaning there are features all across the mountain. Keep Sugarbush and Mt. Snow on your list, too.

 

Here are frequently asked questions about Vermont skiing and riding

How many ski resorts are there in Vermont?

You’ll find 22 total ski resorts of all sizes here. Check out, which are open right now.

Is Killington or Stowe better?

The size of both mountains is comparable and there’s plenty of terrain for all levels of skiers and riders at both. Consider Stowe a bit more high-end with a traditional Vermont village and high-quality restaurants. Killington has more of a big brawling feel with most of the action along the access road.

What are some cool ski towns in Vermont?

Stowe is a 200-year-old village with a quaint main street loaded with Vermont charm and a historic flavor. Families will love staying at Stoweflake Mountain Resort and the Austrian-inspired Trapp Family Lodge (great cross country skiing here). Don’t miss Stowe’s Winter Carnival in January. Stowe is named by Fodor’s Travel as the “#1 Ski Town for Foodies in the United States.”

Warren is a tiny town located at the southern end of the Mad River Valley near Sugarbush and Mad River Glen. No trip to Warren is complete without a visit to the famous Warren Store, where you'll find groceries and a legendary deli. The West Hill House B&B offers a selection of Vermont beers and unique Quaich single malt Scotch bar.

Manchester in southern Vermont is close to Bromley, Magic Mountain and Stratton Mountains. There are multiple options for lodging in Manchester, including The Equinox, one of the town's oldest resorts, where The Green Mountain Boys, led by Ethan Allen, met in the tavern to determine their role in the Revolutionary War. Or cozy inns like the Wilburton Inn, The Reluctant Panther Inn, or the Inn at Manchester. Shopaholics will love the wide variety of shops at the Manchester Designer Outlets during your stay. Good eats await at Ye Olde Tavern, the Marsh Tavern in the Equinox, or Up for Breakfast featuring a variety of scones and Zody’s Double Hex long known for its burgers.

How cold is it?

Vermont is New England's only landlocked state, leaving it prone to hefty amounts of snowfall. Winter lasts nearly half the year in Vermont's Green Mountains Here’s a sampling of winter temps in Rutland (expect cooler temperatures farther north and in higher elevations): December temps can range from a high of 34°F to a low of 16°F; January with a high of 29°F to a low of 8°F. February’s average increases by a few degrees from 32°F to a low of 9°F. March offers “balmy” temps of 42°-19°F. It may be cold but it’s pretty. OK, pretty cold.

How do you get here?

There are four main ways to access Vermont skiing or boarding: auto, train, bus and air. Burlington International Airport, Vermont’s largest, is just 3 miles east of the “big city,” off I-89. Main airlines servicing the airport are Continental, Delta, JetBlue, Porter, United, and US Airways. It is also served by a number of other airlines offering non-stops to cities within the country and Canada, with worldwide connections.

Albany International Airport, located 7 miles to the northwest of New York’s state capitol, is easily accessible from I-87, I-88 and I-90 and is closest to southern Vermont resorts like Stratton and Bromley. Seven airlines currently operate from Albany, including Southwest, United, Jet Blue, Boutique Air, Cape Air, Delta, and American. You can opt to either rent a car at the airport and drive to Vermont (3 hours in good weather) or take the bus (5 hours, 27 minutes) from Albany to the Downtown Transit Center in Burlington.

Skiers and snowboarders who live in New York City or other boroughs and Northern N.J. should be excited about the announcement in summer 2022 that Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express will provide daily service from Manhattan's Penn Station, leaving at 2:21 p.m. and arriving in Burlington at 9:55 p.m. There will be two stops: Middlebury and Virgennes, Vt. The return trip leaves Burlington at 10:10 a.m., arriving back at Penn Station at 5:45 p.m. Fares start at $75. There also Amtrak options from Washington D.C. and stops in between to St. Albans, but those are much longer trips. Some ski area lodging properties will provide shuttles.

Skiers living in New York City sometimes opt for Greyhound (prices are about $50-$60) and charter bus service leaving mid-town Manhattan Friday afternoons and returning late Sunday. Be sure to check out the ski clubs for weekend packages and longer trips; transportation is often included.

 

Vermont is a state of mind, too

There’s one of those words here that people try to use to describe the essense of this state, even if it's hard to pronounce: ”Quintessential.” It literally means “representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.” If ever there was a quintessential place to ski and ride, this is it.

Skiing in Vermont combines a sense of history with what’s become known as “Eastern Skiing” – plenty of steep trails with more modern Western-like slopes in places for beginners and intermediates.

But that sense of history is everywhere: The story goes that Bunny Bertram, a Dartmouth College ski instructor, joked after installing a rope tow on “Hill 6” in 1935 that it would be “suicide to ski down that steep slope.” Hence Suicide Six in So. Pomfret became the state’s first ski area. The next year, landowner Craig Burt, Sepp Ruschp and the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club opened a rope tow on the Toll House slope and Stowe began its run to becoming the King of all Eastern Skiing.

No matter which resort you choose, Vermont skiing and snowboarding is right up there with the best of the resorts in the United States. Just different.

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