The Best Ski Resorts are in Vermont

December 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Restaurants, Skiing

skiing in Stowe vermont
Photo: Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Resort.

According to Ski Magazine readers, Vermont has some of the best ski resorts in the US and even in North-America, whether you are looking for downhill skiing or cross-country ski or simply want to enjoy great après-ski and dining. In each of these categories, Vermont ski resorts are making Ski Magazine’s list of the “Top 10 Ski Resorts”. And others have also recognized Vermont ski resorts as… some of the best! (See where they are all located on this map of Vermont ski resorts).

Top 10 ski resorts for après-ski (Ski Magazine)
For the best après-ski, Ski Magazine readers selected 2 Vermont ski resorts in the top 10.
Here is their “top 10” list:
1. Aspen Mountain, Colorado
2. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
3. Heavenly, California
4. Killington, Vermont
Killington truly has a number of fun places to enjoy after a long day of skiing: the Mahogany Ridge bar at the K-1 Lodge, the Long Trail Pub at the Snowshed Lodge, and the Bear Mountain Lounge at the Bear Mountain Lodge, the Wobbly Barn or the Lookout Tavern. Lots to choose from. And for the very best BBQ, our personal choice is The Back Behind Saloon on route 4 and 100 S.
5. Tremblant, Quebec
7. Park City, Utah
8. Breckenridge, Colorado
9. Whiteface, New York
10. Stowe, Vermont
There is definitely an established tradition of bar hopping after a day of skiing at the Stowe Mountain Resort. There is even a name for it: it’s the “Mountain Road Crawl”! You start by warming up and having a drink at the Fireside Tavern right at the mountain, then drive down the road a little and stop at the Matterhorn Bar. Pool tables, music and great food (appetizers, pizza, etc.) are all there for you. The bar also has a dance floor. Then, The Shed and the Rusty Nail are further down the road. The Rusty Nail also has a great space and pool tables upstairs. Lots of places for lots of fun! And to make sure to stay safe, take advantage of the shuttle which will take you from one bar to another, yep, no kidding!

Top 10 ski resorts for dining (Ski Magazine)
For dining, Stowe is ranking number 10. A very respectable score. Indeed, the whole road from the Mountain to Stowe village and to Waterbury has restaurants of all kinds and all budgets, as well of course B&B and little inns. Some are fun and relaxed, some are fancy and gastronomic in quaint historic homes. We’ll just name a few: the Whip Bar & Grill, located in the Green Mountain Inn, the Blue Moon Café, the Swisspot (in town), the Cliff House Restaurant (at Mt. Mansfield), and Mr Pickwick’s at the Ye Olde England Inne. Waterbury is close as well and hosts some award-winning restaurants, such as Michael’s on the Hill, and Hen of the Wood (our previous article).

For your curiosity, here are Ski Magazine’s “top 10 ski resorts” for dining:
1. Aspen, Colorado
2. Deer Valley, Utah
3. Tremblant, Quebec
4. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
5. Sun Valley, Idaho
6. Vail, Colorado
7. Park City, Utah
8. Beaver Creek, Colorado
9. Telluride, Colorado
10. Stowe, Vermont

Top 10 ski resorts for off-hill activities (Ski Magazine)
And when it comes to off-hill activities, it’s Smugglers’ Notch which is the favorite station in Vermont. Smugglers’ Notch has the FunZone for kids, video arcades, snow tubing, ice-skating at SmuggsCentral, massages, and more…

Ski Magazine’s top 10 list includes:
1. Whiteface Mountain, New York
2. Aspen Mountain, Colorado
3. Heavenly, California
4. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
5. Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
6. Park City, Utah
7. Tremblant, Quebec
8. Vail, Colorado
9. Breckenridge, Colorado
10. Deer Valley, Utah

Top 10 ski resorts for romantic cross-country skiers (that’s a niche!) (MSNBC – February 2006)
MSNBC has selected the Mountain Top Inn. The photos on its website seem fabulous… with the view on Chittenden Reservoir. We will have to check it out!

MSNBC’s top 10 list includes:
• Callaghan Country at Whistler, British Columbia
• Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, in Alberta
• Garland Resort in Lewiston, Michigan
• Lone Mountain Ranch at Big Sky, Montana
• Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York
• Mt. Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods, in New Hampshire
Mountain Top Inn in the town of Chittenden, Rutland County, Vermont
• Royal Gorge in Soda Springs, California
• Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop, Washington
• Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

And last but not least:
Top 10 ski resorts for family in New England (Family Ski Trips)
The Family Ski Trips website listed 6 Vermont ski resorts as the best ski resorts for family.
Wow, well done Vermont! And it’s nice to know that many of these ski resorts have timeshare rentals available through their owners which are spacious enough to fit the whole family comfortably.

- Okemo, Vermont
For its lesson programs…
- Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
For the “most innovative instruction in snow country”, its beginners’ slopes on Morse Mountain, its kids’ ski camp and day care, and all the activities in the Village from the Fun Zone to snow tubing.
- Stowe, Vermont
When the kids grow older: “your kids can night-ski while you dine at the European-style Cliff House” restaurant.
- Killington/Pico, Vermont
For Bear Mountain which is dedicated to freeskiers and riders, with parks and pipes; for its Winter Adventure Center with snowshoeing, tubing and dog sledding; and for the less intimidating Pico resort. Killington also has several video arcades.
- Suicide Six, Vermont
- Ascutney, Vermont
Ascutney has a lot for kids of all ages: Young Olympians ski and ride camps for ages 4-12, and a Bumps Center for teens. Note that the Duckling Daycare will not be open this winter.

Other ski resorts in New England which made the list:
- Bretton Woods, NH
- Sunday River, ME
- Jiminy Peak, MA and
- Sugarloaf, ME

On that note, I hope we’ll see you this winter in Vermont… on our mountains or off the slopes. The snow is already here waiting for you.
Related article: 2009 Best Ski Resorts and Ski Hotels

Snow Tubing: Where to Go?

February 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Outdoors

Snow tubing
Snow tubing is a really fun winter activity, not only for kids but truly for the whole family. There are a few places in Vermont where you can enjoy sliding down in those inflatable tubes. Following popular demand, we have decided to give you a complete listing of the spots where you can enjoy snow tubing in Vermont. We are listing hours of operation, but you may want to check the websites, particulary early in the season to make sure they are open, or check special hours of operation during holiday periods. Note also that some websites are listing places which actually don’t offer snow tubing, such as Killington, Stratton, Stowe and the White House Inn. In some cases, they used too… but don’t anymore. And now… dress warm, get out… and enjoy snow tubing!

Northern Vermont

Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Smugglers’ Notch, VT
Sir Henry’s Hill is the place for snow tubing at Smuggler’s Notch – only available to guests of the resort however. It is included in the Club Smugglers’ Advantage Package.
Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
No ski boots.
Mon- Wed- Fri-Sat: 5-8 pm
More information at: Smugglers’ Notch Resort snow tubing

Central Vermont

Okemo Mountain
Ludlow, VT
New 4-lane snow tubing park, located off the magic carpet in the courtyard at Jackson Gore.
Minimum requirements: children must be at least 42” of height; children under 18 must have parental signature; waiver to participate
Mon and Fri: 3-5 pm
Sat: 3-6 pm
Extended hours during February vacation.
$9 for 1 hour. Tickets can be purchased after 2:30 pm. Chance that it can sell out, due to high popularity!
More information at: Okemo Mountain activities 

Southern Vermont

Grafton Ponds
Townshend Road, Grafton, VT
One of the best snow tubing spots in Vermont with its 600-foot slope!
Your own tubes are not allowed.
Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm
$15 for 2 hours
More information at: Grafton Ponds

Magic Mountain
Londonderry, VT
Tubing runs at the Alakazam tube park.
We are in contact with the ski resort for more information. 
Website: Magic Mountain

Mount Snow
Tubing Park is located in front of the Grand Summit Hotel in the Main Base Area
West Dover, VT 05356
Weather and conditions permitted.
Spaces limited. First come, first serve.
No ski boots.
Fri: 2:30-8 pm
Sat-Sun: 10:30 am to 4 pm
Check schedules for holidays.
$20 per session
More information at: Mount Snow - snow tubing

For location, consult our Vermont map of ski resorts.

Ski Resorts Offer Delicious Vermont Farmhouse Chowder

February 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Regional specialties, Skiing

Vermont Farmhouse Chowder
This winter, six Vermont ski resorts (and more to come) are offering something really special on their menus: a hearty Farmhouse Chowder, featuring products locally grown by Vermont farmers. How it was conceived and developed is truly a fascinating story, but more importantly to all of you skiers, it is delicious!
We had the opportunity to taste it ourselves at the Statehouse cafeteria last week. The chowder has a really nice smoky taste and is truly the kind of hearty food all skiers want to have when they come into the lodge for lunch, after a few hours of skiing.
With this chowder, Sugarbush Executive Chef Gerry Nooney created something truly distinctive for Vermont. The soup is made with Peaslee’s Potatoes, Cold Hollow Apple Cider, Vermont Smoke and Cure sausage and of course, fresh Vermont cream, all local Vermont products. And it does have a very distinctive taste!
And at $6.50 for a bowl at Sugarbush, it costs the same as other prepared soups… but it’s Vermont-made and always fresh…never frozen!
In addition to Sugarbush, the Vermont Farmhouse Chowder is also available at Mount Snow, Bromley, Stratton, Stowe and Smugglers’ Notch Resort, and we’re being told that more ski resorts could join soon. And non-skiers will be happy to know that they can also buy it in a number of delis and local markets or make it at home (see recipe).
Finally… for those of you who are interested in the story of how it came about: it started with a simple idea of promoting local produce, similarly to the Vermont Ski Burger last year.
Chef Gerry Noonley worked hard to develop the recipe. Ski Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture worked together, along with some private businesses such as Cold Hollow Cider, Vermont Smoke and Cure, and Black River Produce (the distributor) to make it happen! “It is a remarkable example of what Vermont small community can achieve when working together” says Chef Gerry Noonley… Indeed… and the success is there to prove it: the chowder has already been produced in volumes that are twice the team’s initial expectations.

Note: The Vermont Ski Burger is available at Okemo Mountain, Stowe, Burke Mountain, Stratton and Mount Snow. It is made of Vermont-raised all-natural beef from Boyden Farm, and cheese from Cabot Creamery, with some “personalized touches” by the various ski resorts.
Ski Vermont Ale, made by Long Trail Brewery, is another Ski Vermont initiative that you can try at Stratton.

Enjoy a Dog Sledding Tour!

January 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Outdoors

Dog sledding in Vermont
Photo: Courtesy of Eden Dogsledding.

Dog sledding is a great way to be close to nature. Several companies, who all seem to be great dog lovers, are offering dog sled tours this season. We have not tried any of them ourselves, but we hope to do it soon.

- Peace Pups Dogsledding – Lake Elmore, Northern Vermont – They are offering day tours at Lake Elmore with their teams of Siberian Huskies during week-ends (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, at 10 am, noon and 2 pm) and night tours at Stowe Mountain Resort during the week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, at 5 pm, 6 pm and 7 pm). They are advising to make reservations in advance, because they have a small kennel.
More information at: Peace Pups Dogsledding
Where are they located? Lake Elmore, VT
Watch a video on Peace Pups Dogsledding, produced by Seven Days Magazine.

- October Siberians Sled Dog Adventures – Hinesburg, Central Vermont – They are offering 2-hour tours during the day on week-ends (Saturdays and Sundays) and night tours (5 pm and 7:30 pm) on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Their primary location is Little River State Park in Waterbury, VT, a convenient location for people staying at Stowe, Bolton or Sugarbush ski resorts. They also participate to Hinesburg Winter Carnival and Shelburne Farms Winter Carnival.
More information at: October Siberians Sled Dog Adventures
Where are they located? Little River State Park, VT

 - Eden Dogsledding and Dogsledding-On-Wheels! – Eden Mills, Northeast Kingdom – Located an easy, scenic drive from Stowe, Jay Peak and Smugglers’ Notch ski resorts, they offer dog sled tours with their gorgeous Alaskan Huskies. In the winter, you’ll enjoy their woodstove, hot chocolate and cookies too! They even have lodging on site.
More information at: Eden Dogsledding
Where are they located? Eden Mills, VT

- Husky Works Mushing Company – West Wardsboro – Located at the intersection of the Stratton-Arlington Road and Route 100, near Stratton Mountain and Mount Snow, in the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont, they offer dog sled tours with their Siberian Huskies.
More information at: Husky Works Mushing Company
Where are they located? West Wardsboro

Note that Atii Sled Dogs, in Moretown, Central Vermont are not offering dog sled tours this season (2008-2009). More information at: Atii Sled Dogs

They are a few more places offering dog sledding in Vermont, and which don’t seem to have websites. At this time, we have not contacted them for more information but they can be reached at the following phone numbers:
- Hardscrabble Mountain Sled Dog Tours – Sheffield, Northeast Kingdom – 802-626-9895
- Vermont Dog Sledding – Shoreham – 802-897-2311
For general information of dog sled tours and dog sledding, you can also visit the dog sledding page at:
Vermont Outdoor Guide Association

And last but not least, if you want to see 99 teams for the US and Canada, racing in a great sled dog dash, don’t miss the 3rd annual event at Burke Mountain on February 28 to March 1, 2009.
More information at: Burke Mountain Sled Dog Dash

New Year’s Eve Fireworks, Torchlight Parades, etc.

December 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Celebrations, Lake Champlain - 400 years

New Year fireworksNote: This is a 2008 article which we will update in a few days.

Vermont is celebrating New Year’s Eve with First Night events, fireworks and torchlight parades throughout the state. We’ll gather here information on all towns and ski resorts’ celebrations.
First Night events happen throughout the US. They feature a number of artists in a number of venues. In Vermont, Burlington, Montpelier and St. Johnsbury have First Night’s celebrations planned for you. First Night Montpelier has even been voted a Top 10 Winter 2008-2009 Event by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

First Night Burlington – Downtown Burlington – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – Noon to midnight
The complete schedule of the indoor performances is at www.firstnightburlington.com. Outdoors, the annual parade will take place at 6 pm on Church Street. It is a special parade this year for the beginning of a year of celebrations for the 400-year anniversary of Lake Champlain, in commemoration of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of the lake, to which he gave his name. The parade will be led by the Abenaki Community and will have the theme “400 years together – The Lake, the Land and the People”. Then, the official kick-off of the Quadricentennial Celebrations will take place in front of the City Hall at 7 pm. Fireworks will be 7:30 pm and midnight at Burlington Waterfront.
More information at: www.firstnightburlington.com
Live webcam on Church Street

First Night Montpelier – Montpelier – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – Noon to midnight
Like in Burlington, you can enjoy many artist performances, music, dance, theater, storytelling and magic, plus children’s activities, and more. From noon to 3 pm, you can cross-country ski at Morse Farm or ice skate at the Central Vermont Civic Center. There is a 5K race at 3 pm, and the performances are from 3 pm to 8 pm at various venues. Parade and fireworks are at 8 pm. Finally, starting at 9 pm, the Dance Party and Midnight Countdown is at the City Hall auditorium with The Chrome Cowboys.
For the full schedule, visit: First Night Montpelier

First Night St. Johnsbury – St. Johnsbury – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 4 pm to midnight
Around 50 performances at various venues, music, dance, magic, children’s activities and more. Outdoors, fireworks are at midnight at the Academy gym, and they will raise a lighted ball!
More information at: First Night St. Johnsbury

And there are more fireworks at your various ski resorts as well.

Bolton Valley – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 8:30 pm kick-off
There will be a torchlight parade followed by fireworks. New Year’s Eve fireworks will be against the backdrop of Bolton Valley. Both events can be best viewed from the base lodge.
See: New Year’s Eve fireworks

Jay Peak Resort – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 9 pm
New Year’s Eve fireworks will be shot off on The Interstate Trail, which is on the Tramside of the resort at 9pm.
More information at: Jay Peak Resort Events

Smugglers’ Notch – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 11:45 pm
Beginning at 11:45 pm, there will be a bonfire on the Village Green near the Gazebo and a fireworks display against the backdrop of Morse Mountain.
See: Smugglers’ Notch winter vacations

Stowe – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 7 pm
New Year’s Eve fireworks start at 7pm at Spruce Peak. The best place to view them is from the new Spruce Camp base lodge.
See: New Year’s Eve fireworks

Stratton Mountain Resort – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 8:45 pm
New Year’s Eve fireworks and torchlight parade are starting at 8:45 p.m. in the Main Base Area.
More information at: New Year’s Eve at Stratton

Sugarbush Resort – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 6:45 pm
There are also fireworks and a torchlight parade at Sugarbush for New Year’s Eve.
See: New Year’s Eve fireworks and torchlight parade

And finally,

There is fireworks and ice skating at midnight at the Hawk Mountain Resort in Plymouth, for New Year’s Eve.
See: Hawk Mountain Resort – Holiday Events