Overview of Vermont
Written by Greg and Heather Burke • Last updated Sep 21, 2017
Vermont is known for its charm and scenery, and a ski vacation in the Green Mountains is no exception. Like Vermont cheddar cheese, each resort has its own flavor, and you’ll find a range of fine lodging from Vermont ski homes for rent, to Vermont ski lodges and ski hotels, to Vermont country Inns – where you slide out of your ski boots and into fluffy slippers by the fireplace. There are beautiful ski towns offering bed and breakfasts within room fireplaces, wake from under your down duvet for pancakes and fresh Vermont maple syrup before hitting the slopes. Vermont also has top ski resort lodges with concierge, spa and ski valet.
Vermont ski trips are luxurious if you find that cozy Vermont inn for après ski, or a full service resort hotel. Sugarbush, Stowe, Killington and Okemo are home to some lovely Vermont accommodations in ski country. Vermont has a private ski club Hermitage Club and is also home to more rustic, retro ski areas like Magic, Mad River Glen, Pico and Smugglers Notch. In northern Vermont, ski resorts Burke and Jay Peak get plenty of snow and have modern mountain hotels at the base, plus beautiful views.
Opened in 2011, Hermitage is offering 1500 memberships at their private Club for exclusive skiing on Haystack Mountain, access to a magnificent Clubhouse, concierge service and ski valet. Like the Yellowstone Club of the East, this ski resort offers the well-heeled in ski boots a place to play and belong with out lift lines or crowded base lodges. Hermitage Club skiing is for members only.
If you picture in your mind a grand Alps hotel in ski country – the kind you see out west or in Europe with huge timbers and an alpine design, then a Stowe ski vacation is your lift ticket. Skiers and snowboarders are treated like royalty with valet ski service and an alpine concierge at the Stowe Mountain Lodge and Spa at Spruce Peak Village are steps to the lifts and steps above New England “grand ski hotels.” This green hotel in snow country ushers in a new era for upscale ski lodging in Vermont with suite accommodations, an on site spa and gourmet mountain cuisine featuring local farm raised products prepared by executive chefs, surrounded by an elegant ski village with ice rink at the base of Spruce - a gondola ride to Mt Mansfield’s legendary Front Four terrain. There are other top shelf lodging option in Stowe if you forego the slopeside hotel – the flip side is you are closer to the charming town of Stowe and all the Mountain Road shopping, dining and charm of Stowe Village – which dates back three centuries. Closest to the mountain, after you pass the popular Matterhorn après ski bar, is Topnotch Resort and Spa. Topnotch, like its name, offers classy accommodations and a beautiful spa. On the Mountain Road near Stowe Village is the modern eclectic Field Guide for luxury lodging with whimsy.
Sugarbush is a legendary ski resort, with a colorful past of celebrity skiers and some of the first extreme ski film stars. This Vermont ski valley is still starry at night if you take a cat to Allyn's lodge for dinner and ski down. Sugarbush's on mountain lodging in the Clay Brook Hotel offers ski in ski out suites, you can walk to the lifts, ski back to the slopeside pool or stop by Timbers restaurant for après ski drinks in your ski boots. The Relais and Chateaux Pitcher Inn in Warren have beautifully decorated suites – each with its own personality just minutes from skiing - but worlds away. We recommend the Ski Room to inspire your special ski trip – of course, you may not want to leave your room, except to head downstairs for a four diamond meal in the dining room, or to the Alta Spa. The Inn and Sugarbush ski resort share the same owner - former Wall Street tycoon Winn Smith, whom you will see out skiing, taking first tracks with guests via his Lincoln Limo snowcat perhaps. While you are visiting the Mad River Valley, be sure to save time for the fine ski shops (Sportiv is our favorite for elegant European ski clothes), Vermont country stores and some of the best ski country restaurants.
Okemo Mountain Resort is the best Vermont ski resort for families and fall line foodies – with New England’s best on mountain food and service. This ski resort in central Vermont has well groomed trails like World Cup and lovely views of Ludlow Valley …but it’s the on mountain cuisine that puts Okemo in the top ten ski resorts in New England. Okemo slopeside condos and home rentals are abundant, or you can stay at the massive mountain hotel – The Jackson Gore Inn features hotel suites for skiers. Resort amenities include covered ice skating in the Ice House, and indoor swimming all winter in the Spring House. If you can forego mountainside accommodations at Okemo, you will be rewarded at the Castle Hill Inn and Spa, lodging in an authentic Vermont Castle with stunning views of Okemo’s ski trails from your luxurious suite.
Killington is huge, with 155 trails and 22 lifts on six peaks, hence the Beast of the East title. Often the first ski resort to open and close in the East, the Big K rocks with big snowmaking, ski events and a bustling Access Road lined with bars and eateries, and lots of lodging options from ski in ski out condos and a slopeside hotels at Killington, to off mountain hotels, motels and a few charming BnBs like the Red Clover Inn. Killington's sister resort and neighbor is Pico Mountain - a pleasant ski mountain valid on the same Killington lift ticket.
Mount Snow in southern Vermont is easy to reach from Connecticut and NY, and has beautiful well-groomed terrain on the front side, a little steeper pitch on the North, sunny slopes with big spring bumps on the south, and a huge Carinthia terrain pack on its own mountain. Mount Snow has a plethora of condos, and lodging including the slopeside Grand Summit, great après ski and some of the best snowmaking in southern Vermont. Since 1955 Mount Snow has been a popular spot for skiing and après ski partying.
Stratton Mountain Resort is elegant but edgy - high-speed lifts and a well designed slopeside village make this a sophisticated ski spot. Private dining at the Stratton Mountain Club, and a gorgeous Green Mountain Vermont setting add relaxation and a touch of regal to your luxury ski vacation.
Smugglers Notch in Vermont is the best choice for families with young kids just learning to ski or ride. Smuggs' ski and snowboard camps are among the best in ski country, with all day supervision, and award winning instruction, plus fun family activities for après ski.
Jay Peak gets lots of snow, they call it the Jay Cloud Effect, and has tons of glades for tree skiers. Recent improvements to Jay include a new Hotel Jay and Tram Haus Lodge with a Tower Bar and spa, an indoor waterpark called The Pumphouse and an indoor ice rink Ice Haus. Jay has great eastern trail skiing off the Aerial Tram, where you will find scenic dining in the summit Sky Haus. The Stateside areas sports an affordable hotel, plus a quad and triple lift and Learning Center for beginners. Jay Peak is sister resort to Burke Mountain - there's quite a story about the two ski resorts' evolution under EB5.
If you like the excitement of a city along with your ski trip, then stay at a Burlington Hilton Hotel and day trip to nearby downhill skiing by day at Smuggs, Jay Peak, Bolton Valley or Stowe, and save energy for downtown dining, dancing, even bar hopping at night. You can stay at the Hilton overlooking Lake Champlain for the best of Burlington and you’re a half hour to an hour’s drive to some of the best Vermont skiing.