Vermont set for another season of simply the best skiing and riding in the Northeast
By Nathaniel Gibson
With 17 alpine resorts, Vermont is the skiing and snowboarding destination in the Northeast. The Green Mountain state offers everything from easy beginner cruisers to rugged expert terrain — and lots of other activities for family members of all ages.
Recent winters have been snowy, thanks to record-breaking storms that dumped over 24 to 36 inches and created prime powder conditions. With another La Niña winter forecast, conditions for the upcoming season look to be excellent. “The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a winter with a lot of moisture and I’m really looking forward to some big storms,” says long-time skier Duncan Lake of Pawlet.
Resorts have been hard at work over the summer making improvements and preparing for the 2011-12 season, which will be packed with many exciting events. To commemorate its 75th anniversary celebration, Bromley, located in the Town of Peru, has added a new black-diamond glade between Havoc and Pushover on the east side of the mountain. Named Orion, the new trail will offer challenging terrain for advanced skiers and riders. Bromley will also celebrate its 75th anniversary on January 21 to 22 with special ski deals, a torchlight parade, fireworks, and a party in the base lodge.
Mt. Snow, in West Dover, has just installed the only high-speed detachable, six-passenger bubble chair lift in the United States. Named the Bluebird Express for the beautiful, sunny days every skier and rider dreams of, the lift will provide the kind of weather protection that gondolas offer — with the added convenience that riders won’t have to take off skis or boards.
Smuggler’s Notch, located in Jeffersonville, has been working with Burton Snowboards to develop a state-of-the-art park for children featuring small rolling hills, miniature box-style rails, pyramids, a mini half-pipe, a balance area, and a lift chair to get kids acquainted with loading and unloading.
Jay Peak, situated in the Town of Jay in Northern Vermont, has gone the novel route of adding a 50,000-sq ft water park. The Pump House Park has a slide that drops into a free-fall before shooting riders upside down, a standing-wave for those who want to “surf,” a retractable roof for warm, sunny days — and a 50-seat bar overlooking the entire spectacle. The park’s grand opening is scheduled for December 12, 2011
Killington will host the second of three stops for the national Dew Tour from January 20 to 23. The event will feature a 22-foot super pipe and will bring top winter athletes from around the globe to compete in skiing and snowboarding events. “The Winter Dew Tour has established itself as one of the premier winter events, and we are pleased to have been asked to host this world-class event for these outstanding athletes to showcase their talents,” says Killington’s President and General Manager Chris Nyberg.
Later in the year Stratton will host the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships. From March 4 to 11 amateurs will compete in the same events as some of world’s best riders, including Vermonters Louie Vito, Hannah Teter and 2011 defending champion Kelly Clark.
A longtime Mecca for winter sports enthusiasts, Vermont is steeped in ski and snowboard history. From the 2 gold medals won by Rutland County native Andrea Mead Lawrence at the 1952 Winter Olympics to the founding of Burton snowboards in 1977 in Londonderry, skiing and snowboarding traditions run deep in the state. Currently, nearly 20 Vermonters are on the U.S. Ski Team.
For a full list of Vermont resorts, special deals, events, and travel information, visit Ski Vermont at www.skivermont.com.
Nathaniel Gibson is a snowboarder and freelance writer. He may be contacted at www.nathanielrgibson.com.
The article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of the Rutland Regional Vermont Insider Guide.