Vermont might rank 45th in size out of the 50 states, but when it comes to ski resorts, the Green Mountain States pulls rank when the judging criteria turns to snow, with some of the most popular eastern ski resorts located within its borders. Eastern skiing takes some hits because it doesn’t have the size or the snowfall of its counterparts out West, but these resorts do an excellent job of maintaining the regional honor of the slopes.
Probably the most famous of the Eastern U.S. ski resorts, Stowe, Vermont has all the inviting shops, spas, and eateries of a ski resort that knows how to keep visitors happy whether they’re on the slopes or not. But Stowe also gets down to business with its “Front Four” double black diamond runs for those twists and turns that thrill even jaded skiers. Stowe brings the classic snow-scene atmosphere to your skiing trip for memories that feel like a permanent postcard.
Jay Peak, Vermont averages enough snow to make skiers salivate, with its 350 inches a year, thanks to what’s called the “Jay Cloud” that empties over the mountain. One of the few Eastern ski resorts that boasts backcountry terrain, Jay Peak slopes are known to get icy but there’s always skiing going on somewhere. This resort doesn’t offer the same frills as the others, but for hard-core skiers who want a challenge, it’s the place to go, and skiers will love the feeling of hurtling down the slopes in what feels like a forest setting.
The Killington Ski Resort in Vermont’s has six peaks for skiing. Killington also has the longest season in the East. Thanks to stockpiling, it’s possible to snow in Killington until June. It’s big, it’s crowded, and it’s known for its party atmosphere after the skiing ends.
Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vermont is a favorite destination for skiing families because of the condos located along the slopes, and programs geared for children; it’s so family-friendly that it’s been ranked the Top U.S. Family Snow Resort by Parents Magazine. The resort also gets high marks from Ski Magazine readers for its grooming.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont has to get points for its picturesque name which comes from a mountain pass used by 19th century smugglers to bring in illegal Canadian goods. Nicknamed “Smuggs” by skiers, the ski resort has three mountains: Morse, Madonna, and Stirling, and is the only Vermont resort that can lay claim to a triple black diamond.
Not all the skiing in the East takes place in Vermont. Whiteface, New York hosted the memorable 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Olympic lore can still be enjoyed, as the Lake Placid venues remain in operation, along with an Olympic Museum where the hockey “Miracle on Ice” can be relived (the museum’s home is the former hockey rink where the American team beat the Soviet Union). Whiteface has the East’s longest vertical at 3,430 feet, frigid temperatures, and skiing that’s meant to be a contest between skier and slope. Plus, it has The Adirondacks with breathtaking views of winter’s majesty.
Sugarloaf Resort in western Maine has slopes that never get stale no matter how many times a skier has been on them. Sugarloaf was vaulted into international attention during the 1970-1971 season when minimal snow in Europe forced the World Cup to look elsewhere for its races. The only time that the Kandahar alpine race was held outside Europe was when Sugarloaf hosted it.