When the winter weather comes, Vermonters don’t run and hide inside; heck no, they suit up and head out to play in the snow! Lucky for them, the Green Mountain state provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor winter activities, including hitting the slopes.
With excellent options for skiing and snowboarding at all skill levels, ski resorts in Vermont offer some of the best snowmaking and grooming protocol in the country, and many Vermont ski resorts have a fantastically long season, opening in late November and remaining open until April. If you’re looking for winter fun, you’ll find it on this list of the 7 best ski resorts in Vermont!
Stratton Mountain Resort
Featuring the highest peak in southern Vermont and over 670 acres of skiable terrain, Stratton Mountain Resort is known for both its excellent snow quality (95% snowmaking coverage with their “great snow guarantee”) and for having the fastest lifts on the East coast. Stratton Mountain Resort also offers feature-packed terrain parks for boarders of all proficiencies to work on their moves!
If you’re not interested in shredding the lines, there are plenty of other ways to play in the snow at Stratton Mountain Resort, like snow tubing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, ice skating, and more.
Can’t forget about après, either! You’ll find everything you could possibly want in Stratton Village with great shopping, dining, and nightlife options. Lodging options abound for every type of accommodation you might need from economy to rooms with fireplaces and hot tubs. The training and fitness center has saunas, massage therapy, a variety of classes including body bar and yoga, and a 75-foot indoor saltwater pool for you to keep limber during your stay. Childcare is available for kiddos between 6 weeks and 5 years old so there’s no concern about bringing the young ones! At Stratton Mountain Resort, you’ll find carefully groomed corduroy ready for you to ride, and much, much more!
In historic Mad River Valley, Sugarbush Resort has 111 trails and 3 terrain parks with 484 acres of trails for all skill levels, including 36 trails and 21 glades marked expert. A reputation for great grooming and snowmaking practices complements natural terrain that lends itself well to some wonderfully diverse runs! Of Sugarbush’s expansive 4000+ acre terrain, 2000 of those acres are known as Slide Brook Basin, offering backcountry fun for those both skilled and adventurous enough to go off on their own.
There’s more to Sugarbush Resort than just skiing and snowboarding, too; snowshoeing gives an opportunity for exercise and relaxation out in the still winter forests, and specialty Cabin Cat Adventures include a Sunset Groomer Ride to the top of Lincoln Peak, a trip to the top of Gadd Peak for Allyn’s Lodge Fireside Dining, and Sunrise First Tracks, where you get to hitch a ride up with a Cabin Cat they call the Lincoln Limo and ride the untouched runs before the lifts even start running for the day! If you want a little break from the slopes, a visit to the Sugarbush Health and Recreation Center gives you access to a fitness center, classes, hot tubs, sauna, steam room, pools, and a rock-climbing gym. What more could you possibly want?
From swanky slope-side hotel accommodations to charming country inns, you have several options for lodging at Sugarbush Resort, and the après scene offers dining, nightlife, and shopping options in the villages at the base of Lincoln Peak and Mt Ellen. If you’re able, check out Castlerock Pub, an après ski favorite that offers delicious pub food and an excellent selection of local beers. For kiddos, there are private and group kids’ ski lessons and the Kids Adventure Zone, where there are several indoor activities to entertain the youngest members of your group. Creating a memorable resort experience since 1958, Sugarbush Resort is standing by to show you a great time in the snow!
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Affectionately known as “Smuggs,” Smugglers’ Notch Resort has over 1,000 acres of trails, wooded glades, and terrain parks with 3 mountains (Sterling, Madonna, and Morse) that are conveniently connected by trails and lifts. Known for being one of the best family-friendly resort destinations in New England and rated the #1 resort in eastern U.S. and Canada by readers of Ski magazine in 2017, Smuggs offers plenty of trails for skiers of all skill levels and even features 5 Black Diamond runs, including The Black Hole, the only Triple Black Diamond in the eastern U.S.!
There are plenty of opportunities for having fun in the snow at Smuggs, with snowshoe nature hikes, Fat Bike rentals, winter walking excursions, bonfires with marshmallow roasting, and even fireworks! Smugglers’ kid-friendly reputation is due in part to its many kid-centered activities, including their child care center, children’s lessons, the Smugglers’ Notch Kids’ Club, family tube sliding, an indoor pool (and hot tubs!), Friendly Pirate Sing-Alongs, and FunZone 2.0, Smugglers’ Notch 26,000 sq. ft. indoor playground!
There are several options for mountain lodging, depending on what you are looking for regarding amenities, location, and price, and shopping and dining is available throughout the village and at the day lodges at the base of the three mountains. The après options at Smugglers’ Notch include more than just kicking back at a pub, with live music, karaoke, and even magic shows happening throughout the week! Between the three mountains and all the resort activities, there is plenty at Smugglers’ Notch to keep everyone in the group happy!
Home of the highest vertical drop in Southern Vermont, Okemo Resort has 121 trails of varying difficulty levels and the most efficient snowmaking capacity in the state. With 632 skiable miles and 8 terrain parks, Okemo is where Vermonters go when they’re looking for what is often considered the best snow conditions in the east! Okemo offers a wide variety of winter activities, like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, ice skating, and everyone’s favorite, the Timber Ripper! The Timber Ripper is Okemo’s mountain coaster that takes its riders on an exciting and gorgeous ride that twists through alpine forests, reaching speeds of up to 28mph.
Lodging options range from economy to luxury, with ski-in and ski-out accommodations so you can hedge your bets that you can be the first one in line for the lifts in the morning and the last one off the trail each day. As an added bonus, complimentary access to Spring House and Spa is included with most Okemo signature property rentals.
There are shopping options and après-ski re-fueling opportunities at any one of Okemo’s resort restaurants, and you’ll be more than ready to park yourself at a table with a local craft beer and a plate full of deliciousness after a long day of riding Okemo’s beautifully maintained slopes!
Stowe Mountain Resort
At Stowe Mountain Resort, you’ll find 116 trails on 485 skiable acres waiting for you in one of Vermont’s most picturesque ski resort villages. With a great mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails for skiers, 3 terrain parks for boarders, and excellent snowmaking capability, Stowe Mountain Resort is a snowy paradise for skiers of all proficiencies. Private and group lessons are available for both kiddos and adults, and there’s even a Cross Country Ski Center and an ice rink, if you’re looking for other ways to enjoy the outdoors!
Stowe Mountain Resort offers plenty of fun winter activities, but perhaps one of their best-known features is Spruce Peak Village, the center of all après fun. This quaint base village is all that is quintessential New England charm! Treat yourself at the full-service spa before catching a show at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center; afterward, you’ll have several options for dinner and drinks featuring farm-to-table Vermont staples and local craft beer and spirits. If shopping is more your speed, there’s plenty of that, too!
Whether you decide to stay in the luxury ski-in/ski-out hotel, The Lodge at Spruce Peak, or any of the other varied options of inns, hotels, resorts, and rentals, any stay in storied Stowe is bound to be a good time, and Stowe Mountain Resort is there to host all your winter fun!
Jay Peak Resort
Located just 5 miles south of the US/Canadian border and with the most snowfall in eastern North America, Jay Peak Resort’s reputation as a must-ski destination in the northeast well-precedes itself! With 385 skiable acres and 81 trails, slopes, and glades to check out, three terrain parks to shred on, and The Nordic Center, where you can rent Nordic skis, snowshoes, and fat bikes, there are several ways to get out and enjoy Jay Peak’s incredible natural terrain and what some even say is the “best snow in the east.”
There is no shortage of fun things to do at Jay Peak, but a big crowd favorite is Pump House Indoor Waterpark, the resort’s splashtastic indoor waterpark that features waterslides, a lazy river, a wave rider, and more! However, if you’re not interested in swapping out your winter wear for a swimsuit, then head to Ice Haus, where you can skate your heart out on the NHL-sized rink. If that doesn’t sound like fun, you have arcades, a fitness center, a rec center (with a climbing gym!), and a movie theater to choose from! Oh, and if you’ve got the littles with you, child care is available at the Mountain Kids Adventure Center.
Safe to say that boredom won’t be an issue at Jay Peak Resort, and the après scene offers several options for everything from a quick bite to a full dinner with drinks. Go shopping for some cool new gear or visit Taiga Spa for a little extra TLC, and when it comes to choosing where to lay down your head each night, there is lodging to accommodate just about any budget or expectation, including several ski-in/ski-out options! With “the best snow in the east” and no shortage of activities, Jay Peak Resort is an easy choice for your Vermont ski getaway!
Aptly nicknamed “The Beast of the East,” Killington Resort has 1,509 skiable acres (1,977 if you include Pico Mountain, which you totally should), 212 combined trails, and 5 terrain zones full of variety that gives boarders every chance to level up their moves! Killington also offers a nice variety of trails for every proficiency level but has more expert terrain than any other resort in the east. They have a great rep for snowmaking and grooming, and skiing and boarding certainly aren’t the only ways to enjoy Killington’s snow; with a tubing park, snowshoe and snowmobiling tours, and sleigh rides, there are many ways to get out and play in the snow at Killington!
Après-ski, Killington Resort stays pretty busy-and you will be, too, while you’re there, with plenty of live entertainment, festivals, and competitive events to check out and participate in. You can go shopping for official Killington merch at Killington Sports Route 4 or go to The Grand Spa, Killington’s full-service spa and fitness center, and spend your afternoon getting pampered with some of their signature services, like their Warm Maple Sugar Scrub or Black Diamond Sports Massage.
In addition to being known for its excellent snow and wide range of activities both out on the trails and après, Killington Resort is also well-known for their selection and quality of dining options. Local ingredients, including honey from their on-mountain apiary, give Killington’s restaurants a fresh edge, and guests find themselves counting the delicious food as being one of many reasons Killington Resort is returned to time and time again! Killington Grand Resort Hotel and several other Killington managed properties offer a variety of different views, amenities, and convenient ski-in/ski-out access, depending on what you’re looking for during your stay.
Whether you’re looking at the quality and size of the trails and terrain, or you’re more focused on the amenities offered après-ski, there are several ski resorts that just might fit the bill for your perfect ski getaway in Vermont!
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Amy is the founder of New England with love. A proud Vermonter, she hopes to share her love of New England and help you find the best adventures in the region. Amy is also blogger/founder at Two Drifters, where she writes alongside her husband about romantic and couples travel, relationships, honeymoons, and more. When not working on websites, Amy is probably reading, cuddling with her husband and cats, & drinking a maple latte.