Whether you’re looking for a laidback ski area with affordable lift tickets or multi-mountain resorts with trails that run for kilometres, it’s all here in the Green Mountain State. We’ve teamed with our insider Joretta Wong and friends at North East Mountain Sports to narrow down the best in Vermont!
- Variety of terrain and glades
- Great value for money
- Fantastic ski school
- Laid-back family-friendly vibe
- Far from New York City (6 hours) and Boston (4 hours)
- Slow and outdated lifts
- Limited nightlife
With three mountains, 78 trails and tons of glades to explore, Smuggler’s Notch offers up plenty of diverse terrain and the picture-perfect mountain views to go with it! Though it’s not the easiest to get to being far from New York City and Boston, its great value lift tickets make the drive well worth it!
Glades for everyone
On top of the wide range of terrain here, Smuggler’s Notch serves up over 304 ha of glades that even beginner’s can test out! Red Fox is the best glades for less experienced skiers and snowboarders while those looking for a challenge should check out Doc Dempsey’s Glades. If you’re feeling adventurous then ask the locals where the unmarked glade trails are because you won’t find them on the map!
Fantastic for Families
Being great value for money isn’t the only thing Smuggler’s Notch should be proud about. It also has one of the best ski schools in the area and a great family-friendly atmosphere! Beginners will also love having pretty much their own mountain with Morse Mountain serving up all the green trails and only a couple of intermediate and advanced trails.
- Wide range of terrain makes it a top choice for family ski trips
- Excellent kids ski programs for the little ones
- Mammoth snowmaking operation covers 98% of the ski area
- Lack of extreme steeps and moguls
- Crowds of mediocre skiers travel up Interstate 91 from the south
- It’s an expensive place to ski
Next up is Okemo, a family-friendly ski resort that is still family-run to this day, which is perhaps one of the reasons this place is so highly rated for its kids ski programs. It’s further south than many other Vermont ski resorts, making it quicker to reach from major population hubs and airports on the Northeast coast. While this makes transfers short and sweet, it’s also one of the first stops for skiing along Interstate 91, so expect crowds on a powder day.
Great For Experts Too
Don’t let this family-friendly resort fool you into thinking that there’s nothing for advanced skiers though. While there’s not much extreme steeps and bumps to bounce off, its 671 m of vertical drop is sure to get those thighs burning, plus over 30% of the terrain is black and double black diamond trails. What’s more, there’s decent backcountry to explore when the snow gods deliver.
Packed Full of Terrain Parks
Okemo is also a hit with freestylers thanks to its nine terrain parks, with the huge Rockstar Park serving up 31 separate features! Newbies will want to try out Boulder Park with its mellow rails and kickers first, while big air experts should head straight to the Superpipe. Stretching for 158 m, it’s the longest superpipe in the East, and its 5 m walls are cut and sculpted with laser precision.
- Closest large Vermont ski resort to New York City (4 hour drive)
- Home to well-groomed trails, an abundance of intermediate terrain and a few excellent expert trails
- Wide variety of tree skiing to suit all abilities
- Plenty of on-mountain dining options with a great selection of beers!
- Sickeningly long lift lines on weekends and powder days (especially at the Bluebird Express)
- All lifts don’t often run together at the same time
- Slopes get over-crowded
- Very expensive to stay on or close to the mountain
Like Okemo, Mount Snow is located in southern Vermont, but that doesn’t mean the snow suffers here with 80% of its skiable 243 ha is covered by snowmaking. In fact, the snow is so reliable here, whether natural or man-made, that high-profile snowsports events like the Winter X-Games and Winter Dew Tour have been held here.
Top Spot for Intermediates and Tricksters
With two thirds of the trails at Mount Snow falling into the blue square category, you could be forgiven for thinking this resort is only best for intermediates. While improvers will be able to explore practically every corner of this mountain, it also attracts hordes of park rats thanks to its 40 ha Carinthia Parks area. It’s quite literally an entire section of the mountain dedicated to 9 separate terrain parks, including a superpipe!
Check Your Bag for Free
One great thing about Mount Snow is its free bag check policy. Leave your backpack with lunch, drinks, and whatever else you like at the lodge, then pick it up whenever you’re ready to take a break. It’s a great way to save a few bucks! Even if you arrive empty handed, you’ll be well taken care of at The Bullwheel, a restaurant at the summit where the views are as good as the food!
- Variety of terrain on a massive 611 ha of skiable terrain
- Challenging glades and plenty of trails with moguls around
- Best ski resort in Vermont for nightlife
- One of the longest ski seasons in the Eastern United States
- Slopes can get unpleasantly crowded on powder days
- Trail layout sprawls over multiple mountain areas
- Newbies could find it hard to navigate between the ski areas
- Expensive lift tickets
Welcome to the The Beast of the East, Vermont’s biggest ski resort with over 611 ha of mountainside to slide down across seven mountain areas. Killington Peak, the highest summit in the resort, reaches up to 1,293 m! When you compare Killington’s numbers to other Vermont ski resorts it really is hard to beat!
Everything from Mellow Groomers to Scary Steeps
Killington’s strength lies in its diversity, not its size. In fact, with six separate base lodges skiing around this place can get confusing at the best of times. However, the sheer variety of terrain on offer makes up for the inconvenience. Beginners will love the wide open green at Snowshed, while intermediates should take on the 10 km Juggernaut blue run (it’s the longest ski trail in the eastern United States). For gnarly expert off-piste, bounce through the trees on the Anarchy double black diamond!
- Home to the best glade skiing in the East
- Some of the deepest powder in Vermont, thanks to the ‘Jay Cloud’
- Lots of great lift ticket discounts to save you money
- Main trails can get really icy, really fast
- Lift system can’t handle crowds and is badly affected by windhold
- Lodging here is fairly expensive
Nestled way up north, just a few kilometres from the Canadian border, Jay Peak is widely regarded as Vermont’s snowiest ski resort. The mysterious ‘Jay Cloud’, a weather phenomenon that locals say brings snow here when the rest of the state stays dry, is said to be responsible for the deep powder here!
Glades for Days
With more than 40 ha of glades, the top-notch tree skiing here makes up more than a quarter of the entire skiable terrain here. There are gentle glades for intermediates to cut their teeth on, and steep tree-packed trails for experts to bounce through. Some of the most challenging terrain here can be accessed just off the aerial tramway (the only one in Vermont). Try Tuckerman’s and Face Chutes if you dare, you can bet everyone on the tram will be watching!
Less crowds than other Vermont resorts
It’s a long drive from the major cities on the Northeast coast, but the flip side to this is that many skiers stop at a southern Vermont ski resort rather than spending more time behind the wheel to reach Jay Peak and that includes escaping the crowds of Killington!
- Challenging trails and awesome out of bounds skiing
- Efficient and modern lift system gets you up the mountain fast
- Quaint ski town with rich skiing heritage, the first trail was cut here in 1933
- Great snow base
- Vail-owned, making it one of the most expensive places to ski in Vermont
- The actual town of Stowe is a drive away from the slopes
- Weather can be unpredictable
- Far from New York City (6 hours) and Boston (4 hours)
Long-standing and consistently top-ranking amongst Vermont ski resorts, Stowe lies at the foot of Mount Mansfield, the Green Mountain State’s highest peak at 1,340 m. While the lifts here will only get you as high as 1,105 m, that still opens up an outstanding 719 m of vertical drop. What’s more, you’ll have your pick of groomers, tree runs, and steeps to ride back down to base!
The Famous Front Four
When gazing up the mountain from Stowe’s base lodge, the famous Front Four trails are sure to excite before you even slide aboard a lift. Liftline, Starr, National, and Goat are all double black diamonds starting from the top of the Fourrunner Quad chairlift. Scarily narrow and bumpy in places, these trails will test of mettle of even the most experienced skier.
Surprisingly Good Snow Quality
The East may have a bad reputation for its icy slopes, but Stowe really does buck the trend. Its northern Vermont location brings with it more powder, and combined with an extensive snowmaking operation the quality of the white stuff here is some of the best in the state. Take a trip off-piste and you’ll be sure to find some deep powder stashes!
- The best combination of woods and vertical drop in Vermont
- Awesome variety of terrain, with serious steeps from the top and gentle greens down below
- Progressive out of bounds policy for backcountry skiers
- The lift system could do with some improvement in places
- You won’t find a top-notch ski school here
- Not a great deal of terrain for beginners
Welcome to Sugarbush, our top pick of all Vermont’s ski resorts, home to over 1,619 ha of epic New England skiing spread across two mountains and six peaks. Much of that 1,619 ha is pristine off-piste to explore, but there’s still almost 202 ha of winding trails to schuss down. Only Killington and the small resort of Smugglers’ Notch top Sugarbush for vertical drop in Vermont, but the top-to-bottom black dubbed Organgrinder serves up close to 2,400 feet of fall-line skiing.
Stacks of Woods to Ski
One of the biggest draws that keep skiers coming back to Sugarbush is the extensive wooded areas available to ski, and going beyond the boundaries is encouraged here. The resort also has a cat skiing operation that makes it simple to get fresh tracks on a powder day. A luxury snowcat named the Lincoln Limo races up the mountain so eager powderhounds can be at the top of Lincoln Peak before most other skiers are out of bed!
Authentic Vermont Mountain Atmosphere
Sugarbush doesn’t try to be a glitzy ski resort and just sticks to what it does best, which is pure, unadulterated, East Coast skiing. Sometimes trails are simply left ungroomed, and you really are free to make the most out of what the mountains offer. Down in the town there’s a genuine rustic feel but you can still find some wonderfully luxurious accommodation, so get ready to enjoy the best of both worlds!