In my twenties, I shared a house with about eight other people in Stratton Vermont, chosen for its easy access to Stratton Mountain, a less known but fabulous ski resort in southern Vermont. I hadn’t been back in years and decided it was time to pay the resort a visit to see what they had to offer for visitors traveling to New England in the winter.
One reason to head to Stratton is for its beauty alone. Imagine snow capped mountains which also dust the trees, making for a serene view as you make your way down the mountain regardless of which trail you take. Snowmaking blankets 93 percent of the terrain and they offer 95 trails and 11 lifts including a high-speed base-to-summit gondola and four six-passenger lifts.
Stratton has been around since 1961, and expanded rapidly into one of Vermont’s largest ski areas. From 1985 to 2012, Stratton hosted the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships; the premier open snowboarding event in the country. Last year, after a 27 year run at Stratton; the event moved to Vail, Colorado.
While west coast skiing is different than what you typically find on east coast slopes (fluffier and generally more powder), it was easy to avoid icy spots by staying away from the most frequently skiied areas, such as the middle of the trail. People were also generally good at sharing information at the top about where to avoid the ice based on a recent run.
I hadn’t skiied in awhile so was a little hesitant at first to take on tougher trails, however after an hour or so, it seemed to come back to me and I was eager to explore trails beyond the greens and blues I began my day with and there are plenty to choose from….some more scenic than others.
Below is the map of trails so you can get an idea of what they have to offer depending on your experience level.
The views were stunning. Since I’ve been spending more time on the west coast lately, I had forgotten how much I loved New England charm, which comes through even at a ski mountain.
I noticed a lot of snowboarders on the mountain as well, particularly under the lifts since the area is so wide and varied, leaving lots of room for “play.”
The mountain is a great option for both family and individual skiing and the logistics couldn’t be easier. For example, we parked in the main parking lot and it was only a 2 minute walk to the rentals area in the lodge. Even though it was a holiday weekend when we were there, I got plenty of “clean runs” in which is easy to do with nearly 100 trails.
There’s a Mountain Sports School where you can take lessons for either skiing or snowboarding. There is coaching and camps for all ages and ability levels and you can choose a group or private lesson, Experience Snowboarding session, Women on Snow experience or all-day children’s program.
Adventure Camp, which is formally known as Kids Camp is the perfect summer spot for your child to grow, learn, develop and most importantly enjoy summer in Vermont’s Green Mountains. Stratton has a few different summer camp options.
Stratton’s Childcare Program is a fully licensed facility where indoor fun is always the goal for children from 6 weeks to 3 years old, with safe (and sanitized) toys and a staff that understands how to fuel you child’s imagination. The facility opens at 8 a.m. on weekends and holidays and 8:30 a.m. on weekdays so parents have plenty of time to hit the slopes as they open.
There’s a day spa in the village as well as a handful of restaurants. One restaurant in the village not to miss is Verde – see our separate restaurant write-up on it for photos and our thoughts. (Hint: we loved it).
Dining in Stratton Village:
There are a number of options to choose from on the mountain or nearby. Below are some suggestions, which range from pubs, delis and taverns to a steak house, pizza joint and Verde for more fine dining.
- Cobs Market Main Base Lodge
- Double Diamond Pizza & Salads
- Fire Tower Restaurant & Tavern
- Green Door Pub
- Mid Mountain Lodge
- Stratton Mountain Deli
- Sun Bowl Base Lodge
- The Sushi Bar
Lift Tickets & Rentals:
The lift ticket prices vary depending on time of year and whether it’s mid-day or a weekend. Adults are in the $70-92 range, young adults (13-17 years) are in the $58-80 range and juniors (7-12 years old) are in the $48-70 range. (prices as of February 5, 2014).
Centrally located at the base of the mountain, the Village Rental Shop offers one stop shopping: convenient rental equipment pick-up, lift tickets, ski and snowboard school lessons as well as Burton’s complete line of Learn-To-Ride programs for snowboarders and Stratton’s Learn-To-Ski program for beginner skiers.
They have all new Head ski equipment, Burton snowboards and a full line of high-performance skis and boards all in a convenient slopeside location for quick access to the slopes and easy adjustments to you equipment throughout the day. Lockers are also available and they have a coat check which is free of charge.
Did I mention how much fun we had?
Don’t just think of New England as a summer and fall destination – while the skiing in Colorado and Utah may be amazing, it doesn’t have Vermont’s charm or its people. And oh yeah, there’s also the incredible trees, birds and skies.
5 Village Lodge Road
Stratton Mountain VT 05155
Top photo credit: Alpine Zone. All other photos from Stratton Mountain PR team or taken on my iPhone.