What You Need to Know About Vermont’s 2016-17 Ski Season

The first snowfall may not have hit city streets but the northeast slopes have been accumulating powder for over a month now. Anxious for a better winter than last, some of the larger mountains have already opened their lifts for the season and the rest are not far behind. So, prepare your inner ski bunny; here’s everything you need to know about Vermont’s must-visit mountains this winter.

With an extra air compressor for the first month of snowmaking, the resort is set to open a dozen trails on December 10 for a “better early season experience.” The Valley also expanded night skiing hours from Tuesday through Saturday, until 10 p.m., with lift tickets starting at $19.66, after 4 p.m., in honor of the Valley’s 50th anniversary. Want to get festive and save money? Dress as Santa Claus on December 18 and get a free lift ticket for the day.

As a way to familiarize first time guests with the mountain, Bromley added a Discover Skiing & Snowboarding Service. The self-guided experience gives visitors access to the Learning Zone, where beginners can ask staff for advice and technical tips, without actually having to take a lesson. All about raising awareness and improving environmental efficiency, Bromley is excited to introduce a diesel-electric hybrid groomer to the slopes, as well as their food and beverage partnership with a local farm to begin composting food waste. Also, the resort has a new mascot, “Sunny,” because, “sun adds a little more fun,” especially for the family crowd that the mountain attracts.

The newly opened 116-room Burke Hotel makes it easier than ever to stay and ski the mountain referred to as, “the hidden gem of the north.” Throughout the week, the resort prides itself on having the mountain to oneself with virtually no lift lines. The various levels of terrain offer ideal options for the expert downhill skier in your group, to the nordic ski fanatic, right down to the snowshoer; with ecology and moonlit snowshoe tours throughout the season.

As the only private ski resort in the northeast, the mountain is truly all yours. For their fifth season, the Club has opened a high-speed, six person, covered and heated lift to get skiers to the summit in under six minutes. Although you need to be a member to ski the slopes, a membership isn’t required to dine at the Club’s three specialty restaurants, where Executive Chef Chris Bonnivier oversees the classic French country dining experience at the Hermitage Inn; the farm-to-table burger and sushi menu at White House Inn; and the rustic Italian restaurant of Ristorante Piacenza.

Two miles from the Canadian border, the resort on this extreme mountain has “recalculated the caliber of a winter vacation.” Whether you hit their 78 trails, “with the most snow in eastern North America” or you take it inside to the 60,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed waterpark, and slide down the slopes a different way, your adventure junkie will be satisfied.

The mountain with the longest season in the east opened October 25, setting the tone for hosting this year’s Audi FIS World Cup from November 26-27. After 25 years, the prestigious ski event is back on the East Coast and Killington is ready to host the participants, and influx of spectators, with a completely free experience of expert skiing, extended village hours and an O.A.R. concert. Not in the mood for crowds? Spread out on Killington’s second mountain, Pico, with the two mountains totalling 212 trails, to create the most “West Coast experience you can have on the northeast.”

Described as a “decidedly old school” ski area, not to be mistaken with a ski resort, this mountain is exclusively dedicated to skiers. No snowboarders, no ski bunny wannabes, just skiers. It is one of three ski areas in North America to uphold this restriction with the non-profit cooperative’s unique angle of protecting and preserving the ski area, as well as the reputation of, “what skiing used to be like.” Although not much has changed since the ‘50s, including the retention of the last single chair lift in America, Mad River Glen works closely with three surrounding mountains to create a world class ski experience along the North Ridge. Snag a $159 preseason “Mad Card” up until December 18 for three transferable day tickets to use throughout the season.

A new ownership means new investment opportunities, and at Magic, a $2 million investment means improving the overall quality of the mountain. The great revitalization begins with increasing the resort’s snowmaking capabilities by using high efficiency, low energy snow machines; doubling lift capacity with the refurbished Black Chair from base to summit; and expanding their tree-skiing, as well as back-country skiing, to emphasize the experience of the mountain’s challenging terrain.

Take your terrain talent to Mount Snow’s Carinthia, the only terrain park to have hosted both the Winter X Games and Winter Dew Tour. Plus, you can feel good while on the half pipe as Mount Snow is the only ski resort to have received an Energy Leadership Award from Efficiency Vermont for saving 75,000 kWh per year on each lift terminal. This season, pick up a half price Peak Pass, or should I say passport, to ski Mount Snow and gain access to six additional mountains beyond the borders of Vermont.

Tucked away at the end of a dead-end road, the intimate feel of the 32-room lodge and mountain-top resort permit guests to truly escape reality. Take in the vast views that the resort is known for, whilst skiing the 60 kilometers of cross country terrain, snowshoeing, enjoying a sleigh ride, venturing on a snowmobile tour, or, brought back this year by popular demand, dog sledding.

What you may not realize as you approach the mountain, is the actual expansion of Okemo’s terrain. Yet, as you ride up on heated lift seats, the grand scale of the mountain is revealed, along with the dedication of the mountain’s trail grooming. Recognized as one out of six teams in North America for its snowmaking, it’s no wonder at Okemo you find it, “always snows and always feels like home.”

Get ready to visit the mountain with steep and deep terrain, as well as a lineup for off-slope events. The resort is holding their 22nd annual BrewFest on December 10 to introduce guests to tasty brews, offering individual ski and stay packages valued at $199 to include two nights of lodging and two days of lift tickets. The resort is also unveiling their FunZone 2.0 in March. The more than $4 million, multi-story structure with 26,000-square-feet of racecourses, laser tag and indoor games, runs solely on electricity sourced from local solar farms.

In 2000, Stowe began a half million dollar renovation and this year, they’re finished. Just in time for the mountain’s 80th anniversary of lift-served skiing, the resort is ready to celebrate in a big way. Starting with a mission to, “turn screen-agers back into teenagers” through encouraging experiences in reality with their Snow Days offer. With indoor climbing, new ski schools and an outdoor skating rink, Stowe aims at making it easier for mom and dad to enjoy the vacation too.

Projected to open November 25, the mountain began snowmaking in early November after October’s cumulative snowfall of nearly 10 inches. Needless to say, the mountain is ready for a fresh season and new guests as additions to their seasoned veterans, for which they’ve extended the age limit three years on the Strattitude pass. Now, ages 18 to 32 can pay $369 for an unlimited ski pass, with zero blackout dates, to access the 670 acres of 97 trails. The resort is also prepared for the busiest lineup of events yet; from the only open snowboarding competition in Vermont; to 24 hours of Stratton, on January 7 and 8, to raise money for local, underprivileged youth; as well as live music every weekend, the village is set to be buzzing all season.

Already offering guests two mountains to ski, with over 2000 acres of skiable terrain, this season the resort only enhances its allure to visitors. Recent renovations at the mid-mountain Glen House include Walt’s, a new bar serving up gourmet grilled cheeses and grain bowls to refuel and get back out on the slopes. Renovations were also completed at the Gadd Brook Residences to reveal private slopeside homes in the heart of the Village. Snag a $229 Quad Pack before December and you’ll be on your way to “being better here.”

Owned and operated by the the 142-room Woodstock Inn & Resort, this ski area is the oldest in the state and has just opened a new Quad lift as the main chairlift. The resort has also renovated its lobby, library and village to create a community space to amp up the arrival experience for all visitors.

This year, the 48-year-old resort is bringing back the 2.5 kilometers of Morrison Corner Trail, which was closed down 18 years ago. As a north-facing slope, it will hold snow into the late season and give skiers an elevated experience. As you enter the Austrian-themed Lodge, you may feel like you’re in Europe. A part of this European flare is the recently opened Bierhall restaurant and brewery, which will be ski in and ski out to make it effortless to access the “Best Trailhead Ever.”

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