Winter can be simply endured or it can be truly enjoyed. To do the latter, you really need to get out of your cocoon and plunge right into the weather. There are few better ways to commune with nature than while you’re shushing down a pristine slope of sparkly white snow, or gliding through the woods doing it Nordic style.
Ski Vermont recently hosted an event with the assistance of the US Consulate that showcased several Vermont skiing resorts and also the partnership between Porter Airlines and the state’s tourism department that sees several flights a day leave Toronto directly for Burlington, VT during the snowy season. Porter Escapes – www.porterescapes.com – adds vacation packages starting at $689 for three nights’ accommodations and airfare.
A cold, snowy winter is big business for the state of Vermont, which saw record numbers for visitors in the 2014/15 season. The state offers a variety of terrains for alpine skiing and snowboarding – and it’s not all downhill either. Vermont resorts are credited with introducing Nordic skiing to North America and many offer a mix of both.
Many resorts offer ski in/ski out chalets on the mountainside so you don’t have to wait a second to enjoy the alpine experience, along with skating and snowshoeing among the other winter activities. Lack of knowledge and expertise is no excuse with virtually every resort offering beginner hills and instructional packages. Some include lessons where you earn a pair of skis once you’re done.
Despite record snowfalls over the last two years, all of the resorts reported upgrades to their snowmaking equipment and capacity – all the better to extend the season. Killington Resort & Pico Mountain boasts the longest skiing season in the east and was the first resort to open with manmade snow on October 18.
The largest ski and snowboarding resort in the east, Killington has made $6.5 million in investments over the off-season, including upgrades to lifts and snow making technology.
While most resorts, like Smuggler’s Notch and Okemo focus on family-friendly experiences, some do offer more grown-up fare.
Sugarbush Resorts offers events that pair skiing with local wineries, snowshoe tours and arts events and features a network of skiing and snowboarding trails that is often called eccentric.
The Rock – or Castlerock, one of the peaks at Sugarbush – provides challenging runs for advanced level skiers.
No one quite knows when the first skier sailed down Mount Mansfield at the Stowe resort but the first documented run was February 1, 1914. Since then, the venerable resort has gone from a rough-hewn camp to a premiere luxury resort, featuring a full range of accommodations, dining and shopping options.
If you can’t beat the winter, you may as well get out there and enjoy it with the ski experts in Vermont.