Green Mountains/ski areas, Vermont
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- America’s first alpine ski tow was built on a Woodstock, Vt., farm (1934).
- In 1940, it cost 60 cents to ride the new chairlift at Stowe’s Mount Mansfield.
- Vermont boasts 885 miles of cross-country ski trails.
- The Baron and Baroness von Trapp, of “Sound of Music” fame, are buried on the Trapp Family Lodge grounds.
- Vermonter Billy Kidd was the first U.S. man to win an Olympic ski medal (silver, 1964).
Mountains for all seasons
Vermont is the Green Mountain State, reflecting its name (which means green mountain in French) and a geography highlighted by tree-covered mountains.
This terrain, along with classic New England villages dotting the hillsides and valleys, is the kind of scenery that appeals to tourists of all personality types.
In warm-weather months, the mountains attract tourists interested in a variety of activities, from picnicking to rock climbing, from short hikes to camping out the old-fashioned way. The small towns add to the area’s appeal with seasonal festivities, farmers markets and charming inns.
But the state must have been named in the summer. The mountains effectively change color three times a year, turning to a lively combination of reds and yellows in autumn, to white when the snows fall and back to green again in the spring.
Tourists in large numbers time their Vermont trips for autumn in order to see Mother Nature’s colorful paint job. Depending on their travel style, visitors may drive the scenic mountain roads, or they hike or rent a bicycle, in order to get an eyeful. They fill the inns, too, helping make tourism one of the state’s most important industries.
Likewise, in winter, the mountains draw visitors to the state, in this case, visitors who want to play in the snow, most often to ski. For those who like motorized fun, snowmobile trails are available, too.
The tiny state boasts of 19 alpine ski resorts and 30 cross-country ski centers; these facilities accommodate snowboarders and snowshoers as well as the skiers. Some establishments are fairly basic, with options for one or two snow sports and maybe a midday meal, but no housing.
Others facilities offer more activities such as ice skating, sleigh rides, dogsled touring — plus an upscale lodge with fireplaces in the public areas and at least one restaurant where the visiting athletes can wrap up an active day with fine food.
As a result, the mountains and their ski areas offer a lot of choices for those who would venture to Vermont, a state within a day’s drive of more than 70 million people.
Things to do for Venturers
- Enter the Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon in the Green Mountains. Such races have become a way for runners to stay in shape while having fun during winter.
- Hike on Vermont’s section of the Appalachian Trail, or choose another of the nationally designated trails: the Long Trail or the Robert Frost National Recreation Trail.
- Devote an autumn weekend to the Stowe Oktoberfest, a Bavarian-themed event with German food, oompah bands — and Vermont beer.
- Smugglers’ Notch Road, a Vermont State Scenic Road, provides stunning views of Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest mountain. Arrange with Smugglers’ Notch Resort for a rock climbing trip up one of the 1,000-foot cliffs that line this roadway.
- Test your snowboard on one or several of the state’s more than 20 downhill ski areas.
- Ride your bike to the Killington Classic motorcycle rally, which occurs each September. The event includes a pig roast, a bike show and a parade to Rutland and the Vermont State Fair.
Things to do for Centrics
- Ride on the zip line at the Bromley Mountain Ski Resort. Also, enjoy the site’s alpine slide. Or, in winter, ski at Bromley.
- Camp in the Green Mountain National Forest. Be warned: The national forest campgrounds tend to be on the rustic side. However, 39 of Vermont’s 52 state parks offer camping, sometimes with cabins.
- Vary your seasonal ski trip by spending a day ice fishing.
- Both Stowe and Killington boast breathtaking gondola rides to the top of Vermont’s higher peaks. Both also offer alpine slides, with riders determining the speed of descent as they take in the scenery. Try the one that suits you.
- Camel’s Hump State Park is one of the few undeveloped peaks among the highest mountains in Vermont. Hike to the summit where rare alpine vegetation is found.
- In autumn, admire and photograph the colorful trees that cover much of Vermont’s mountain terrain. This can be a drive-by experience on one of the state’s scenic drives or, for the more active, a good excuse for a ride on a mountain bike or a hike.
Things to do for Authentics
- Enjoy fine dining in the better restaurants found at several of the state’s ski resorts.
- Strap on snowshoes for a turn through wooded mountains.
- Work up an appetite on cross-country skis at Mountain Top Inn and Resort at Chittenden or Prospect Mountain Cross-Country Ski Center in Woodford State Park. Also at Mountain Top, in winter, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, or, in summer, spend part of your vacation on horseback.
- Teach your young children to ski at a Vermont resort. Begin your days with pancakes and Vermont maple syrup.
- Take the history tour at the Trapp Family Lodge and hear the real story of Maria von Trapp whose story was the basis of “The Sound of Music” movie and Broadway show.
- Make your way to the stores in Peru (Bromley), Warren (Sugarbush), West Dover (Mount Snow) or any other towns near your ski resort to buy Vermont cheese and maple syrup to carry home.
For more information, consult the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing at www.vermontvacation.com