News from the snow
With skiing on Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, Stowe is one of the best known resorts in the world, and one of the most picturesque, although with a bit of a traffic problem at peak times. The 'quaint old New England village' with its white spired church is one of a handful of North American ski centres which merit the name 'classic' and can be listed along side other early winter sports meccas such as St Anton, St Moritz, Gstaad and Chamonix. Indeed the resort's 'European feel' is thanks in part to the fact that many of the local lodge owners are from Europe, and the village's skiing history began with the arrival of Sepp Ruschp from Linz in Austria. The resort is still a classic and frequently top rated by North American ski magazine reader survey.. Stowe is perhaps the only north American mountain resort that has welcomed tourists since the 1800s. The first recorded descent of Mount Mansfield on skis took place in 1914 and the first trail to be cut specifically for skiing was created in 1933. The first rope tow was added in 1937 but it wasn't until 1940 that what was then North America's longest and highest chair lift opened. More than 50 years later Stowe was still underlining its world class status, opening what was, until recently, the world's fastest eight-passenger gondola in 1992. It had built the world's first high speed detachable quad in 1986. Also unlike almost all of North America's other top resorts it has escaped purchase by one of the big resort owning chains and kept out the big bland hotel chains in order to maintain its unique ambience. Stowe is well into an 8 - 10 year revitalisation plan, during which the resort is investing over $400 million in new lifts, trails, snowmaking, a hotel, performing arts centre, spa, retail shops, restauraunts and real estate making up a dynamic Alpine village at the base of Spruce Peak. An exciting part of the changes is a transfer lift that better connects Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak.
With skiing on Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, Stowe is one of the best known resorts in the world, and one of the most picturesque. Lift-linked to Smugglers Notch. The world's fastest eight-passenger gondola opened here in 1992 and there is a full service ski and snowboard shop with demos from many manufacturers. Night skiing is also available. Stowe frequently receives top ratings in US ski and snowboarding magazine reader surveys of East Coast resorts.
The resort's flagship 'Front Four' trails on Mount Mansfield - National, Liftline, Starr and Goat, are the quintessential classic New England trails with steeps and bumps to get the adrenaline rushing in even the most experienced skiers. Nosedive is another popular bumps run. They typify the predominantly double black and black diamond skiing on Mansfield which is what gets skiers raving about Stowe.
Spruce Peak has largely easy and intermediate skiing and is the base for beginner and early intermediate ski school, where group lessons last 90 minutes each in morning or afternoon. More advanced ski school activities take place on Mount Mansfield.
Both mountains have comprehensive snowmaking although the resort receives an average of more than 27 feet of natural snow each year anyway. Among its many other claims to fame are the fact that Stowe has more mile-long (1600m) lifts that any other East Coast US resort.
Finally, Stowe is a mecca for cross-country skiers with more than 200km of interconnected trails operated by a number of centres.
For children ages 6 to 12 there's the chance to ski, ride and explore the mountain in a fun filled, action packed day with their peers and a coach. The Mountain Adventure grouping is for ages 9-12 and the Mini-Mountain Adventure is for ages 6-8. Full day Adventure programs include all day coaching, lunch and lift access. A half-day private program (morning or afternoons) dubbed Kids Super Start is also available to provide children aged 3-12 with a head start on learning to ski or snowboard. This private lesson program offers your child the extra individual attention to insure a positive experience. Snowboarding tuition from age 3 is unusually young. Children aged 6 weeks to 6 years can also sign up for Stowe's non-skiing day-care program, Cubs, also located in The Children's Adventure Center.
On the mountain the Cliff House at the top of the gondola is especially famous for its spectacular views as well as its fine dining. 'The Fireside Tavern' at the base of the Toll House Lift is popular for leisurely dinners with some après ski fun thrown in.
For those who do venture out, Happy hour at The Shed is invariably lively or live music at the Rusty Nail - great fun. Evening activities also include night skiing, boarding, tobogganing, snowmobiling and sleigh rides - as well as a visit to the cinema or one of the indoor sports and leisure facilities.
Shopping is the most popular off-slope activity in the resort.