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Stowe ski resort in Vermont is one of the USA's leading East Coast mountain resorts, dubbed 'Ski Capital of the East': a charming, historic New England town which is one of North America's longest established tourist destinations, with a compact yet well-rounded ski area on Vermont's highest peak, Mount Mansfield.

Overview

Stowe is comprised of two distinct parts: the original village of Stowe itself, and Stowe resort ski area, the base area of which is situated just under 10km away by road to the north-west of the old village centre.

There are good quality, modern, slope-side accommodation options at Stowe's base-area resort developments, plus a wider choice of guesthouses, apartments and hotels in and around Stowe village; a particularly noteworthy local hotel is the Trapp Family Lodge, established and still run by members of the Von Trapp family of 'The Sound Of Music' fame.

Keen skiers and snowboarders generally prefer to base themselves at the slope-side development, whereas more leisurely winter-sports holidaymakers who wish to soak up more of this area's authentic, quaint, New England atmosphere, and who don't mind the short daily commute to the slopes, may prefer to base themselves closer to the heart of Stowe village.

As a ski holiday destination, Stowe is best suited to beginners and recreational intermediates, although it is also well regarded by more advanced-skilled snowsports enthusiasts for its relatively challenging steep mogul runs and glades.


Ski area

Stowe ski area covers two lift-linked mountains, which together have four principal sectors: directly above the main base-area village development is the Spruce Peak sector, which houses Stowe's excellent beginners' zone and a nice selection of tree-lined blue runs which are perfect for progressing novices.

Out to the west, and linked to the main base area by a bidirectional gondola, lie the prime central Mount Mansfield and Octagon sectors where the resort's steepest runs and greatest vertical drops are to be found; spliced to these is the Toll House sector, with its gentle green trails down to a peripheral secondary base area at Stowe's Inn At The Mountain and Mountain Glen developments.

The area's layout suits beginners very well; Stowe's much-praised ski school is based next to the resort's headline Mountain Lodge & Spa, at the base of the Spruce Peak slopes, meaning that first-timers can reach the learning zone snowfields in just a few steps, before moving on to the series of adjacent progression slopes that are served by a handful of chair lifts that fan out and up from this base area.

Intermediates will find that they can pretty much access all areas, and the winding trails on the mostly tree-lined slopes create the impression of travelling much further than the area's modest extent would appear to allow. A handful of steeper and narrower single-diamond black runs scattered throughout the area also present eager improvers with good opportunities to hone their skills.

More advanced visitors may not get too excited about the extent of Stowe's ski area, but it does boast New England's steepest fall-line descents, the celebrated 'Front Four' double-diamond blacks: Starr, National, Liftline and Goat; together with a nice selection of glade runs and access to more challenging back-country off-piste terrain.

Nordic ski enthusiasts are also catered for at Stowe's adjacent Cross Country Ski Centre, with circuits looping amongst the peaceful woods at the foot of Toll Road Pass.


Off the slopes and apres ski

The headline off-slope attraction up at the ski resort village is the spa and wellness centre at the impressive Stowe Mountain Lodge: facilities here include a heated outdoor leisure pool and Jacuzzi, a fitness gym, plus a relaxing spa suite where a range of wellness and beauty treatments are available.

Alternative activities out amongst the scenic surroundings include dog-sledding tours and snowshoe treks off into the quieter forests beyond the bustle of the ski area.

Further away from the slopes, historic Stowe village and its environs present a pleasant distraction for sightseeing, shopping and dining out; clustered around the village's quaint steepled church and strung out along Main Street and Mountain Road are a fair choice of local craft shops and galleries, delicatessens and general stores, boutiques and restaurants.

Apres ski and nightlife are generally relaxed and mostly quite reserved, in keeping with the preferred clientele that this upmarket family-friendly destination tends to appeal to. The Grey Fox Inn and the Piecasso Lounge are relatively lively and feature regular live entertainment, but the majority of visitors to Stowe seem content to spend their evenings dining out, followed by a couple of convivial nightcaps in their chosen restaurant's lounge bar.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Apres Ski
2
Families
7
Lift System
6
Off the slopes
4
Off-piste
3
Resort Charm
7
Ski Area
5
Vertical drop
658m
Altitude range
476–1134m
Ski area
196
Parks
6
Resort height
390m
Summit
1134m
Airport
Burlington
Train station
Waterbury
beginner
16%
intermediate
59%
expert
25%