Lodging: Sugarbush, VT

With a long-overdue hotel at its base, a once-glam Vermont resort is looking up.
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With a long-overdue hotel at its base, a once-glam Vermont resort is looking up.
Round Barn Farm's 19th-century barn and farmhouse comprise 12 rooms five miles from the slopes.

Who would have imagined that, five decades after its jetsetting vibe earned Sugarbush the sobriquet "Mascara Mountain" for all the A-list guests it attracted, this resort would seem a model of relative rusticity? Sugarbush, supplemented by doggedly independent Mad River Glen up the road, retains enough quirks to please retro-minded purists. But even stumpjumpers like a soft place to land, and what Sugarbush lacked was a full-service slopeside hotel. Cross that off the list. And with several of those plush country inns that Vermont is known for located within a 15-minute drive, the Bush is on the rise once again.

SLOPESIDE: Clay Brook
The oversized silver silo capping the barn-red Clay Brook hotel at Sugarbush's base is hard to miss. Not that you'd want to. New this season, the Clay Brook's rooms and suites are spacious and handsomely decked out, to a taste level more Soho than ski condo. Perks include equipment valets savvy enough to suggest a tuneup, a heated outdoor pool and two hot tubs, and the Timbers restaurant, housed in a post-and-beam Vermont round barn, complete with 45-foot-high ceilings.
$209–$1,699; sugarbush.com; 800-537-8427

LUXURY: The Pitcher Inn
The centerpiece of sleepily idyllic Warren village - Sugarbush is two miles away - the Pitcher Inn is an exercise in stealth pampering, with a discreet spa and a superb regional restaurant. All eleven rooms are playfully themed. For an immersion in downhill nostalgia, opt for the Ski room, furnished with artifacts from the Mad River Valley. The bedspread is a patchwork of parkas, the headboard a phalanx of toboggans and a stone fireplace gives the room a warm glow. The perfect ski lodge? It just might be.
$375–$600; pitcherinn.com; 802-496-6354

B&B: Round Barn Farm
Brainstorm every last aspect of the ideal bed and breakfast. They're all gathered at this Waitsfield country inn: 12 country-chic bedrooms tucked into an 1810 farmhouse, each equipped with comfy Tempur-Pedic mattresses, some with skylights and whirlpools. Wake to a full country breakfast in the sunny parlour, then head five miles to Sugarbush's slopes - or stay put and snowshoe or cross-country ski the surrounding 245 pristine acres under the expert guidance of Cooper, the inn's resident black lab. $165–$315; theroundbarn.com; 802-496-2276

ALSO CONSIDER…
Historic: The Inn at Mad River Barn $77–$115; madriverbarn.com; 800-631-0466
Family: West Hill House $140-210; westhillbb.com; 800-898-1427
B&B: 1824 House $99-$173; 1824house.com; 800-426-3986

FEBRUARY 2008