Inside Line: Sugarbush, VT

A new base village and a growing emphasis on steep, powder-stuffed glades have made Sugarbush one of Vermont’s top resorts. The ski area offers 111 trails, served by 16 lifts, spread across three peaks, each with its own distinct flavor. For manicured steeps and fat bumps, hit Lincoln Peak. For no-bullshit, rowdy terrain, schralp Castlerock. For underutilized glades and meandering cruisers, there’s always Mount Ellen. Here’s how to make the most of all three.
Author:
Publish date:
Emily Johnson at Sugarbush
Image placeholder title

Powder Day: On deep days, get to Castlerock chair as fast as your wax will carry you. You’ll be rewarded with the twists and turns of Rumble and the tight woods skier’s right of Liftline.

Three Days Later: Mount Ellen comes in a distant second to Lincoln in terms of skier visits. That’s why you’ll find face shots in Exterminator’s woods long after a storm.

Park and Pipe: Park rats converge around the sizable hits, rails, and quarterpipe on Mount Ellen’s Riemergasse. Over on Lincoln, newbies can try mini hits and rails served by the Super Bravo chair.

Backcountry Access: Slidebrook, the drainage between Castlerock and Mount Ellen, is accessible from either peak, but the Ellen side offers steeper lines. Either approach terminates along German Flats Road, where a shuttle bus makes regular stops. Hire a guide from Outback Tours if you want private stashes or just suck at navigation (from $65 a day; 888-651-4827).

Weather: The early and middle parts of the season bring frequent lake-effect snow riding on cold air from the northwest. In midwinter, watch for classic, moisture-laden nor’easters mobbing up the Atlantic coast.

Après: Castlerock Pub keeps local beers like Castlerock Ale and Long Trail Ale on tap. It also boasts a heated patio and, should you get an irrepressible urge to blog, wireless internet.
Fuel: Grab a pizza at American Flatbread off Route 100 in Waitsfield on Friday or Saturday (the only nights it’s open). If you find a fifty, hit the Common Man for crusted softshell crabs or pan-seared foie gras and duck sausage.

Up All Night: This is Vermont: The only thing that might keep you up all night is an irrational fear of cows. But Local Folk Smokehouse—at the junction of routes 17 and 100—will quell any bovine anxiety with live music and 18 beers on tap.

Digs: Only a mile down the road from the ski resort, the Sugarbush Inn has ski-and-stay packages starting at $119. Or dig deep and snag a suite at the fancier Claybrook Hotel. It sleeps four, comes with a fireplace, and runs $309 per night (sugarbush.com).

Elevation: 4,083 feet

Vertical Drop: 2,600 feet

Snowfall: 269 inches

Acres: 508

Info: sugarbush.com

Related

3.  Sugarbush, Vermont

Sugarbush

The ski area offers 111 trails, served by 16 lifts, spread across three peaks, each with its own distinct flavor.

What a great way to open the season!! Magic Mountain got 14 inches of new snow this week. magicmtn.com

Inside Line: Magic Mountain, VT

Some folks in southern Vermont have a “tragic” nickname for Magic Mountain because they think the 135-acre ski area—which has suffered closures and sketchy management in the past—deserves better. But last summer, loyalists came together to buy the mountain and run it as a cooperative, similar to Mad River Glen. Their intent: to keep the legitimate steeps and trees open and spruce up the ski area’s infrastructure and snowmaking. Now the only thing tragic about this mountain, located in Londonderry, would be passing by it on a powder day.

#4 East: Killington, VT

Killington

The K-1 Express gondola delivers you near the top of 4,241-foot Killington Peak for laps in glades so deep you’ll forget you’re on the East Coast.

Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C.

Inside Line: Blackcomb, BC

With the 2010 Winter Olympics around the corner, all eyes are on Whistler Blackcomb. The masses will descend on Whistler Mountain, where the official events will take place. Which means Blackcomb will be the place to ski. Locals know that Blackcomb outperforms its better-known neighbor when it comes to off-piste terrain and jibbing. Plus, Blackcomb’s lift lines are shorter, its park and pipe bigger, and its backcountry steeper. And with the new Peak-to-Peak gondola—a record-setting 2.73-mile-long feat of engineering—now connecting the two mountains, you can easily zip over to the big W. But with Blackcomb’s terrain, why bother?

Snowbird Will be Open Until July 4th

Inside Line: Snowbird, UT

Tucked in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon on the road to Alta, Snowbird is known for hanging bowls, 50-foot cliffs, and over-the-head powder. Pros like Jenn Berg, Jeremy Nobis, and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa schralp the high-alpine cirques along with equally talented nobodies—humble locals on K2 Pontoons. With more than 3,200 vertical feet of steeps, tree-lined chutes, and roughly 500 inches of snow a year, this isn’t a place you want to drive by.

Hit hard with a strong Pacific front, Revelstoke Mountain Resort has been hammered with nearly 15 inches of snow in the past 48 hours. Recent southerly winds have left North Bowl and Greely Bowl feeling like they have even more fresh powder than that.

Inside Line: Revelstoke, BC

Following Revelstoke’s grand opening last winter, first-time visitors identified a series of problems that the resort’s developers had failed to anticipate when they created a ski destination integrating 500,000 acres of cat- and heli-skiing with North America’s longest lift-served vertical. Among the quibbles: (1) The runs are “too long.” (2) There’s “too much powder.” (3) The absence of lift lines “prevents skiers from resting between runs.” This may sound like a joke, but these are actual complaints logged by management—and they underscore the stunning enormity of Revelstoke’s terrain. Our advice: If you aren’t prepared to go huge, don’t go at all.