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When the weekend comes and the parking lot fills with the refined purr of German-engineered automotive excess, it’s easy to dismiss Stowe as just another playground for the urban rich. Easy, but wrong. Since 1933, when the Bruce Trail first opened for business, Stowe has been a romping ground for the sort of skier whose only experience with German automobiles involves a ’68 VW with cardboard floor panels. They come for classic steeps such as Starr, Goat, and Nosedive; they come to hike the Chin and leave their mark-if only temporarily-on the exposed face of Mount Mansfield; and increasingly, they come for the many wraith-like lines scratched into the surrounding forests.
Gaze over your tips at the mogul-littered, off-camber chute named Goat and you’ll understand why Eastern skiers are renowned for their skill in technical terrain.
Its location on the flanks of Vermont’s highest peak, 4,393-foot Mount Mansfield, though not immune from the occasional midwinter rain, ensures a steady diet of powder.
For decent, reasonably priced pub food and exceptional brewed-on-site stouts and ales, stop by the Shed (802-253-4364) on the Mountain Road. If it’s a weekend, finish your night at the Rusty Nail (802-253-6245), also on the Mountain Road, where the live bands rattle the windows until the wee hours.
“Stowe still skis like it did 40 years ago, but at the same time, there are always new off-piste shots turning up. I find new lines almost every day and will for the next 50 years.”
Vertical Drop 2,360 feet
Snowfall 260 inches