If the destination is Mount Snow, you can get there from here. The American Skiing Co.'s southern Vermont holding draws lots of skiers from the New York-Boston megalopolitan corridor. But while convenience is good, crowds aren't. Even as readers praise the easy commute, they are quick to jab the masses who make that drive on weekends. The same reader who has accolades of "close to home; good variety of terrain" complains that "trails and lodges can get impossibly crowded on weekends." Expensive on-mountain food prices were another repeated beef. But mostly Mount Snow attracts intermediate skiers and families who are quite happy with the plentiful cruisers such as Snowdance and green carpet rides such as Long John. Sunnybrook gets the sun, and neighboring Haystack Mountain has mellow runs. When the main base lodge area gets congested, set up at Haystack's Carinthia base lodge (once a ski area unto itself) for long, gentle runs (Deer Run) or thigh-burners (Upper Nitro). The fast and furious head straight to North Face, which offers good steeps and "some of the best glades in the East"-for the day's adrenaline rush. And speaking of adrenaline, Mount Snow again hosts the Winter X Games this year. Last year, 83,500 spectators turned out over four days. Expect pierced body parts, Technicolor hair and amazing athletic prowess. Away from the slopes are the low-key, small towns (complete with white steeples) of West Dover and Wilmington, which, one reader says, "reflect big-city clientele wants and needs without sacrificing 'Vermontness.'" Find that in fine dining at Inn at Sawmill Farm, Two Tannery Road and Deerhill Inn, or with lighter fare at Cafe Tannery.
WHAT'S NEW A new beginner trail and learning area with dedicated surface lift; Upper Haystack Mountain will open on weekends and holidays only.
A GOOD DEAL Consider a Quickie: midweek one- to four-day packages starting at $50 per person per night (blackouts apply; 800-245-7669 or www.mountsnow.com).
MEDALS SILVER Après-Ski.
HIGH/LOW RANKING Après-Ski (22), Off-Hill Activities (33), Family Programs (33); On-Mountain Food (76), Scenery (77), Value (85).
DON'T MISS For $85, try the invigorating lava-rock massage at the Grand Summit Hotel.
READER REMARKS (+) "Good lifts, good snowmaking." (-) "Too many people, too many flat spots, too expensive."