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The Best Ski Resorts in Vermont

It’s the ski capital of the East, with resorts for every type and level of skier. Find the ones that are a good fit for you.

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From covered bridges to real maple syrup, Vermont is one of the most charming states in the country. With over 20 alpine resorts, it’s also a ski powerhouse with arguably the best terrain in the East. 

Also Read: The Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

That said, each resort is very different when it comes to the type of terrain, the amount of skier amenities, and the overall vibe of the place. Some target families as their main clientele, while others hone in on expert skiers who are seeking adventure and challenge. Use the “strengths” and “weaknesses” in the reviews below to narrow down the spots that are best for you.

The 11 Best Ski Resorts in Vermont

11. Bolton Valley

Bolton is an affordable family mountain, though it holds enough glades, bumps, and steep pitches—plus top-notch backcountry access—to hold anyone’s attention.

"None"
Photo: Courtesy of Bolton Valley

Strengths

✅  Value

✅  Service

Weaknesses

❌  Apres

❌  Challenge

What Readers Say

“I love Bolton for everything it’s not: it’s not huge or overly crowded, it’s not fancy, and it’s definitely not pretentious. What it is is a great place for families to ski together.”

Summary

However tempted you might be to stay on Route 89 to Stowe, take a chance and check out Bolton Valley. You won’t regret it. This gem of a ski hill offers only 165, but it packs a punch.With a higher elevation than most of the state’s resort, Bolton tends to more snow sure, and its large variety of terrain satisfies most comers. If you’re backcountry curious, the resort runs an innovative program designed to empower people to get out there safely and confidently.

🔹 Read more of SKI’s coverage:  Bolton Valley, Vt.

10. Magic Mountain

If you like your snow ungroomed, your runs steep, and your vibe authentic, Magic Mountain is the place for you. This down-home mountain is all about the skiing.

"None"
Photo: Courtesy of Magic Mountain

Strengths

✅  Challenge

✅  Value

Weaknesses

❌  Lodging

❌  Grooming

What Readers Say

“Magic is the anti-resort. If you care about great skiing and hanging out with great people, you can’t go wrong at this place. Killer steeps and the best tree-skiing in the East!”

Summary

Magic Mountain is the type of place that people love. Like really, really love. It’s a no-frills, what-you-see-is-what-you-get destination where it’s all about the skiing. Well, mostly. It’s also about authentic people, good value, and delivering on expectations. As for the skiing, it’s pretty wild, with largely ungroomed slopes, great glades, and some of the best expert terrain in Vermont. Just don’t come expecting swanky lodges and gourmet dining, and Magic won’t disappoint.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Magic Mountain, Vt.

9. Mount Snow

Mount Snow is a solid all-around mountain that benefits from its close proximity to several major East Coast cities. It’s a big mountain with a solid blend of terrain and one of the very best terrain parks in the East.

Sundance Lift Mt. Snow
Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts

Strengths

✅ Grooming

✅ Nightlife

Weaknesses

❌ Service

❌ Lifts

What Readers Say

“My go-to mountain for 40 years. It’s a great little mountain that plays bigger than it should!”

Summary

The four mountains that comprise Mount Snow really do have something for everyone. Reliable snow is a big plus for experts who are looking for legit steeps. There’s also a vibrant nightlife scene for when the sun goes down.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Mount Snow, Vt.

8. Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe Mountain is classic New England skiing. Set among Vermont’s highest mountains, Stowe is known for its thrilling steeps and ski-town vibe, which manages to be hip and quaint at the same time. 

"None"
Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts

Strengths

✅ Après

✅ Terrain Variety

Weaknesses

❌ Overall Satisfaction

❌ Value

What Readers Say

“Stowe’s uniqueness stems from its pedigree as one of the first ski resorts in the U.S. Historical architecture, Mt. Mansfield being the tallest peak in Vermont and the compactness and accessibility of terrain add up to an understated elegance sprinkled with youthful energy and fun. The village has not lost its quaint charm thanks to mindful zoning.”

Summary

Stowe Mountain is a traditional ski area that flirts with an upscale atmosphere but never loses its small-town New England spirit. Its high peaks are a dream on a powder day though it can get bitingly cold at times. No worries, though, the culture and atmosphere of the town of Stowe accommodate everything from fine-dining to dive bars.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Stowe Mountain Resort, Vt.

7. Stratton Mountain

Stratton Mountain emphasizes quality throughout the mountain. This means fast lifts, excellent grooming, timely shuttles, and a variety of dining options in the village. 

"None"
Photo: Courtesy of Stratton Mountain

Strengths

✅ Dining

✅ Grooming

Weaknesses

❌ Variety

❌ Value

What Readers Say

“The folks you meet in the resort become your friends, both fellow skiers and staff. The mountain operations staff do a great job with creating snow when mother nature takes a break and maintaining the conditions each night.”

Summary

Stratton Mountain skews toward the affluent crowd in its lodging and dining, but the mountain itself is a fine collection of speedy blues, a few spicy expert runs, and a well-laid-out trail system. The mountains skis fast and it’s easy to rack up runs thanks to the speedy lifts.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Stratton Mountain, Vt.

6. Okemo Mountain Resort

When Okemo gets a good powder day—which is common—the mountain is a magical place to be. It’s family-centric but still offers a nice mix of terrain.

Okemo family
Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts

Strengths

✅ Grooming

✅ Snow

Weaknesses

❌ Challenge

❌ Local Flavor

What Readers Say

“Okemo is a mountain I take my family back to year after year because the lodging options are great, the skiing is great, the off-mountain dining and activities are excellent, and the staff is incredibly friendly. My family and I drive over eight hours from our home, past numerous other ski resort options, just to visit Okemo.”

Summary

Okemo is a friendly mountain that gives skiers lots of room to grow. The 620 acres focus on fun with mostly moderate terrain and excellent cruisers. Slopeside lodging is available and the comfort extends to the mountain in the form of heated lift seats and windscreens.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Okemo Mountain Resort, Vt.

5. Sugarbush Resort

Sugarbush is a beautiful mountain with plenty of bite. As one of the premier destinations in the Mad River Valley, the expert runs are legit and the natural beauty is dazzling.

Top of Heaven's Gate chairlift at Sugarbush
Photo: Courtesy of Sugarbush/John Atkinson

Strengths

✅ Variety

✅ Challenge

Weaknesses

❌ Value

❌ Access

What Readers Say

“Sugarbush is great at being Sugarbush and even with Alterra’s new ownership they are still Sugarbush. The skiing and riding is varied and gorgeous runs, the vibe is 100 percent pure syrupy Vermont and it manages to not be too big. The snow is very well taken care of with nice smooth runs and plenty of bumps and trees to satisfy any type of skiing or rider. Want to be challenged? Castlerock can give you that. Want to race down the slope? Inverness is exactly used for that. Want some cruising with a little variety? Sleeper has a great view with just enough trees to make it interesting without it any fear. For my family it is the little things like the use of the Rec Center with its pool when you stay on property. The tissue boxes at the lift lines, the sunscreen dispensers outside the bathrooms, and enough food and local drink to make you know this is Sugarbush not Corporate Mountain.”

Summary

Sugarbush gets enough natural snow that it doesn’t have to rely on snowmaking and groomers to earn its reputation. As a result, there are some gutsy runs throughout the mountain, notably Castlerock. This is a skiers’ mountain that is geared toward those who see skiing as more than just a casual hobby.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Sugarbush, Vt.

4. Jay Peak Resort

Jay Peak is the benefactor of gobs of natural snow—along with a history of skiers who pushed some of the toughest tree lines in New England. The terrain challenges skiers with well-earned turns, especially when the weather kicks into its deepest winter chill.

"Jay Peak Resort Guide 2020"
Photo: Courtesy of Jay Peak

Strengths

✅ Snow

✅  Challenge

Weaknesses

❌Access

❌ Grooming

What Readers Say

“Name another mountain in the Northeast that averages over 350 inches per season. I’ll wait. Seriously though, Jay’s home. Anybody who braves the cold and the drive is just as stoked to get after it as I am and that makes them family.”

Summary

Jay Peak is so far north, it’s almost in Canada. It can absolutely puke snow for days on end, setting up some of the best tree runs anywhere in America. The area has been subject to development over the years but it hasn’t yet lost its hardcore spirit and remains a prime destination for expert skiers.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Jay Peak Resort, Vt.

3. Mad River Glen

Mad River Glen is a throwback mountain that values the deep, real experience of skiing above all other things. It’s a gnarly mountain with great variety paired with a friendly, eternally-stoked staff.

"Mad River Glen Chair"
Photo: Courtesy of Mad River Glen

Strengths

✅ Challenge

✅ Value

Weaknesses

❌ Grooming

❌ Lodging

What Readers Say

“Mad River Glen is not a resort, it is mountain community with the spirit of adventure and enthusiasm. The terrain is as challenging as anywhere in the U.S. and the ongoing maintenance activities are constantly improving access every year. And it is not just for experts; our ski school is tremendous and the trails (not highways) are not crowded. The Single Chair is iconic and really brings us close to the mountain itself. The views are spectacular and when we’re done the pub is the best, with real food cooked by real people. There’s nowhere like it.”

Summary

Mad River Glen is well-known for its toughest terrain but it’s also a surprisingly friendly mountain. Vermonters tend to be softer on the edges than other New England states and the welcoming vibe at Mad River is a testament to that notion. The after-ski scene is refreshingly honest, perhaps because it’s hard to have a bad day on such a wonderful mountain.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Mad River Glen, Vt.

2. Killington Mountain Resort

Killington is a big mountain that has evolved over the years to accommodate the crowds who are drawn to its varied terrain and excellent after-ski scene. Powder days are common mid-winter and the resort tends to stay open later than other east coast destinations.

Killington scenic
Photo: Courtesy of Killington Resort

Strengths

✅ Après

✅ Terrain Variety

Weaknesses

❌ Family

❌ Local Flavor

What Readers Say

“Killington made the season happen with a smile, despite all this year’s challenges. The season is long for us who are ready to ski early season and into the spring. It is usually easy to avoid long lift lines if you just head to someplace other than the K1 or the Snowdon Six on the weekends. Terrain variety is a plus.”

Summary

Killington’s 1,500-plus acres and relatively high elevation give it a mountain west vibe. There are tons of great cruisers, fun trees, and some fearsome steeps. Management has sought to balance the whole experience in recent years, improving bars, dining, and lodging in the area.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Killington Mountain Resort, Vt.

1. Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Locally owned and operated, this iconic ski mountain has stayed the course over the years with great skiing, friendly confines, and as luck would have it, pretty good natural snowfall. 

"None"
Photo: Courtesy of Smugglers’ Notch

Strengths

✅ Family

✅ Service

Weaknesses

❌ Lifts

❌ Dining

What Readers Say

“Fantastic terrain, incredibly groomed. Staff are friendly and helpful. Programs for families are unbeatable! Really fantastic lessons. Very friendly clientele. A great experience.”

Summary

Smugglers’ Notch hits a sweet spot with everything that is great about skiing. It’s got a wide swath of varied terrain, it’s family-friendly but also primed for experts, its views are stellar, and it’s not so far away that you have to plan a caravan to get there. It’s independently owned and heavily invested in the local community, so it’s very easy to overlook the lack of a high-speed lift.

🔹 Read SKI’s resort review and get trip-planning tips: Smugglers’ Notch, Vt.