Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Best Ski Towns in North America: Stowe, Vt.

Get the inside scoop on all things Stowe, from dining and lodging to craft beer and artisan cuisine, and everything in between.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
45% Cyber Week Sale
only $4.54/month*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Outside, Climbing, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Video: Learn to Bump with Plake and Backcountry Basics with Mike Hattrup
  • Access to the SKI Gear Concierge service
  • Access to the Warren Miller film library and first access to annual film tour
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+
Ski Mag

Print + Digital
Special Price

  • Annual subscription to SKI magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on
  • Ad-free access to
Join SKI

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

So what would you do with the extra $1,000? That’s about what the average pass-buyer saved when Stowe, the blue chip of Eastern skiing, was added to the Vail Resorts portfolio in 2017. Never mind what they saved using their pass at any of the other Epic resorts.

We could just spend it all on beer—the effects of beer tourism are nowhere more explosive than in Stowe, and whatever famous Vermont beers aren’t actually brewed here are available on tap or at the local grocery.

5 Great Ski Towns: Take SKI’s North American Ski Town Challenge

But there’s so much more to enjoy in Stowe: We could grab some sushi at the Matterhorn, then apps and wine at Cork Wine Bar. Get our skis tuned at AJ’s and our boots tweaked at Benny’s, then massages at the Stoweflake. You’re buying, right?

Maybe it’s just the extra spending money, but spirits are especially high in Stowe lately. Two great winters in a row— and an especially gratifying spring session this year—also have a lot to do with it. If Stowe regulars, an intensely passionate and possessive lot, were initially worried about Epic crowds, things seem to have worked out just fine. (Weekdays, if you can possibly swing it, are still unbelievably uncrowded.) And all the wags who warned that Vail’s famous Yellow Jacket patrollers would ruin the fun by trying to make Stowe skiers slow down (good luck with that) owe Vail management a huge apology.

Stowe just seems pretty much the same in the Vail era. And all its charms remain patently obvious: a historic, quintessentially Vermont clapboard village, windows warmly glowing on winter evenings; superb ski terrain from sunny bunny slopes to the deepest, darkest trees on the flanks of Vermont’s highest peak; first-class slopeside accommodations and amenities at the now fully evolved Lodge at Spruce Peak hotel– cum-base village; and an access road lined with independent restaurants, shops, inns, and bars for every taste and budget.

The locals, meanwhile, seem pretty content with their choice of a town to build their lives in—and only a little smug about it. As long as it keeps snowing the way it has lately, that’s likely to remain the case.

Next time you’re in the area, stop by some of our favorite places:

Where to Sleep in Stowe

Field Guide

Field Guide renovated an old lodge with whimsical design and nostalgia that will satisfy both Vermont purists and inner hipsters. The throwback vibe combines a dash of 1970s ski-town golden-era aesthetic with some all-purpose high-New England camp. What’s more, the lodge is located near all the action on the lower part of the Mountain Road.

Field Guide Hotel in Stowe Vermont
A cozy room at the Field Guide in Stowe, Vt. Photo courtesy of Field Guide

Lodge at Spruce Peak

There’s a grandeur to the Lodge at Spruce Peak which seems fitting to its majestic setting. While many new hotels have dispensed with the lobby concept, the Lodge’s lobby is a big, gracious space with huge windows framing the slopes. Spa, valets, luxe rooms, innovative cuisine—come here to be pampered.

Stowe Attractions

Vermont Ski Museum 

Minnie Dole and the birth of the National Ski Patrol; the Civilian Conservation Corps; Andrea Meade, Billy Kidd, the Cochran family. When it comes to ski history, no state has a richer one than Vermont, and it’s all on display at the Vermont Ski Museum, located in the town of Stowe. A must for ski history buffs.

Where to Eat in Stowe

Plate Restaurant
Food tastes as good as it looks at Plate. Photo courtesy of Plate


Plate has been building buzz since chef-owner Aaron Martin took over. Martin takes inspiration from the California culinary scene, especially its commitment to fresh, simple, and local. The menu varies by season, but the house chicken-liver mousse, tuna tartare, and Chinese barbecue wings are staples after a day on the slopes.

Best Place to Drink in Stowe

Doc Pond’s

Doc’s is still pretty new, but it feels like an instant Stowe classic. It’s a bar, for sure, but a food forward one. It’s co-owned by James Beard–nominated chef Eric Warnstedt, who’s had so much success with Hen of the Wood in Burlington (and before that Waterbury, where Warnstedt’s group recently bought Prohibition Pig as well).

Micro Breweries

When The Alchemist moved here from Waterbury, Stowe instantly took on new gravitas as a beer destination. Its Heady Topper, the brew that launched a new style (the Vermont IPA), is a little easier to find now, and just as hoppy. Beer hunters should also sample the malty lagers at the Trapp Lodge and visit Rock Art in Morrisville.

Local Tip from Stowe’s Kristi Brown Lowell

Kristi Brown Lovell
Kristi Brown LowellPhoto courtesy of Keri Bascetta

Mountain Sports Ambassador, SKI Magazine ski tester, former pro skier, and proud mom of three.

By the Numbers: Stowe, Vt.

Population: 4,421
Average Income: $104,238 (USD)
Median Home Price: $741,589 (USD)
Median Age: 57.9

(Updated with 2020 stats)