This year the local gem tucked deep in the Green Mountains celebrates 70 years of independent ownership and rich history. For many families, this hill is the foundation upon which many special ski memories are built. For diehards, Mad River will always be a skier’s mountain—a rite of passage for any Vermonter who considers him or herself a true skier.
Ask a Mad River skier to sum up what makes the resort so special, and you get a laundry-list: genuinely challenging terrain highlighted by playful tree runs, cliff drops, and fast groomers; the best service imaginable thanks to employees who truly love their jobs; affordable lift tickets that aren’t scanned by robotic gates; hearty food and Sip of Sunshine IPAs at the legendary General Stark’s Pub; and a real sense of simplicity and continuity in the ever-changing climate of the American ski industry.
To summarize, this small-but-mighty ski area serves up a thrilling yet refreshing experience—a trip back in time, some would say—that’s arguably impossible to find elsewhere these days. Hop on the single chair, take in the scenery, shred the fall line, beam with joy, and repeat.
To finance infrastructure upgrades and mountain preservation initiatives, the resort has launched the Preserve Our Paradise Campaign. Mad River hopes to raise $6.5 million through philanthropic means to ensure the resort’s sustainability while remaining independently operated.
COME FOR THE...
CHALLENGE Legit vert, even by Western standards, can be found here. Try Paradise, a steep and narrow glade, and Lift Line, a feature-filled run below the iconic single chair.
LOCAL FLAVOR Make it your business to stop into The Sweet Spot in Waitsfield for a cone of maple ice cream.
VALUE Score free season passes for kids 12 and under with the purchase of a Family Mad Card or Adult Season Pass.
BRAGGING RIGHTS Prove yourself in the chutes of Paradise, which might be considered ice-climbing routes at less core mountains.
ON-HILL EATS General Stark’s Pub serves up soup, local beers, and a heavy dose of MRG history in the photos plastered to the walls.
DONT MISS Full-moon snowshoe and beer tasting with celebrity brewer Sean Lawson, who is also one of MRG’s staff naturalists.