Okemo continues its 65-year legacy as one of the East’s best family mountains with Top 10 rankings in the Snow, Grooming, Lifts, Travel Ease, and, of course, Family Friendly categories. The mountain originally planned to implement major changes to its lift network for the 2020-’21 season while breaking ground on a brand-new base area, but those plans are understandably on hold due to the pandemic. In the meantime, skiers can expect to enjoy better snow than ever thanks to a squad of new grooming machines, as well as upgrades to several dining facilities.
Fortunately, you don’t need capital improvements to enjoy Okemo’s sweeping views of both Vermont and New Hampshire while flying down 632 acres of skiable terrain—an overall experience our readers have always loved. “Last season was tough for the East Coast, but Okemo was still the master of snowmaking, management, and grooming,” one reader recalls. “They delivered as they always do. It’s why we bought a house there, and the Epic Pass and Vail’s current and future investments only make it better.” — Connor Davis
2021 Reader Resort Guide Rankings for Okemo, Vt.: No. 19 in the East
- LOCAL TIP: The mountain’s main access road can turn into quite the traffic jam. Sneak across Upper Cross Road, then down West Hill Road, for a quicker escape.
- MANDATORY RUN: Some may say Okemo doesn’t have expert terrain. Head to the South Face, drop into Outrage (especially skier’s left), and you’ll find that hearsay is just hearsay.
Wondering about who ranked higher? No. 18 in the East – Gore Mountain, N.Y.
Catch up on No. 20 in the East: Loon Mountain Resort, N.H.
Okemo’s 2020 SKI Magazine Reader Resort Survey Rank: 15th in the East
Plenty of ski families never bother to drive any farther north after they’ve found Okemo. Some buy in wholesale, owning one of the slopeside homes that conveniently line so many of the lower slopes. Others make their winter memories on regular visits, knowing that along with family-friendly accommodations, Okemo has the kid-focused facilities and ski school to get everyone off their phones and onto the slopes.
And as for those slopes, Okemo works hard to make sure its skiers are comfortable. The terrain is cruiser heaven (“makes their guests feel they can really ski”), Okemo’s snowmaking and grooming crews have a reputation for miracles (“the place to be when New England’s fickle weather sets in”), and you can laugh at the Vermont cold from the comfort of two bubble-enclosed, heated high-speed six-packs (No. 3 for Lifts). “Our kids learned to ski here 25 years ago, and we’ve seen it grow into the fine resort it is today. Love the town, love the resort, love Vermont!” — Joe Cutts
- DINNER PICK: Vermont-born Chef Rogan Lechthaler has a fine reputation on the Vermont culinary scene as an early adopter of the locavore movement. Now you have to choose between his original gem, Downtown Grocery, or his new Italian joint, Mama’s.
- APRÈS-SKI: Tom’s Loft, an Okemo icon, is famously known for “warm beer, lousy food, and a grumpy owner”—and it just gets better from there.
- DOWN DAY ACTIVITY: If you forgot to pack either shotgun shells or enough chevre, you’re in luck. Wonderfully quirky Singleton’s General Store in nearby Proctorsville has both and much more.
SKI Magazine’s 2019 Review of Okemo Mountain Resort, Vt.
Let the other resorts burnish their hardcore cred. Okemo isn’t afraid to pamper—moms especially. Given its decidedly mellow terrain (which reliably repels the reckless), Okemo makes families its mission. It’s famous for cozy slopeside condos, on-mountain food that’s a cut above, fun kids programs, and an excellent ski school and race club. January deep freeze? Bring it on: Heated seats and orange bubble enclosures on the Sunburst Six lift give the cold-averse the courage to get out there.
It might be symbolic that a “must do” while skiing at Okemo Mountain Resort is ordering up a tabletop S’more at the base. Because Okemo may just be the tabletop S’more of Eastern resorts: simple yet sublime; delightful in a kind of G-rated way; made for family but just so darn fun for all; and with three perfect ingredients: great grooming, amazing lifts, and friendly service.
Come to Okemo for the…
- LOCAL SHOPPING Singleton’s General Store sells whiskey, guns, ammo, and arguably New England’s best bacon and sausage; the Granny Bangers (English sausage with Granny Smith apples) earn raves.
- OFF-HILL RESTAURANT Epic, in the Solitude Lodge. Order the daily trio special or the hearty and soul- warming Japanese veggie hot pot, tricked out with the sushi-grade tuna.
- APRÈS SPOT Hit the Killarney Pub and scarf wings and Guinness drafts with the ski patrol gang.
- FAMILY TRAIL Introduce the kids to the three top-to-bottom terrain parks off the Black Ridge and Green Ridge triple chairs: The Rockstar, The Zone, and The Superpipe.