If Stratton is only the 14th best ski resort in the East, why do so many people go there? Judging by survey responses, readers vote with their feet and go to this Southern Vermont resort in droves. And judging by their comments, they’re generally very pleased with the product, especially the grooming (No. 3; specifically mentioned by a majority, including this one: “they do an amazing job in even the toughest weather”), and the lifts (No. 4; “they’re fast, and they do a great job keeping everyone moving”), and the Service (No. 3; “where else do you have staff passing you a tissue as you walk out of the lodge!?!”). OK, so Character scores are a little low (No. 27), with many complaining that it’s all a little too “resorty.” (“A lot of people with money showing off.”) But it sounds like it’s the price that gets people most (No. 31 for Value). Well, Stratton never was and probably never will be a low-budget kind of place. Survey respondents even sound like a better-educated lot. (“I am commanded to say it is great since my wife attended Stratton Mountain School.”) Meanwhile, great grooming, fast lifts, and decent terrain variety add up to a good skiing experience. “It’s a great mountain for having a fun combination of challenge and ease, so that a strong skier can enjoy themselves without getting bored or intimidated.”
Mandatory Trail >> There’s something especially relaxed and charismatic about Sunbowl area, with its open, rolling terrain and tree islands. Day skiers will want to park there to avoid having to use shuttles from satellite lots.
On-Hill Lunch >> Even picky Stratton types rate the dining fairly high (No. 6). Verde’s, in the base area, is reliably good.
Aprés Spot >> Stratton soul is accused of being hard to find. But it’s just hiding upstairs at Grizzly’s.