Resort Guide 2018: East #2
What gives? Readers are finally being a lot nicer to long-underrated, under-appreciated Sugarbush. Maybe they were on their second pint of Sunshine at the Castlerock Pub when they filled out their surveys? (The new celebrity beer—topping even Heady Topper in the Beer Advocate rankings—is a local brewer’s creation.) Or maybe American Skiing Co.’s corporate sins can finally be forgiven, and readers are noticing that Sugarbush’s savvy indy ownership has made an unerring series of improvements over the past couple of decades.
All the old strengths remain. Sugarbush has a breadth of terrain that just doesn’t get the respect it deserves, from the authentic fixed-grip, natural-snow Castlerock vibe at Lincoln Peak to the most-in-Vermont 2,600 feet of sustained vert over at Sugarbush’s whole other ski area, Mount Ellen. (Plus huge tracts of off-piste hardwood forest in between.) The scenery is still perfectly beautiful. Readers attest that greater Waitsfield/Warren is possibly the prettiest ski town there is in the East—“classic Vermont,” unspoiled by overdevelopment, still graced by working farms along the Mad River. Not surprisingly, living in a beautiful place makes the locals happy, as scores of readers attest. “Friendly Vermont atmosphere...I am starting to feel like I’m coming home when I get to Waitsfield.” “The entire town vibe is awesome.” Meanwhile, slopeside amenities have steadily improved and expanded, without overcommercializing the place. “Incredible improvements.” “Great balance between amenities and pure Vermont skiing.” “Very nice job of modernizing yet preserving its New England ski hill charm.” All that, and readers still feel like they’re getting a pretty good deal. “It fills a nice spot between how rustic Mad River is and how glam Stowe has become.” And the ultimate endorsement? One reader is already planning an extended stay. “Grew up skiing here, and I’ll have my ashes spread here.”
Bush Pilots. It’s like a weekend freeride ski program for adults. Very social, and pro rippers will show you the goods.
Castlerock is plenty tough, and better known. But the toughest runs are at Mount Ellen: Black Diamond and FIS.
Mt. Ellen’s vert—2,552 feet—beats anywhere else in Vermont. By a lot.
The Vermont-themed Pitcher Inn in quaint, cozy Warren Village is a one- of-a-kind boutique-inn experience.
“The passes they offered this year were top-notch. The $100 Boomer Pass and the $199 Spring Pass were super appreciated by our group.”