More Than Making Turns: Off-Slope Activities at Vermont Ski Areas
A visit to a Vermont ski area is about far more than just sliding on snow. Now more than ever, guests can choose from a slew of off-slope activities. Those looking to keep their adrenaline flowing can reach new heights at a climbing gym or try to nail a triple-axel at the skating rink; others in search of a more laid-back vibe can find it browsing retail shops, perusing an art gallery or melting into a massage table. The options have never been so plentiful, such that even the non-skiing/riding members along on a trip will have no shortage of fun things to do.
Ready for a look at what’s offered beyond the stellar on-mountain experience in Vermont? Here are some of the top off-slope activities offered at the state’s ski areas:
Bolton Valley Resort
Bolton’s best option for off-slope activities has always been its renowned après ski scene at the slopeside James Moore Tavern and Fireside Flatbread. Choose from an array of local craft beer, enjoy the weekly live music from a variety of up and coming bands from Burlington and beyond and dry out and relax next to the wood fireplace before heading back out for some more laps or kicking back for a delicious meal with family and friends.
Or go on down to the newly improved Sports Center with its indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and fitness equipment. That option just got a lot better, with major improvements and additions. An entire new fitness deck area was added last year and features brand new top of the line elliptical machines, treadmills, and stationary bikes. Also, the brand-new skate and bike park is totally finished and ready for its grand opening this fall! Featuring a full skate bowl and a progression of half and quarter pipe options – all with brand new surfacing – the new park is ready for action. Helmets and safety gear, skateboards, and scooters are all available for rent on-site, as well as skate lessons from Bolton’s own Skoaching staff.
For those that aren’t necessarily looking for action-packed off-slope activities, Bolton has partnered with the renowned Phoenix Books in Montpelier to offer the Phoenix “Book Nook” in its new retail space, the Big Rock Mountain Shop. Browse an awesome selection of regional and popular paperbacks, hard cover, coffee table, and kids’ books, grab a hot espresso drink from the deli next door and cozy up next to the fire for a true indoor mountain experience!
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort’s outdoor Ice Skating Rink and Spruce Peak Plaza are conveniently located in the heart of it all, right at the base of the mountain. Also located at Spruce Peak is The Spa at the Lodge, restaurant, shops, a state-of-the–art Performing Arts Center and the Stowe Rocks indoor climbing center.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
There seem to be two types of people in the world. Those who love being outside in winter, and those who could do without. Luckily, Smugglers’ appeals to both. Smugglers’ offers packages specific for those who would rather not play with gravity, featuring off-slope options galore. Plus, with FunZone 2.0, guests of all ages and interests are delighted to have a warm place to play, regardless of what the weather throws out. With 26,000 square feet of indoor fun, an on-site café, and beer and wine available, there’s no reason to have to step outside when the weather turns sour! Outside hits include snowmobile tours through the historic Smugglers’ Notch pass, and CatTrax heated-cabin snow cat rides to the summits of Smugglers’ most popular peaks.
Located in the heart of Southern Vermont, Bromley’s neighborhood is filled with great food, activities, and picturesque views. Top off your ski days with a scenic sleigh ride at beautiful Taylor Farm, take a stroll through the sculpture garden at the Vermont Art Center, treat yourself to a fabulous shopping experience at the Manchester Shopping Outlet center, and much more, all within a 10-mile radius.
Stratton Mountain Resort
Skiing and snowboarding are at the heart of a great winter getaway, but that’s just the start with lift-served snow tubing under the lights, moonlight snowshoe tours, ice skating under the stars, and 12km of cross country trails for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking. After a full day of adventure, there is nothing like a massage at the Village Day Spa or Stratton’s Training and Fitness Center, which also offers the latest cardio equipment including Peloton bikes, an Olympic-sized, salt-water swimming pool, weight room, fitness and yoga classes plus Cliff Drysdale Tennis Center. Then there’s fireside yoga at the Living Room, Kids Night Out, and a slopeside Village lined with shops and restaurants. Grizzly’s bar at the base is the place for apres music, food, and Vermont craft brews on tap.
Middlebury Snow Bowl
Just a mile and a half down the road is the Rikert Nordic Center; more than 55km of beautiful rolling trails through the heart of the Green Mountains. Nordic Ski, Fat Bike or Snowshoe then stop inside for a cup of soup and a hot drink.
Most people visit Pico’s cozy corner of the world for skiing and riding, but the ski area has something for those looking to do off-snow activities too. Aside from the local happenings, Pico offers fitness classes and more at Pico Fitness Center. Complete with a pool, sauna and weight room, you’ll find everything you need for an afternoon off the slopes.
Mount Snow Resort
Adventure comes in all different speeds, whether it’s a leisurely snowshoe trek to the summit, a fast-paced ride on a snowmobile across Somerset Reservoir, or sliding down the Tubing Hill on Mount Snow’s 10-lane park in front of the Grand Summit Resort Hotel. Or if you’re looking for total relaxation, you’ll find Naturespa in the Grand Summit Resort Hotel is exactly what you need. With specialty massages incorporating organic and locally-sourced ingredients, your body will feel the benefits. Guests can also take advantage of fitness and yoga classes, guided mountain treks, and other holistic spa treatments.
For those who have never been skiing or riding, it’s well worth trying a lesson, but for those who have tried and decided it’s not for them, there’s plenty off the slope to enjoy. Snowshoeing is a great way to experience the quiet of winter, see signs of wildlife, and get some exercise. The resort offers both self-guided access and guided tours. Cabin Cat Adventures also offer a great way to experience the mountain, whether it’s Allyn’s Lodge Fireside Dining at the top of Gadd Peak, or Sunset Groomer Rides to the top of Lincoln Peak. Guests will also find that the Mad River Valley boasts numerous activities from ice-skating and an Icelandic horse farm to a locally owned movie theater, brewpubs and cross country skiing.
Magic is pretty simple in its offering. A classic throwback, uncrowded and welcoming ski and ride experience during the day and festive, friendly and fun apres and evening party scene. There’s even weekend snow tubing and rail jams until about 6 p.m. under the lighted Tube Park/Terrain Park areas in full view of the Tavern so kids can play outside while parents enjoy live music and make new friends. There’s also more activity planned this year for “Sunshine Corner” midway up the mountain at the top of Green Lift. Sunshine Corner is a natural gathering spot for skiers and riders to enjoy the valley view, the late afternoon sun and a few beverages to close out the ski day. Come to Magic for the first time and you’re almost guaranteed to meet new friends. Isn’t that what life is about?
Okemo Mountain Resort
While the major draw for families visiting Okemo during the winter is alpine skiing and snowboarding, there are plenty of activities off the slopes too. Visitors can experience the thrill of Okemo’s Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster or sliding on a snow tube down a specially groomed chute in the Jackson Gore courtyard. There’s ice skating at Okemo’s Ice House skating pavilion, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or even an indoor facility to work on your golf game. For more relaxing alternatives there are multiple swimming pools and hot tubs or enjoy spa services like a massage or a facial. And there’s always a comfy seat by the fire for indulging in some personal time with a seasonal beverage and maybe a good book.
Sure, skiing and riding are Killington’s winter staples, but there are so many other ways to fill your winter days at The Beast. Beyond skiing and snowboarding, Killington offers several winter activities for all ages including tubing, mountain coaster, a spa and snowmobile tours.
Suicide Six Ski Area
The Woodstock Nordic Center, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, provides adventurers with more than 45km of trails to explore via cross country skis, fat bikes or snowshoes. After a day outdoors guests can warm up by the Inn’s iconic lobby fireplace or retreat to The Spa. The Woodstock Athletic Club is a complete facility with indoor tennis and racquetball courts, a 30-by-60-foot heated indoor lap pool, a whirlpool, workout equipment and steam and sauna rooms. The guest-favorite game room, is fully equipped for game night with a giant Scrabble board, foosball table, vintage pinball machines, board games, billiards, and more.
Jay Peak Resort
If you can be guaranteed one thing during a Jay Peak vacation, it’s exhausted children. Just in case the close-to 400 inches of annual snowfall isn’t enough to have the little one begging for slumber, Jay Peak’s 60,000-square foot indoor water park, Ice Haus Skating Arena or Clips and Reels entertainment center should get the job done.