2016-17 Top Trends at Vermont's Ski and Snowboard Resorts
Being the #1 state in the East for skiing and snowboarding has its perks - from offering some of the best mountain terrain to being on the up and up of all the latest trends like fat biking, skinning and family adventure centers, outdoor and indoor enthusiasts alike won’t be disappointed when visiting Vermont and its Green Mountains.
Fat biking and Terrain Parks
Okemo Mountain Resort
The popularity of parks and pipe is growing again. Okemo and Snow Park Technologies, the world’s leading consulting team for special projects on snow, have embarked on the third year of their partnership to offer guests access to some of the most innovative parks in the East. Whether building event courses or resort parks, SPT is dedicated to maintaining all features and parks to the highest level. When park and pipe riders visit Okemo, they can expect a wide variety of creative features that flow together and are accessible from the top of the mountain – all the way down to the base area.
Stratton Mountain Resort
Folks escaping the city to unplug at Stratton Mountain are trying out the newest trend, fat biking, on the scenic snowy trails at the Stratton Nordic Center.
Earn your turns! Skin up the mountain before the lifts turn to get fresh tracks. Experts at First Run Ski Shop will recommend the best route and gear to use while skinning.
With big air snowboarding recently entering as a sport in the Olympics, the Stratton parks crew has tailored the terrain parks to cater to all ability levels of park riders – from starter jumps to expert booters and flat boxes to rainbow rails.
Suicide Six Ski Area/Woodstock Inn
New to the Woodstock Inn & Resort’s Nordic & Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center is fatbiking. The Nordic Center now has a rental fleet of 15 KHS fatbikes, 4 of which are children’s sizes. All trails are multi-use with some single track being added into the mix for this season, providing even more biking terrain. In February the Nordic Center will host the annual “Fatstock Bike Race” presented by Vermont Overland which is an 8 mile fatbike race that continues to be a growing success.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
The top trend at Smugglers’ Notch Resort – family togetherness. Families have always enjoyed skiing and riding together on their winter vacations at Smugglers’. Last winter there were more activities in the mix, as the resort responded to requests by families for even more activities to enjoy together. Families chose to vary their vacation days by joining craft sessions, broomball challenges, scavenger hunts, story times and pool games, which were included in their Smugglers’ vacation package. Most popular activities? Oohing and ahhing over the weekly torchlight parade and fireworks, belting out tunes in family karaoke and building a sled to launch from a jump in I-Did-A-Sled – all had approval ratings of more than 95 percent.
Stowe Mountain Resort
Fulfilling the need for family fun off the slopes has been the number one trend at Stowe Mountain Resort over the past several years. That’s why Stowe has recently opened several new amenities in the beautiful Spruce Peak Village Center. Here, at the base of the mountain, families can enjoy free ice skating on the new rink centrally located at Spruce. On one end of the rink, is the new Pavilion building that hosts both children’s activities such as arts & crafts, along with a wine bar for the adults. Also adjacent to the outdoor ice rink is the Stowe Rocks indoor climbing center. Suitable for all ages, Stowe Rocks has 6 different program walls and a free-standing 40-foot ‘Elephant Head’ tower. http://www.stowe.com/activities/adventure-center/
Bolton Valley offers over 1200 acres of backcountry. All of the terrain is mapped and easy to access by skinning up from the Nordic Center or taking the Wilderness lift and heading far skier’s right. The staff at the Nordic Center is always available to provide maps and suggest routes. The Catamount Trail Association hosts a few days of backcountry clinics to help those new to the sport become comfortable on their skis. When skiers and riders are really ready to test their mettle, they can check out one of the many events from the weekly uphill race series to the 24 Hours of Bolton Valley backcountry ski race.
Bromley Mountain Resort
It’s as fun to go up as it is to go down these days, and no one is more enthusiastic at Bromley about earning their turns as the kids in the seasonal backcountry program. These kids sign up for an entire winter of awesome education that covers the whole mountain experience. Ice climbing, skinning, tying knots, building emergency shelters, winter camping, navigation, avalanche safety and first aid are just a few of the things they get up to. Oh, and don’t forget first tracks in the powder through the trees.
Killington Resort & Pico Mountain
Killington Resort and Pico Mountain offer designated Uphill Travel routes and passes for day use, or use all season long so skiers and riders can earn turns without interfering with round-the-clock mountain operations. The Snowshed Adventure Center also offers thrills like the Beast Mountain Coaster, Skyeride and zip lines – and riders don’t even need to wear ski boots. Finally, ski or ride 100 days of the longest season in the East at Killington and join the 100 Club – diehards only.
Magic has been a leader in having the one of the most generous uphill traveling policies (even rewarding skiers who climb to the top with a free chairlift ride) as the skinning craze continues to gain momentum. In addition to the 25-50 plus skiers a day who skin up, they are equally matched by the growing number of snowshoers who come to Magic with friends and family even if they don’t ski or ride.
Uphill access has been steadily growing over the years with the increase in companies selling and marketing touring equipment. To stay on top of this Mount Snow offers uphill access at the entire resort during operating hours. Guests simply need to purchase an uphill pass or have an uphill endorsement on their season pass.
Uphill travel at Sugarbush has seen a huge increase in popularity over the last few seasons. The resort offers free uphill travel passes valid for skinning up designated routes at the resort before and after lift-served operating hours. Last season, the resort created Base Camp at Mt. Ellen on Saturdays (January 7-April 2) to provide a base of operations with food and games for hikers and snowshoers, and offered an uphill travel option for Allyn’s Lodge Fireside Dining.
The resort has also continued to work more closely with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports (VASS) and the High Fives Foundation, both focused on getting injured and disabled athletes on the slopes.