SkiVT Press Room/

2017-18 Seasonal Trends at Vermont Ski and Snowboard Resorts

Skiers headed into Bolton Valley's backcountry. Photo by Jay Silveira.
Families can partake in a never ending list of activities at Smugglers' Notch Resort this season, including building a snowman!

Year after year resorts notice trends emerging from the skiers and snowboarders that frequent their slopes. While some are gradual, some are rapidly advancing and in Vermont, mountains are taking note of these trends and ensuring that they offer these sought-after activities, policies and accommodations.

Learn about what’s on the rise in Vermont for this winter:

Family Activities, Indoors and Out

Bromley Mountain Resort
Kid’s fun is the focus at Bromley these days. On snow, Bromley has reworked their terrain park to embrace the learning progression for smaller statures, with a progressive flow that keeps kids jumping and spinning safely as they move from beginner to professional jib hunter. Off snow they’ve kept the après options easy, with a dedicated kid’s space in the lodge, complete with Vew-do balance boards, movies, video games and, on some nights, special guest entertainment.

Jay Peak Resort
Weather-proofing the New England ski and ride vacation is a trend Jay Peak started when they opened their Ice Haus in 2010. The arena offers public skating times, figure-skating lessons and stick-and-puck pick-up games. Jay Peak expanded the weather-proof menu in 2011 with the 60,000-square foot Pump House, an indoor waterpark that guarantees exhausted children. This winter they will roll out their version of a red carpet to Clips&Reels, an entertainment center that features a 142-seat movie theater along with a Clip ‘n Climb facility.

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, snowcat tours, 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 and 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.

The Rise of Uphill Travel 

Bolton Valley
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 you are ready to test your mettle, check out one of the many events from the weekly uphill Skimo race series to the 24 Hours of Bolton Valley backcountry ski race.

Killington Resort and Pico Mountain
Uphill Travel at both Killington and Pico continue to increase in popularity with guests choosing to reach the peaks of Bear Mountain, Snowdon, Ramshead and Pico via human vs. machine power. With designated routes for each mountain area and 24/7 access (when designed routes are open) Killington and Pico offer plenty of options to make turns regardless the time of day. If there’s snow in the forecast for Tuesday or Wednesday, head to Pico for powder turns while the lifts sit idle on non-holiday Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Magic Mountain
Magic has been a leader in “uphill” traffic and that vibe continues to be actively supported as Magic has seen a two-fold increase in traffic going up by either skinning or snowshoeing. Magic never charges people getting up the mountain and in fact, provides a free lift ride token at the top for all uphill skiers or split-boarders. Long known for southern Vermont’s most extensive and challenging lift served tree-skiing, Magic also has guided backcountry tours this coming season with shuttle van pick-ups all of which must be reserved through the Learning Center. Snowshoeing trails will also be marked this fall so snowshoers can discover trails winding through the woods to the top of the mountain and to Sunshine Corner for great views of southern Vermont.

Mount Snow Resort
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 throughout the entire resort during operating hours. Guests simply need to purchase an uphill pass or have an uphill endorsement on their season pass.

Sugarbush Resort
Uphill travel at Sugarbush continues to see huge increases 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. Sugarbush enters its fourth year with such a policy. The resort hosts Tour De Moon several times throughout the season – a guided skin to Walt’s at the Glen House at Mt. Ellen and offers an uphill travel option for Allyn’s Lodge Fireside Dining.

Mother Nature’s Calling: Educational Programs, Fitness and Weddings

Mad River Glen
Mad River Glen’s Naturalist Programs are becoming more popular every year. Ever wondered why there are so many snowshoe hare tracks on the slopes? Or seen the bear bites and scratches on trees and questioned the meaning behind them? Perhaps you have encountered Moose tracks and pondered how they can survive the winters. Valley visitors can learn more about these animals, mountains and forests of Vermont by taking part in one of Mad River Glen’s award-winning Naturalist Programs. 

Mountain Top Inn & Resort
In addition to the abundance of winter activities including 60km of cross country ski and snowshoe trails, Mountain Top Inn & Resort is leading Vermont’s rising trend as a premier 4-season wedding destination. Snow covered winter weddings are a rising trend right now and the property beckons couples with one of Vermont’s most spectacular views, gorgeous event barn, year-round activities and luxurious accommodations. Offering a magical winter wonderland, many of these weddings involve avid skiers wishing to infuse their favorite past-time into their special day.

Stratton Mountain Resort
The latest trend hot off the press from First Run Ski Shop reports skiers are getting back to the basics as preferences for all-mountain skis are on the rise. “Skiers are wanting skis that don’t have dramatically wide dimensions or too narrow dimensions, so the skier can have a pair of skis that ski most of the conditions they may encounter on the mountain,” said local expert Tom Kajah.  Off-mountain fitness has skiers buzzing, as more athletes choose on-snow activities over the treadmill. Stratton’s snowshoe tours whisk participants through winding forest trails with rewarding fireside s’mores under vibrant Vermont stars.

Multi Mountain Season Passes

Killington Resort and Pico Mountain
Killington and Pico are two of four Vermont resorts to offer the M.A.X Pass add on for season passholders. The affordable add on at $329, gives purchasers five days of additional skiing and riding at any of the 42 participating resorts nationwide.

Mount Snow Resort
As more and more ski areas join forces, more guests are looking for multi-mountain passes that offer flexibility for weekend and vacation plans. Demand for offerings such as the Peak Pass, Epic Pass, and Mountain Collective, once again are showing encouraging growth throughout the industry. Mount Snow is part of the Peak Pass family which allows recipients access to seven mountains spanning from New Hampshire down to Pennsylvania.

Okemo Mountain Resort
It’s great news for skiers and riders. There’s a season-pass shakeup going on in the ski world and Okemo is a frontrunner with simplified season pass offerings and reduced prices across the board. Skiers and riders can choose from the Ultra Pass, Classic Pass, Midweek Pass and College Pass. And all passes qualify for a M.A.X Pass add-on – five days of skiing and riding, with zero blackout days, at each of 42 other resorts across North America.

Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe has gone Epic this year, allowing skiers and riders to go as much as they want, whenever they want. The Epic Pass allows unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe Mountain Resort and 14 other western resorts.

Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton has joined the M.A.X Pass family, giving their season pass holders the option to add five days of skiing and riding, with zero blackout days, at each of 42 other resorts across North America for just $329.

Sugarbush Resort
New for the 2017-18 season, Sugarbush has joined the Mountain Collective, an international pass with access to 16 premier ski destinations all over the world.

 

 
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