Located in a state synonymous with snow, Vermont ski areas take the title of top ski destination in the East seriously—and are always looking for new ways to provide flake-filled fun for visitors. That means updates to lodging, lifts, and further expansion of snowmaking, new activities, and sustainability programs. Here's what to look forward to in the 2023-24 season:
Every day of skiing at Mad River Glen is a mini celebration—especially this year as Mad River Glen celebrates its 75th season. The traditional 75th anniversary gift is diamonds, which is fitting since Mad River continues to be a staple for those seeking expert terrain on natural snow in northern Vermont. Mad River Glen also comes into the 2023-24 season with upgraded snowmaking components for their lower-mountain snowmaking system and it’s increasingly popular kids’ ski school program.
Killington’s ability ski into late spring isn’t an accident—it comes from combining committed teams of expert snowmakers with cutting edge snowmaking technology. The Beast of the East continues to upgrade and improve on its snowmaking system, replacing large sections of pipeline and adding more low-energy snowguns to their arsenal. Folding in the variable speed electric compressor from last season, Killington is ready to welcome guests with more efficiently-made snow that ever before.
Killington is also adding a new Pinoth Bison X groomer and winch to their technical grooming fleet. The winch increases Killington’s snowmaking accuracy by providing snow depth readings, ensuring snow goes where it’s needed and eliminating waste and saving time—all of which skiers and riders will feel on the slopes.
A local favorite and excellent place for lessons, Pico mountain received major lift maintenance over the summer, including installation of a new haul rope on the Summit Express, a rebuild of the motor in the Canyon Quad, and a complete overhaul of the ski area’s pump house. Improvements to the pump house bring the snowmaking system’s capability up 800GPM to 2400GPM, with an upsized feed line and capability of pumping water at higher pressure to the 25 new low-energy snowguns the area has added to its arsenal. For skiers and riders that means making snow faster over a larger area with less energy.
In addition to its reputation for churning out Olympians, Burke Mountain also happens to be the prime ski destination in the Northeast Kingdom, with new events, deals, and improved snowmaking on deck for the 2023-24 season. With freshly-upgraded snowmaking pipe and increased water pressure delivery to its high efficiency snow guns, Burke is poised to slide into the season with the ability to open more terrain faster and more efficiently.
The home of the flat-rate ticket in a time of variable pricing, Bromley continues to set itself apart by further lowering the price on their most expensive passes this season to make them more affordable for the general public. Skiers and riders have long appreciated the warmer conditions on the south-facing “Sun Mountain”, but those warmer temps make snowmaking an important part of winter operations. This summer Bromley made several upgrades to their snowmaking upgrades and added an entirely new system to the resort’s race hill.
Stratton starts this season with a reimagined Learning Zone, complete with 3 new covered magic carpets in the main base area, new park locations on East Byrnes Side and Betwixt, and the unveiling of the Stratton Boardercross (formerly Big Ben). Stratton also added HKD’s KLIK Manual hydrant technology to its snowmaking system, which “can boost snowmaking production by as much as 100% when compared to using traditional hydrants and hoses”, according to the manufacturer’s website. The time saved can be spend running the area’s new Prinoth Bison X groomer and laying down some of the best lines in southern Vermont. New RFID scanning at all major Stratton lifts means quicker lift loading for more time on the slopes. Ski Butlers is also now available as a rental service at Stratton Mountain Resort.
Magic plans to double its uphill capacity this ski season with a new (to the mountain) Summit Quad slated for completion this fall, which will more than double uphill capacity. Combined with the continued 1,500-ticket-a-day cap (including holidays), and the new RFID POS system allowing new and returning skiers to skip the ticket window, Magic can all but guarantee little to no lift waiting while retaining the less-crowded slopes they pride themselves on.
On the slopes, an expanded snowmaking pond and upgraded intake pipe will more than double the snowmaking abilities this year, giving the Magic team expanded options throughout the season.
Even with the new mountain biking pump track, expanded lessons and riding offerings, and the opportunities to hike with the ski area’s goats, Trapp Family Lodge still finds the time to prep for winter—replacing and repairing culverts, landscaping, and brush management—to be ready for flakes to fly. If the snow needs a little help, the cross-country ski area is planning to install a new HKD fan gun to cover more ground and expand the ski season.
Small but mighty and with a passionate crew, Lyndon Outing Club rolls into the season with a new groomer (purchased at the tail end of last season). The area is also adding new terrain park features and is one of the state’s few places offering night skiing.
Continuing to invest heavily in snowmaking upgrades with another $3 million dedicated to enhancing snowmaking infrastructure, Sugarbush has focused on projects on Mt. Ellen for this summer. These investments cap a multiyear effort to improve snowmaking systems at Mt. Ellen, including energy-efficient upgrades to Northstar, Inverness, and the Summit Quad terrain. These improvements, combined with new pumps, now allow Sugarbush to efficiently make snow across the mountain, saving energy while opening terrain faster and recovering from weather events more quickly.
What skier wouldn’t want to maximize time on the snow? That’s the thinking at Stowe where they’ll be coming in to the 23-24 season with the updated My Epic App with Mobile Pass. The new tech allows guests to buy their pass or lift ticket online, activate and store it in the new My Epic app, and put their phone back in their pocket. Thanks to the app low-energy Bluetooth design, skiers and riders will automatically be scanned when loading the lift—completely hands free.
*Mobile Pass and Mobile Lift Ticket will be available at all US resorts this season.
New lights, a new lift, and night skiing.
Local favorite and student staple Middlebury Snowbowl flies into the 2023-24 winter season with game-changing upgrades and some head-turning new features. After faithfully serving skiers since 1985, the Sheehan double chair will be replaced with a Skytrak fixed quad with a few additional bonus chairs for good measure. The upgrade will offer a slight increase in uphill capacity and vastly improve beginner lessons by allowing instructors to ride with larger groups of students.
The new chair will also serve Middlebury Snowbowl’s new night skiing program, the culmination of a 20-year vision championed by general manager Mike Hussey. Joining only a handful of alpine ski areas offering after-dark skiing across the state (including Bolton Valley, Magic Mountain’s Terrain Park, and the Lyndon Outing Club), Middlebury Snowbowl will light the Lang, Kelton, and Cameron (for the race team, but open to the public when not in use) trails, as well as the Discovery zone and adjoining magic carpet.
With great on-piste skiing, expansive backcountry, and a very popular night skiing program, Bolton Valley is about snow—wherever it is. That's why this family-owned ski area’s main upgrade this season is the culmination of a nearly $1 million in snowmaking investments over the past two years.
Visitors seeking to rest their legs between laps will also notice the newly renovated and expanded Timberline Lodge, which accompanies Timberline’s legendary ski terrain, featuring some of the mountain’s finest steeps and gladed terrain.
Okemo is 100% open for business! Having fully bounced back from this summer's weather event Okemo launches into the winter season with plenty of improvements for the winter season. Visitors can get right to the snow thanks to a freshly paved main lot with widened culverts to improve parking. The new Mobile Pass on the MyEpic app will also allow users to purchase tickets, download, wirelessly scan their (hands-free) via Bluetooth in the lift line.
Fans of the Crazy Train Terrain Park can look forward to increased feature building thanks to a snowmaking pipe reinstall between Black Out and The Zone, while a new access trail allows for easier access to Sweet Solitude from Sapphire/Upper Tomahawk.