Ski-Trippin’ To Vermont

Ski-trippin’ to Vermont

Road trip from Stratton to Sugarbush in Vermont and enjoy the best that this New England winter-wonderland state has to offer…

By Karen Kwan

The key to making it through the long winter season? Making the most out of what the cold temps make possible: layer up and get out into that crisp fresh air, hit the slopes and lean into the cozy vibes with comfort foods and après-ski bevvies.

The easiest way to plan your winter getaways? If you’ve got a season ski and snowboard pass, take a cue from the mountains included with your pass when it comes to choosing your next destination. You’ll not only renew your love of the sport with new trails to shred but you may even fall in love with winter even more. Got an Ikon Pass, for example? Get out of your usual Blue Mountain or Mont Tremblant routine and head just south of the border to Vermont. This state gets the most snowfall of all of the United States so great snow conditions are pretty much guaranteed and these two must-not-miss spots will make you fall in love with Vermont. You’re sure to head home with Noah Kahan playing on repeat.

Relax after a day on the mountain by the fireplace at Long Trail House at Stratton Mountain Resort
ABOVE: Relax after a day on the mountain by the fireplace at Long Trail House at Stratton Mountain Resort


Explore the town of Manchester
Kick off your Southern Vermont getaway with a stop into the city of Manchester before heading to Stratton Mountain Resort. Take a walk along the Manchester Riverwalk, a short path through the woods beside the West Branch of the Battenkill River–it’s right in town but it’ll feel like a little forest escape. Head next to check out the shops in town. Start with the Manchester Designer Outlets, which has stores from Marimekko, Eddie Bauer, Brooks Brothers and J. Crew in charming village-like boutiques. Be sure to pop into Smuggler’s Notch Distillery for a tasting of their award-winning spirits and to pick up a bottle or two as souvenirs. Finally, stop into Manchester Woodcraft, a 74-year-old store filled with lovely wood pieces, from handsome cheeseboards and aesthetic kitchen utensils to charming home decor.

Check into Stratton Mountain Resort
Next, check into your Stratton accommodations at Long Trail House (it’s less than 30-min drive away from Manchester). This comfortable Village Common condo features a gas fireplace in each home and is right across the street from the Village, making it quick and easy for you get back to that couch and kick back after a day on the slopes.

Dine in the Village
Grab dinner at the Fire Tower Restaurant and Tavern, a lively, cozy gem steps from Long Trail House that serves up comfort-food favourites including fried dill pickle chips, smash burgers and lasagna.

To make the most out of your vacation time at Stratton, before your trip, book your rentals with Ski Butlers. Skip the wait and chore of going to the ski shop to get your rentals and instead reserve your gear online or by phone with Ski Butlers to have your equipment delivered and fitted at your accommodations. (Psst: Be sure to reserve the Premium Package at Stratton so you can try the custom Stratton skis created by Parlor (the New England ski brand) in partnership with Ski Butlers.

Stratton offers more than 670 acres of skiable terrain
ABOVE: Stratton offers more than 670 acres of skiable terrain


Eat breakfast in the Village
Grab a quick bite for breakfast at Upper Standard Coffee in the Village–try a New England Flat White (think traditional flat white but with a bit more milk)–to fuel up for your day on the mountain.

Ski (or ride) the slopes at Stratton
With 99 trails and loads of groomers, Stratton Mountain is great for families and those new to skiing and riding. The Learning Zone has recently been revamped with three new covered carpets, where there are now a total of five surface lifts, plus regraded slopes (making it possible for newbies to progress gradually and get more confident with their skills). With the highest peak in Southern Vermont and perfectly snow-laden trees that belong on a Christmas card, you’ll be rewarded with some fantastic summit views and a friendly, unpretentious vibe.

Turn your equipment in and head to après
For après, head to Grizzly’s, a rustic bar and restaurant with vaulted ceilings and timber framing (aka exactly what you envision for an idyllic Vermont bar) for live music with a view of the base area and terrain park that gets packed come 4 p.m. You’ll see why it’s repeatedly been named as one of the top après spots in the U.S.

Dine in a historic roadhouse
Bring your appetite to Johnny Seesaw’s, a stunning restaurant housed in a 1924 roadhouse complete with an open-air fireplace, original log beams and a mural of wintery Vermont circa WWII for a taste of fine dining inspired by local ingredients. Be sure to whet your appetite with a few small plates to share, such as the delicata squash with miso-pecan butter, blue cheese and toasted almonds and duck liver pate.

At Stratton, for some of the best après-ski, hit up the bar and deck at Grizzly's
ABOVE: At Stratton, for some of the best après-ski, hit up the bar and deck at Grizzly’s


Explore the Mad River Valley
Check out of Stratton Mountain Resort and head north to the town of Warren in the Mad River Valley via US-7 N. On the way, stop into The Sparkle Barn in Wellington to pick up a few local gifts–we recommend the maple-infused sriracha for that hot-sauce loving friend and some maple-moose treats (made of Vermont maple syrup and naturally shed moose antler powder) for your pup. For more retail therapy, stop into the town of Waitsfield, established in 1782. In its historic Bridge Street neighbourhood, check out All Things Bright and Beautiful, which is filled from floor to ceiling with stuffed animals and Christmas ornaments and Artisan’s Gallery, which offers the works from more than 150 Vermont artisans, from jewelry and ceramics to sheepskin mittens and prints. Alternatively, ice cream lovers will not want to miss visiting the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury (it’s the only factory of this beloved ice cream brand that is open to the public). Book the 30-minute guided tour for a behind-the-scenes peek at how your fave pint of ice cream comes together and enjoy a sample of a featured flavour (we devoured the scoop of Churr-eh for Churros!) and finish your visit with some pictures outside at the face-hole photo opp.

Check into the Lodge at Lincoln Peak
Check into the newly renovated Lodge at Lincoln Peak for your stay at Sugarbush Resort. The rooms are clean-lined and modern and the lounge area by reception is extra cozy with a cabin aesthetic (think roaring fireplace, leather lounge chairs and a supply of board games).

Dine at the foot of Lincoln Peak
For dinner, Rumble’s Bistro and Bar is a Sugarbush favourite. Adjacent to the Clay Brook Hotel right at the base of Lincoln Peak, the restaurant is a beautiful 6,000 sq-ft space with a vaulted ceiling and post-and-beam construction–the inspiration for the design being a 19th-century Vermont round dairy barn. Named after Rumble, Sugarbush’s Bernese mountain dog mascot for many years, the restaurant serves up a menu of American cuisine with a twist such as the fried brussels sprouts served with a signature rub, hoisin sauce, jalapeno, pickled peanuts and crispy garlic to start and classic main dishes such as steak frites and cider-braised pork shank.

Sugarbush, known as a skier's mountain, delivers six peaks to challenge you
ABOVE: Sugarbush, known as a skier’s mountain, delivers six peaks to challenge you

Day 4

Get breakfast and groceries for your stay
The place for breakfast at Sugarbush Resort? Paradise Provisions, just a few doors down from the Lodge at Lincoln Peak, where you can get breakfast sandwiches, bagels and coffee in the morning, while also stocking up on craft beer, wine and snacks for your stay.

Hit the slopes at Sugarbush
Pick up your equipment at the Farmhouse Demo & Tune Shop at Lincoln Peak and prepare for an exhilarating day on the slopes. Known as a challenging mountain with few groomed trails, Sugarbush is home to two mountains, Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen (connected by chair lift and shuttle bus), serving up diverse, interesting terrain that the more advanced skiers and riders among us will enjoy. With an impressive vertical drop (2,600 feet) and limited beginner terrain, conquering Sugarbush’s demanding slopes is a surefire way to get an adrenaline rush.

Enjoy après with the locals
For après, head to Mt. Ellen Base Lodge to Green Mountain Lodge. It’s all retro New-England bar vibes here with live music a few nights a week and you’ll rub elbows with plenty of locals enjoying the variety of micro brews on draft and classic cocktails (such a refreshing mule made with local Mad River Rye).

Feed your appetite with flatbread
Post-drinks, head straight to the original location of American Flatbread in Waitsfield. Yes, it’s now a popular chain with frozen goods sold in grocery stores but this original location of the brand is worth a visit–it’s set on Lareau Farm, a historic 25-acre farmstead with an impressive wood-fired clay oven that is the star of the welcoming, homey dining area. Enjoy a drink while you wait for your table and you will also be asked to place and pay for your food order then as well. Get your fix of local flavours by opting for the Vermont Sausage flatbread, which is loaded with homemade maple-fennel sausage made with Gaylord Farm’s naturally raised pork, caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms, cheese and herbs.

Gear Up
Here are five innovative pieces that’ll keep you warm and dry this ski season.

Ski-trippin’ to Vermont - Gear Up

1. Arc’teryx Sabre SV Jacket in Black
This shell is made to withstand demanding conditions with an articulated design allowing you freedom to move.

2. Arc’teryx Sabre Pant in Yukon/Relic
Both durable and breathable with light insulation, this pant featured reflectors for added safety.

3. Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer ¼ Zip in Charcoal Mountain Scape
First rule of dressing for the winter elements: layering.

4. Burton GORE-Tex Mittens in Gray Heather
Breathable insulation with phone-friendly thumbs and palms.

5. Baffin Impact boot in Camo
Snowshoe-compatible and easy to pull on and off.

Tags: ski, Skiing, Topstory, travel, Travel Guide, travel tips, Vermont

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