The Perfect Ski Getaway
The Best Runs
Mellow or monster? Bunny or steep? Six Vermont trails to satisfy any proclivity.
By Ben Hewitt
OUTER LIMITS, KILLINGTON (EXPERTS ONLY) There are two types of skiers- in this world: those who loathe moguls, and those who can’t get enough of them. If you count yourself among the latter, aim your tips down the humpbacked throat of Outer Limits, the finest bump run in the state, bar none. There are a handful of chosen lines on OL; we’re partial to the one that runs far skier’s right and gets less traffic than the rest of the hill. Maybe that’s because it’s littered with rocks and drops. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
TUCKERMAN’S CHUTE, JAY PEAK (EXPERTS ONLY) What with the economy heading downhill faster than a sober Bode Miller, everyone’s looking for a break. Here’s yours. Save yourself airfare and jet lag, and hop Jay’s tram to the vertiginous steeps of Tuckerman’s Chute. Not only is Jay on the receiving end of copious powder, it also boasts some of Vermont’s most feral terrain, including the 10-to-20-foot drops, hulking stumps, and tree-ridden chutes of Tuckerman’s. More than you bargained for? Take a cruise down the moderate, well-groomed pitches of Northway or Ullr’s Dream instead. We won’t tell a soul.
ANTELOPE, MAD RIVER GLEN (INTERMEDIATE TO EXPERT)
Way back when, all eastern ski trails were like Mad River Glen’s Antelope: narrow, twisty, and ungroomed. Thankfully, some things never change, and Antelope still entices with its undulating pitch that demands sharp focus and quick turning skills. It’s not terribly steep, so strong intermediates can dive in with confidence, but it remains a challenge even for experienced skiers, particularly in hard snow conditions. Our recommendation: Wait for at least six inches of fresh snow and drop in.
TOLL ROAD, STOWE (BEGINNER) Beginning and casual skiers often resign themselves to low mountain flanks, where most resorts confine their mellow terrain. The Toll Road does better by newbies, carving a meandering path from the top of Stowe’s storied Four Runner quad chairlift. Hot tip: Rather than following Toll Road all the way to its terminus at the soporific Toll House double chair, bear skier’s left onto Lullaby Lane and return to the quad for more of the good stuff.
JESTER, SUGARBUSH (INTERMEDIATE) The jester’s lifework is putting smiles on faces, and such is the effect of this winding slice of blue-square piste at the recently revamped Sugarbush resort. Getting to Jester takes a little bit of effort: You’ll need to board two chairlifts (Super Bravo Express quad and Heaven’s Gate triple), but the seductive pitch and endless turns make it all worthwhile. If you get tired of playing GS racer, veer onto the Valley House Traverse and take the Snowball to Spring Fling for some wide-open cruising. 800-537-8427, sugarbush.com.
One Very Family-Friendly Slope
We love the low-key vibe at Okemo. And we love that Dee Snider, frontman of the ’80s hair-metal band Twisted Sister, skis there. But mostly, we love cruising with our families down mountain road, which begins from the summit and traces a mellow route all the way down the mountain. It’s got just enough turns to keep the little ones interested, and even in adverse weather, Okemo’s class-leading grooming squad keeps it soft and edgeable.