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1) Killington Has the Longest Ski Season and Spring Skiing is Party Time!
The snowmaking starts early in the ski season as soon as temperatures allow and it never stops until the weather puts an end to it. Snowmaking is hyperfocused on the Superstar trail. The snow depth in the middle of the trail usually gets built up so that skiers are higher than the lift that runs along the side of the trail. This allows Killington to continue skiing into June in some years. The end of March and beyond are fun times to vacation here and the prices will tend to be lower than earlier points in the season.
2) Jay Peak is Cold but IT IS Worth It
This is Vermont’s northernmost ski resort and among the coldest, but because it is just to the east of Lake Champlain it also gets some of the most lake effect snow. This snow is created when moisture from the lake is pulled into the atmosphere and dropped just to the east over the mountains. The terrain and extra promises of fresh snow make Jay an attractive resort to those who know.
3) Night Skiing in Vermont is Cold and IT IS NOT Worth It
A few of the smaller resorts offer night skiing such as Bolton Valley, but I don’t suggest adding this to your itinerary or planning on making this a part of your vacation. The cold is often underestimated, and the lack of sun can make the snow conditions undesirable. A sunny day that turns into night can create a thin layer of crust that is no fun to ski on.
Exception to the rule: if it is dumping powder snow. Night skiing during a powder dump is a special time.
4) Money Saver: Save Money by Staying at a Bed & Breakfast
You will save money up front, avoid resort fees, and have a hot breakfast included in the price. Vermont is home to several B&Bs that are more than 100 years old and a few that are older than 200 years!
5) Money Saver: Buy Your Ski Passes Ahead of Time
Whether you buy them from the resort or another source, buying your tickets ahead of time will often save you money. The same often goes for lodging and sometimes ski rentals too.
6) Book Ski & Stay Packages to Save on Lift Tickets at the Largest Resorts
These are often offered by the resorts themselves. and sometimes by independent hotels and lodges in each local area. The Smuggler’s Notch Inn is one that I spotted recently, offering $11 off on tickets to Smugglers’ Notch if you stay there.
7) Skiing at Killington AND Pico Sounds Awesome, but is a Completely Unnecessary Goal
And no, you can't ski between them despite being semi-connected. An interconnecting trail that goes 1 way from Pico to Killington was cut in the 1990s, but this is never open to the public. It will only get you a short distance away from Killington’s Ramshead base area.
These two resorts are often mentioned together in different ways. At some points in time they have had combo lift tickets under various ownership that allowed you to ski at both resorts. They are now both owned by the same company, but as of right now you can’t buy a combo lift ticket that is valid at both resorts. Even if you could, I wouldn’t recommend it despite them being only about 10 minutes apart. You won’t find many pleasures at Pico that you can’t find at Killington, and Killington is really where the bulk of the goodies can be found. Pico does play a great role in VT skiing, but it is better for the locals who want to spin laps mid-week than it is as a family destination.
8) Kids Under 6 Years Old? Choose Wisely and Ye Shall be Rewarded!
Many Vermont ski areas will let your kids ski for free if they are under a certain age but this age will vary. Some resorts don’t let kids ski free at any age, some set the age at 5, 6, or 7. Here is a list that you can check to see which mountain will let your child ski free if they are in that age range.
9) What is the Cheapest Ski Resort?
Let’s just consider the major ski resorts that you might want to travel from far out of state to visit. Add to your list: Jay Peak, Mount Snow, Okemo, Smugglers’ Notch. If you avoid peak season dates you can get a ticket for less than $100/day still. Leave off of your list: Killington, Stowe, Stratton, Sugarbush… these are the 4 most expensive. Sugarbush peaked out last year at $169 for a ticket purchased at the window during peak season.
10) Don't Fly to Vermont Ski. If You Are Going to Fly, Go to Colorado.
Most of the visitors to Vermont come from around New England and almost everyone drives here. If you are coming from farther away and you are planning on flying, I usually recommend going to Colorado instead.
11) Add the Ben & Jerry's Factory to Your To-Do List
If you are heading anywhere near northern Vermont, be sure to visit the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury. Tours are available and delicious.
12) Mad River Glen is a Vermont Insider's Gem.
This is not the largest resort in Vermont but it has a reputation among locals for being a real skier’s gem. If you want to know what the culture is like here, consider the following: Mad River Glen is home to the only one-person single’s chairlift that I know of right now. They refuse to replace it and have no plans to do so. Fair to say, this place is old school.
13) Killington is the Best Resort for Terrain Park Skiers and Riders
If you are hunting for the best terrain parks, I suggest trying Killington. Among the many terrain parks here you will find The Stash; a 65+ feature terrain park that is littered with natural features, real logs, and rainbow trees etc. This is a unique terrain park that you won’t find replicated anywhere nearby.
14) Walking Distance Lodging is Worth the Money
It just is. You will have to pay extra to stay by the slopes so that you won’t have to drive to/from the mountain every day, but I feel like it is usually worth the price.
15) Choose a Southern VT Resort if You are Driving Home Sunday Night to NYC, Boston or Beyond After Skiing
It is easy to overestimate your willingness to drive 2+ hours after a long day of skiing (which caps an even longer ski vacation). If you choose Killington, Mount Snow, or Stratton over Jay Peak, you may thank me on Sunday night when it comes time to drive home.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Marcus
Liz Westwood from UK on October 08, 2021:
This article is packed with useful tips and information about skiing in Vermont.