Legendary Ski Trails As Well As Amazing Blue Runs.

Stowe in the morning. Skiing starts at 7:30 am. Credit: Stowe Mountain Resorts
Stowe in the morning. Skiing starts at 7:30 am.
Credit: Stowe Mountain Resorts

Visibility was poor as I slid onto the Forerunner Quad to reach the summit of Stowe Mountain Resort, braced by Mt. Mansfield, highest peak in Vermont at 4,395 feet. Somewhere below in the gray swirl were the legendary front four—the Goat, Starr, National, Liftline—the gnarliest and most iconic ski trails in the East, double black diamonds all.

But apprehension vanished after the first few turns on the Lord.

Lifts and Terrain

Easy intermediate cruisers like the Lord and Ridgeview provide smooth sailing down from the top of the quad (elevation 3,615 feet), new in 2012. Even the seven-turn Nose Dive (nee Barnes, circa 1930s) is sheer joy on a good day. The average 2,200 vertical feet of those top-to-bottom cruisers allows you to slide into the rhythm.

Volunteer Stowe Host Peter Lawler has been skiing at the mountain for 70 years. Credit: Tamsin Venn
Volunteer Stowe Host Peter Lawlor has been skiing at the mountain for 70 years.
Credit: Tamsin Venn

The management has gotten much better at taking care of trails and making snow, says Peter Lawlor, 83, a volunteer Stowe Host from Shelburne, Vt., skiing Stowe for 70 years. Lawlor very kindly took a few runs with me, providing company and hair-raising tales of the brave young racers on ice-slicked courses he had witnessed in decades past, including a youthful Andrea Meade Lawrence.

Hop over to the eight-person Gondola, and you’ve got more senior-friendly cruisers on the meandering Perry Merrill and the Gondolier, plus swank dining at the summit in the Cliff House Restaurant. After lunch, move over to the sunny slopes at Spruce Peak. The Sensation Quad lands you at the top of Spruce Peak for a fast cruise down Sterling or Main Street.

Lodges and Dining

Anchoring the trails here is the self contained pedestrian Spruce Peak Village, a game changer for the resort, full of senior-friendly amenities.

The Spruce Camp Base Lodge has vast amounts of space; the soaring Great Room Grill means never having to say, “Are you leaving? Can we have your table?” Heated snow free walkways, spacious ski racks, the Easy Over gondola that takes you from the Mansfield parking area over to Spruce Peak all mean minimal schlepping.

The Stowe Mountain Lodge, the slope-side condo hotel straight out of Architectural Digest, rolls out your skis on trolleys and heats your boots.

Need a lift blanket? Chairs heading up on a frosty day at Stowe. Credit: Stowe Mountain Resort
Need a lift blanket? Chairs heading up on a frosty day at Stowe.
Credit: Stowe Mountain Resort

The pedestrian village also has an ice skating rink, performing arts center, Stowe Mountain Club with special privileges, and kids Adventure Center (soon to open).

The Evolution Stowe Card provides hands free lift access and lets you reload your daily lift ticket online for savings.

Use the newly installed GPS Ride Systems app on the free shuttle bus that runs from the village to the mountain —stay inside until the bus comes.

For Seniors: Lifts open at 7:30 am weekends and holidays. Ski when slopes are uncrowded, freshly groomed, and the light is good.

Free Stowe Host-guided mountain tours meet at 10:30 on weekends and holidays in Spruce Plaza outside Spruce Camp Base Lodge.

WoW, Women of Winter, meet regularly to ski together to ski off the Forerunner Quad.

Bottom Line

Senior pricing: Senior Daily Lift Pass, 65 and older: $82 (Online)

Super Senior Daily Lift Pass, 70 and older: With purchase of Super Senior ByPass, online direct-to-lift ticket, $42 per day.

Stowe Statistics

Vertical: 2,360 feet, Trails: 116, Trail Acreage: 468, Lifts: 13, Snowmaking coverage: 83 percent, Beginner: 16 percent, Intermediate: 55 percent, Expert: 29 percent

Trail Map click here

Web Cam click here

Stowe's Mt. Mansfield has some legendary trails in front: Goat, Starr, National. Credit: Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe’s Mt. Mansfield has some legendary trails in front: Goat, Starr, National.
Credit: Stowe Mountain Resort

2 Comments

  1. Perry Merrill was a guest at my wedding in 1973. My FIL worked for him in the VT Forestry Dept.

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