Skiing Vermont can’t get much easier than following Route 100 to catch almost all the major ski areas. Starting with Mount Snow in the south and ending at Jay Peak up north, here’s what’s new and exciting at Vermont resorts for the 2011-12 season.
- Bromley Mountain Resort is celebrating its 75th anniversary and has added a new trail named “Orion” – a black diamond glade – and is readying a KidsRule Mountain Camps program for which they have added a 3,000 square foot kids facility and installed a fully enclosed carpet lift.
- Magic Mountain continues to push the boundaries and for 2011-12. It has increased off-piste tree-skiing, enhanced snowmaking on the expert-only west-side and expanded après ski happenings at Goniff’s Den, the social hub for ski-lovers since the 1960s.
- Mount Snow is all set to debut America’s only high-speed detachable six-passenger bubble chairlift, the Bluebird Express, for the 2011-2012 winter season. Also opening will be the 1900’ Burger – Mount Snow’s newest eating and drinking establishment.
- Stratton Mountain Resort will commemorate its 50th birthday with season-long celebrations. Stratton is also partnering with Burton to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the US Open and is launching Burton’s pilot ‘Experience Snowboarding program,’ a 360 degree approach to learning snowboarding. Also for the Golden Anniversary look for four new trails in the Sun Bowl, an additional terrain park on Big Ben along with the addition of new energy efficient snowguns and two new snowcats.
- Killington Resort has again landed a 2011-12 Winter Dew Tour stop. Ready for this season are snowmaking improvements and several hundred new low energy snow guns with four new Prinoth snowgroomers to care for all that new snow. Killington has trumped Hurricane Irene’s havoc by adding a new deck and Meissl Umbrella Bar, named the “Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar.”
- Okemo Mountain Resort has been focused on enhancing the Okemo summertime experience making for a true all season resort. For the 2011-12 winter season upgrades to the snowmaking system will include 15 new snow guns and miles of new pipe, while skiers and riders needing rentals will find brand new alpine and nordic equipment.
- Sugarbush Resort starts the 2011-12 season presenting a completed Lincoln Peak base area including the ‘Schoolhouse.’ This new all-inclusive space for children’s ski and ride programs has been designed to resemble a traditional Vermont schoolhouse, decorated with murals and play spaces by celebrated local artists.
- Smugglers’ Notch Resort has been working with Vermont’s own Burton Snowboards to develop and implement the next generation of the Burton Riglet Park – an on-snow play area with terrain features designed for introducing young children to snowboarding. Smugg’s also plans to expand its group lesson experience to two hours and has attached the two hour lesson to the resort’s classic and summit vacation packages.
- Stowe Mountain Resort’s big news this year is the replacement the legendary Four Runner chairlift on Mount Mansfield with a new high-speed detachable quad ready for the 2011-12 season.
- Burke Mountain gets a new high-speed quad and has added five trails at the summit.
- Bolton Valley Resort continues to expand its snowmaking efficiency and adds another groomer.
- Jay Peak Resort will be opening the Pump House, a 50,000-square foot indoor glass enclosed water park attached to the new Hotel Jay.
- The Trapp Family Lodge is opening 40 km of backcountry territory keeping the terrain un-groomed and offering backcountry rental equipment, lessons and guided tours.
Maine gets a lot of early season snowstorms that seem to start as flurries then develop into a real dump. I’ve actually jumped in my car and driven seven hours up to Sugarloaf and Sunday River to catch one of those early December bombers.
If you head up that way here’s some of what you’ll find new for winter 2011-12.
- Sugarloaf will premier the new Skyline quad and up to 100 acres of new terrain in Brackett Basin. The new terrain expansion brings Sugarloaf’s total acreage to more than 1,000 developed, skiable acres – the most in the East.
- Sunday River will be showing off renovations in the South Ridge Base Lodge, actually doubling the seating in the Food Court and adding Japanese and Korean dining options. Two new on-mountain real estate projects will be getting underway, one is for slopeside ski-in/ski-out and the other just off the Sunday River Golf Club. On the mountain, the resort has been improving their snowmaking capabilities and has expanded the Blind Ambition Glades to 75 acres and extends it one mile downslope.
- Camden Snow Bowl has all eyes on a near future full redevelopment of the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area – the home of the Camden Snow Bowl. For 2011-12 you’ll find at least one new gladed area “Shipwreck.” Also there’s a new a 3K Nordic trail, groomed with both a classic lane and a freestyle lane that will connect to an additional 5K classic trail on the adjacent property of the Coastal Mountains Land Trust.