With its high-quality snow, great proximity to multiple cities, and terrain that has turned out more Winter Olympians than most — not to mention the maple syrup — Vermont has it all. The Green Mountain State may not get the accolades of steeper areas out west, but the 15 skiing resorts Vermont has to offer shouldn’t be overlooked by skiers of any level. The debate will always rumble on between the states as to which one has the best ski resorts in the U.S. but don’t think as an East Coaster that you have to travel to Colorado just to get your ski fix.
The cold weather and proximity to the Canadian border mean that you’re almost guaranteed to have a great winter. Vermont averages more snow than any other state, with many resorts opening early in December and not closing until late spring. The mountains may not have the elevation of the Rockies, but there’s plenty of terrain to choose from. Don’t be fooled, though — Vermont has some of the best ski resorts around for beginners, whether they’re clipping in for the first time or are a few weeks deep. If this sounds like you, then check out one of these ski resorts in Vermont this winter.
Stratton Mountain is home to the highest peak in southern Vermont, but don’t make the mistake of thinking altitude equates to gnarly steep ski runs and expert terrain. This is one of the most beginner-friendly resorts around. In fact, Stratton Mountain consists of over 40% beginner trails, including full top-to-bottom beginner ski runs — Mike’s Way to Wanderer, which is around three miles long and descends 2,000 vertical feet.
When you do finally rejoin those lift queues, you’re not going to be waiting long. Stratton Mountain has 11 lifts with the capacity to carry over 30,000 skiers and snowboarders up the mountain every hour. The resort infrastructure doesn’t stop there, either. The crew there spends every available — or necessary — hour making snow, grooming the runs, and making sure you get the best skiing experience possible.
If you’re a beginner skier or snowboarder who loves to explore the full resort, then Okemo Ski Resort is one of the best skiing resorts Vermont can offer you. The learning area down by the Clock Tower Base Area is serviced by two quad chairs; gone are the days of waiting on a magic carpet or having a pile-up on a rope tow. The runs in this area are short but designed to get you confident with your turns and comfortable on your skis before you venture further afield.
When you’re ready to explore, the whole mountain awaits. More than 30% of the 667 skiable acres at Okemo are beginner-friendly runs. You can take the lift all the way to the summit and choose your favorite cruisy groomer to take you all the way back to the base before heading up to try out another. The best way to improve your skiing is to spend time on the mountain, and at Okemo, you’re going to have all the time you need.
Bromley might seem like an unusual choice for this list, considering it only has 47 trails overall, but two things make it stand out as a great beginner-friendly ski resort. First, these 47 trails are serviced by nine lifts, so the chances of you spending the day fighting your way through lift queues are slim. Second, Bromley is New England’s only south-facing ski resort.
Let us explain. You know those ski resorts where you only get five hours of daylight, the sun never quite hits you, and you spend the day longing to head indoors and get yourself a hot chocolate? Well, that ain’t Bromley. The south-facing slopes mean longer days, warmer temperatures, and softer snow — all things that can elevate your skiing to a whole new level. Add to that the fact that Bromley’s base is the highest in Vermont and you’ve got reliable snow and great groomers to add to a burgeoning list of reasons to learn here.
As a beginner skier or snowboarder, you need a resort that features beginner-friendly terrain, long cruising runs to get your legs in, and quality local amenities for when the skiing day is over. Stowe Mountain Resort has all of that in abundance. The resort is split into three main areas, with the original Spruce Peak generally regarded as one of the finest beginner skier areas around.
While other beginner slopes feature variable gradients and offset camber, the one here feels as though it’s been machine-graded to give you the perfect slope to focus on your turns, not the hill. The lifts and runs on this side of the mountain are perfect for progression, with each step up giving you slightly longer runs than before as you get more confident. Once you’re feeling ready to hit the longer trails, you can head to the summit for some easy blue runs. If you’re not quite ready for that, head back over toward the Toll House area for long, cruisy greens.
Although there’s plenty of beginner terrain at Sugarbush, this one makes our list as a resort for confident beginner skiers, rather than those making their first turns. The terrain at Sugarbush does a great job of bridging that gap between beginner and intermediate skiers. If you’re an advanced beginner skier who’s mastered your turns and had your fill of easy trails, then the number of blue runs at Sugarbush will help to push you to the next level.
Some of the longest blue runs in the resort give you almost 2,500 feet of vertical descent, so it’s recommended that you come to grips with the lower slopes before heading up for these thigh-burners. That’s not to say there aren’t slopes for the true beginner, though. Sugarbush Resort gives over almost a quarter of its terrain to beginner skiers and snowboarders, perfect for getting your legs back in before you push your experience.
We would understand if you questioned the inclusion of a resort nicknamed “The Beast of the East” on our list of beginner-friendly Vermont ski resorts, but rest assured, despite its reputation as a resort for experts, Killington, the largest ski resort east of the Mississippi River, has plenty to offer for beginners, as there are green easy slopes throughout most of the resort, and even the blues are manageable for advanced beginners. In fact, the longest run at Killington, the 3.5 mile “Great Eastern,” is a green beginner trail that allows beginners to have a good, long run to work on their technique without getting in over their heads.
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