Four hours from NYC and Boston and an hour from Burlington Airport, the area boasts the best terrain in the Northeast. Stowe Mountain Resort spans 485 acres over Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Average accumulation is about 330 inches, and a $9.8 million snowmaking expansion has just been completed. As for the surrounding area? It lays claim to more three-star restaurants than any other U.S. ski town, and the party scene offers a distinct brand of laid-back boisterousness that’s as Vermont as Cabot cheddar.
Plan: Carve down Stowe’s legendary Front Four from the quad, or grab a ride on the newly refurbished gondola and descend the north side. Whatever you do, be sure to grab a burger at the mountaintop Cliff House. Other musts: Goat Trail for the most confident skiers; intermediates need to speed down North Slope or the mellower Toll Road. Beginner? Stick with Spruce Peak, which has a bonanza of blue and green trails.
Crash: The Stowe Mountain Lodgeis a sprawling four-star, 450,000-square-foot Adirondack-style resort. There’s a 21,000-square-foot spa fitted with four Jacuzzis to entertain guests or tend to sore muscles; and most of the 300 featherbed-adorned suites come with views of Spruce and Mount Mansfield. You’ll probably lose count of all the fireplaces that crackle within this place’s confines. Book it early.
Eat: The only thing that changes more often than the wind direction at Stowe is chef Eric Warnstedt’s menu at Hen of the Wood, which varies based on available ingredients. Don’t sweat it: Everything at the place is perfectly prepared and exceptionally plated. Keep an eye out for the grilled octopus and the rabbit leg.
Party: Stowe’s après scene kicks off as early as 3 p.m. on weekends. Hit The Matterhorn for the lobster mac and cheese, microbrews (c’mon, it’s Vermont), and energetic live music. Chalk up your pool cue and chat with the Burton-bedecked beauties and weekend warriors who do defrosting right. Take a power nap (if need be), then head to the Rusty Nail Bar & Grille. The concert hall club consistently attracts the area’s biggest crowds and recently upgraded its sound system. Good thing—you’ll party there until dawn.
Photos by Jesse Schloff / Stowe Mountain Resort