Vermont welcomes skiers seeking a winter wonderland
Those in Vermont’s tourism trade say going downhill in their state can be uplifting.
Vermont tourism officials held a recent Toronto gathering touting Vermont as a great ski retreat that offers a wide selection of ski resorts, some close enough to the Quebec border that they can be visited on day trips from Montreal.
Mike Chait of Smuggler’s Notch – which bills itself as “America’s Family Resort” – noted that it is 45 minutes from the Quebec border and “you can see the skyline of Montreal on a clear day” from the hill.
Night owls can ride a chairlift to the summit after dark, have dinner and then snowshoe down the hill, he added.
Chait said Vermont has been a leading-edge jurisdiction when it comes to schussing, among other things having had the first ski lift in the United States, creating the first ski patrol in that country and being a pioneer in snowboarding.
John Bleh of Sugarbush in turn noted his hill is independently owned, with a vice-president of investment firm Merrill Lynch having bought the majority of resort shares in 2001.
That owner now takes to Sugarbush slopes around 100 times a year, enabling him to keep a close eye on a resort that features two mountains that are connected by both a chairlift and a shuttle, have 111 trails and offer glade skiing between the mountains, he continued.
Sugarbush is some 2.5 hours from Montreal.
Jamie Storrs of Mount Snow said that resort decided to invest $30 million in new snow-making, a move that gives it the greatest snow-making ability in the northeastern US.
Meanwhile, Blake Olson of Stowe, Vermont’s Trapp Family Lodge said that resort – founded some 50 years ago by the von Trapp family, which became internationally famous following the release of the movie The Sound of Music – has long reached out to cross-country skiers, and now offers 65 miles of groomed x-c trails. “We’re the most important nordic ski centre not only in North America, but perhaps the Western Hemisphere,” he said.
The lodge has many reminders of the family that founded it, and all its guests know of The Sound of Music, Olson added.
Meanwhile, Porter Airlines will have twice-weekly service from Toronto to Burlington, Vermont, from Dec. 21 until March 27, with return fares starting at $283, including taxes and fees. Travellers can receive 20% discount on a Friday night stay at either Burlington’s Hotel Vermont, Courtyard Marriott, Hilton and Hilton Gardens by showing their Porter boarding pass. A gift bag and a Vermont discount card valid at select restaurants and tourist attractions across the state will then be provided.