It’s not every day you get to fill your lungs with the crispest air, bag the highest peaks, or shred some of the most badass terrain in North America. Whether you’re a guy who prefers a high-end, no holds-barred ski vacation, or you’re a ski bum turned corporate dude looking to relive your glory days, your annual ski trip is a sacred, time-honored tradition. In our winter Ski Series, we’re delivering you a go-to guide, so you know where to stay, what to eat, and in some cases, how to discover things only the locals know.
Landing the No. 5 spot on Ski Magazine’s list of 2015 Top Ski Towns, Stowe, Vermont boasts as thrilling a mountain experience as it does a storied past. Stowe has stood the test of time and remains a beloved, charming town, having become known as a world-class destination.
Although the town’s population is only 4,300, there’s no shortage of legendary New England culture found in the green mountains of Vermont. As The Ski Capital of the East, Stowe attracts similar caliber skiers to the East as Vail does to the West — and with not an ounce of the same pretension. New Englanders are a hearty breed, and a visit to Stowe demonstrates just that.
Where to stay
Claiming recognition as one of the world’s best mountainside hotels, Stowe Mountainside Lodge has everything a vacationer would want. From luxury accommodations to upscale dining to unparalleled views, Stowe Mountainside Lodge delivers the goods. Home to the high-end Spa & Wellness Center, the property attracts guests with world-class service, providing everything from relaxing spa services, a tranquil environment, and the chance to recharge so you can return home feeling refreshed.
Where to eat
Perched on the shoulder of Mount Mansfield, the Cliff House Restaurant is a chalet setting perfect for fresh, seasonal fare with a side of stunning, panoramic views. With an impressive exhibition-style kitchen and a wine list to match, the Cliff House is a great way to drink in the flavor of Vermont. For those looking for something a bit more intimate, a visit to Swiss Fondue by Heinz is a must. Combine your love of cheese with a quintessential dining experience. But be sure to grab a reservation in advance, as this quaint spot holds only six tables.
Where to shred
Stowe Mountain Resort is located on Mount Mansfield, which claims Vermont’s highest peak. Lift-accessed terrain includes a mix of beginner to advanced trails, and expert runs can be accessed via the Fourrunner Quad, Lookout Double, or Sensation Quad, which serves expert ski and ride terrain only.
Best après watering hole
With a mentality of “come as a stranger, leave a friend,” Burt’s Irish Pub is truly a locals bar that doesn’t turn its nose up when tourists walk through the door. A rowdy bar scene at an Irish pub is pretty much a given, but this spot has survived with hearty soul and outlasted other establishments not worthy of calling themselves a locals’ spot in Stowe.
Talk of the town
It’s not uncommon for ski towns to have a less-than-impressive representation of the arts, but Stowe hasn’t let the importance of the arts fall by the wayside. The Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center is coined as the “creative and cultural soul of the alpine village of Stowe Mountain Resort.” The state-of-the-art facility hosts a worthy lineup of a wide range of performances, including live music, theatre, dance, comedy, and film.