Sugarbush Ski Resort, Vermont

Sugarbush ski resort is located in Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains. It’s about a 3½ hours drive from Boston, and 5½ hours drive from NYC.

Sugarbush was first opened as a small ski area in the late 1950s by Damon Gadd and his wife Sara, together with their business partner Jack Murphy. It quickly became established as a popular winter destination for the rich and famous, and the resort enjoyed several halycon years. But gradually Sugarbush fell out of favor. In 1977 Roy Cohen bought the concern off the Gadds, and enlarged it substantially by annexing the neigboring Mt Ellen Glen ski operation. Slowly Sugarbush returned to popularity. In 2001 ownership again transferred, this time to Summit Ventures. A substantial redevelopment program has now paid dividends, making the resort attractive and appealing. Not only does it now boast some super slope-side accommodation, but also a state of the art snowmaking system, covering over 70% of the slopes. This gives Sugarbush one of the most reliable snow records in the East.

Thanks to its history the resort is divided into two areas, ‘North’, the area at Mt Ellen Peak (4083′) and ‘South’, the area at Lincoln Peak (3975′). The two areas are connected by the very up-and-down Slide Brook chair, which traverse Slide Brook, the large valley between the two mountains. It can be a lot easier to travel from Lincoln Peak Base to Mt Ellen Base by free shuttle bus.

Ski-school sessions are run at both Lincoln and Ellen base areas. If you’re a beginner there a plenty of green trails at both sites. At Lincoln favorites for improvers include the greens reached by the Gatehouse express quad. Make your way (tentatively) down the gently-sloped Pushover, which connects to Easy Rider to return to the chair’s start. At Mt Ellen there’s a couple of short slopes, Graduation and Sugar Run, both very beginner-friendly, accessed by the Sunshine chair.

At the Lincoln area, one of the best areas for Intermediates is Allyn’s Lodge. There are 5 blue runs which peel off Snowball, all are brilliant runs, not too testing, but exciting and exhilirating. My favorite is Domino chute, which carves a big right hand turn down the hill. Oh, and don’t forget to visit the Lincoln peak’s summit at least once, to experience Jester, which gives some of the best views at the resort. Over at Mt Ellen, the best blues are Rim Run, Elbow and Way Back – all off the very top of the mountain.

Expert skiiers are spoilt for choice. At the Lincoln Peak summit, Paradise and Ripcord two steep bumps can both be recommended. At Mt Ellen summit, the blacks at the top, FIS and Black Diamond are similar lines, technical and demanding.

Ski-in, ski-out accommodation is available in the Lincoln Peak base, at the up-market Clay Brook residences. Alternatively there is the excellent Sugarbush Inn, a short drive away. There’s also lots of condo lodging in Sugarbush village.

Best Ski Resorts‘ (from 100BestEverything) rating (out of 5 stars) 2-expert,3-intermediate, 4-beginner.

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