Nov 1, 2019 at 8:00 AM in Things to Do by
Arguably the most renowned ski resort and town in Vermont, Stowe
recently became even more epic. Vail Resorts, the premier mountain resort
company in the world, acquired this historic property, making it their first
move toward establishing a presence in the northeast.
Stowe Mountain Resort, located just north of the historic village of the same name, has been welcoming skiers since 1933. (The National Ski Patrol was founded here in 1934.) Comprised of two separate mountains, Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, and Spruce Peak, there’s plenty of skiable terrain and vertical feet to entice skiers and snowboarders of all levels. With Vail Resorts at the helm, Stowe will likely experience all kinds of improvements from the addition of more trails and lifts to better snowmaking and grooming. Not to mention on-mountain dining and shopping! Look out, Stowe’s already reaching new summits as one of the most dynamic ski resorts in North America.
Just like in Vail and at most of the other biggies in the West, further development of summertime activities on the mountain has been of utmost importance. Stowe rocks it with climbing adventures, ZipTour and TreeTop Adventures, a Gondola SkyRide, an Auto Toll Road, golfing, hiking and more. Yet under Vail’s direction, more family fun activities will surely be established.
Back to winter: Did you hear that World Cup ski racing has returned to Vermont? Its 38-year hiatus was broken in 2016 when the ladies charged down this New England state’s signature trails. (Think Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin.) Now the crème de la crème of ski racing will be descending upon Stowe and/or other top Vermont resorts such as Smugglers’ Notch every Thanksgiving. Guess why? Because these destinations consistently offer top early-season snow conditions achieved through high tech snowmaking and chilly Vermont temps. Oh, and their terrain is World Cup-worthy, too. So break out your cowbells and plan to attend at least one of the World Cup events. The thrill of cheering on these brightly-clad, high performing athletes sliding down the slopes at breakneck speed rings in as one of the best sporting events around. It makes for a fun party, too.
You’ll find thrills of a different sort at Arbortrek Canopy Adventures, a company that hooks you up with unique outdoor activities year-round; highlights include a zip line, a treetop obstacle course and climbing adventures.
Like most authentic mountain towns, you can find a range of outfitters to set you up with the right outdoor activity, gear and if necessary, guide. Umiak Outfitters arranges nordic, tele and backcountry skiing along with snowshoeing and dogsledding in the winter. Come summer, they’ll get you out on the water canoeing, kayaking and SUPing.
With so many lakes, ponds, streams and rivers in the region, there’s a lot of watersport recreation for every budget. If you’re looking for the pool kind, kids and adults love The Swimming Hole. Since it’s Vermont, you can bet that a lot of waterplay involves good ole olden days fun that doesn’t cost a dime. Dunk yourself into one of the many well-known natural swimming holes; look for signs around town or ask a local.
Walking and pedaling along the Stowe Recreation Path, a 5.3-mile-stretch alongside picturesque farmland and nature also rings in as one of the best bargains in town. It’s so nice that you might decide to keep your car parked and just bike in and out of town. As they say, some of the best things in life are free. If you have to rent a bike, it’s still money well spent–even if it rains or snows, which it often does in Vermont. Thankfully.