Hit the Slopes in Vermont this Spring Break
While some flock to the beaches for spring break, others prefer to take advantage of great conditions and minimal crowds in the Green Mountain State of Vermont. No matter your budget or comfort level on the slopes, there are plenty of options to help you make the most of your vacation and bring home some great memories. Spring break falls during a time when mountain conditions are at their prime and you won’t find yourself battling the crowds. So check out some of the picks below and you might just find one – or many! – that help you plan out the ultimate ski vacation.
Okemo in Ludlow, Vermont is a great option for those on a budget. The first hour on the slopes is free, so in the (rare) case that you don’t find conditions to be perfect, you won’t have to sacrifice your lift ticket for the day. Okemo offers southern Vermont’s highest vertical drop – at 2,200 feet! In December 2014, the resort opened their new Sunburst six-seater chairlift, which features a retractable windshield and heated seats, so you can glide up the mountain in style and comfort. Past spring breakers at Okemo reported near-perfect conditions, minimal lines and some of the best ski days they can remember. A solid terrain park and pipes, along with excellent tree skiing, make the resort diverse enough for everyone’s taste. And when you’re feeling hungry? Grab a waffle and hot chocolate from the mountain’s convenient Waffle Cabin!
If you’re planning a group trip, check out deals on condos on the resort’s website. During the week you’re likely to find discounts up to 25% off or a free night with a two-night booking, perfect for a spring break group getaway.
About five miles from the Canadian border, Jay Peak Resort is ideal for an all-around spring break experience. The mountain runs are known to be some of the more challenging in the region, but the resort also has a phenomenal ski school and plenty of terrain for those who are still getting comfortable on the slopes. In your time off the mountain there is more than enough to do, and with a waterpark, ice arena and a championship golf course you don’t need to look much further than Jays to fill your week with great adventures. The resort is home to Vermont’s only aerial tram, which can transport riders to the 3,968 foot summit in just seven minutes. Those who love backcountry skiing shouldn’t miss Jay Peak Resort, as it’s known to have some of the best around.
“Jays,” as the locals call it, is said to get more snow than anywhere in the area – in fact many locals will tell you the mountain has its own cloud that dumps fresh snow regularly, so start planning for those powder days! With four parks and nine lifts, you’re sure to find more than enough to satisfy your style.
The easiest way to reach Jay Peak Resort is via the cities of Montreal or Burlington, about an hour-and-a-half drive from each, and packages are always available to help you make the most of your week.
Feeling up for a challenge? Test your skills at Smugglers’ Notch on The Black Hole, the only triple black diamond trail in Vermont. As a self-contained resort with three mountains, Smugglers’ Notch has consistently been ranked among the top family resorts in the country, and a great value for students and young professionals alike. Once you arrive, no need to get back in the car – everything you’ll need for a memorable spring break is within the confines of “Smuggs.”
Past spring break-ers and regulars alike note that it’s the great sense of community that will keep them coming back, and makes for a fun, exciting atmosphere both on and off the mountain. So why not grab some friends and head to Smugglers’ Notch this spring break, and you’ll find you may never want to leave.
Free shuttles make traveling within the resort easy, so no need to worry about parking. If you do feel up for venturing out, the Ben & Jerry’s factory, just a short drive away, is a popular day trip for anyone looking to satisfy their sweet tooth. After a perfect day on the slopes, grab your friends for an evening swim in the pool or hot tubs, race down the tubing hills, or take the famous zip line canopy tour through the Green Mountains.
Smugglers’ Notch is only about an hour outside of Burlington by car. Check out their website at: www.smuggs.com.
At Mad River Glen, skiers rule. As one of the few areas in the country to completely ban snowboarders, it’s sought to be preserved as a “skier’s mountain.” An hour southeast of Burlington in Waitsfield, Mad River Glen is a great place to beat the crowds. While you may not find the resort-style amenities of some of the other spring break destinations, you will find gorgeous terrain, and it’s great for those on a budget. The resort is also unique in that it is home to one of only two single-lift chairs in the country. The Single Chair is the fastest fixed-grip chairlift in the U.S., which means you can easily maximize your time on the slopes!
The area is well known for its tree skiing, and one of the more difficult marked trails features mandatory air over a four-foot-high frozen waterfall. And if you’re into telemark skiing, you may be lucky enough to find yourself in town in March when Mad River Glen hosts the North American Telemark Organization’s yearly festival.
Lodging ranges from inexpensive hostels to private homes, so you can be sure to find something that fits your group’s budget while still being close to the mountain. Check out special passes for high-schoolers, and the three-day ticket – a great value for anyone planning to ski more than five days
Killington has quite a few accolades to its name. Known as “the Beast of the East,” it is the largest ski area in the eastern U.S., boasting the highest vertical drop in the region at 3,050 feet. With 155 trails, 22 lifts and six interconnected peaks, it’s impossible to run out of terrain this spring break. Beginners and seasoned pros alike will love “Juggernaut” – the longest trail in the eastern U.S. at just over six miles. Adding to the list of “biggest and best,” Killington offers what is often the longest skiing season in North America, with perfect days well into May. If you just can’t get enough of Killington, head over to the sister resort of Pico Mountain via a convenient shuttle that runs during the day. With all these options, you can pack every single day of your spring break to the max.
Don’t have a car? Take the Amtrak Vermonter to nearby Rutland and hop on one of the various shuttle options to the resort.
For as massive as Killington is, prices are more than reasonable. Check out the website for college student passes and other deals that pop up around spring break.
Have you had the chance to ski any of these Green Mountain State destinations? Or have others that just can’t be left off the list? Share in the comments below!