Vermont is known as the snowiest state in the US, and the town of Burlington in the Northwest is situated near the state’s snowiest peak. With it as a home base, it’s easy to find more than half a dozen resorts to ski and snowboard.
Seven different ski areas, from ski hills to one of the top resorts in the US, can be found within an hour of Burlington. The town is situated on the shores of Lake Champlain, with visitors able to enjoy beautiful sunsets over the water in the evening and plenty of skiing during the day. If that’s not enough, check out the two-dozen ski resorts in Vermont.
Cochran’s Ski Area – Richmond: 15 mi | 30 min
Not far from Burlington is Cochran’s Ski Area, just a few minutes from Interstate 89. Cochran’s is the first not-for-profit ski area in the United States, with a mission to provide youth and families with affordable skiing and snowboarding.
Skiers as young as 3 can participate in its learn-to-ski program. Starting at age 6, downhill skiers can join the ski club and learn alpine racing.
Cochran’s only has 15 skiable acres, but with 150 inches of snowfall annually and an inexpensive lift ticket, it’s a great option for a few hours of skiing. The hill has 950 feet of elevation and 8 trails. The ski area no longer rents out skis or snowboards, so be sure to bring your own equipment.
910 Cochran Rd., Richmond, VT 05477 (map) | (802) 434-2479 | cochranskiarea.com
Bolton Valley – Richmond: 25 miles | 35 minutes
East of Burlington is one of the snowiest areas in Vermont. Bolton Valley Resort receives 312 inches annually, with snowmaking capabilities to ensure there’s also plenty of powder on the mountain. The resort is open for night skiing on weekends for 10 of its trails.
Bolton Valley Resort has 300 skiable acres with a 1,740-foot vertical drop, 3 terrain parks, and 71 trails, which are evenly split by difficulty level. The resort offers plenty of skiing and snowboarding lessons, including afterschool programs. Skiers can learn backcountry and freeride skiing for a short lesson or all season long.
4302 Bolton Access Rd., Richmond, VT 05477 (map) | (802) 434-3444 | boltonvalley.com
Hard’ack – St. Albans: 28 miles | 30 minutes
There aren’t many places where it’s possible to ski for free. Hard’ack Recreation Area relies completely on donations and fundraising to stay afloat, so families can enjoy skiing without a set fee. Hard’ack is one of the smallest not-for-profit public hills in Vermont, at only 100 feet tall, yet it’s known as the place where locals learn to ski.
The ski hill has snowmaking equipment, but because Hard’ack relies on volunteers, it’s only open during specific hours. The hill is also open occasionally for night skiing. In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, the ski area has sledding and snowshoeing. The base lodge has an expanse of windows, so visitors can watch the skiers by a warm fire.
179 Congress St., St. Albans, VT 05478 (map) | (802) 524-1559 | facebook.com/hardackinc
Mad River Glen – Waitsfield: 33 miles | 54 minutes
Mad River Glen was built in 1948 and has been a big part of Vermont’s skiing history. It’s the country’s only ski area on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned cooperatively by the skiers who enjoy its slopes year after year. The resort surpasses other top ski resorts with lessons in downhill, snowboarding, telemark, and backcountry.
The ski area has 53 trails, with 20 percent beginner slopes, 35 percent intermediate, and 45 percent expert. Mad River Glen’s 115 skiable acres receive 228 inches of powder annually.
Although Mad River Glen has snowmaking abilities, it’s available only at the bottom of the mountain, where it’s needed most. Beyond the skiable acres, the resort has sections dedicated to tree skiing, and both pass holders and shareholders may access specific trails for uphill skiing.
57 Schuss Pass, Waitsfield, VT 05673 (map) | (802) 496-3551 | madriverglen.com
Smuggler’s Notch – Jeffersonville: 41 mi | 50 min
With 3 mountains interconnected by trails and lifts, skiers are more likely to explore Smuggler’s Notch Resort than visit it. The resort is comprised of more than 1,000 acres, part of which is a state forest. It includes wooded glades for downhill skiing, areas for snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing trails.
On the more than 300 acres of skiable terrain, there are 78 trails and 6 progressive terrain parks. Affectionately known as “Smuggs,” the resort is designed for families with most of its green runs around Morse Mountain and 81 percent of its blue and black runs on the other 2 peaks. This separation of runs helps prevent experts and beginners from colliding on the slopes.
A free resort shuttle is available to access accommodations, amenities, the ski area, dining, and shopping. Voted Ski Magazine‘s top resort in the East, Smuggs is well known for ensuring there are plenty of activities, lessons, and fun for every member of the family.
4323 VT-108, Jeffersonville, VT 05464 (map) | (802) 370-3186 | smuggs.com
Stowe – Stowe: 44 miles | 1 hour
Stowe Mountain Resort, which consists of 2 mountains connected by a gondola, has the highest skiing elevation in the state and a 2,360-foot vertical drop. The resort receives an average snowfall of 314 inches annually, covering its 485 skiable acres and 40 miles of trails. Stowe has snowmaking capabilities on 83 percent of its slopes to ensure even coverage and to extend the season.
It’s a resort designed for more advanced skiers, with only 16 percent of beginner trails on its 2 mountains. There are also 4 terrain parks for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.
Dining is available on the mountain and its base, but even more, options can be found just a few minutes away in the ski town of Stowe. That’s also where to find a number of places to stay. Accommodations are also available at the bottom of the mountain and slopeside.
5781 Mountain Rd., Stowe, VT 05672 (map) | (802) 253-3000 | stowe.com
Sugarbush Resort – Warren: 47 miles | 1 hour
Just an hour from Burlington is one of the largest ski areas in Vermont. Sugarbush Resort has 11 trails on 578 skiable acres, which includes plenty of wooded glades for tree skiing. The resort in the Mad River Valley receives an average of 269 inches of snow annually, plus snowmaking, to ensure busy trails have plenty of coverage.
The resort’s 2 peaks, Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen, are 4 miles apart and connected by chairlift. Alternatively, skiers can access the peaks and slope-side accommodations by shuttle bus. Dining is available on the mountain and at the base throughout the day.
102 Forest Dr., Warren, VT 05674 (map) | (802) 583-6300 | sugarbush.com
A visit to Burlington, with its quaint atmosphere and unique stores and restaurants, can be enhanced with a stop at any number of nearby ski areas. The abundance of snow in the state means excellent conditions for skiers and snowboarders from November into April or May.