Stowe also attracts a pretty high caliber of skier: Ski magazine conducts new product reviews here, the resort hosts several competitive events, and even the locals with duct-tape-repaired ski clothes bomb down the mountain.
Currently there's only one ski-in, ski-out hotel at the resort's base, but a mini-construction boom is underway, with a 10-year plan to add lodging, condominiums and retail. Until then, facilities are pretty spartan.
Stowe Mountain Resort is one of the oldest ski resorts in the United States and provides a wide variety of terrain choices.
() Landwehrle Studio/stowe Mountain Resort)
But with a town like Stowe beckoning below, you'll hardly mind the 15-minute drive to a choice apres-ski venue. Dining options range from the classic ski town's dive-bar-with-a-band to Ye Olde Colonial-style eateries to yuppie-fusion fine dining. Lodging options are similarly broad, ranging from basic motels to luxury spa resorts to historic inns.
There are also plenty of diversions for a day off the mountain. The Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in nearby Waterbury offers tours and tastings. Montpelier, the pretty state capital, is about 25 minutes away and makes a great lunchtime destination. And Stowe itself is flush with shopping, offering a bevy of antiques shops and galleries, plus some handmade furniture stores that will have you contemplating bigger-ticket purchases than you ever imagined.
Stowe also makes a good base for a multi-resort Vermont ski safari. It's less than an hour's drive from the town to Smuggler's Notch (famous for its family-friendly service), Mad River Glen (with its hard-core reputation and infamous single chairlift) and Jay Peak.
As for the aforementioned convenience, how's this for the last day of a ski vacation: Dutch pancakes for breakfast at 8 a.m.; a full day of skiing or boarding; a 6:30 p.m. flight home; in bed, sans jet lag (and already pondering a trip back), by 10.
Ben Abramson last wrote for Travel about Internet map sites.
Details: Stowe, Vt.
GETTING THERE: Stowe is less than 40 miles northeast of Burlington, Vt. Independence Air offers six flights daily between Dulles and Burlington. Unrestricted fares start at $70 each way, or $160 round trip, with occasional fare sales dropping to $59 one way. United and US Airways, the only other airlines that serve Burlington nonstop, frequently match these fares. Last-minute Web specials can run as low as $103 round trip. Car rentals in the Burlington airport start at $25 a day economy, and with Vermont's effective plowing, you shouldn't need an SUV.
WHERE TO STAY: The Golden Eagle Resort (511 Mountain Rd., 800-626-1010, www.goldeneagleresort.com) offers comfortable motel-style accommodations with an indoor pool and extensive recreational facilities. Doubles start at $99 per night. The Green Mountain Inn (18 Main St., 800-253-7302, www.gminn.com), a charmer on the National Register of Historic Places, offers doubles with lift tickets from $216 per person for a two-night stay; room only starts at $129.
The upscale Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa (1746 Mountain Rd., 800-253-2232, www.stoweflake.com) features luxury accommodations and a full-service spa; doubles start at $160; for ski and stay, rates start at $265 per night for two (two-night minimum). "Sound of Music" aficionados will gravitate to the Trapp Family Lodge (42 Trapp Hill Rd., 800-826-7000, www.trappfamily.com), an Austrian-themed resort started by the iconic family. Room rates start at $198 double.
WHERE TO EAT: The Dutch Pancake Cafe and Pub in the Grey Fox Inn (990 Mountain Rd.) features a delicious and decadent European version of a pancake with varieties that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Prices from $5 to $15. McCarthy's Restaurant (2043 Mountain Rd.) is a bustling breakfast spot where you'd be hard-pressed to spend more than $10. The Shed (1859 Mountain Rd.) is a classic ski-town eatery with its own microbrews and a burger, steak and seafood menu; entrees from $7 to $20. The Whip, in the Green Mountain Inn, serves American classics in a handsome wood-paneled dining room. Entrees range from $10 to $25 and include several veggie-friendly options.
LIFT TICKETS: Full-day lift tickets are $65 for adults ($67 on holidays). Multi-day passes offer discounts off the daily rate.
INFORMATION: Stowe Mountain Resort, 800-253-4754, www.stowe.com. Town of Stowe, 877-GOSTOWE, www.gostowe.com.
-- Ben Abramson