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The 7 Best Vermont Ski Resorts

The 7 Best Vermont Ski Resorts - UPDATED 2021/22
Jack Lee
Written by Jack Lee / Photos by Greg Burke
Last updated October 1, 2021
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Vermont ski resorts have got it all, from laidback ski areas with affordable lift tickets to multi-mountain resorts with trails that run for miles. That’s why we’ve teamed with our insider Joretta Wong and friends at North East Mountain Sports to narrow down the best ski resorts in Vermont that are worth a visit!

Updates to Vermont 21/22 ski season:
To protect the health and safety of staff and guests, the following rules are recommended by the State of Vermont. Once at your destination ski area, please keep six feet or more between traveling parties. Masks or face coverings must be worn while at ski areas, except when seated with your traveling party and eating or drinking. Stricter guidelines may apply to specific ski resorts in Vermont.

1. Killington Resort

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Known for

Biggest ski area in the East with diversity of terrain across seven mountain areas

Highlights

  • Best ski resort in Vermont for nightlife
  • Challenging glades and tons of trails with moguls
  • Snowmobile tours, tubing park and more
  • Difficult to navigate trail and lift layout

Opening and Closing (20/21 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 20 2020
  • Closing Date: May 16 2021

Closest airports

Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport - 22 mi (35 minute drive)
Burlington Intl. Airport - 94 mi (2 hour drive)
view of killington mountain from pico mountain
View of Killington Mountain from Pico Mountain

Why Killington

Killington is quite rightly nicknamed ‘The Beast of the East’, encompassing six mountain peaks (seven if you include Pico Mountain which is connected via shuttle bus) and five base areas. The amazing après-ski is an attraction in itself and there are countless places to eat and drink along the access road leading to the resort. Killington’s Woodward Mountain Park has a variety of terrain parks, while off-the-slope activities include tubing and snowmobiling. You'll find everything from mellow groomers to scary steeps, but you may experience difficulty navigating between the ski areas.

Where to stay

There are a range of condominiums across the five base areas that are close to the slopes. The Ramshead Lodge and Snowshed Lodge are within walking distance of each other, while the other three base lodges are a 5 to 10 minute drive away. The Killington Grand Resort Hotel is the only full-service hotel located at the resort. It’s close to the Snowshed Lodge, where you’ll find a food court, pub and the adult ski lesson meeting area. Staying in lodging along Killington Road is another option, with many properties less than 5 miles away from the resort.

Getting around

Resort shuttles operate a loop between all open base lodges and parking areas, from 30 minutes before the lifts open until 5:00 pm. Some properties along Killington Road offer their guests a shuttle service to the slopes. The Rutland Killington Commuter, operated by The Bus, is a paid service which travels between Rutland and Killington Ski Area.

2. Stowe

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Known for

Quaint ski village, offering a combination of expert ski terrain with indulgent hospitality

Highlights

  • Downtown Stowe has endless dining and drinking options
  • Plenty of challenging terrain to explore
  • Efficient and fast, updated lifts
  • Most expensive resort in the East and crowded on weekends

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 19 2021
  • Closing Date: Apr 20 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Morrisville-Stowe State Airport - 14 mi (30 minute drive)
Burlington Intl. Airport - 42 mi (1 hour drive)
skiing stowe mountain resort
If you love expert terrain, you’ll love Stowe

Why Stowe

Stowe is known for its indulgent hospitality and gnarly skiing that’s spread across two mountains. Mt Mansfield, which is the highest peak in Vermont, has plenty of blue and black runs, while Spruce Peak is good for beginners and families. You’ll find luxurious hotels, shops, restaurants and an ice skating rink in the Village at Spruce Peak, but there’s more fun to be had in downtown Stowe. The town has a vibrant local brewery scene and old world New England charm. With all it has to offer, Stowe can get crowded and expensive.

Where to stay

The Lodge at Spruce Peak is the only main lodging option that’s close to the slopes. Stay here to be amongst the restaurants and shops in the Spruce Peak base area. Lodging in downtown Stowe is a 10 to 15 minute drive from the slopes, but there are plenty of places to dine and drink. Mountain Road which connects the resort and the town is lined with lodging options too.

Getting around

The Village at Spruce Peak is easy to walk around, and it’s connected to the Mt Mansfield base area via a gondola. The Mountain Road Shuttle operates a free service between the resort and downtown Stowe.

3. Okemo

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Known for

The best place in Vermont for kids skiing

Highlights

  • Wide range of terrain makes it a top choice for family ski trips
  • Mammoth snowmaking operation covers 98% of the ski area
  • Packed full of terrain parks
  • It’s an expensive place to ski

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 20 2021
  • Closing Date: Apr 14 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport - 20 mi (25 minute drive)
Albany Intl. Airport - 90 mi (2 hour drive)
Burlington Intl. Airport - 90 mi (2 hour drive)
skiing okemo
Okemo serves up a range of terrain to suit all abilities

Why Okemo

Okemo makes a family ski trip easy and fun, with convenient on-mountain lodging and excellent kids ski school programs. There’s trails for all abilities and plenty of terrain parks, including the East’s longest superpipe! Okemo has two main base areas, Clock Tower and Jackson Gore, with lodging and dining options at both. The resort is complemented by the charming Ludlow village down the road, with casual local dining and shopping. Okemo is also quicker to reach from major population hubs and airports on the Northeast coast compared to other Vermont resorts.

Where to stay

Stay in one of the base areas to be close to the slopes. Lodging in the Jackson Gore base is popular among families as it’s close to kid-friendly activities. About 2 mi away is the Clock Tower base area, which is close to the beginner slopes and some of the ski school meeting points. The base areas are a 3 to 5 minute drive away from dining and shopping options in Ludlow.

4. Jay Peak

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Known for

Family-friendly ski resort with endless activities to do

Highlights

  • Snowiest ski resort in the East
  • Huge indoor water park, climbing gym and much more
  • Great tree skiing
  • There's no nightlife or real town nearby

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 24 2021(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: May 03 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Northeast Kingdom Intl. Airport - 24 mi (35 minute drive)
Burlington Intl. Airport - 68 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Snowing Jay Peak
Jay Peak has some of the deepest powder around thanks to the ‘Jay Cloud’

Why Jay Peak

Nestled way up north, just a few miles from the Canadian border, Jay Peak is widely regarded as Vermont’s snowiest ski resort. The terrain is spread across two base areas, Stateside and Tramside, and is home to some of the best glade skiing in the East. It’s a family-favorite, with plenty of activities including an ice skating rink, a climbing gym and The Pump House - a huge indoor waterpark complete with slides, hot tubs and even a FlowRider! There’s less crowds compared to other Vermont resorts but one thing that's missing here is nightlife.

Where to stay

There is a variety of lodging across the two base areas that are close to the slopes. Stay in the Tramside base area to be close to more dining options, the waterpark, ice skating rink and the only aerial tram in Vermont! About a 5 minute drive away is the Stateside base area, which has better access to the beginner zone.

Getting around

It’s best to have a car as the resort is far from major towns.

5. Sugarbush Resort

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Known for

Same great skiing as Killington or Stowe without the crowds

Highlights

  • Similar to Stowe but significantly cheaper
  • Great lift system provides quick and easy access to slopes
  • Fantastic variety of terrain spread out over two mountains
  • Restaurants get very busy and base lacks nightlife

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 23 2021(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: May 03 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Burlington Intl. Airport - 42 mi (1 hour drive)
Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport - 62 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Rim Run at Mount Ellen Sugarbush ski resort
Rim Run at Mount Ellen

Why Sugarbush

Sugarbush is home to some epic terrain, comparable to Killington or Stowe, but without the crowds. Spread across two mountains and six peaks, it has some serious steeps, gentle greens and extensive wooded areas available to ski. It’s also generally a notch cheaper than the popular nearby resorts, but not at the sacrifice of luxury or amenities. Down in the base area, there’s a genuine rustic feel with some luxurious accommodation and plenty of dining options. One drawback of the resort is the lack of nightlife.

Where to stay

Stay in one of the two base areas, Lincoln Peak Village or Mt Ellen Base Lodge, to be close to the slopes. Lincoln Peak Village is larger and the more popular of the two. It’s where you’ll find lodging, dining and amenities, particularly in the Historic Sugarbush Village. You’ll also be closer to a larger beginner area and children’s ski school. The Sugarbush Access Road leading to Lincoln Peak Village also has lodging options that are up to a mile away from the slopes and are serviced by a shuttle. The Mt Ellen Base Lodge area is about a 15 minute shuttle ride away.

Getting around

To travel between the two mountains, you can ride the Slide Brook Express Quad, which is the longest and fastest detachable quad lift in the world. The Green Mountain Transit - Mad River Valley (GMT-MRV) bus offers free transportation between the Lincoln Peak and Mt Ellen base areas. It picks up and drops off passengers approximately every 20-30 minutes. It also travels to nearby areas including Waitsfield where you’ll find dining and shopping options.

6. Mount Snow

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Known for

Well-groomed trails and first-class terrain parks

Highlights

  • Closest large Vermont ski resort to New York City
  • Great selection of beers and on-mountain dining options
  • An abundance of intermediate terrain
  • Expensive to stay and slopes may get over-crowded

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 19 2021
  • Closing Date: Apr 16 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Albany Intl. Airport - 68 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport - 55 mi (1.5 hour drive)
mount snow ski resort vermont
Mount Snow, one of the closest large Vermont ski resorts in New York City

Why Mount Snow

Mount Snow is the closest big Vermont resort to New York City and is about a 4 hour drive away. Its strengths lie in the abundance of intermediate terrain but there are four distinct areas of the mountain. Head to Main Face to ski cruisers, North Face for steeps and glades or Sunbrook for scenic runs. Carinthia is an entire section of the mountain dedicated to 10 terrain parks and a superpipe! There are some great après and dining options on-mountain and across the Carinthia, Sundance and Main Base Lodges. You’ll have the most choice near the Main Base Lodge.

Where to stay

Stay in lodging around the Carinthia, Sundance and Main Base Lodges to be close to the slopes. From the Main Base Lodge, Sundance Base Lodge is about a 7 minute walk away, while Carinthia Base Lodge is about a 5 minute drive away. You’ll find more lodging around the access road to the resort, where there are options about a mile from the slopes. West Dover is a village located a 5 minute drive from the resort, where you’ll also find lodging and more choices for dining.

Getting around

The MOOver Shuttle offers a free service that travels around the Mount Snow Base Area and nearby West Dover and Wilmington.

7. Smugglers' Notch Resort

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Known for

Family-friendly resort with stunning mountain views

Highlights

  • Variety of ski-in/ski-out condos
  • Great value for money
  • Laid-back family-friendly vibe
  • Far from New York City and Boston

Opening and Closing (21/22 Ski Season):

  • Opening Date: Nov 25 2021(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 13 2022(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Burlington Intl. Airport - 33 mi (1 hour drive)
Morrisville-Stowe State Airport - 23 mi (35 minute drive)
drifter an intermediate trail Smugglers Notch
Drifter, an intermediate run

Why Smugglers’ Notch

A family owned and operated resort, Smugglers' Notch has a well-earned reputation for its family-friendliness. There are endless kid-friendly activities, including laser tag in the FunZone, nightly family events and a tubing hill. Unlike Okemo, another Vermont family favorite, Smugglers’ Notch is harder to reach from New York City and Boston. Nevertheless, it has a great ski school and sizable terrain across three mountains. Morse Mountain serves mostly greens, while the Madonna and Sterling Mountains offer blue and black trails.

Where to stay

Stay in one of the lodging communities surrounding the Village Center to be close to the slopes. The Village Center is at the base of Morse Mountain and has a variety of restaurants and activities. The Village East and Village West Communities are just a short walk away, while the North Hill and West Hill Communities are located a shuttle ride away. The Highlands Hill Community is further from the Village Center but is served by a separate lift.

Getting around

The resort offers an on-call shuttle service within the Village area. There is also an Upper Mountain Shuttle to transport guests from the Village to the Upper Mountains.

The 7 Best Vermont Ski Resorts
Killington Resort
Stowe
Okemo
Jay Peak
Sugarbush Resort
Mount Snow
Smugglers' Notch Resort
Killington Resort