This could be Austria I thought, as Mount Stratton came into view. It isn’t so much a ski resort as a ski city. The mountain has slightly fewer trails than Mount Snow, but with all the lodging, facilities, stores, bars, and restaurants, I often forgot there was even a mountain.
Check-in wasn’t until 3pm, so I hit the slopes first. I picked up rentals at the base of the mountain ($45/day) and waited on no lines for the gondola. Ah, I thought, the beauty of skiing in March.
The snow was soft and groomed. I skied some of the mountain’s oldest trails, including Upper Tamarack—a classic, sweeping Vermont style track for slightly advanced skiers. On a clear day, you have a view of several of the area ski resorts from the top of the mountain, including: Mount Snow, Okemo, Bromley, and Magic.
After skiing, I checked into my room at the Long Trail House. Stratton has more than 20 different lodging options and one is bound to fit your budget or vision of luxury. A room at the Long Trail House (from $220) comes equipped with a full-kitchen, a living room with a gas fireplace, a balcony, and a large bedroom with a king-size bed.
While every skier should experience Stratton in March, the resort offers plenty of non-skiing activities. After a buffet breakfast at the Black Bear Lodge, I moved to the lodge’s basement to see the recently completed yoga center. The center was large, with lots of light coming from a wall of windows, providing a spectacular view down into the valley. Stratton hosts an array of yoga-based events throughout the year, culminating in the world-renowned Wanderlust music and yoga festival held at the mountain every summer.
Before dinner, I took a stroll through The Village—an alpine-style shopping center complete with local and designer stores, the luxurious Day Spa, numerous restaurants and bars, and a candy store called Mountain Sweets.
There are a number of dinner options available in The Village, including everything from the high-end, farm to table restaurant Verde to classic pizza joint Stratton Village Pie. Skipping drinks at the popular Irish bar Green Door Pub, I opted instead for an outdoor hot tub at the Long Trail House and an early night.
The next morning, I signed up for a guided snowshoe tour, which started at the Nordic Center and took me around icy beaver ponds and ancient colonial stonewalls. In the spring and summer, the mountain offers guided hikes up to the summit and keeps a lift open to ferry hikers up and down from a section of the old International Paper Trail, which connects to both the Appalachian and Long Trail.
If you’ve got time (and four wheels) to explore beyond Stratton, 14 miles away in Londonderry is Taylor Farm, offering cheese making workshops and sleigh rides. Try their maple-smoked Gouda.
Less than 30 minutes away on Easy Street in Danby, the Mountain View Ranch offers year-round scenic horseback and carriage rides for all ages ($35-$100). They also offer picnic rides ($65) perfect for a spring getaway.
If you prefer outlet shopping to the rugged outdoors, drive the half hour into Manchester to shop along the river in one of the quaintest towns in New England. For a delicious eco-conscious lunch, stop by local favorite The Silver Fork.
Visit stratton.com for rates, snow reports, and upcoming events like the Vermont Challenge, and sumer annual bike race.
How to get there: The Stratton Jitney offers transportation every weekend to and from the city ($84 one way). If you’re interested in exploring what’s beyond Stratton and want your own car, take Amtrak to Albany (2.5 hrs from NYC, $80/roundtrip) and rent a car from the capital for the remainder of the two hour trip to Mount Stratton. If you’d like to drive up from the city, consult oM’s guide to renting hybrids in NYC.
Photos: Mount Stratton, brungrrl, stillwellmike (header)