Winter is upon us, and that means the ski season is in full-swing! Below are our thoughts on two ski spots, and a few accommodations and fab eateries you need to visit.
Sugarbush Resort (sugarbush.com)
In the heart of Vermont’s Mad River valley, near the town of Warren, Sugarbush—whose Lincoln Peak base area has undergone a major makeover in recent years—is a skier’s wonderland with six peaks and 111 trails. Snowcat vehicles groom the trails during the night (you can hear their rumbling sounds in the distance as you wake up in the morning) leaving you with a freshly-groomed playground to spend the day on. For all you novices, like yours truly, time spent on the beginner slopes with a knowledgeable and patient instructor will leave you ready and eager to tackle the bigger ones on your own.
Where to stay: The Clay Brook at Sugarbush is a picturesque hotel that looks like a barn on the outside, and is all cozy and country-chic within. Located slope side, it’s therefore a stone’s throw from the ski lifts, and your inviting bedroom is waiting for you at the end of the day. Not tired yet? A nighttime dip in the warm outdoor pool or hot tub is ideal to relax your tired muscles.
Where to eat: Vermont pretty much started the farm-to-table movement, so you know that when you’re eating in the Green Mountain state, you’re eating right! Located on the second floor of the Clay Brook, Timbers Restaurant—which boasts the same barn-style coziness as our lodging—is the perfect breakfast stop (fluffy pancakes with local maple syrup—oh, yes!), as well as a lovely après-ski location. We feasted on yummy starters, from lobster bisque to cheesy fondue, and capped off our delicious meal with a warm drink and dessert. The ultimate winner? Hard to choose, but we say go for the eggnog-maple crème caramel.
For a quick bite between hitting the slopes, Castlerock Pub is great for warming your bones with some good ol’ comfort food. Start off with a hot toddy or a fine ale, nibble on deep-fried mac and cheese bites (you won’t be sorry), and we say you can’t go wrong with a classic grilled cheese sandwich with a side of tomato bisque.
Located at Gadd Peak, Allyn’s Lodge is a rustic locale to grab a quick lunch or coffee on weekends before skiing back down the mountain. However, by night, it turns into a fine-dining experience at the hands of events chef, Robert Kuiper. Available upon reservation for groups of minimum eight people, take a 15-minute cabin cat ride up to your intimate, fireside dinner. Indulge in beer-and-cheese fondue and fine wine prior to your four-course meal. Dessert takes place at Timbers below; you can either make your way back down the same way you arrived or, for avid skiers, enjoy the thrill (and once-in-a-lifetime experience) of a nighttime ski with nothing but a headlamp to guide you.
Stowe Mountain Resort (stowe.com)
With two ski mountains—Spruce Peak and Mount Mansfield—and 114 trails, Stowe is a classic ski destination; great for families, but also the perfect destination for a girls’ getaway. It boasts great and knowledgeable instructors (we had a teacher who truly helped build our confidence on the slopes), good eats, and breathtaking sights. The Spruce Peak base area continues to expand, with an ice rink making an appearance in the near future; we can’t wait to see what more is to come at Stowe!
Where to stay:
A night spent at the Stowe Mountain Lodge will certainly be one of your most memorable hotel stays. Ever. With a great view of the mountains outside, it’s fairly easy to steal away the day huddle-up in your cushy home away from home. With the most luxurious bed sheets we’ve ever had the pleasure of spending the night in, and our own fireplace in the room (you heard that right), leaving the hotel was certainly the hardest part of our trip.For some R&R after your day of skiing, or if time on the slopes just isn’t your thing, the lodge’s Spa and Wellness Centre is an idyllic place for a soothing massage—we opted for a deep tissue massage—and a relaxing dip in the outdoor pool. Warm water paired with the cold mountain air? Just invigorating!
Where to eat: Local poached eggs with lobster? For breakfast? Sign us up! Starting off your mornings at Solstice Restaurant will fuel you for the day ahead. The restaurant, part of Stowe Mountain Lodge, also boasts an impressive dinner menu: start your meal off with fresh mixed greens salad with Vermont blue cheese, walnuts and cranberries, follow up with a conchiglie pasta dish with butternut squash and pine nuts, and cap it all off with a mouth-watering dessert. We sampled a bit of everything (how could we resist?), but reserve a soft spot for the warm chocolate cherry bread pudding.
A gondola ride up to the shoulder of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, will lead you to The Cliff House. A member of the Vermont Fresh Network, you can enjoy a lunch made with fresh local ingredients in a cozy and laid-back atmosphere, with a view that can’t be beat. Opt for the cheese board—with a selection of three local artisan cheeses—and a charcuterie plate for the table, and don’t have any qualms about ordering the Cliff House Burger, made with grass-fed Vermont beef. Not a carnivore? We hear the vegetarian risotto is a must!