Stowe Town Hall © Dudesleeper
The Stowe holiday resort was developed in the 1930s, and as the granddaddy of Vermont ski resorts, it's managed to retain a genteel atmosphere and traditional New England flavour. Situated about 15 minutes north of the charming town of Stowe, the resort is split over two mountains, Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Mount Mansfield is Vermont's highest peak at 4,3965 feet (1,340m), and has most of the resort's runs. Spruce Peak is a perfect spot for intermediate and beginner skiers, with only one black run and plenty of gentle blues.
Stowe has a total of 48 runs and 485 acres (196 ha) of skiable terrain and is a down-to-earth resort, getting far less crowded than the likes of Killington. There is only one slope-side holiday accommodation option. The nearby town of Stowe is full of character, offering picture-perfect views of churches, clapboard houses and covered bridges, and is close enough to several principal eastern US cities to attract local and international clientele.
The town contains shops and restaurants enough to keep visitors happy and entertained off the slopes, but there is not a huge range of options when it comes to nightlife. A few long-standing favourites offer evening entertainment, but the pubs, bars and taverns are typically laidback and celebrated for live music and craft beer options rather than DJs and pumping dancefloors.
There are several options for the non-skier on holiday in Stowe, or for those days when the legs need a rest. The town of Stowe offers world-class spas, indoor tennis, ice-skating, an indoor pool, snow-mobiling, horse riding, rock climbing and the Vermont Ski Museum, as well as plenty of shops and art galleries. The resort is also open in summer, providing a spectacular mountain holiday venue with fun activities like trampolining, hiking, the Alpine waterslide and the Gondola skyride.
Stowe has gathered a loyal group of die-hard fans and, although not a huge resort, it offers a range of skiing opportunities for experts, intermediates and beginners. The double-black diamond Front Four trails (Starr, Liftline, National and Goat) on Mt Mansfield offer a real challenge for experts, while the Toll Road is a more gentle long run and the top section of the Nose Dive offers good glade skiing.
Spruce Peak is better suited to beginners and intermediates, with plenty of green runs, cruisers and great night skiing. Skiers can also choose to ride Snuffy's trail to the neighbouring Smuggler's Notch resort. The snowboarding at Stowe is also some of the best around, with three terrain parks and plenty of freeriding.