As a lifelong skier and nearly lifelong Vermonter, it’s natural to assume that I’ve traversed every ski area in Vermont. I grew up skiing at places like Stratton, Bromley, and Magic, and later spent many days at Stowe, Sugarbush, Smugglers’ Notch, Bolton, and Burke.
Until recently, I had never skied at Mount Snow. I’m not sure how that’s possible given that I grew up only an hour from the resort. But finally, after nearly four decades of living in Vermont, I had the pleasure of exploring the legendary slopes of Mount Snow during a family winter getaway.
With a peak elevation of 3,600 feet—offering beautiful summit views of Somerset Reservoir in the Green Mountain National Forest—Mount Snow includes 85 trails, 20 lifts, a vertical drop of 1,700 feet, and 80 percent snowmaking coverage.
Located in southern Vermont, Mount Snow is named after Reuben Snow, who in 1953 sold 500 acres of land on Mount Pisgah to National Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame member Walter Schoenknecht. While Schoenknecht ambitiously planned to install 21 double chairlifts and devised a skis-on gondola in the 1960s, Mount Snow has more recently made its mark in the industry with sophisticated snowmaking capabilities and world-renowned freestyle skiing and riding at Carinthia Parks.
Equally impressive is Mount Snow’s ability to win the hearts of families with a fantastic lesson program, a nice selection of beginner trails, and family fun adventures such as sledding near the base area and swimming at the Grand Resort Summit Hotel pool.
Lessons, Skiing & Sledding at Mount Snow
During our weekend visit, our daughter, Phoebe, participated in Mount Snow’s all-day Ski Camp for kids ages 4-6. The program, which also offers a Snow Riders snowboarding camp, helps kids improve their skiing and riding skills. Kids are placed in small groups based on their ability with a focus on technique and fun. The personal attention Phoebe received from instructors in the program was beyond impressive, and I was thrilled to experience first-hand the ski school’s efficient drop-off and pick-up system at the Discovery Center.
For those of you with younger or older kids, Mount Snow offers a variety of lesson programs, including Cub Camp for three year olds, Mountain Camp and Mountain Riders for ages 7-14, and single and multi-day learn to ski options for ages 13 and up.
A day in lessons for Phoebe meant some alone time with my husband, Dave. We explored blue trails like Ego Alley, South Bowl, and Upper Exhibition. While skiing with Phoebe on Sunday morning before heading back to home to Burlington, we took her over to the Tumbleweed Lift (located on the south side of the Grand Summit Resort Hotel), which services beginner trails like Cooper’s Junction and Long John.
Another perk of spending a weekend on-mountain at Mount Snow is the base area tubing park, which features up to eight sledding lanes. Located between the Main Base Lodge and the Grand Summit Resort Hotel, the Mount Snow Tubing Hill is one of the largest in Vermont and features its own covered bridge magic carpet lift.
Where to Eat
Dot’s of Vermont
3 West Main Street/Route 9
Located 15 minutes from Mount Snow in the heart of downtown Wilmington, Dot’s of Vermont serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. A favorite among locals and visitors, the restaurant has been owned by John and Patty Reagan for more than 30 years. Dot’s was knocked off its foundation and destroyed by the rising Deerfield River during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Thanks to fundraising, grants, loans and donations, Dot’s reopened in 2013 and shows no signs of slowing down. If you’ve never been, put Dot’s on your must-list.
Harriman’s Farm to Table
Grand Summit Resort Hotel
39 Mount Snow Road
West Dover, Vermont
Harriman’s Farm to Table isn’t the most inspired dining room in terms of décor, but the food, service, and drinks make up for the restaurant’s lack of atmosphere. Dinner entrée selections include locally sourced beef burgers, homemade manicotti, and maple roasted chicken. Grown-ups will find an impressive craft beer selection, and I might add some of the best margaritas around. A kids menu is available, and guests can enjoy live music from 8-11.
Cask and Kiln Kitchen
4 North Main Street/Route 100
Just around the corner from Dot’s is the Cask and Kiln Kitchen, which offers a delicious seasonal menu, creative cocktails, and a sophisticated yet cozy vibe. The restaurant, located in a building that dates back to the 1930s, includes finer dining on the first floor with a casual lounge upstairs. Reservations are recommended, and plan to make reservations well in advance of your trip if you’re visiting Mount Snow on a busy weekend.
The White House Tavern
178 Route 9 East
Perched on a hill overlooking Route 9 is the stately White House Inn. A tip from a local resident turned me on to the inn’s tavern last summer while we were mountain biking at Mount Snow. Owned by The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain, the White House Tavern offers an impressive dinner menu, including smoked pig ears, short rib gnocchi, and burgers. While we couldn’t snag a dinner reservation in the main dining room, we were lucky enough to enjoy a relaxing meal in the tavern’s bar and lounge.
Where to Stay
Grand Summit Resort Hotel
39 Mount Snow Road
West Dover, Vermont
The Grand Summit Resort Hotel at the base of Mount Snow offers a comfortable slope side lodging options with 196 rooms, studios, and multi-room suites with kitchenettes. Hotel amenities include a heated outdoor pool and hot tub—perfect for aprés ski—an arcade with games for all ages, and a spa and fitness center. A convenient ski and snowboard check makes it easy for guests going to and from the slopes.
Finally, after all these years, we made it to Mount Snow in the winter. I wish it hadn’t taken us so long for us to plan this family winter getaway. But this remarkable mountain was very much worth the wait.
For more information, visit mountsnow.com.
Erica Houskeeper is a writer and communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience. She grew up in Manchester, Vermont, and started skiing at age 4 at Bromley Mountain. She also spent her childhood skiing at Stratton, Magic, and the former Snow Valley ski area. After working as a journalist in Vermont, Erica later became director of communications for the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. In 2009, she launched www.happyvermont.com, a Vermont travel blog that explores the places and people of the Green Mountain State. Her blog has hundreds of subscribers and a loyal following. Active on social media, Erica has more than 2,400 followers on Twitter (@EricaHouskeeper), as well as many Facebook friends and a growing audience on Instagram. She currently works as a communications and PR consultant, and lives in Burlington with her husband and young daughter.