Northeast Slopes is a place to escape.
The off-the-beaten-path ski area is where you won’t find crowded trails, long lift lines, or packed parking lots. At Northeast Slopes, you’ll discover the exact opposite, plus a sense of nostalgia, community, pride, and excellent skiing.
Located along Route 25 in East Corinth, the ski area offers 12 trails, 35 skiable acres, two rope tows, and a T-bar. Northeast Slopes opened in 1936 with a rope tow that’s now the oldest continuously operating rope tow in the United States.
For families looking for alternatives to skiing at big resorts, this mid-state ski hill is not only small but also offers a friendly, fun, and laid-back vibe. The volunteer-run ski area is typically open Wednesdays and weekends, and a lift ticket costs $15. It’s the best deal in Vermont.
Wade Pierson started skiing at Northeast Slopes as a child in the 1960s. He’s now on the ski area’s board of directors and volunteers at the mountain.
“We hope Northeast Slopes is a safe respite for people and a way to get outside and have community interaction that feels safe for everyone,” he says. “Our slopes are unique in that both sides of the mountain are very open. You can spread out, and you have so many options.”
With trails like Sunny Side, Upper Powerline, Main Slope, EZ Street, and Sugar House, Northeast Slopes is ideal for all levels of skiers and riders.
A visit to the ski area in February was an absolute treat for my family. For the first winter in six years, we have curbed our weekend ski outings because of the pandemic. We’re snowshoeing and Nordic skiing this season, and our trips to ski areas are few and far between.
When we do go downhill skiing, we opt for smaller, less crowded mountains. On a recent Saturday, the weather was sunny and cold. Staying home wouldn’t do, so we made the 65-mile drive trek from Burlington to Northeast Slopes in eastern Vermont. It turned out to be one of our most enjoyable days of the season. Not only were the conditions phenomenal, but everything about our visit to Northeast Slopes was easy and memorable.
Arriving at Northeast Slopes
The parking lot at Northeast Slopes is relatively small and located right next to the trails, so we were able to snap on our boots and walk to the ticket booth quickly. Northeast Slopes has one of those cozy, vintage ski lodges, so the one downside to visiting this year is that the lodge is closed for the season (you can find portable toilets at the base for bathroom breaks).
Still, for a small, volunteer-run mountain, the set-up at Northeast Slopes this season is well organized. An outdoor, cash-only snack bar, serving everything from potato chips and root beer to tasty burgers, is at the base area. Next to the snack bar are covered, heated, outdoor seating areas that offer a gorgeous, wide-open view of the rope tows, T-bar, and Main Slope and EZ Street trails.
Skiing the Way it Used to Be
More than anything, what makes Northeast Slopes such a joy to visit is the ski area’s history and charm.
Along the Main Slope is the 1936 Big Rope Tow that extends 1,250 feet and includes some original parts. The wheels are from a Model-A Ford, and the wooden wheel spokes are from a 100-year-old Cadillac. Powered by a 1960 Ford farm truck, it’s claimed to be the world’s fastest rope tow, typically running at about 15 miles per hour. It set a recorded speed of 27 miles per hour during a world-record speed attempt, Pierson says.
To the left of the original rope tow is the Small Rope Tow installed in the 1940s. It’s powered by a 1973 Dodge Dart with a Slant-Six engine. Even though the little rope tow is on a tiny, beginner hill, visitors should give it a whirl as it’s surprisingly fun to ride (and much faster than I anticipated!).
If you’re still on the fence about visiting, consider this: At Northeast Slopes, you’ll find excellent skiing, a vintage vibe, fewer crowds, no fuss, and lots of happy people.
After all, the ski area’s fitting slogan is “Keeping Skiing Real Since 1936.” In 2021, that means everything.
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. She publishes www.happyvermont.com, a Vermont travel blog and podcast that explores the places and people of the Green Mountain State. She currently works as writer and photographer, and lives in Burlington with her husband and daughter.