Smugglers’ Notch is located just on the other side of the mountain from Stowe. In the summer, you can drive up the Stowe access road and go over the Notch to get there. Unfortunately, this road is closed in the winter and you have to drive all the way around the mountain to Jeffersonville to get to this resort in the winter BUT it’s worth the drive. I made a visit in the early part of last April for a little spring skiing at Smugglers’ Notch and had a great time.
It was still raining when I arrived, so I parked in the parking lot and went to Skier Services in the Village and picked up my lift tickets and got directions to my accommodations. Smuggs is a destination resort and I was booked into a one-bedroom condo at the Sycamores and it was very nice. I had my own kitchen facilities and enjoyed making dinner and taking it easy in the living area watching the big-screen TV. It was just a short walk from my condo to the slope which was at the end of the condo parking lot. For reservations call:(800) 419-4615 and tell them you read about them in the Ski Bum News.
In the morning, I put on my ski boots in the condo and walked to the trail under the Mogul Mouse Lift and skied down to the chair. It had been raining the day before and the snow on the slope had frozen and it was bulletproof. I skied on my own for a few runs on the trails serviced by the Village Lift and Mogul Mouse Lift. I had a great lunch at the Hearth and Candle which is located in the center of the Village. If you don’t want a sit-down dining experience, you can try the Riga-Bello’s Pizzeria where you can find Italian specialties in the building across the way. They have a store in the Village where you can purchase food and snacks and it is just a short ride into town where you can find a larger variety of things to eat at the local country store.
Now Smugglers’ Notch is a very scenic ski resort that has been chosen by Ski Magazine as #1 in North America for our Family Programs. This is the tenth year that they have received an award in this category. If you think that they have little to offer the expert skier, you would be wrong. I met the guide the resort had arranged for me and he took me around and he showed me around. He was a member of the ski school and was a lot of fun to ski with. He even showed me the telemark powder skis he made. My hat is off to anyone who can make their own skis!
We skied all the intermediate and expert trails and did a lot of high-speed cruising. This resort has more than 45 acres of skiing in the trees which is 22% of the total skiable acreage. Some of the gladed terrain includes trails off Doc Dempsey’s trail on Madonna Mountain and off of Upper Liftline, just above mid-station and dropping you out onto Link. The Red Fox Glades are located on the Drifter and they are fairly wide open and the whole glade is very short and the pitch is gentle. Three Mountain Glades, Norwegian Woods and Knight’s Revenge are three other glades on Madonna that are rated intermediate.
There are now 22 marked glades for every ability level, from the beginner Whitetail Woods at Morse Highlands to the East’s only triple black diamond, The Black Hole. In addition to these marked glades, there are over 750 acres of all-access terrain to explore between trails. You can ski or ride anywhere within the ski area boundaries. Other skiing in the trees includes . The expert glade Shakedown, and the intermediate level Knight’s Revenge, Norwegian Woods, The Shire and Bermuda. Smugglers’ Notch also has the Northeast’s Only Triple Black Diamond tree run located on Madonna Mountain at the Freefall woods. This extreme terrain is extremely steep with and lots of trees.
There are three interconnected mountains, Madonna, Sterling & Morse (including Morse Highlands) with a 2,610 foot vertical rise but you will have to do a little poling to get around. There are over 1,000 acres of terrain including trails and wooded glades, from gentle novice slopes to groomed cruisers, bump runs, steeps, terrain parks, halfpipe and race courses. There are three chairlifts that service 78 trails that cover over 27 miles with a variety of learning terrain (19%) primarily on Morse, intermediate trails and glades (50%) on all three mountains. There are expert runs on Madonna and Sterling (31%). In addition, there are 58 km of cross-country and snowshoe trails. Their Nordic Center features 34 km of cross-country trails and 24 km of dedicated snowshoe trails through woods and fields. Smuggs receives an average snowfall of 24 feet and if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, there is snowmaking on 62% of the trails.
I’ve skied Smugglers’ Notch a couple of times and I can recommend it for skiers of all abilities. There is a lot to do for a family at this resort and even expert skiers will not be disappointed if they visit Smugglers’ Notch. I always had a good time when I was there and I am sure that you will have a good time too.