The Ski Mountain
On paper, Sugarbush Resort may seem small with roughly 578 skiable acres (Beginner 20%, Intermediate, 45%, Advanced 35%), yet its terrain is diverse and nearly 2,000 additional acres of epic backcountry skiing await in its Slide Brook Wilderness. Inbounds, 20 wooded trails attract families from all corners of New England for the classic mogul runs off Castlerock, the wide-open groomers off Gate House, and Lincoln Peak’s natural bowl that allows skiers to chase the sun around the mountain as the day progresses. With six peaks and a spread out network of lifts, skiers are easily dispersed from the base areas at both Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen. As Sugarbush’s highest point at 4,083 feet, Mt. Ellen is also one of Vermont’s highest peaks and offers skiers summit views from New York’s Lake Champlain and Adirondacks to the west, to New Hampshire’s Presidential Range to the east (seen on clear days).
The Mountain Experience
Sugarbush Resort’s two separate mountains, Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen, are like two pearls in a string across the spine of the Green Mountains. Connected by Slide Brook Express, each side of the resort has a unique vibe, different terrain options and amenities. Lincoln Peak, home to recent development with a new hotel, a skier services building, base lodge and children’s’ programming center, has transformed its base area into a quaint Vermont village. The base area is built in Vermont vernacular architecture reflecting the barns, school houses and village buildings found in abutting towns. Mt. Ellen throwback’s feel and weathered base lodge lend an air of authenticity. If quintessential Vermont is your idea of a getaway, Sugarbush deserves your attention.
Sugarbush Resort’s Ski Terrain
• Beginner: True first-timers get their legs under them at the Welcome Mat at Lincoln Peak, steps away from the rental shop. Once a series of linked turns now put together, a trip to the Village Double and its gentle beginner runs is a perfect place to start. Sugarbush offers a free season pass to those just starting out who complete a three-lesson package through the First Timer to Life Timer program at the Ski & Ride School.
Current Snow Conditions
• Intermediate: Mt. Ellen is home to great intermediate cruisers. Take Green Mountain Express and ski Elbow to Cruiser for a long groomer second to none. Over at Lincoln Peak, well-groomed thoroughfares include Snowball and Spring Fling. Moonshine is the perfect pitch for those getting to know moguls.
• Advanced: Legendary skier Stein Eriksen’s namesake – Stein’s Run – is a thigh-burning, steep bump run. Castlerock offers multiple expert runs in the traditional New England style – steep, narrow, sinuous, rocky and bumped up. FIS spills off the summit of Mt. Ellen in steep fashion that tests the mettle of the best skiers.
Around the Mountain
• Terrain Park: Sugarbush Parks maintains terrain features at both Mt. Ellen and Lincoln Peak. A smaller progression park is found at the base of Lincoln Peak. With a dedicated park lift, multiple jumps, rails and jibs of all sizes, the Riemergasse Park at Mt. Ellen is a park skier’s dream.
At the resort, ask for and link up with Sugarbush legend and “Chief Recreational Officer” John Egan of Warren Miller film fame. John can school you on his theories of perpendicularity and is available to guide backcountry adventures into the 5,000-acre Slide Brook Wilderness.
From the top of North Lynx, dip off the backside to ski untracked, perfectly-spaced trees on powder days, right to the road connecting Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen, where the Mad Bus picks you up and delivers you back for another lap.
There’s no shortage of barstools at Sugarbush. At Timbers, find upscale food and imaginative cocktails served in a soaring post-and-beam round room. Castlerock Pub serves retro beers (Ballantine, Pabst, Narragansett) that go head-to-head with craft beers for which Vermont is famous. And, yes, there’s a shot ski. The Wünderbar is a great spot for inexpensive eats with big views of the village and mountain. Mt. Ellen’s Green Mountain Lounge is a throwback, family-friendly experience with a sunny deck made for warm spring days.
In the Mad River Glen Valley, winter and summer recreational attractions are seconded only by its restaurants and farms serving up locally-inspired menus.
Clay Brook Hotel and Residences anchors Lincoln Peak Village. The 81-unit hotel features studios to five-bedroom suites. Sugarbush Resort also manages a plethora of resort area condos from lavish to budget, some ski-in ski-out, others requiring a short bus ride. Sugarbush Inn is the resort’s original accommodation and offers tremendous value. In the surrounding Mad River Valley, a number of accommodations exist, from the budget friendly Hostel Tevere to the luxury Pitcher Inn.
Skiing with Kids
The Schoolhouse is the center of children’s programming at Sugarbush. Conveniently located next to the learning areas, the Schoolhouse offers a dedicated building for kids getting accustomed to the sport and learning to love it. From seasonal programs to half-day lessons, Sugarbush offers programs for every age child and ability level.
Lift Tickets and Season Pass Cost
By Patrick Brown