Journal: TWUKSection:
Title: Issue Date: 17/04/00
Author: Page Number: 51
Copyright: Other

Destination report:Vermont by Linsey McNeill

Pick and choose: Vermont has plenty of options for those looking for skiing alternatives

Pick and choose: Vermont has plenty of options for those looking for skiing alternatives

A downhill run to shopping heaven

Resort offers host of non-skiing attractions

Mention skiing in the US and most people think of Colorado.

But Vermont not only has a couple of decent ski resorts, it also has other attractions that make it a good choice for those who do not want to spend their entire holiday on the slopes.

This is the state that gave us Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, maple syrup and it is home to a village that is a shoppers’ paradise.

So whether you are staying in Stowe or Killington, the two largest of Vermont’s dozen or so ski areas, there are plenty of things to do besides skiing, as long as you hire your own car.

Stowe is only a 1hr drive from the Ben and Jerry’s factory at Waterbury where you can take a tour to see your favourite flavour being made.

Further west are the Vermont Teddy Bear factory and the Shelburne Museum, which houses one of the US’s most diverse collections of folk and decorative arts.

Within a 90min drive of Killington is Manchester, a shopping village where you can find high-street labels at knock-down prices in factory outlets like Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Osh Kosh, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s and Versace.

Whether you choose to stay in Stowe or Killington really depends on your level of ability on the slopes. Stowe has the smallest ski area but it has the benefit of being a real New England town with lots of quaint guest houses, small hotels and restaurants.

The resort, which is a bus ride from the town, has lots of easy runs, making it suitable for beginners. There is little here for the expert skier, except four hair-raising runs labelled as black double diamonds, which in English means don’t even think about it unless you’re a) a very good skier or b) don’t want to live for very long.

Apres ski starts at the Matterhorn, the first stop for the ski bus back into town. It’s a large wooden shack full of red-necks, a juke box churning out stadium rock, and a pool room.

A local told me that from here skiers do the ‘Mountain Road shuffle’, visiting all the bars on the way back into town, ending the evening with a drink in the Rusty Nail. But in truth, I suspect most skiers enjoy a quiet meal in one of the many restaurants before retiring for an early night.

There is a good choice of accommodation from the Commodores Inn to the luxurious Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa.

Killington is a resort for more serious skiers. It has more than enough runs to keep all but the most athletic of intermediate skiers happy, but it also has plenty of easy slopes for beginners or timid skiers. There is also a ‘family mountain’, an area of easy blue and green runs for youngsters.

Killington is immensely proud of its Perfect Turn ski and snowboard school. Rather than taking beginners straight out on to the slopes, it takes them into a classroom environment where they are introduced to the theory of skiing and boarding. In the meantime, someone fetches their equipment, so they don’t have the hassle of kitting themselves out.

While I found this academic approach to ski school a bit tedious, I’m sure nervous first-timers would find it reassuring. Also, there is a special novice area for them when they do eventually get out on the slopes.

Accommodation in this large, purpose-built resort ranges from apartment blocks to four-star hotels. For those who would prefer to stay in a traditional New England inn, there are plenty within a 90min drive of the resort.

The Silas Griffith Inn in Danby and the West Mountain Inn at Arlington are charming, the Inn at Essex in Essex is a colonial-style sister property to Gleneagles in Scotland offering a range of outdoor activities, while the Blueberry Hill Inn at Goshen is the perfect antidote to the concrete jungle that is Killington.



How to get there: fly to Burlington via Boston, New York, Toronto, or any of the other east coast airports, or drive from Boston which takes approximately 3hrs-3hrs30mins.

Best time to go: skiing is from October to April; but towards the end of the season, the snow can be patchy, even though both Stowe and Killington have snow-making machines.

Cost of a lift pass: seven days in Stowe costs $284, a two-day pass costs $92; seven days in Killington costs $315, a two-day pass costs $102.

Cost of ski school: in Stowe, group lessons start at $30 for 1hr30mins; private lessons cost from $70; In Killington, a three-day learn-to-ski/board package costs from $60 including a lift pass for the learning area, equipment rental and instruction; one group lesson only costs from $31; private coaching costs from $115 an hour for two people.

Cost of ski rental: in Stowe, Pinnacle Ski and Sports, right next to the Matterhorn, has ski and boot hire from $15 a day and snowboard rental from $20 a day. In Killington, lift and equipment can be paid for in one easy transaction and skis and boots cost from $57 for two days, $165 for a week.

Stowe: has many easy runs, making it more suitable for beginners