Something for Everyone at Smugglers Notch
On the first week of March we made our way up to Smugglers' Notch Resort, in Jeffersonville, VT. This was our first time visiting Smuggs, and knowing it had been rated the #1 resort in the east by Ski Magazine had us feeling a sense of anticipation--and boy did it exceed expectations!
Before even strapping on the skis, what instantly stood out as unique from the other New England ski towns, was Smuggs being surrounded by a mini village of condos vs. a big hotel. Whether it was slopeside condos or larger premium condos set back in the woods, there was a nice variety of accommodations perfectly suited for families or groups. We stayed in one of Kestrels development condos. It was a huge unit equipped with a full kitchen, gas fireplaces, living room. and great views of the mountain.
The weather couldn't have been better for our 4 days of skiing. Blue skies and no wind, with moderate temperatures every day. To get to the lifts in the morning all we needed to do was call the free village shuttle service and they pick up right in front of your unit.
Smuggs is made up of 3 main peaks and a total of 78 trails. Morse Mountain features primarily beginner and learning terrain, while Madonna and Sterling boast more intermediate and expert terrain. There are also another 750 acres of ski-able woods between the trails. The balance of terrain and variety really stands out. From some of the most challenging steeps in the east, to trees, windy groomers, and a renowned learning area, any skiing ability will enjoy what Smuggs has to offer.
Thursday, our first day out, featured a lot of marked trail skiing. The glades were full of soft packed powder and some fresh stashes if you poked around a bit. The Doc Dempsey and Shakedown glades were two favorites for steep and challenging tree runs. For an more intermediate, and spaced out glade that you can fly through, try the Bermuda glade along the side of Madonna. The most challenging run of the day was a steep chute called Robin's run which fed into the lower portion of the tripple black diamond, The Black Hole. It was a technical leg burner that rivals any terrain in the east.
On day two I had the pleasure of skiing the morning with Smugg's Public Relations Director, Mike Chait. Mike took me around to some of the best stashes Smuggs had to offer and it was an Epic morning of skiing. During the afternoon he took us on a tour of the Treasures slope-side daycare which is an awesome option for parents with young children. The daycare has multiple rooms for children of different ages and even has a mini magic carpet outside. The best part is that the location is literally right off the trail, so you can pop-in between runs to say hi to your kids.
Over the weekend our friends Ericca and Pete, and their baby joined us. Pete and I skied for most of the day Saturday lapping a bunch of the groomed blues. Upper Rumrunner to Black Snake is an awesome intermediate trail, runnimg along the boundary of Sterling and featuring views of the notch and Stowe Mountain in the distance. We also enjoyed Upper Chilcoot to Ruthies, which runs along the outer perimeter of Madonna. From the top of Madonna we had amazing views all day and could even see Mt. Washington in the distance.
Even when you're not skiing there's still plenty do at Smuggs. While Pete and I were on the slopes, the ladies went snowshoeing with the babies--from the Smuggs Adventure Center. The babies loved it and the views of the mountain were amazing. We also took a walk down the Smugglers Notch road that connects to Stowe in the Summer but is closed in the winter. This was an easy walk with a plethora of sights to see. You'll find frozen waterfalls, ice caves, great views, and skiers randomly popping out of the backcountry woods. For dinner on Saturday we went to the on-site Hearth and Candle restaurant. They have both family friendly and adult-only dining areas and the food was top-notch. We'd recommend the lamb shank and the wild boar with ricotta gnocchi-- and of course, getting a Vermont cheese plate.
|Hailey enjoying the family walk through the notch