Let's call it the ultimate lift ticket—a Tradewind Aviation private shuttle from White Plains Airport to the Hermitage Club in Vermont, New England's only luxury, private-powder ski community. With one other big advantage: The Hermitage has its own airport, Deerfield Valley, which Hermitage Club-owner Jim Barnes purchased and renovated in 2013.
The schedule (6:15pm departure, arriving at 7:04) is designed to get members to the Hermitage Club in time for cocktails and dinner at the 1842 Farmhouse Inn or the Clubhouse restaurant (and snowmobiling on the mountain afterwards or taking a Sno-Cat to a mountaintop cabin for oysters and champagne by the fire). Even with a post-dinner jaunt, members are poised for an early-next-morning arrival on Haystack Mountain, which has 55 trails groomed all day long, hence the Club's ad tagline "Fresh Corduroy at 3 p.m. Really?" The return gives members a full day of skiing—departure at 6:15pm, with touchdown at White Plains at 7:04.
The Hermitage Club is a 1,400-acre enclave in southwestern Vermont's Deerfield Valley. It consists of 4,200-square-foot homes, 3,400-square-foot town homes, and coming later this year, The Hotel Hermitage, a 31-unit condo offering studios to three-bedroom units. At the premiere development, Stag’s Leap, overlooking the Deerfield Valley, ski-in ski out residences start at $1.8 million. There is also an 80,000-square-foot Club House with a restaurant, 14 spa and treatment rooms, fitness facility, movie theater, and an edit suite for GoPro helmet cams.
Family memberships (immediate family) cost $75,000, plus $6,500 annual dues. Membership comes with guest passes. "When members bring their friends and see what we’re about, the place sells itself," Barnes says.
The Club's strategy—charge the few more for a premium experience—has led to rapid growth, 225% since 2012. It's a model more common in the Rockies, but it's clearly working here. And it's not just for skiers: this lift ticket works in summer as well, given the Club's 18-hole Desmond Muirhead golf course.
On this route, Tradewind Aviation uses a Pilatus PC-12 turboprop, a plane designed for short runways and seating up to eight passengers.