Spanning 53 miles of pristine trails in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, Sugarbush is known as one of the top ski resorts in New England with good reason. The alpine retreat in Warren is home to more than 100 trails, a professional-level terrain park, and the spectacular, 2,000-acre backland woods area of Slide Brook Basin.
Among the skiers and snowboarders taking in Vermont’s breathtaking scenery on any given day is Mark Woolley, Seasonal Programs Supervisor and Alpine Training Coordinator. Woolley has been at Sugarbush since 1979 when he moved to the mountain at the age of 21, and today, he still skis as much as possible during his free time.
“It rivals anything in the East,” he says of the terrain, noting the marked trails as well as the much-acclaimed side-country and backcountry.
At the heart of Sugarbush is the Lincoln Peak area, which includes Lincoln Peak, Castlerock, Gadd Peak, and North Lynx and features a variety of classic New England trails and the Ski & Ride School. Nearby in the Mt. Ellen area, composed of the 4,083-foot Mt. Ellen and Inverness, you can find Vermont’s highest chairlift.
The marked trails in Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen are among the best in the region, offering incredible beginner and expert terrain — including Woolley’s personal favorite trail, the double-black Lift Line on Castlerock Peak. But it’s between the two areas that you will find Slide Brook Basin, which is where Woolley and many of the resort’s top skiers and riders spend their time.
Beyond resort boundaries, the basin abounds with challenging expert ski terrain. It’s here that you can find tranquil backcountry solitude as you explore with your group — and perhaps even spot wildlife including moose, black bears, and white-tailed deer.
“Everybody loves this place for skiing in the woods,” says Woolley, who spends a lot of time in Sugarbush’s wooded areas with the children in the seasonal programs. (Many parents from nearby Boston are avid skiers themselves and want their children to feel comfortable skiing in the woods as quickly as possible.)
Back in Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen, the terrain parks also attract skiers and riders of all skill levels. Families and beginners enjoy small jumps, rails, and boxes in the progression park in Lincoln Peak, while experienced skiers and riders head over to Mt. Ellen’s Riemergasse and Sugar Run via the Sunny Quad chairlift.
“We have one large, professional-level, photography-style terrain park,” says Snowboard Manager Aaron Guilfoyle of the six-acre Riemergasse. “The skate-plaza-style setup at the base of Mt. Ellen is absolutely amazing. It’s set up to really feed into a lot of people’s creativity.”
Sugarbush’s premier park for more than a decade, Riemergasse is packed with more than 50 of the most advanced medium and large features in the industry, with an opportunity to link a single top-to-bottom run 15 features deep. Nearby, Sugar Run is a traditional top-to-bottom run with small and medium features that are great for those in the early stages of freestyle skiing and those who want to warm up before Riemergasse.
Between hitting the slopes, there is plenty to do in the Mad River Valley, from shopping artisan galleries to grabbing a bite at top après ski bars to relaxing in Sugarbush’s cozy accommodations. For Woolley, some of the many great restaurants in the area include the Hyde Away, where you can find modern farm-to-table cuisine and Vermont microbrews, and The Reks for delicious appetizers and innovative comfort food. He is also known to visit the Mediterranean-inspired Sage on a Thursday night.
At the resort itself, the retro-themed Wünderbar and Castlerock Pub with its extensive beer selection are both favorites for quick breaks and après ski stops. Woolley recommends eating midmorning and midafternoon when there’s a crowd at Sugarbush so you can have some runs all to yourself midday.
From year to year, Sugarbush tends to see the most snow in March, but this season there has been plenty of snow all season long — including about five feet in January — so the mountain is in perfect condition for a winter or spring getaway. As in years past, the slopes will remain open until the first weekend of May.
A quick flight from Boston and New York City, Sugarbush is completely accessible for quick getaways or weeklong retreats with Tradewind Aviation’s on-demand private charter flights.
To reserve a charter, call us at 1-800-376-7922 or click here.
Featured Photo: John Atkinson