Places to Ski for Every Ability Level

A Guide to Skiing in Vermont

The snow crunches below your skis as you make your way from the lift, while the wind blows a soft spray across your face. Your heart pounds as you adjust your goggles and glance down at your powdery route. The poles hit the ground and off you go, weaving and gliding down the mountain. Nothing quite compares to that rush — that connection you have with the outdoors — when you ski or snowboard.

Experience the thrill of skiing and riding all winter long in Vermont. Keep up with conditions at Ski Vermont and start making your plans. Regardless of your experience level, there is a mountain calling your name and all Vermont resorts offer a variety of terrain for every ability level.

For the beginners

Smuggler’s Notch, a family-focused resort in Jeffersonville, was rated No. 1 Ski Resort in the East in 2022 by Ski Magazine readers. Their Snow Sport University (SSU) offers a learn-to-ski program for ages five through adult. Stowe Mountain Resort, also on Mt. Mansfield, designates an area of the mountain to novice skiers.

Bromley, the “Sun Mountain,” is located in Peru and is New England’s only resort with south-facing trails. It offers skiing for every level and has a kids program that accepts children as young as two -and -a half. Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow has a Ski + Ride School for first-time skiers, children and those who want to perfect their skills, or move on to more challenging terrain. It also has a heated bubble chairlift for cozier rides to the top of the mountain.

For the intermediate or green-level skiers

Mount Snow in Dover, just 2.5 hours from Boston, is good for any level of skier. However, it has some green runs in the Main Face area that take the intermediate skier from the summit (3,600 feet) all the way down the mountain. Mount Snow also boasts top-notch lift service. The Bluebird Express, a six-passenger bubble chairlift, will have you back up the mountain in no time.

Stratton Mountain Resort in Londonderry is home to southern Vermont’s tallest mountain. It offers 99 trails broken down into all levels, although novice and intermediate trails make up 75 percent. It also prides itself on its grooming and lifts — the fastest fleet in the East.

Best skiing for experts and thrill seekers

Vermont offers some challenging runs for expert (black-level) skiers, with extensive backcountry and glade options, along with bump trails and terrain parks. Jay Peak Resort in northern Vermont — less than five miles from the Canadian border — is known for having the most snow in the East. It boasts 81 trails and one of the best glade systems within designated resort areas, as well as outstanding backcountry skiing.

Burke Mountain Resort has a ski-in/ski-out, bike-in/bike-out hotel, and offers extensive backcountry and glade skiing for experts. Bolton Valley is a family-friendly resort with terrific backcountry, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. It is also known for night skiing and riding on lit trails. Both Stowe and Smugglers’ Notch have fantastic backcountry, as well.  A real challenge is Mad River Glen, renowned for its backcountry, less-managed trails and bump trails, and less-crowded slopes. It holds the honor of being the only ski area in the nation on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to America’s first single-chair lift.

Terrain Parks

Terrain parks give skiers and snowboarders a chance to hone technical skills and enjoy the thrill of facing down gravity to jump or use features like half-pipes, rails, or boxes. Stowe Mountain Resort has two terrain parks, one for beginners and one for more advanced freestylers. Killington Mountain Resort offers parks for intermediate and advanced skiers, as well as a Start Park and Progression Park for those new to freestyling. The Stash at Killington, developed in collaboration with Burton, returns freestylers to the woods with 65 natural features including rainbow trees and wall rides. At Sugarbush, discover more than 6 acres of features produced in-house, both snow features and rails, boxes, and jumps, as well as Slowpoke and Sugarbear Forest for beginners. Handmade decks, a half-pipe, and boardercross courses entice riders at Stratton. Two beginner parks and an intermediate/advanced course challenge skiers and riders at Jay Peak ResortMount Snow’s Carinthia Terrain Parks boast more than 100 acres of features including rails, jumps, tree-skiing zone, and a monster superpipe.