Ascutney Mountain Ski Getaways

ski getaways

Skiers and riders who looked with longing at the terrain above Ascutney's highest lift were rewarded a couple of years ago when the resort installed the North Peak Express, a top-to-bottom quad that boosted the mountain's vertical by nearly 300 feet.

The extra vertical and associated trails went a long way towards giving Ascutney a "big-mountain" feel and were a fine payoff for fans of a resort that had seen some lean times. Ascutney continues to gain ground as a player in the New England resort scene, thanks to the dogged work of Susan and Steven Plausteiner, who purchased the resort in 1993. Even then the mountain had some important attributes: A mountainside village with an excellent sports center, a location just a few minutes off I-91, and interesting terrain.

Consistently pitched blue terrain (often more difficult than you might expect), punctuated by a number of steep shots, characterizes nearly all the upper mountain. Only near the bottom does the pitch favor beginners, finally giving way to the gentle terrain near the village center.

This arrangement works just fine. Never-evers and the kidbit set can choose from the Novice or Village Triples and a magic carpet, and a suite of gentle wide-open slopes framed (and sheltered) by the resort's major buildings. Those who graduate from this terrain can move up to the Sunrise Double, which serves mostly easier blue-square trails.

Better skiers and riders will want to head immediately for the Snowdance Triple or the North Peak Express, where short steep shots like Heartbeat and Mayday are a foil to longer advanced trails like Blind Faith and Freefall. But intermediate trails like Upper Snowdance and Otter's Slide should not be taken lightly.

A half pipe and terrain park round out the on-snow play possibilities.