Sugarbush Ski Getaways

ski getaways

A ride on the Slide Brook Express is worth the price of admission alone.

The detachable quad chair covers the 2.7 miles between Lincoln Peak and Glen Ellen in less than ten minutes, traversing the rugged Slide Brook drainage area between the two halves of Sugarbush. Those who are the least bit squeamish about a regular chairlift ride would do well to take the ground-based weekend and holiday shuttle that runs continuously between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. rather than brave the whoop-dee-doos of the Express. Instead, enjoy the whoop-dee-doos of the 'bush's classic terrain and 2,650 feet of vertical. Recent improvements to the resort include the new Lincoln Peak Village which opened in the 2006-07 season. Included in the Villiage are the new Clay Brook slopeside condos, the Gate House base lodge which is double the size of the old base lodge, and a new upscale restaurant.

With a suite of strategically placed express quads, augmented by conventional lifts, skiing or riding Sugarbush fast and hard on its miles of groomed intermediate terrain is easy. And with the exception of the Castlerock area (more on that in a bit) intermediates have many choices from the top of each lift, whether they start at Lincoln Peak or Mount Ellen. At the former, most of the blue square terrain can be found off the Super Bravo Express and the Gatehouse Express, but Jester from the summit is worth the ride as much as are the views north and east. At Mount Ellen, most of the terrain off the Summit Quad, the North Ridge Express, and the Inverness Quad is perfect for cruising. The aptly named Panorama may distract you with its sweeping views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. Most of the green circle stuff at both mountains is thoughtfully separate from the more difficult terrain, but Northstar, Northridge Expressway, and Walt's Trail at Mount Ellen provide beginners with a big mountain ride within their measure.

But Sugarbush is far from just a cruiser's mountain, and trails like Stein's Run, Ripcord, Paradise, and FIS are true tests of skill for accomplished skiers and riders. Even more so is the Castlerock area, served by its own double. Here a series of single and double black diamond trails and glades, covered by nature only, twist, turn, and drop down the natural contours and ledges of the mountain. Quickness of thought and feet is important here, as is being early on a powder day.

Boarders and twin-tippers who want their own space to shred will find it at the base of Mount Ellen, where a ᄑ pipe and big terrain park await.