Visitor reviews for Stowe Ski Resort
September 13, 2018
EasternSkiier from United States
I've skied New England for over 30 years and Stowe is in my "Top 3" category ... and those three are pretty much tied, each having their own charms.
What I love about Stowe:
Consistently the best conditions of any mountain in the area. They've invested heavily in their snowmaking in the past 8-10 years, and it's really paid off. They've got all state-of-the-art equipment covering 80% of their terrain.
Consistent pitch ... top to bottom. There's no traversing. No ski this trail to get to that trail, yadda yadda. You ski this mountain from top to bottom with no long run-outs, etc... to get back to the lift.
"Chill" ski patrol. Unlike other mountains, the ski patrol at Stowe doesn't act like a police force. If you don't get hurt or act like a jerk, you'll hardly see them all day at this mountain. That said, this is the oldest and possibly best-trained ski patrol in the US. They take great pride in their history and professionalism, and when you need them they'll be there in a heartbeat and provide you the best of care.
The trails at Stowe are great, especially the Expert terrain. But where Stowe really shines is the vast amount of off-piste skiing available. It is possible to ski from top to bottom without needing to ski a trail (except maybe to cross one) inbounds. Stowe has a boundary to boundary skiing policy, so as long as you enter and exit from open terrain, it's all fair game. If you venture out of bounds, there's about as much easily accessible acreage as there is inbounds. There are a number of factors that make the out of bounds terrain so good. First is that many of the original trails that were cut on Mansfield in the 30's actually didn't end up being incorporated into the modern-day resort. However, those trails still exist, and are skiable ... though for some of them, you'll end up in Underhill State Park, so you'd better have a ride home planned. There is one called "The Bruce" which ends near "The Matterhorn", about two miles down Mountain Road from the resort where you can grab the free shuttle back to the lifts. Heading into the off-piste areas to the North of the gondola provides a huge wooded playground that drops you into the Notch, and you can ski down the closed part of 108 and then it's a short walk back to the gondi. There is much of the out of bounds terrain that is "unofficially" maintained and thinned by the local ski bums during the off-season ... so lots of great secrets to discover.
Finally, since being recently acquired by Vail Resorts, the ticket prices have been moderated some. If you walk up to the window, prepare to be gouged. However, if you buy your ticket online at least 48-hours in advance, you save a considerable sum. Also, Stowe is part of the "Epic Pass", so if you buy a season pass, you gain access to (as of this writing) Stowe, Okemo and Sunapee in the East, plus all of Vail's Western properties. An EpicPass can be had for under $1000 and provides unrestricted access to 65 resorts around the world.
Overall: 3.9. Based on 6 votes and 9 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Stowe.
Public Transport: 3.5
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Stowe, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Stowe, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 2.7
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 5.0
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Stowe.
Ski in/Ski out: 5.0
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Stowe, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Stowe is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Stowe relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 4.5
(1) There are no snow groomers at Stowe, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Stowe are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Stowe is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.0
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Stowe, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.2
(1) Stowe usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 4.3
(1) The staff at Stowe are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Stowe are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.7
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.7
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.2
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Stowe has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Stowe, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 3.7
(1) Not even a kicker at Stowe, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Stowe, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Stowe has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 3.8
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 3.5
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 4.2
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 2.2
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 2.2
(1) Overall, Stowe is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 2.7
(1) Overall, Stowe is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
December 02, 2016
DH from United States
it was said best in 2003: "Stowe is probably the closest you can come to western skiing in the East, unless you have skied at Tuckerman Ravine. But the best of Stowe is not on the trail map, other than Goat, Lookout and Starr, but off piste." The locals take pride in their off-piste skiing from Vermont's highest peak! I am really not sure why Stowe get's so much flack for long lift lines. Have you ever been to the other areas on a busy day? Same lift line except it takes you twice as long to get to the top of the mountain and you may still have to take another lift to get to the top. You can ski twice if not 3X the vertical in one day at Stowe when compared to the other areas in Vermont. Yes, each area has it's own unique charm, but no one matches the skiing at Stowe. Not even close.
[note from the editor: names not included in reviews.]
March 12, 2012
GS from United States
I have always loved Stowe, and their diversity of trails and quality of snow has vastly improved over the past ten years. Sprice Peak, which once was not always open due to lack of snowmaking is now open most of the time and has one of the best and most scenic trails in new emglans..Sterling. I can spend half of my day on this trail and not get bored. That being said the are is becoming much less inviting to me, but not because of the mountain. It has become too expensive especially for a family. Try $15.00 hambugers and $20.00 sandwiches. The lift tickets are now $92! Even my well to do friends are starting to avoid this resort. The management has been trying to be the Aspen of the East for some time, but they are forgetting the people who have made this mountain great in the first place. Please Stowe, bring back the charm and consideration for your family skiers and get your prices in line with other areas. Now, also be aware that you can not just get your young, new skiers lessons for an hour or two. You have to buy the whole day program at $175. Sorry, I don't have $1000 to drop on one days skiing for five people.
February 26, 2012
the schusser from United States
I skied Stowe 70 days last year. I'd say 90-80 percent of the trails are intermediate. If you are looking to learn how to ski, Stowe and Smuggs are probably the best places in the area. A powder day is a powder day, but of all the places I've skied, the crown for the longest lift lines goes to Stowe. If you're looking for $92/day worth of skiing, go out West. In Vermont, Jay; Mad River Glen and Sugarbush offer a better experience with fewer people.
There is a "but" though. If you're looking to ski the backcountry, Stowe is the town to be in. You are in the middle of three mountain ranges, all of which offer excellent touring for turns style skiing. Mansfield gets crowded, but offers excellent off-piste terrain. If you are looking for a more guided backcountry experience, head over to the Trapp Family Lodge, they have excellent instructors and trails, not to mention other offerings.
Both the Worcester Range and the Sterling Range have a good system of trails on them that you might just want to explore too.
December 19, 2011
rocka from United States
Stowe is hands down the best resort-ski town the east has to offer. This mountain has some heart, you just got to poke around.
April 28, 2009
Bob R from United States
Stowe is a top-notch eastern ski area. The runs are long and varied, the snow deep by East Coast standards, and the decision to stop the lifts short of the summit of Mansfield means no death-defying, wind-scoured descents are required to reach skiable terrain (unlike Jay Peak, for example).
All that said, any comparisons to the West are misplaced. The weather is still bitter cold and overcast, the snow rock hard when not scary ice, and the trails narrow and over-crowded. The woods are better, but Stowe has been slower than most eastern resorts to create skiable gladed areas by thinning the trees. Sure, you can enjoy the non-thinned areas with little company if you are a superb skier. However, for the rest of us, the prospect of skiing on a 60 percent pitch in a field full of closely spaced telephone poles is not overly inviting.
January 22, 2009
RB from United States
Stowe does not average anything close to 350 inches a year. The University of Vermont maintains a snowstake at 3900 ft on Mt. Mansfied and takes daily measurements. The 50-year average snowfall is 205 inches and the all time record (1970) is about 330 inches. Since the snowstake is above the top of the ski area, Stowe probably receives about half the advertised 350 inches at its 2300 ft mid-mountain elevation (the proper place to measure snowfall). You can check the UVM site on the web.
November 20, 2003
snowbum from United States
Stowe is definitely the best in the east, hands down. Unlike all other resorts in the east, pretty much, it is all top to bottom on Vermont's highest peak. But the real deal is all off the trail and in the trees. Just amazing lines, crazy hits, natural tree slides, 10-15ft dropoffs that just appear out of nowhere, and filled with powder. While all the folks on the trails complain about eastern hardpack, you'll find me in the trees riding on the powder. Resorts in the east are finally waking up to the fact that the trees hold the snow much better than open trails. Just check out Jay Peak. Jay gets outrageous snowfalls, and really is the all about the snow. I've been there often and experienced three consecutive days of snowfall, ending up in 40+ inches. I am not making this stuff up either. They average over 350 inches a year. That is great for an eastern resort and not too bad when compared to the western resorts, like vail and others (i don't want to get into a east vs west thing, hey if you have passion and live in the east, you'll find very good stuff to keep you busy). They have a great glade network, but their only downfall is the short vertical and lots of runouts at the end when you want to hit the really good stuff. overall i stick with stowe since you can spend a lot of time on every trail, on and off piste.
If anyone wants more info on stowe or jay, or the others in new england (i've rode them all, including tucks every year for the last 10 years), just send me a line.
pray for snow
August 17, 2003
Ian Dempsey from United States
Stowe is probably the closest you can come to western skiing in the East, unless you have skied at Tuckerman's. But the best of Stowe is not on the trail map, other than Goat and Starr, but off piste. In otherwords, if you live in New England, go to Stowe, and ski at Stowe.