And back up at the resort, the Morse Mountain Pub is rocking. Need a snack? Season Passes are no longer available for the 2020/21 season. Smugglers' Notch (or Smugglers or Smuggler's) is a mountain pass in Lamoille County, Vermont . If Smuggs wants to stick with its fixed-grip program, its many fans are fine with it. I see the merits of fixed-grip lifts—the vintage aesthetic, the chance to rest your legs, and noticeably less traffic on the slopes. Like most locals, I zoom past Morse and the base village on my way to Lot 1. So, of all the places the Epic worksâand they are almost countless now, including, of course, that neighboring resort just over there on the other side of the Notchâit doesnât work here. To get to the Bowls, you ride the Sterling lift, striking out from the summit like you’re headed for Sterling Pond and Stowe, but taking a right. But what gets me most excited about a trip to Smuggs—what really impresses me about the place and is so often overlooked—is the one thing no ski area can fake: terrain. There are Smuggs regulars who ski almost nothing but the Bowls all day, and prodigious amounts of clandestine labor have gone into improving the skiing in there. Now thereâs another one: world-famous beers. At least not yet. Mansfield trails are clearly visible—so close they could be a part of Smuggs you haven’t explored yet. I needed a day for laundry. Subscribe here. Not here at feisty, quirky, proudly individualistic Smugglersâ Notch. And then, of course, there’s the Bowls—the hallowed Birthday Bowls, known to some as just the Back Bowls. Gathering your family to savor cups of hot chocolate around the bonfire, sharing an exhilarating run down the mountain, or marveling together during the evening torchlight pa REFUNDS: Epic Coverage provides refunds for COVID-19 related closures, injury, job loss, and more. … That’s really good.”. Pass/Badges Purchase after Halloween; Season Pass: Child 5 & under*+ (*lift access only) FREE: Youth (ages 6-12) $369: Youth (ages 13-18) $389: Adult (ages 19-26) $409: Adult (ages 27-34) $639: Adult (ages 35-69) $689: College (ages 18 & older) $309: Family Pass (Minimum 1 adult and 1 youth) Adult (age 19-69) $629: Bash Badge and Bash Badge Plus: Bash Badge Youth (ages 6-18) $119 Pick the days you want to receive our mountain snowfall, trail news and updates. The traverse spools out along the ridgeline deep into the Notch, with numerous shots dropping off it, all leading down some 1,000 to 1,500 vertical feet to the closed-in-winter Notch Road, which funnels down into an easy glide to Lot 1. Epic Coverage also provides a refund for certain resort closures, including events like COVID-19. The sun shines through a low layer of silvery mist, and a few sparkly flakes float down persistently throughout the morning—a perfect Vermont snow-globe kind of day. The Village at Smugglers' Notch offers studio units, as well as one to four bedroom condominiums. Northern Vermont's beloved Smugglers' Notch has long been rumored to be the next resort joining Vail Resorts' ever-expanding portfolio. I’ve picked my way down it a few times in spring conditions, but I can only believe the stories of how amazing it is when 15 inches makes it chargeable. Welcome to Smugglers Notch State Park. The bumps of the upper mountain tumble out onto sweet wide cruisers near the bottom, where the snow and the pitch are perfect for zoomy arcs. Any other ticket specials, half day tickets, vouchers or promotional tickets are not available to reload online. And there’s a hot tub shared by four units on the ground floor. Not yet. Nightlife isn’t what Jeffersonville is known for, and we don’t expect much. The notch separates Mount Mansfield, the highest peak of the Green Mountains, from Spruce Peak and the Sterling Range. Smugglers' Notch pulls out all the stops for families. The base village, for instance, is perfectly serviced by the very mellow Morse Mountain trails. Its namesake is a narrow notch (mountain pass) running adjacent to Sterling Mountain, which smugglers used many years ago. Our unit has a big corner sun room that must be particularly nice on Vermont summer evenings. But most of Madonna’s terrain—and you’ll have to ski it to see it, because it’s hard to scout from below—is in the vein of Liftline. Mansfield poking up in the distance. It was improved in 1922 in time for Prohibition, during which Smugglers' Notch took on new meaning, this time with contraband flowing south from Canada. The Green Mountains unveil a spectacular vista of sugar maple, beech and yellow birch laden forests that transform into a sunset of colors in autumn. Smugglers Notch State Park: Only smugglers dared pass!! Groups of tired, happy skiers mingle in the sun, snacking and cocktailing and recounting the day’s exploits. The powder has long since been skied out, but the snowpack is still deep, dry, and chalky—highly unusual in Vermont this time of year, when freeze- thaw cycles are the norm. And they’re also some of the best skiers you’ll see anywhere, their mettle tested by unabiding terrain, their Zen enhanced by long reflective lift rides, their wallets a little fatter thanks to decent prices. Check out the latest Smugglers' Notch Resort season pass pricing for an adult, child, junior and senior, where applicable. Don't let this mellow run fool you: Sterling Mountain boosts mostly blues and blacks spilling from it's 3,040-foot summit. It’s near the end of that magical two-week stretch near the close of last winter when a couple of nice, juicy snowstorms were followed by a couple weeks of midwinter temps. In some cases, ski resorts may be part of a multi-mountain ski pass, which will be indicated when those prices are displayed. Local bartender Jason Niemi does daytime duty on Liftline, on Madonna Mountain, in full view of a suspended audience. At least not yet. Some days I’m fine with that. Once purchased this reusable all-season card will have the option to reload online for various products and at our point of sale locations. We were there at the end of the Autumn leaves. Club Wyndham Smugglers' Notch Vermont® Reserve Today: 877-476-8447 4323 Vermont Route 108 South Smugglers' Notch, VT 05464-9537 I hack my way through the bumps on FIS, not really feeling it yet and frankly a little intimidated by Madonna. Smuggs offers acclaimed programs for families and seasonal activities including alpine and cross country skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing; enjoyment of 8 pools and 4 waterslides; guided hiking; children's programs and a zip line canopy tour. We traverse all the way out to the end, ski a short shot that comes down onto the dormant Visitors’ Center, high up in the notch, then ski the road down to Lot 1. Everyone loves our condo in the new North Hill Community. It is because of this snake-like feature that trucks are not allowed on the road. Morse skiers never have to worry about reckless speed freaks because they’re all over on Madonna or deep in the Bowls. Venture on SR 108 through Stowe, Vt., a quintessential New England town and ski area, and Smugglers' Notch, a narrow pass with hairpin turns, giant boulders and steep cliffs. Smugglers' Notch, the #1 ranked mountain resort in the east for Service and Family 2019/2020! The sign points the way to Smuggs through quaint Jeffersonville. Along with Stowe, Epic Pass holders have unlimited access to more than a dozen resorts, including Vail in Colorado, Park City in Utah and Whistler Blackcomb in western Canada. Looking to still access the mountain? Even in stupid rental gear. (More about Lot 1 in a minute.) Later, Mary will compliment me on my crowd management skills. In nearby Jeffersonville, fill up on comfort food such as buttermilk fried chicken and maple pork chops at the Family Table. Visit Epic Coverage to learn more. The Epic Day Pass is a non-refundable season pass product offered in advance of the season that provides a discount of up to 50% off of lift ticket window prices. I’ve always liked skiers who grew up at Smuggs or make it their home resort. When I get there the party is in full swing. Additional day rates only apply to consecutive multi-day tickets purchased on the first day. Closet Neighbors on the Epic Pass. The top of Madonna Mountain is oh-so Vermont, especially with Mt. Liftline’s only problem is that it’s so steep and craggy that it needs a lot of snow and doesn’t hold it for long. They love the instructors, the après games, the cute, mute Mascots (Mogul Mouse and Billy Bob Bear), cozy slopeside condos, swimming pools, and age-appropriate play zones for tots to teens. But today the snow is too good, the weather too perfect, and I particularly want to chase Bubba around and find out where the good stuff is. The group grows, abilities vary, and conditions are just getting better as the day wears on. It only takes a few runs to rekindle my abusive relationship with Smuggs: It beats me up and undermines my self-esteem, but I can’t stop loving it. Most of the notch is in Mount Mansfield State Forest . Jonathan and Cheryl are capable but largely lapsed skiers. “Everyone always asks me about the rumors,” says longtime Smuggs owner Bill Stritzler, “and I always say I’m last to know.”, Joking aside, Stritzler admits the topic has come up, in “very informal discussions” during the course of normal interactions with his industry colleagues next door. The fixed-grip lifts, while keeping the trails uncrowded, can sometimes mean long liftlines at Smuggs. The Skiing. But nothing definite. Terrain so steep that grooming machines can’t touch it. Get there early, and you can boot up at your car, walk 10 yards, and ski down to the Sterling and Madonna lifts. Not here at feisty, quirky, proudly individualistic Smugglers’ Notch. Despite the long car ride, a good hour farther for metropolitan skiers than even Sugarbush or Stowe, there are skiing families who don’t want to be anywhere except Smuggs. A personalized Notch Card is required and available to purchase for $5 plus tax. Vermont Route 108, better known as Smugglers' Notch, was temporarily closed Thursday as crews worked to remove a tractor-trailer. On this trip—a weekend stay with a few friends in a sweet base-village condo—I hope to get an insider tour with my buddy Justin’s buddy Bubba, who hangs out with that Backcountry magazine crowd (based here in Jeffersonville), and who has skied Smuggs long enough to know its dark side as well as anyone. It’d be easy to forget you were at Smuggs if it weren’t for that great view of the slopes. With this crowd, we’d have some catching up to do. PASS HOLDER RESERVATIONS: Reservations are required for the 2020/21 season. To me, it’s the craggy slopes of Madonna, the bushwhacking off-piste of the Bowls, and the whole vibe of Lot 1 that shapes the true culture at Smuggs. “You ditched us!”, By the last run it’s down to just me and Bubba, and I get my insider tour of the Bowls. The ticket scanner reminds me with that little error noise every time I go through the gate. Smugglers’ Notch resort lodging comprises five communities with condos ranging from studios to five bedrooms with full kitchens. There’s a big crew of young out-of-staters celebrating someone’s birthday at Brewski, down the mountain road a ways. After a few runs on any of them, you too will be begging for a 15-minute rest for the legs. It also expands coverage to protect you from certain resort closures, such as any due to COVID-19. The award-winning teaching programs include lessons for parent and child together. Spring reasserts itself, and snowmelt at last begins to drip from the eaves under strong bright sun. I love that the place is so popular with families. In some pocket of my jacket I’m carrying my Epic Pass. Epic Coverage is free with all pass products and provides a refund if you have an eligible injury, job loss, or experience other personal events that prevent you from using your pass. And it’s karaoke. The Sterling lift, of course, brings skiers to within a few hundred yards of the top of neighboring Stowe’s Spruce Peak. For the hundredth time I make a note to keep my ears open for a decent pair of size 9 boots. One section is particularly difficult to navigate, even for passenger vehicles. If you don’t agree, they don’t really care. For easy village access, opt for Village East or Village West. They’re a little more easygoing and down-to-earth than the average resort skier. Our ski vacation packages to Smugglers Notch, VT with exclusive discounts are backed by the best service in the industry. For others, it’s part of the appeal. Shopping Cart, Menu; Close Close Search. Hearth and Candle, in the base village , is a favorite for its refined comfort food, cozy ambience, and live entertainment on select evenings. Gnarly, wind-blasted, deeply bumped, super-steep trails like Doc’s and FIS and Freefall and Black Hole. The two of us head out from the top of Sterling in late-afternoon sunlight. There are five of us on this weekend getaway, two couples and me. Stowe’s Mt. Meanwhile, Smuggs is very likely to remain a fixed-grip, families-first, keep-it-real kind of place. So while we await an official announcement, let me infect you with my enthusiasm for Smugglers’ Notch. As with Liftline, I’ve experienced the Bowls, just never in prime conditions, and never with anyone who really knew where to go. Surely, say the wags, it’s only a matter of time until Vail Resorts makes that a reality. It would instantly be the East’s largest ski area. Smugglers' Notch Resort 9 months ago Despite warm conditions most open trails were good to go but as day progressed too many soft spots to catch an edge on.still had a good half day with some nice blues and blacks avoided the moguls and glades. We skied together in college, and then he spent a season at Jackson Hole, but he hasn’t skied much since. Voted #1 overall ski resort in the East, learn why we're America's Family Resort! Especially if it weeds out the fancy people and keeps the price of a lift ticket affordable (and Smuggs is loved, particularly among day-tripping locals, for the value of its Bash Badge discount program). And when those budding novices are ready for a step up and a more expansive view, there’s Sterling Mountain, over on the other side of the resort. From your slow-moving vantage point on the Madonna 1 lift, you get a good look at its fangs right off the bat. Still, I have to ask the boss if he’s been approached, even though I doubt he can be candid. It’s those exuberant Out of Control Ski Clubbers again. You can find former SKI Mag editor and longtime Vermonter Joe Cutts in the Birthday Bowls this season—now that he knows his way around. “You never say ‘never,’ but the only reason there’s even been informal discussion is that they own Stowe, and when you’ve got a new neighbor you sit down and chat.”, Besides, he says, “We love our independence here, and if you’re a bit of a control freak, it’s kind of hard to give that up.”, Stritzler says he’s always been a proponent of some sort of Stowe-Smuggs interconnection, and sees it as a win for both resorts. I could stay right here, boots on, beer in hand, but when you’ve got a nice big condo, naturally you spend the day inviting people over for a drink. Stowe (30 miles, 45 minutes) Okemo (~10 miles, ~2 hours, 10 minutes) Other Nearby Vermont Resorts (Less than 1.5 hrs) Bolton Valley (30 miles, ~45 mins) Jay Peak (37 miles, ~50 minutes) Mad River Glen (40 miles, ~1 hour) But we’ve been rejected enough times that we’ve stopped asking. Mansfield. Happily, that view is quite accessible to intermediates, who can safely skid their way down from the top on Chilcoot or Drifter, Madonna’s only two blue runs. Smugglersâ Notch Resort is your playground for all types of adventure and fun for all ages. Every year, a trucker gets stuck here. Commit or die. The tree limbs create a canopy on the side of the road. We all know that conglomerates happen these days, and that it’s useless to whine about them, but being indie-owned gives Smuggs a sense of place, a quirky culture of its own, that’s harder to find these days. If you go to Smugglers' Notch â¦ “I’ve cut back to six days a week. We eat one of those huge breakfasts you only eat in ski-vacation condos. Forgot a layer? Bootleggers, in the Village Lodge, is for sports fanatics. Morse Mountain Only - Youth (6-18) & Senior (65 & older). Presently, natural selection occurs, and the faster skiers suddenly find themselves separated from the slower ones, who must have missed a turn or something. The Epic Day Pass allows guests to customize their pass, choosing exactly the number of days they want, from one day to seven days, and whether or not to add holiday access. A ski area that’s all tree skiing. Much has changed over the years at Southern Vermontâs Stratton Mountain, but one very important thing has stayed the same: Itâs still an excellent place to escape the city living. If we didn’t scar them for life, we sure made them tougher. 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