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Stowe

Listed under Small Ski Resorts in New England, United States.

  • Photo of Stowe
  • Photo of Stowe
  • Photo of Stowe
  • Photo of Stowe
  • Photo of Stowe
  • Photo of Stowe
  • Photo of Stowe
Photo of Stowe
Photo by flickr user redjar
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Some ski resorts are built to accommodate great numbers skiers; it is their trade and they have been doing it for centuries. Cable cars take you from the mountainside to your doorstep and back again from six in the morning, while snow machines churn out fresh powder all night. Rental shops process people with military efficiency; they go in one end as mums, dads and children and emerge at the other looking like Hermann Maier. This is how some ski resorts operate, but there is another way.

In Autumn, the valleys of Vermont are some of the most beautiful places to watch the leaves turn; the golden, deciduous woodland at the lower altitudes attracts people from all over the world. Move a little further up though, and the landscape transforms, as steeper slopes support snow-blanketed pine forests. Here you’ll find Stowe, a picturesque town divided down the middle by a narrow high street adorned with bars and restaurants, an old wooden church and some shops selling postcards, boiled candy and jumpers thick enough to insulate your attic with.

The system in Stowe was a new experience; to get to the slopes you have drive out of town for about 5 minutes, then park at the bottom of the slopes and walk up to a booth to buy your passes and get kitted out. The unusual thing was that at no point did we have to wait for anything; there were no numbered tickets, no shuttle bus service, no queues and not a Hermann Maier in sight. In fact, I felt silly and over-dressed in a ski jacket and salopettes; most people were zipping along in jeans and a jumper, probably one from that shop in town.

Not only was it a revelation to discover I could still ski after five years, but that it could be so simple, joyful and old-fashioned. The slopes are not as pant-wettingly exciting as you’ll find in some larger resorts, you can’t clamber out of your bedroom window into a gondola lift, and beards are compulsory for men above 16, but you can ski for a week without encountering a single queue, not to mention the convenience of a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory on the way home.

Written by  Alex Allen.

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