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Smugglers — Mountain layout

Mountain Layout — Skiing

Kids swarm over Morse Mountain, center of ski school classes, apres-ski bonfires and hot chocolate, making it a magnet for those who revel in a family atmosphere. Almost all the condos are located on or near Morse.

Experts and advanced skiers should head to Madonna Mountain by car or shuttle. Intermediates can cruise down Sterling. Smugglers has no high-speed quads or triple chairs, which sometimes contributes to long waits at the lift loading area on weekends and holidays. The trade-off is that the trails are not congested.

If you’re a day visitor of intermediate skiing ability or better, don turn in to the main village. Continue up the hill to the top parking lot (#1). Here you’ll find fewer cars and a short walk to a point where you can ski to the lifts on Sterling and Madonna. Best of all, you can ski back to your car at days end.

Here’s a larger trail map. Or check out Smugglers panoramic trail map with 360 degree views.

Expert, Advanced:

The real challenge is from the top of Madonna Mountain. Five double-black-diamond trails beckon. The Black Hole, which is between Liftline and Freefall, adds trees to the steeps. The icefalls, ledges and stumps on Upper Liftline will make even true experts hold their breath. Freefall is just that: the turns come quickly and you drop 10 to 15 feet with each turn. Upper F.I.S. sports a 41-percent gradient, and with the addition of top-to-bottom snowmaking it has become a tad more civilized than in the past.

If you’re hooked on glades, you’ll want to check out Doc Dempsey’s. Another quick adrenaline rush is Highlander Glades on Sterling Mountain. Tree skiers will be awed by the amount of uncut terrain within the resort’s boundaries: Keep an eye out for locals who might share their secret stashes. An unofficial easy glade that makes for a great first foray into the woods for kids is off the top of the Practice Slope Extension.

The best bump runs are F.I.S., the middle portion of Upper Liftline, Smugglers’ Alley and Exhibition. The snow on Madonna Mountain takes longer to soften, so warm up on Sterling and head to the Madonna 1 chair after 11:30 a.m. or so.



Fifty-five percent of the trails are rated intermediate, and many are well suited to recent ski-school grads. Intermediate runs are concentrated on Madonna and Sterling peaks. Two favorite routes for lower intermediates who want to get a sense of big-mountain skiing are off Sterling: Upper Rumrunner to Lower Rumrunner, and Upper Rumrunner to Black Snake to the bottom of Treasure Run to Lower Exhibition. The views are spectacular both ways.

For advanced-intermediates who want to test their mettle, try Chute on Sterling Mountain. It’s a short advanced run that’s steep with some bumps and stumps, especially in the spring. But its only 15 to 20 turns long, in case you decide you’re in over your head.


Beginner, First-timer:

The third mountain at Smugglers’ is Morse, with 17 trails ranging from beginner to expert. It is the ski schooler’s mountain.

You won’t find any hotshots here. Morse also is home to Mogul Mouse’s Magic Lift, a half-speed double chair especially kind to beginners and young children. From the top of the lift begins the Magic Learning Trail, with nature stations, exploration paths and ski-through “caves.”

Morse Bowl is served by the Highlands double chair and has five trails for beginners and advanced beginners, and a separate base lodge.