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Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

The first sight of towering Mt. Mansfield, with its snow-capped summit, is breathtaking. And the mountain, Vermont’s highest at 4,395 feet, is home to Stowe’s famed ski resort.

Stowe Ski Resort, VermontSite of Vermont’s first racing trail—Nose Dive, cut in the early 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps—Stowe Resort has retained its old-time New England feel. Its trails zig-zag along forest contours, or drop precipitously straight down the fall line. Across from Mt. Mansfield, is Spruce Peak, with kinder, gentler terrain and a sunnier exposure. Both Mansfield and Spruce are vintage Vermont.

But vintage doesn’t mean stodgy, and Stowe is on the move. When Spruce Peak at Stowe is finished, the resort will have a true base village, which will tie its two non-connected peaks together.

Spruce long has been the neglected child, but that’s changing. Improvements include three lifts, a high-speed quad replacing the Little Spruce double chair, a new beginner lift, and a high-speed 10-passenger cross-over gondola that carries guests between Spruce Peak and Mt. Mansfield. The upscale Stowe Mountain Lodge, at the base of Spruce, is slated to open in the fall of 2007.

But the mountain isn’t the only Stowe experience.The Village of Stowe, with its white-steepled church and main street lined with historic buildings, is the epitome of how most folks picture Vermont. Between the village and the mountain are historic inns and swanky resorts, two world-class spas, and restaurants to serve every appetite and palate. With so many distractions, Stowe offers plenty for those who think “first chair” is a seat in the orchestra.

For those who really do want to make first chair on the mountain in the morning, and stay until the sun is setting behind the mountain, there is no place like Stowe. With very little run-out at the bottom, the trails will keep you turning almost until the liftline. It’s one of many reasons that the mountain, and the village, have so many diehard fans.

Photographed at Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont, by Landwehrle Studio