I’m mesmerized as I watch the guitarist weave a beautiful acoustic melody into the dimly lit bar, his fingers expertly navigating the chords. The live music is the perfect soundtrack for an après ski crowd, sipping cold beers and noshing on carb-heavy small plates after a day on the slopes. My tired legs lift me for one last effort of the day, as I twirl away to the happy hour music with my mustard and plum plaid scarf streaking across the room. It is already dark outside; night comes early in winter in Vermont, but the evening is just getting started at my favorite après-ski gathering spot, the Roost.
This cozy, contemporary bar at Topnotch Resort is a favorite hangout among ski vacationers, like myself, who have ventured north for some fresh powder. Mid-way through my second pint of craft beer, my friends finally trot down from their rooms. While my fellow skiers are tired from a day on the slopes and could fall right asleep, hunger wins out. Luckily, this hotel bar never fails us on serving hearty, satisfying treats in a fun, lively atmosphere. And so, we all gather around a wooden lounge table to share Reuben spring rolls, duck and mushroom flatbread, and a cheese and charcuterie plate loaded with chef favorites. Sitting by the crackling fire and listening as the band hit their stride, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be.
But Topnotch Resort is just one of the many wonderful Vermont resorts waiting to welcome visitors come winter. Vermont’s snowy slopes provide some of the best skiing and snowboarding on the East Coast and once you arrive in the Green Mountain State, you won’t have to look far to find lobbies lined with sheepskin throws, rooms adorned with fluffy robes, and bars serving quality local craft brews. From maple syrup soaked pancakes in the morning to marshmallow-topped hot chocolate by the fireside at night, Vermont resorts know how to do cozy right. If you’re looking for a winter wonderland getaway on the East Coast, along with some excellent skiing, check out these top Vermont ski resorts.
6 Vermont Ski Resorts to Stay Cozy
Heated pool photo (left) courtesy of Topnotch Resort
The name says it all. Located in the town of Stowe, Topnotch Resort sits on 120 acres of beautiful forested foothills near Stowe Mountain. With chic, contemporary style, it’s a fabulous property to visit during both the fall foliage and ski seasons.
While it isn’t a ski-in/ski-out resort, Topnotch has storage available onsite for your equipment, equipment rental if you don’t have your own, and a complimentary shuttle to the mountain, which is just five minutes away. The resort is also dog-friendly, so you won’t have to leave Fido behind.
When you need a break from the mountain sports, spend the day wandering the quaint streets of Stowe. Locally-owned boutiques, art galleries, and mom-and-pop restaurants (don’t miss the wood-oven pizza at Junior’s) line the main drag and provide a charming reprieve from the snowy slopes, as well as a chance to meet the locals.
Killington Grand Resort
When you ask an East Coast ski bunny to list some of their favorite mountains, Killington Grand Resort is almost always at the top of the list. Not only is it the largest ski and snowboard destination on this side of the country, but its southern Vermont location makes it accessible from big cities, like New York and Boston, compared to many of the other top mountains in the state.
Luckily for travelers, the choice for accommodations is pretty easy. Killington Grand Hotel is the only full-service hotel on the mountainside, and it has everything you could ask for – including an impressive 75-foot outdoor heated swimming pool. Through the steam of the heated pool, you can see the spider web of ski runs in the distance.
Take the ski bridge from the resort to the mountain for easy access to the slopes. If you like the ski scene (or après-ski scene) and are only interested in taking on a few runs, post up at Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar at the foot of Superstar, a black diamond trail. Enjoy some hot chocolate, savory bar bites and live while watching the symphony of skiers and snowboarders fly by. Back at the resort, you can relax those leg muscles in either of resort’s two gigantic hot tubs or sink into one of the brown leather sofas by the lobby fireplace and swap stories from the day.
The Equinox a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa
One of the more luxurious resorts in Vermont, the Equinox Resort and Spa is a gorgeous estate-like property near Bromley Mountain. Upon arrival, a friendly valet greets you and ushers you into the main white building adorned with New England-style columns and black shutters. Rooms at the 200-year-old resort are spacious, elegant, and rich with history.
Bromley Mountain is just 10 miles down the road, and family-friendly Stratton Mountain is less than half an hour away. Skiing arrangements can be made through the hotel. However, if skiing isn’t your thing, a whole array of winter activities like tubing, ice-skating, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and sledding are also offered through the resort. Ever wonder what it’s like to go off-roading in the snow? The Equinox famously offers a Land Rover driving experience that will teach you all sorts of tips and techniques for navigating trails and different types of terrain in the luxury vehicle. If any of these sounds enticing, simply ask the concierge to help set you up.
You can’t come to The Equinox without experiencing their acclaimed spa, ideally after a morning on the slopes. Indulge in their signature Maple Scrub, do some laps in the indoor heated pool, or just kick back in the steam room. For some adventure off-property, Manchester is a picturesque New England town with one of the most charming main streets in Vermont.
The Pointe at Castle Hill
Voted one of the best overall ski mountains by the snow report experts at onthesnow.com, Okemo Mountain is one of the few remaining family-operated mountains in Vermont. Known for its family-friendly atmosphere, high-quality snow grooming, and great restaurants, Okemo is a destination for all types of ski vacationers. This region in southern Vermont is famous for its fall foliage and leisurely winter activities. Foodies will enjoy the Plymouth cheese factory, Sugarbush Farm, and local breweries like Long Trail while nature enthusiasts will love exploring the Okemo State Forest Buttermilk Falls and year-round horseback riding at Mountain View Ranch.
The Pointe at Castle Hill is your best lodging option in the area and is just 10 minutes from the mountain. The beloved, scenic resort has 70 guest rooms and 26 suites. In the main lobby, comfy leather lounge seating areas surround a massive fireplace with rustic wagon wheels. A quiet reprieve away from the mountain activity, the Pointe is also known for its full hot breakfast buffet. Fill up on hearty Belgium Waffles or savory ham and cheese omelet before hitting the slopes for the day.
Stowe Mountain Resort
For a luxury alpine resort experience with ski-in/ski-out facilities, look no further than Stowe Mountain Lodge at Stowe Mountain Resort. The grand, chalet-style property sits at the mountain base surrounded by scenic New England vista views. The moment you step into the lodge’s palatial lobby, a sense of warmth envelops you. Chestnut wood beams stretch across the ceiling, illuminated birch trees line the walls, and crackling stone fireplaces beckon guests to sit and stay awhile. Each of the lodge’s 300 guest rooms elegantly showcases the natural beauty of Vermont with magnificent, over-sized windows and the use of local wood and stone materials. To top it off, the majority of rooms come with a private balcony and fireplace.
The ski resort at Stowe consists of two mountains, Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, with inter-mountain transfer lifts. Combined, they offer a dynamic web of trails with something for everyone, from nervous beginners to black diamond thrill-seekers. The diverse array of fun and challenging terrain appeals to both skiers and snowboarders alike, and 115-plus runs are enough to keep even the most avid skier entertained for days.
Within a matter of minutes from popping off your skies, you can find yourself indulging in the resort’s luxurious amenities, including their 21,000-square-foot, high-end spa facility. A destination in its own right, the Spa and Wellness Center at Stowe Mountain Lodge offers 18 treatment rooms, hot/cold water rooms, multiple hot tubs, and an outdoor heated pool.
In addition to the on-site ski-in/ski-out facilities, the resort offers a wealth of winter wonderland activities. You can join in on a horse-drawn sleigh ride, embark on an adrenaline-inducing dog-sled adventure, attempt ice-climbing with an experienced guide, or twirl the afternoon away on resort’s ice rink located just steps from the lodge.
Jay Peak gets the most snow in eastern North America, according to the experts over at Ski Magazine, making it a truly beloved destination for avid skiers and snowboarders. Not far from the Canadian border, the northern Vermont mountain has over 79 trails and runs. Chances are you’ve come to Jay Peak to get in some serious time on the slopes, and there’s nowhere better to ski-in, ski-out than Jay Peak Resort’s own Stateside Hotel & Baselodge.
Outfitted with simple, yet spacious guest rooms and plenty of casual dining spots, Stateside Hotel lies close to all the impressive amenities offered by the larger Jay Peak resort, including an elaborate climbing gym and massive indoor waterpark. While there’s a wealth of thrilling activities available year-round here, winter is definitely prime time on Jay Peak. As the mountain’s famously reliable snowfall begins, the resort comes alive, offering everything from snowmobile adventures and fat bike rentals to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. They even host a number of indoor hockey tournaments on the property.
While the mountain may be a decent drive from some of the larger cities, don’t forget to look into Burlington Airport. The mid-size airport has plenty of flights from East Coast hubs and is less than 90 minutes from the resort.