is sweet, in skiers’ terms. Located in the beautiful Mad River
Valley, it’s easy to get to from I-89. If you haven’t skied
Sugarbush in a while, you need to. It’s no longer Mascara Mountain –
a reputation earned from its glamorous weekend crowds in the 60’s
and 70’s. And since 2001, Sugarbush is privately owned by Win Smith,
a former Merrill Lynch guy, who is passionate about skiing and
providing a more authentic Vermont ski expereince.
Sugarbush is comprised of two interconnected mountains, Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen - formerly known as Sugarbush North. Thankfully much of Sugarbush’s 111 classic trails remain unchanged: long scenic groomed to perfection Jester and sunny Spring Fling, gutsy natural knolls on Castlerock's Rumble, and big bumps on Stein’s and FIS on Mount Ellen. The two ski areas are connected by the Slidebrook Express quad or by shuttle bus.
But Sugarbush feels even bigger now with tons more glades, many of which make the trail map but the best of which do not.
If you want real wild, natural terrain, ski Sugarbush’s Slidebrook backcountry, 2,000 acres between Mt Ellen and Lincoln Peak. You can hire a guide, like extreme ski film star turned resort ambassador John Egan, or explore on your own this unbelievable, outback tree skiing. This backcountry is the biggest and best spaced in New England, eclipsing Smugglers’ Back Bowls and Jay Peak’s off-piste.
In fact, if you include the backcountry terrain, Sugarbush is a 4,000 acre playground encompassing six peaks. Win Smith proudly points out that from southernmost Spring Fling off 3,975’ Lincoln Peak to 4,083’ Mt Ellen above Inverness is as many ridge miles as Vail.
For lodging at Sugarbush, we recommend you valet
your skis and stay slopeside at
Inn, the classy country barn style Inn serves as
the lodging centerpiece of the new Lincoln Peak Village. Rooms
range from standard hotel style to residential suites living with
granite full kitchen, fireplaces and decks with slope views. Clay
Brook’s outdoor Jacuzzis and heated pool offer views of the slopes
and village. Lincoln Peak’s skier plaza is modeled as a Vermont
style village with a Schoolhouse, Farmhouse Gatehouse, and Timbers
Round Barn Restaurant, all tasteful and functional with all the
skiers services from ski rentals to kids Sugarbear ski camp.
Sugarbush’s 16 lifts rarely see lift lines, just a few vacationers and locals, but if you want really excusive skiing, go for the Lincoln Limo – first tracks by private snow cat ride are offered at Lincoln Peak, you will likely be joined by owner Win Smith. It doesn’t get much sweeter than fresh pow, private trails and a limo ride with the boss at Sugarbush.