In New England, ski vacations usually require a car. Even if you could get to the mountain by hitching a ride, ski vacations usually require a car. Ski resorts, towns, hotels, and restaurants tend to be driving-distance apart. And after a long day on the slopes, the last thing you want to do is hop a shuttle bus weighed down by all your ski gear.
Not so at Stratton, which is not only paradise for skiers and snowboarders, but for walkers as well. There’s an entire village built around the base of the mountain, so you can ditch your car for the length of your vacation and walk everywhere you need to (including to the lifts).
If you live in New York City, you don’t even need a car to get there, thanks to the newly launched Stratton Jitney bus, which picks up in Manhattan and Long Island, and offers free Wi-Fi, snacks, and drinks on the four hour journey.
If you do drive, Stratton is one of the closer Vermont resorts to many cities (it’s less than three hours from Boston). Even if you do drive, if you choose your lodgings well, you can ditch the car once you arrive.
The Long Trail House is perfectly located and offers condos in all sizes, from studios through five-bedroom layouts.. Each is equipped with a fully stocked kitchen, and all the apres-ski amenities you need, like a fireplace and hot tubs.
Stratton Village is an easy walk from most of the local lodgings, and is across the street from Long Trail House. The quaint pedestrian street is packed with shops, restaurants, and bars, and full of happy skiers and snowboarders. All of the shops and restaurants in the village are independently owned (rather than owned by Stratton Resort), so they all have a unique flavor. You’ll find everything from pizza at Village Pizza (which you can order to-go and enjoy with a drink at the attached casual Bar 802) to fine dining at the Fire Tower Restaurant, where you’ll find craft beers and cocktails along with local fare. This isn’t a town that shuts down early, either—bands play at the Green Door Pub and Grizzly’s until the early hours of the morning for those who definitely aren’t making first chair.
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Grizzly’s is the big bar and restaurant that anchors Stratton’s main base area, and it just re-opened this season after a big renovation and new build project this past summer. The addition includes a new a glass-enclosed second floor, which offers great views of the mountain while you break for lunch. Of course, you’ll find the classic hearty meals here (it’s famous for wood-fired pizza, which is served all day and late-night), but there’s also plenty of healthy options. The hummus platter is packed full of fresh veggies, while the giant salad is loaded with fresh vegetables, hearty quinoas, and chickpeas. Enjoy your food with a warming spiked coffee or local brew, and relax while listening to the live music that’s usually playing here.
Of course, the real star of Stratton is the mountain—with almost 100 trails and 11 lifts, you’ll find territory that skiers and boarders of all levels can enjoy, from plenty of designated “slow skiing” learning trails to an epic terrain park and plenty of challenging black diamonds. (Including a trail where you can ski under a covered bridge—pretty much the ultimate Vermont experience.)
The lifts are great as well, with enough spread over the mountain that you can usually avoid lines. The gondola line may look intimidating, but it moves really quickly, and is well worth the wait in colder weather, since it’s enclosed.
Another key comfort perk: there are bathrooms at the top of the mountain. And lodges scattered throughout the resort—including one that’s mid-mountain and one on the opposite side from the main base lodge—so you’ll always have a place to warm up or grab some food, no matter which trail you’re on.
Dedicated snow makers and groomers keep conditions on the mountain great even on warmer days. Not feeling the terrain once you get there? No problem: Stratton has a cool Great Snow Guarantee, where you can ski or ride for an hour and then turn in your ticket for a voucher for another day during the season.
It’s little perks like these—along with the unique ability to walk everywhere—that will bring us back to Stratton again and again.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Rustic Ski Lodges Even Nonskiers Will Love
- 10 Must-Haves for Winter Trips
- Eight Rules for Winter-Weather Travel
Caroline Morse was hosted by Stratton for a weekend. Caroline thinks skiing is one of the only good parts about winter. Follow her adventures on the slopes and off on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline and on Twitter @CarolineMorse1.