Vail buys Stowe: It was flabbergasting, blockbuster news for Eastern skiers last spring. For the first time in its eight-decade history, Stowe’s ski operations (not the hotels) would be owned by a ski resort company rather than insurance executives. (AIG continues to own Stowe Mountain Lodge and the Spruce village, though the Spruce Camp base lodge goes to Vail.) Due to the timing, survey results only partially reflect the change in ownership, so Stowe’s slide in the rankings, down from No. 2 last year, can’t be credited to Vail. Rather, it’s the same old complaints: parking, pricing, a growing unease with the one-percenter vibe of Spruce-era Stowe. “$125 for a ticket; are they crazy? (Guess I am, ’cuz I bought it.)” It’s hardly crazy to want to ski at Stowe. Many of the East’s most discerning rippers consider it the best there is for terrain, snow, and sense of place. And with splendid scenery, historic village, fine restaurants, and now a fullblown brew scene (von Trapp and Alchemist), Stowe still puts it all together. Now you can ski there on an Epic Pass that costs less than half what a Stowe-only pass cost. And for a lot of Stowe fans, that’s the biggest news ever.
Take a guided tour at the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Waterbury, 15 minutes away.
Start with a cold beer at the Den in the historic CCCbuilt Mansfield Base Lodge before heading a mile down the Mountain Road to the Matterhorn.