SMUG­GLERS’ NOTCH

SKI - - RESORTS OF THE YEAR 2019 - —J.C.

It’s time to stop re­fer­ring to Smuggs as “un­der­rated.” Ev­ery­one knows it’s the East’s orig­i­nal fam­ily-friendly re­sort, with ac­tiv­i­ties, ac­com­mo­da­tions, and a gen­uine top-down de­sire to make par­ents’ lives eas­ier. In the age of con­glom­er­ates and real es­tate in­vest­ment trusts, ev­ery­one loves the fact that it’s still in­de­pen­dently owned, rea­son­ably priced, and lo­cally con­trolled. And ev­ery­one knows it’s a place that doesn’t have a sin­gle high-speed lift. But no one gripes, and many pre­fer the leisurely, rest­ful ride up know­ing there’ll be fewer skiers on the trails. As for what might still be un­der­rated, it’s the breadth and real-Ver­mont gnarli­ness of Smuggs’s ex­pert ter­rain, from the rowdy steeps of Madonna to the in­nu­mer­able tree shots of the out-of-bounds Birth­day Bowls. Even ter­mi­nal in­ter­me­di­ates can brag that they’ve skied from the sum­mit of fear­some Madonna. The Madonna 1 chair of­fers a sober­ing view of Smuggs’ ex­pert ter­rain on the way up, one of the East’s best views from the top, and an easy way down on Chilcoot. Best of all, be­gin­ner and ex­pert ar­eas are so ef­fec­tively se­questered from each other that ev­ery­one’s happy. Read­ers from both camps rave about Smugg’s au­then­tic Ver­mont charm paired with amaz­ing snow, min­i­mal crowds and ter­rain for ev­ery­one.

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