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options around Stowe?

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options around Stowe?

Postby oldschool » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:00 am

My family is looking to put together a ski trip for early January - I think we may do a day or so at Gore and then maybe actually cross the border in to VT as I think unless we get a serious dump the conditions in VT will be better than Whiteface. It looks like Stowe has a lot open now. All of us ski blacks and blues.

Looking for some advice about the following:

1) stuff to do around Stowe - are there some good places to XC around there that would make it worth us bringing our gear? Any favorites for dinner options?

2) any nearby alternatives of similar quality worth considering? Smuggs could be good but current conditions make Stowe look like a better bet but that might change depending on storms in the next few days - we'd want to keep the drive time to get back here to something that's not much more than 6 hours

Thanks -
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby RobRox » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:16 am

You can access Smuggs from Spruce Peak at Stowe, there is a path between them. Folks have been using it to add variety to their day since when I was a teen in the '60s. I do not know Smuggs single-ride ticket situation.
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby phoenix » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:54 am

That trail connecting Stowe and Smuggs is more like a road. It's pretty short, and not much of ski. Pretty though. Mainly used as a boot pack hike from the top of the Sterling lift at Smuggs to the "birthday bowls"... drop down into the notch from one of several entries, and that whole bowl is unmaintained glades. Drops you out on the road, and you ski back down the road to the Sterling lift. Just gotta hike along the upper parking lot.
It's good if you hit it at the right time, but gets heavy skier traffic these days.

Back to Stowe - for XC, there's a touring center there, and then the legendary Trapps. Embarassingly, I haven't skied Trapps yet (been living around here for 18 years), but certain you could have some real fun there, including some classic XCD.
There are some other excellent BC tours in that neighborhood, but that would be another story. There's also some really nice terrain you can get to by hiking from the top of the Stowe lift up to the Mansfield summit; best to have someone give you the beta for that (I don't know it well enough to describe).As far as eateries in Stowe, I am pretty clueless.

I know there's some Stowe skiers here on the forum; hope they help you out with more info. I've only skied the lifts there a handful of times, skied Smuggs regularly for a dozen years or so. The lift served at Stowe is excellent and varied.
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby RobRox » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:05 pm

We used to wind our way down to Sterling Pond and sidestep up a reasonable path to the Sterling top wheel and start down on Rumrunner or what is now Hangman's (not sure if it was an official trail back then). That up work seemed to take a goodish while.

The trip back to Spruce was a piece of cake.
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby Dirk » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:06 am

If you are into xc at all, do bring your gear. Trapps has 65k of trails that are immaculately PistenBully groomed daily. The Stowe touring center has about 40k of TiddTech groomed trails, and sits down in the beautiful Ranch Valley. The two touring centers are connected by the Ranch Camp connector, which is groomed, and the Derby Trail/Triple Bypass, which may or may not be. Conditions right now are great, and the coming cold snap should keep them that way till you get here.

As far as the Stowe-Smuggs interconnect, it's a fun tour, but I really doubt Smuggs would sell you a single ride ticket. If it's a nice day, and you're up for it, you could ride the Sensation Quad up Spruce, climb to the left of the patrol shack about 100 feet, and duck into the Smuggs connector (Snuffy's) on your right. It's mostly downhill to Sterling Pond. Ski across the pond, hugging the right shore, till you get to the abandoned trail the former name of which escapes me. There are no signs, but it'll probably be tracked. It's a mellow powder glide back to the Sterling Trail at Spruce.

I haven't eaten in Stowe much lately, and restaurants keep changing hands. Piecasso is reliable family fun. The new Trapp's Bierhall is pretty damn awesome if you like beer and pork, but pick an off hour to go or it'll be packed. McCarthy's for eggs and waitresses that call you "hon." The Rusty Nail just got rehabbed and is now a Mexican joint; I have heard no reports. The Sunset Grill for Bud Lite, wings and sports on 30 different TV's, if you want to feel like a local.
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby oldschool » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:03 pm

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions - I didn't realize that Trapps was right there until I actually started looking at the maps to see about driving distances. I think I'll be bringing the XC stuff along. The Bierhall looks great too. Anyone know if Trapps has a shop to mount bindings? I have a pair of waxless E99s that need either a Rotefella super tele or a 3 pin Voile removable cables added to them (I have the bindings, just looking for a shop with a jig that will do it well).
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby Dirk » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:21 pm

oldschool wrote:Thanks everyone for all the suggestions - I didn't realize that Trapps was right there until I actually started looking at the maps to see about driving distances. I think I'll be bringing the XC stuff along. The Bierhall looks great too. Anyone know if Trapps has a shop to mount bindings? I have a pair of waxless E99s that need either a Rotefella super tele or a 3 pin Voile removable cables added to them (I have the bindings, just looking for a shop with a jig that will do it well).


They might, but their shop is pretty hectic and geared toward rentals and retail during the busy season. I'd suggest Mountain Ops (the former Nordic Barn) or Today's Edge, both on the Mountain Road.
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby phoenix » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:03 pm

Just outside the village of Stowe there's Umiak Outfitters, they handle tele gear and could do your mount if for any reason the shops Dirk named don't work for you. And I'll second that Smuggs doesn't do single rides anymore - at least they had already stopped doing those when I was last skiing there, 'bout eight years ago.
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby Dirk » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:59 am

Umiak is a good suggestion. Umiak also does guided backcountry trips. I don't know much about them, other than that Chris Duff is guiding for them, and he's a good guy.
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby North816 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:06 pm

see Don at Mountain Ops to get those E99's done, I have done this exact thing before (E99's & ST) - dropped them with Don in the evening and he will have them ready for skiing the next morning for a good price. one of my favorite skis is to just go up & down the Notch road. It's like winter disneyland up there, all sorts of people skiing, touring, climbing, etc. I love the atmosphere. Of course Trapps is one of the premier XC experiences in the entire country, can't go wrong there.
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby oldschool » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:05 am

Well, we just got back from our VT trip last night - had a nice time and thanks for all the suggestions. Unfortunately due to the super cold on Sat and Sunday we did not get out XC. We took an Airbnb cabin right at the base of Smuggs - really nice place on the Dejardins Rd and could not be closer to Smuggs. Saturday was the load the car and get out of town day in Syracuse and drop off our dog with a sitter - rolled into the cabin around 9 pm or so. Since it was butt cold and windy on Sunday still we took a drive into Burlington to hang around Church St. - petted the gear and made a few purchases at OGE, dropped by Patagucci had a snack and Heady Topper at Farmhouse Grill. Dinner at El Cotijo was excellent. Skied Smuggs on Monday for the first time. Conditions were nice - powder a bit heavy in the glades here and there made for some rough tele skiing on my too narrow skis (70 under foot I think). It was pretty windy so some stuff was closed and that was fine - my double black skiing really gets going more early Feb after a two or three days under my belt for the season. Spent the day on the Maddonna Chair. Lots of nice skiing at a laid back place with few folks there on a Monday. Excellent reggae tunes in the lodge.

While it would have been nice to have had a day off between, we rolled out early on Tues. to make it over to Stowe for a day of skiing there. Nice place with lots of good terrain - we spent most of the day on the Mansfield high speed quad with a few odd rides over on the triple to mix it up. Because I live 3 hours from decent skiing, my season takes a while to get rolling so day two was painful and I spent a lot of time parallel skiing to keep up with my wife and kids who were ripping down the blues and odd blacks. Tele skiing the blacks - Hayride, Centerline, Liftline and part of National were really nice once my legs caught a second wind. Also enjoyed the double black line that is under the triple chair. Finished the day off with beers and pizzas at Piecasso.

Looking forward to getting back to VT possibly once more for a ski this year but certainly this summer for some biking and maybe a little hiking. We really like the rural vibe of the Green Mt. state - enjoyed the convenience of buying essentials like beer, wine, bread and cheese in the gas stations. Slow Fire bakery breads bought at the Cambridge Village Market Store were especially nice.

Thanks for all the tips provided - looking forward to getting back and will try to set up better to meet folks on here, particularly if solo or with one of my kids instead of the whole family.
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Re: options around Stowe?

Postby phoenix » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:31 pm

Oldschool, sounds like you did well for your trip. The frigid temps aside, you made good use of your time and hit a lot of the same spots I do when I get down to Burlington (El Cortijo is my current favorite!); used to grab some pizza at piecasso for lunch when I worked at Mountain Sports and Bike. OGE is a great toystore, and Burlington is fun just for the people watching.

Smuggs is most definitely more laid back than Stowe, glad you got a taste of it. Especially weekdays. Hope you get over this way again; give us another heads up!
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