With a Price Chopper Ski Any 3 coupon book burning a hole in my pocket and a forecast for another day of brilliant blue sky, we decided Sunday would be a good day to head to Bromley, Vermont’s “Sun Mountain.”
Bromley’s been near the top of our list of ski areas to try as a family this winter. Every family’s different, but our criteria for expanding our range beyond Gore includes:
- Proximity: no more than an hour and a half from home.
- Daycare facility for Sylvie, preferably with learning slope nearby so we can get her on skis at the end of the day.
- Easy logistics for loading / unloading, parking, gearing up.
- Family friendly, low-key vibe.
- Fun terrain. Bonus points for glades and challenging black diamonds.
- Affordable. Call me cheap (actually I prefer “thrifty”), but when the skiing’s “free” (with our season passes) at Gore, it’s painful to shell out the greenbacks to ski somewhere else.
Our drive through beautiful – but snowless – Washington County and southern Vermont was pleasant and easy, an hour and ten minutes door to door. Bromley’s base area is compact, with an unloading area that is literally just steps away from the lodge, day care, ticket windows and high speed quad. If anything, the logistics were even easier than Gore, and we were booted up and riding the Sun Mountain Express quad within minutes.
Bromley’s trail layout is straightforward. Looking up the mountain, beginner terrain is on the left, expert on the right, and intermediate down the middle. All trails eventually funnel back down to the main base area.
Twister, a fun blue square trail that follows the high speed quad straight down the middle of the mountain, was the obvious choice for our first run. The snowmaking crews had resurfaced Twister top to bottom overnight and then groomed it out, providing excellent snow conditions that held up all day. Twister is like a wider version of Gore’s Showcase: straight down the lift line with alternating steep and moderate pitches.
For the most part, Bromley’s black diamond trails are a notch or two easier than Gore’s. Just about all of the black diamonds were groomed out, and conditions on those trails were generally firm and fast but edgeable. Despite Bromley’s southern exposure and the day’s bright sun, temperatures in the 20s kept these trails from really softening up, and we found ourselves returning frequently to the excellent snow on Twister, or combining Twister with one of the other runs. It would be fun to ski Bromley when more terrain is bumped up and the glades are open, but this hasn’t been the kind of winter for conditions like that. I’ve skied Bromley in soft spring conditions and it was a blast, so perhaps we’ll make a return visit in March.
Sylvie had something of a breakthrough lesson at Willard last weekend, so we picked her up from the daycare at about 3pm to get her out skiing at the end of the day. Bromley has the nicest magic carpet lift I’ve ever seen – it reminds me of Disney’s Space Mountain – and we wrapped up our day skiing and practicing wedge stops with Sylvie on the learning slope.
Between the black diamond trails, really great snow on Twister, and the fun terrain parks, we found lots of good skiing and interesting terrain at Bromley. With both Bromley and Whiteface added this winter as good alternatives to Gore for our family, I’d like to put at least one more ski area on the list this winter – Pico seems a likely next choice.