Monday, March 9, 2015

Stratton, VT: 03/06/2015

Stratton Mountain, VT, Friday 03/06/2015.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

Stratton’s faux European base village, well-heeled clientele and excessively groomed terrain are generally not my cup of tea, but I had such a fun day of skiing this past Friday that I’m reconsidering my past bias against the southern Vermont mega-resort. It’s been four or five years since I last skied Stratton. The base village hasn’t changed and there are just as many Connecticut Volvos in the VIP paid parking lot, but I can overlook those shortcomings and appreciate Stratton for its excellent snow conditions and surprisingly varied and interesting terrain.

Some of my enthusiasm for the day undoubtedly reflects a fun crew, crisp see-forever skies and a Friday out of the office. But Stratton delivered a day of legitimately great skiing too. I expected the trails to be immaculately groomed, and they were. With 6 inches of new snow earlier in the week, the cruisers were a packed powder delight. What surprised me was the tree skiing.

Moon Dance glade

Wide open hardwoods glade on the lower mountain

Beautiful snow conditions in one of the upper mountain glades

I knew that Stratton had been expanding its gladed terrain in recent years, but Friday was my first time actually skiing it. The website claims a dozen named glades totaling 160 acres, and while I only sampled 4 or 5 of them on Friday, in my opinion the tree skiing gives a tremendous boost to the variety and interest of Stratton’s terrain offerings. Compared to Gore, I found Stratton’s glades to be wider, cleaner, more open, and overall less gnarly. And frankly the snow was better too (Stratton’s up to about 150 inches year-to-date, Gore’s at 100).

Packed powder, bluebird sky

Upper Standard and Stratton's gondi

With spring approaching, peak winter conditions like these aren’t going to stick around too much longer, and it was really great to have such a fun day of prime skiing at a mountain I don’t get to that often. I’m not moving my pass over to Stratton, but when the mountain’s fully open and the glades are in play, it’s a legitimate option for a day trip from Saratoga.


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  2. Flatten? Maybe I'll ski there someday. I'm waiting for lift tickets to hit the $100 mark to make it worthwhile. Actually, it sounds like a fun day. I haven't been to a "new" resort since my first two days at Smuggs about 5 years ago.

    1. If you're waiting for Stratton to hit the $100 mark, it won't be long: full boat on a weekend/peak day is $99 this season. Yikes.
      It's certainly not the terrain that Sugarbush has, but for me the glades at Stratton are a game changer in terms of adding variety, challenge and interest.
      Hoping to get back to the 'bush or up to Jay before the season's done.