Monday, March 9, 2015
Stratton, VT: 03/06/2015
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.
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).
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.