Ski Report 2003

It’s that time of year again. So ya’ll are strapped for cash but still looking to get in some good skiing this winter? The Cynic’s resident ski expert gave us the lowdown on the slopes and the best bets for your wallet.Bolton Valley: Convenient mountain within 20 minutes driving distance of UVM. And the price is right- $100 season pass for college students. Yet despite all this, Bolton Valley often gets passed up because people complain that the mountain is too small, the trails not extensive, challenging or steep enough. Plus, there’s been reports of ice and not-so great conditions. The night skiing offered Tuesday thru Thursday is a big hit, however. Want to know more? Call 1-877-9BOLTON.Stowe: Love it or hate it, this mountain offers legendary trails that are intense, steep, and fun. Stowe is known for its excellent back-country skiing from the summit of Mt. Mansfield, its speed lifts, and its moguls. About an hour away from UVM, there’s even a free shuttle that goes there. But, you guessed it, this all makes Stowe one of the most expensive mountains around: passes run for $365 before Sept. 20, $415 before Oct. 22, and $495 for passes after Oct. 22. Call 802-253-3500. Mad River Glen: Perhaps Vermont’s best kept secret. Not incredibly popular because it’s for skiiers only (sorry, snowboarders) and there’s minimal trail maintainance with no snowmaking. Yup, so pray for snow if you’ve got this pass. But Mad River Glen does offer the best glade skiing in New England and there’s a laidback, unpretentious feel to the place- something you won’t find elsewhere. Passes are affordable here too- about $300 for college students. Ski it if you can….More info? Call 802-496-3551Smugglers’ Notch: Known as a family mountain that offers fun skiing but nothing particularly challenging or steep. One of the best things about Smuggs is that the trails will be fairly empty whereas Stowe is often crowded. The location is good for Burlington skiers- about 40 minutes from UVM, but the price is only so-so- $359 for passes bought before Halloween and $419 if you wait until after the 31st. Call 1-800-523-2SKI for more info.Killington: A massive ski and board mountain but kind of far. In southern Vermont, about 1 1/2 drive away (yeah, no free shuttle here), is a big ol’ ski resort with over 200 trails and 40 lifts. Killington has a long season- from late October to May- and offers a decent value: passes are $369 if bought before Oct. 28th. But watch out- skiing gets ugly when this resort gets crowded.Stratton: Another mountain down south. Stratton is about the same distance away from Burlington as Killington. It’s a much smaller mountain but still with an excellent reputation. Said to have one of the best snowboard parks in the country, Stratton prides itself on well-maintained trails that are always snow-covered and never icy. Conditions are usually great here and, if you can stand the drive, the price is right too. Season college passes sell for $299 before Dec. 6th and for $399 after. Call 1-800-Stratton Sugarbush: My personal favorite. This is an average-sized mountain that offers challenging trails, fun half-pipes and moguls, and lots of snow. Sugarbush never really gets as crowded as Stowe and, at about 45 minutes away from UVM, there’s a free shuttle that’ll take you here as well. College season passes are about $300 for the season. Call 1-888-754-2167 for more info.