Vermont’s quintessential ski town has comfortably settled into life as an epic destination.
So what would you do with the extra $1,000? That’s about what the average pass-buyer saved when Stowe, the blue chip of Eastern skiing, was added to the Vail Resorts portfolio in 2017. Never mind what they saved using their pass at any of the other Epic resorts.
We could just spend it all on beer—the effects of beer tourism are nowhere more explosive than in Stowe, and whatever famous Vermont beers aren’t actually brewed here are available on tap or at the local grocery.
But there’s so much more to enjoy in Stowe: We could grab some sushi at the Matterhorn, then apps and wine at Cork Wine Bar. Get our skis tuned at AJ’s and our boots tweaked at Inner Bootworks, then massages at the Stoweflake. You’re buying, right?
Maybe it’s just the extra spending money, but spirits are especially high in Stowe lately. Two great winters in a row— and an especially gratifying spring session this year—also have a lot to do with it. If Stowe regulars, an intensely passionate and possessive lot, were initially worried about Epic crowds, things seem to have worked out just fine. (Weekdays, if you can possibly swing it, are still unbelievably uncrowded.) And all the wags who warned that Vail’s famous Yellow Jacket patrollers would ruin the fun by trying to make Stowe skiers slow down (good luck with that) owe Vail management a huge apology.
Stowe just seems pretty much the same in the Vail era. And all its charms remain patently obvious: a historic, quintessentially Vermont clapboard village, windows warmly glowing on winter evenings; superb ski terrain from sunny bunny slopes to the deepest, darkest trees on the flanks of Vermont’s highest peak; first-class slopeside accommodations and amenities at the now fully evolved Lodge at Spruce Peak hotel- cum-base village; and an access road lined with independent restaurants, shops, inns, and bars for every taste and budget.
The locals, meanwhile, seem pretty content with their choice of a town to build their lives in—and only a little smug about it. As long as it keeps snowing the way it has lately, that’s likely to remain the case.
Next time you’re in the area, stop by some of our favorite places:
Where to Sleep in Stowe:
Field Guide renovated an old lodge with whimsical design and nostalgia that will satisfy both Vermont purists and inner hipsters. The throwback vibe combines a dash of 1970s ski-town golden-era aesthetic with some all-purpose high-New England camp. What’s more, the lodge is located near all the action on the lower part of the Mountain Road.
A cozy room at the Field Guide in Stowe, Vt.
Lodge at Spruce Peak
There’s a grandeur to the Lodge at Spruce Peak which seems fitting to its majestic setting. While many new hotels have dispensed with the lobby concept, the Lodge’s lobby is a big, gracious space with huge windows framing the slopes. Spa, valets, luxe rooms, innovative cuisine—come here to be pampered.
Vermont Ski Museum
Minnie Dole and the birth of the National Ski Patrol; the Civilian Conservation Corps; Andrea Meade, Billy Kidd, the Cochran family. When it comes to ski history, no state has a richer one than Vermont, and it’s all on display at the Vermont Ski Museum, located in the town of Stowe. A must for ski history buffs.
Where to Eat in Stowe:
Food tastes as good as it looks at Plate.
Plate has been building buzz since chef-owner Aaron Martin took over. Martin takes inspiration from the California culinary scene, especially its commitment to fresh, simple, and local. The menu varies by season, but the house chicken-liver mousse, tuna tartare, and Chinese barbecue wings are staples after a day on the slopes.
Best Place to Drink in Stowe:
Doc’s is still pretty new, but it feels like an instant Stowe classic. It’s a bar, for sure, but a food forward one. It’s co-owned by James Beard–nominated chef Eric Warnstedt, who’s had so much success with Hen of the Wood in Burlington (and before that Waterbury, where Warnstedt’s group recently bought Prohibition Pig as well).
When The Alchemist moved here from Waterbury, Stowe instantly took on new gravitas as a beer destination. Its Heady Topper, the brew that launched a new style (the Vermont IPA), is a little easier to find now, and just as hoppy. Beer hunters should also sample the malty lagers at the Trapp Lodge and visit Rock Art in Morrisville.
Local Tip from Stowe’s Kristi Brown Lowell
Kristi Brown Lowell
Mountain Sports Ambassador, SKI Magazine ski tester, former pro skier, and proud mom of three.
The Octagon, at the top of the Mansfield quad, serves the best egg sandwich in Stowe—plus a view. Just get there before 10:30 a.m., even on a powder day. Order the works: Vermont cheddar, bacon, sausage, caramelized onions, and arugula.
Written by Joe Cutts for Ski Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by Ski Magazine