How to Visit Vermont’s Sugarbush Resort

The drive in is spectacular. But the people, the mountain, the food, the drinks, and the accommodations are even better.

I don’t care where you’re coming from.

When you visit Sugarbush Resort, you better take Route 100 North and look out the windows at every red barn. And every yellow farmhouse. And every perfectly-rickety general store. And every other charming little quirk (happy farm animals and maple syrup stands and such).

On your Route 100 journey, about 15 minutes south of Sugarbush, you enter the Granville Gulch. Oh. My God. The Granville Gulch is both stunning and narrow—slithering between steep hillsides and the iconic Mad River. Here and there, you’ll see waterfalls so beautiful you’ll cry. And, very quickly—before you’ve even arrived—you’ll confirm that visiting Sugarbush is a very, very good idea. 

But you’ll need help once your tears of joy dry. So here’s a collection of tips—tips that’ll help you properly experience Sugarbush and the wonderfully unique Mad River Valley to the fullest. So, drop into this collection of the very best terrain, food, accommodations, and more. 

Photo courtesy of Sugarbush. 

WHERE TO SKI + RIDE

It takes many turns, many days, many months, and many years to really ski Sugarbush’s entirety. But for all intense and purposes, you can break the resort down into two major zones: Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen. Both offer a variety of terrain for different skill levels. Here’s a little guidance on the details.

Lincoln Peak for Beginners/Intermediates:

Considered the main mountain at Sugarbush, Lincoln Peak has a long list of beginner and intermediate options. Start at the Gatehouse Express chair for dreamy groomers, then explore the Super Bravo and North Lynx chairs. Looking for trees? Zip into the Deeper Sleeper woods off the Gatehouse Express chair, and Eden Woods off the Valley House chair.

Lincoln Peak for Experts:

Anything up high will thrill an expert, but the Castlerock chair in particular is really where it’s at. Rumble, Lift Line, and Middle Earth are all iconic runs to check out. For the best trees, scoot over to to the Paradise trail and take your pick on skiers’ left or right. Both sides are incredible.

Mount Ellen for Beginners/Intermediates:

The Green Mountain Express and Sunshine chair both have a plethora of beginner groomers—ideal for just warming up or lapping all day, depending on your comfort level. For intermediate terrain, the North Ridge chair brings you toward slightly-steeper groomers like Rim Run, Elbow, and Which Way. And if you’re ready for the woods, take the Inverness chair for the very-literally-named Semi Tough Trees.

Mount Ellen for Experts:

Experts may notice that Mount Ellen is smaller than Lincoln Peak, with about half as many trails. But Ellen actually boasts more vertical feet and plenty of challenging terrain to choose from. Lap the Summit chair over and over, and dive into some of Vermont’s gnarliest offerings like Blackdiamond Rush, FIS, Exterminator, and Bravo. As for the woods, everything off the aforementioned trails is truly spectacular.

 

 Photo courtesy of Sugarbush.

WHERE TO EAT

Breakfast: Big Picture Cafe

For the best breakfast in the valley, take a seat at the Big Picture Cafe. The friendly staff serves up dishes you won’t soon forget (get the maple-glazed donuts as a side or forever hold your peace) and the abutting movie theater is a real treat whether you’re taking a rest day or looking for something to do at night. (Bonus perk: Big Picture also serves amazing lunch, and Lawson’s Finest Liquids is right across the street—brewing some of Vermont’s best craft beer.)

 

On-Mountain Lunch: The Skinny Pancake

Crepes, people. Crepes. It’s the best on-mountain lunch food you could possibly imagine and it’s available up the wazoo thanks to The Skinny Pancake. This locally-owned eatery has expanded from its humble beginnings to eight total locations in Vermont, and thank goodness one of them is at Sugarbush. (Note: It’s not just crepes. There’s plenty of other good stuff to go around, too—like burgers and shepherds pie and other cozy stuff.)

 

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

Happy 2018, everyone 💛 PC: @eatvt

Off-Mountain Lunch: Mad Taco

If you’re not on the mountain during the lunch hour, head to The Mad Taco. These are the best Tacos in the valley, hands down. And probably best tacos in Vermont. And probably the best tacos ever. Anyways, this fast-casual eatery does things right—just follow the scent of the smoker in the parking lot and indulge from there.

Dinner: Peasant

There’s no real proof, but Vermont pretty much created the whole farm-to-table movement. And Peasant represents that movement in spades. Located right alongside the Mad River, this quaint-yet-lively dinner spot really shows off the Green Mountains’ culinary finesse. Lots of local meat. Lots of local produce. Great wine. Great beer. You just can’t beat it.

WHERE TO SLEEP

On the Mountain: Clay Brook Hotel

If you want to be right there—ski-in-ski-out style—just book a room at the Clay Brook and don’t look any further. This place is the real deal. Super nice. Unbeatable  location. Well worth the price.

Off the mountain: Mad River Barn

Looking for something a little further into the woods? Three words: Mad. River. Barn. We’re talking updated rooms, a quintessential Vermont setting on a windy country road, and a great bar/restaurant. (It’s also a stone’s throw from Sugarbush’s neighbor, Mad River Glen.) 

Now book your stay. Make your reservations. Pack your bags. Get psyched. And may your trip to Sugarbush be charming, thrilling, and relaxing all at once.