Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

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NYSnowflake NYSnowflake
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Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

I am headed to Stowe for several days and Smuggs for one day before Xmas. I have never been to either mountain. I am a fairly confident blue skier who sometimes dabbles on black groomers. My husband can ski almost the whole mountain. We’re staying at the SWC lodge for the first time. I am definitely looking for insider tips on where to park, where to ski, what to avoid and what not to miss. Thanks in advance!
Harvey Harvey
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Re: Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

I know bupkis about either mountain really.  Hopefully others will give helpful info.

I do know that it's good to get to Smuggs early enough to park in Lot 1 (Lot A?).

Both are great mountains, among the snowiest in the east, with the best chance to be good at almost any time of year.

Have a great time. Let us know how it turns out too.
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
riverc0il riverc0il
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Re: Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

In reply to this post by NYSnowflake
Harvey wrote
I do know that it's good to get to Smuggs early enough to park in Lot 1 (Lot A?).
Sterling Lot 1 at Smuggs is good for season pass holders and folks that don't mind booting up at their vehicle. If you need to visit the lodge for tickets or for booting up, the lot across the street from the Sterling lift is fine. You gotta walk uphill a bit, you can always drop off bags and gear at the lodge before parking, if you prefer. For intermediate skiers and above, no reason to visit the main resort entrance at the bottom of Morse unless you are staying down there.

Both mountains have early lift start times on key lifts. If you want first tracks, you'll need to get up earlier than is typical at most mountains. Check in with each mountain regarding which lifts and times as they could vary depending on time of the year. Smuggs usually cranks the Sterling lift up at 8:00am on the weekends (30 minutes before M1). I think Stowe starts opens some lifts at 7:30am on weekends.

Both have RFID so you'll need to pony up a few extra bucks for each RFID card. Keep them in an empty pocket away from your other stuff for best functioning at the gates. Wrist pockets on jackets are ideal so you can wave your arm at the sensors.

Stowe will be your preferred option for groomers. Smuggs is okay for groomers, especially if you like narrower winding classic trails. But groomers are not a specialty of Smuggs, IMO. And with a limited base early season, Smuggs will have limited options (so will Stowe, but they have a little more snow making fire power and better top to bottom groomer options.

Unless we get a freak 3 foot snow storm between now and Christmas, you'll be able to cover both mountains many times over so you really don't need recommendations on where to ski... ski whatever is open and then pick your favorites to come back to.

For food, Smuggs has one of the worst cafeterias around at the Madonna Lodge. I recommend one of the lower level sit down establishments at the Madonna lodge rather than the cafe upstairs. Stowe is off the wall expensive for food and it isn't because you are getting top quality gourmet meals, either.
NYSnowflake NYSnowflake
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Re: Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

riverc0il wrote
Harvey wrote
I do know that it's good to get to Smuggs early enough to park in Lot 1 (Lot A?).
Sterling Lot 1 at Smuggs is good for season pass holders and folks that don't mind booting up at their vehicle. If you need to visit the lodge for tickets or for booting up, the lot across the street from the Sterling lift is fine...
Thank you for these details. I appreciate the info. We have Epic for Stowe but will have to get day passes at Smuggs. I find it annoying that Stowe doesn’t explain where they are making snow on their report. I prefer to start on the snowmaking/groomed trails and their snow report is lacking the specifics we get at Mount Snow. I guess that’s how Vail does things. We always pack a lunch so the pathetic cafeteria fare doesn’t really matter.
billyymc billyymc
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Re: Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

I've skied Stowe many times, but not Smuggs just due to logistics.

When you get off the gondola and head skiers right you'll see a big net/fence. It's there for a reason! That corner is almost always icy and slick and people stop there all over the trail - fun!

Another spot that shouldn't be difficult but can be really sketchy is off the top of the Fourrunner Quad if you go skiers left and head down Upper Nosedive or the Bypass - one (I think Bypass) is often a nice sheet of ice with a 90 degree turn onto another nice sheet of ice. If you don't make the turn don't worry, there's a rock wall to assist you with stopping!

But really there's a lot of fun skiing to be had at Stowe. Make sure you get over to the Spruce Peak side if it's open - has a different feel than the Mansfield side and can be a lot of fun, often less crowded and tracked out. On good snow days people will crowd to ski the "front four" and as a result they often just suck (and the Fourrunner Quad is often packed)...spread out and find nicer snow, less crowded trails, shorter lift lines.
marznc marznc
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Re: Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

billyymc wrote
I've skied Stowe many times, but not Smuggs just due to logistics.

When you get off the gondola and head skiers right you'll see a big net/fence. It's there for a reason! That corner is almost always icy and slick and people stop there all over the trail - fun!

Another spot that shouldn't be difficult but can be really sketchy is off the top of the Fourrunner Quad if you go skiers left and head down Upper Nosedive or the Bypass - one (I think Bypass) is often a nice sheet of ice with a 90 degree turn onto another nice sheet of ice. If you don't make the turn don't worry, there's a rock wall to assist you with stopping!

But really there's a lot of fun skiing to be had at Stowe. Make sure you get over to the Spruce Peak side if it's open - has a different feel than the Mansfield side and can be a lot of fun, often less crowded and tracked out. On good snow days people will crowd to ski the "front four" and as a result they often just suck (and the Fourrunner Quad is often packed)...spread out and find nicer snow, less crowded trails, shorter lift lines.
Agree that the Spruce side is well worth checking out.  There is a range of terrain, not just beginner slopes.  With enough snow, there are a couple bump runs too.  Head over to the lift on the far right (looking up at the peak).
NYSnowflake NYSnowflake
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Re: Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

Thanks for the tips Billy and Marz! We will definitely check out Spruce Peak! Any suggestions for where we can bring and eat a lunch we bring from home?
marznc marznc
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Re: Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

In reply to this post by NYSnowflake
NYSnowflake wrote
I am headed to Stowe for several days and Smuggs for one day before Xmas. I have never been to either mountain. I am a fairly confident blue skier who sometimes dabbles on black groomers. My husband can ski almost the whole mountain. We’re staying at the SWC lodge for the first time. I am definitely looking for insider tips on where to park, where to ski, what to avoid and what not to miss. Thanks in advance!
I trust you've heard from club members how long it will take to drive to Smuggs from the Stowe side, if that's where the SWC lodge is located.  You have to go the long way around during the winter, which takes an hour.

I've only skied once at Smuggs.  It was the day before a Diva East gathering at Stowe several years ago, before Stowe became Epic.  The walk over to the lodge near the end of the road wasn't that bad.  I wandered over to the the main base to take a look since I wasn't sure when I'd ever get back..  Not much reason to go there on a day trip.
billyymc billyymc
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Re: Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

In reply to this post by NYSnowflake
NYSnowflake wrote
Thanks for the tips Billy and Marz! We will definitely check out Spruce Peak! Any suggestions for where we can bring and eat a lunch we bring from home?
Park and gear up at the Midway Lodge just above the gondola. You can leave boot bags in the provided cubbies there, as well as eat lunch you packed from home. I haven't been there in a few years - I suppose that could have changed - but it's always what I've done.
campgottagopee campgottagopee
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Re: Tips for Stowe and Smuggs next weekend?

Given your preferred terrain I'll echo Spruce Peak. There's good skiing over there. Also when your at Smuggs hit Morse Mountain. It's an easy ski back and forth from Madonna.

For good info on Smuggs follow Huh

https://www.smuggs.com/pages/winter/skiride/hughs-blog/


I'd also add to be prepared for cold, sometimes extreme cold. The coldest skiing I've ever encountered was in VT.
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