Little-Known New England Ski Gems

Ascutney Mountain Resort
By Theodore Nusbaum
  |  Gorp.com
Choose your run
Choose your run

Ever see a Norman Rockwell painting come to life? The base of Ascutney thrives after dark with a tubing hill and frozen pond where folks ice skate to music flowing from outdoor speakers. Ascutney earned a Top 5 family resort ranking from Skiing magazine and claims to be the East's tallest monadnock (freestanding mountain) at 3,144 feet, with 1,800 feet of vertical. In an effort to expand its family image, the resort installed a new high-speed quad over the summer, hosts racing events, a Reggae Fest, and proposes to further develop the mountain in the near future.

Vermont's "Mountain on the Rise" receives only 140 inches of annual snowfall, thus Ascutney blasts the hill with the man-made stuff to keep riders happy. A network of winding, classical New England trails exists on both the left and right side of the mountain to challenge the more advanced skier ("Touch-N-Go," "Terminator," "Sidewinder," "Ledges"). More contemporary, wider runs occupy the center of the slope and skier's left with cruisers like "Upper Snowdance," "Cloudspin," and "Lower Terminator." Off to the left of "Cloudspin" lay advanced gladed runs for anyone ready to take their skills to the next level. The chief drawback is Ascutney's limited skiable terrain (only 150 acres), yet there is room to roam because of the lack of lift lines and crowds.

Unique to the resort is a 10-acre, self-contained family area on the lower part of the mountain, easily accessible from the generous slope-side lodging. Notable programs include the Mini Olympians (ages four to six) and the Young Olympians (ages seven to twelve), both devoted to ski instruction within a fun, supportive atmosphere. Cheddar the Mouse, a six-foot gray furry mammal, cruises the slopes on Saturdays, slipping invitations to kids for his Happy Hour pizza party, face painting, dancing with a DJ, movies, and games. Travel time from New York City is an easy four hours straight up Interstate 91, from I-95; via Boston, it's only two.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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