Visiting Stowe Vermont
Stowe Vermont In The Winter
Stowe, Vermont is definitely known for it’s beautiful ski resort, but there is so much more to this little town than just it’s amazing skiing. In addition to amazing skiing, there’s ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, shopping, restaurants, breweries and the list goes on and on. If you’re looking at different ski options in the east, Stowe should definitely be on your radar.
Stowe Ski Resort
Our family first visited Stowe a few years ago when the kid’s spring break magically aligned with there still being snow on the mountain. We stayed at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, now called the Lodge at Spruce Peak and took full advantage of walking out our door and onto the slopes. The mini village surrounding the lodge offers a few different dining options and a few boutique shops including the ski rentals and activity center. If you’re not staying at the lodge you can park and ride the Over Easy gondola without purchasing a lift ticket. This gondola runs over from the parking area to the Spruce Peak lodge area. On our most recent visit, we stayed off property and had no problem finding parking and getting our gear over to the activity center.
Ice Skating At Spruce Peak
The ice skating rink was perfect. You only pay to rent skates, so bring them if you own your own. They offer skate trainers for those who aren’t too comfortable on the ice yet. Our daughter who is usually skating while holding on to one or both of us did great with the skate trainer.
For lunch we headed up to the Great Room Grill. Everything is made to order right in front of you. The lines can get a little long at peak dining hours, but it was delicious! There are other dining options on the mountain, but this is great easy option with a lot of different opinions in tow.. HA.
Skiing At Stowe Mountain Resort
The following day we were ready to hit the slopes. Taking kids skiing can seem intimidating, but it’s so worth wrestling them into a few layers. Check out our post on how to pack for a family ski trip for some advice on what to bring if it’s your first time hitting the slopes with the kids.
One thing to keep in mind about Stowe is that you aren’t able to physically ski between the two main trail areas. You need to pop off your skis and hop on the Over Easy Gondola to the other side of the Mansfield Lodge. Take a look at the trail map to get a better idea. This wasn’t an issue for us and I’m sure this is the case with many ski resorts, just something to know before you go.
Also, always check to see if there are any kids ski free programs available. In Vermont 5th graders get a couple free lift tickets (some blackout date restrictions) at most of the ski resorts. We took advantage of this the first year we went to Stowe. Our middle son was in 5th grade and our youngest was under 7 and didn’t require a paid lift ticket. The following year was a rude awakening HA, but it was a great discount that year!!!
Take A Lesson
One piece of advice that I can not stress enough is to take a lesson when you can. I’m still pretty new to the sport and decided to take a group lesson. They asked me a little about my experience and comfort level on the mountain and put me in a group with similar skill level people. It was a great experience with wonderful instructors that really gave me more confidence on the mountain.
Our two older boys stuck together and hit the more challenging runs while we stayed with this little piglet. Don’t let the pigtails fool you, she can ski circles around me already.
We always try to set a time and location with the kids to meet up a few times during the day when skiing. Sometimes it works, sometimes they hit first tracks and are ready for lunch at 10:00am. This little guy found me after my lesson and we headed in for some lunch together.
Stowe’s Covered Bridges
I’m so glad that on our most recent trip up to Stowe that we built in a couple of days this trip to explore the area. We found different covered bridges around the town and drove around taking pictures, climbing down the rocks and taking in all of the beautiful sights. There are so many to choose from all over Vermont. Just typ “covered bridge” in google maps and find the ones you want to see.
Trapp Family Lodge
We also headed over to the Trapp Family Lodge and tried out snowshoeing at their outdoor center. This was by far one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was a different activity that we were all trying out together. Don’t be intimidated at all. It’s just like hiking but you can easily walk up the snowy hills with your little grippers on your snowshoes. Check out our post on the beginner’s guide to snowshoeing to check out before you go. We talk about some of the details we learned on our first trek.
We started off on the hike and followed the trail all the way to their Bierhall for lunch. The little one needed to take some breaks, but she did great. It was a gorgeous hike and a delicious lunch.
Stowe Recreation Trail and Stowe Village
If you’re staying in town for more than a few days and can take in some of the charm of this amazing town, you should definitely take a walk or a bike ride along the Stowe Recreation Path. It’s a 5.3 mile walking and biking path in Stowe Village that runs along the West Branch Little River. The path backs up to lodges like the Sun & Ski Inn with their in house bowling alley and “backyard” pictured below and restaurants like Idletyme Brewing Company and Piecasso Pizza. And if you’re an IPA enthusiast, you can’t visit Stowe without making a stop at the Alchemist Brewery, but pick up some styrofoam coolers on the way because this beer likes to be kept cold and when your good friends at home hear you’re heading to Stowe you’re going to be coming home with a few souvenirs to share 🙂
I absolutely love the charm of Stowe and everything it has to offer our family. We definitely plan on making the trek up to Stowe again soon.