Mad River Glen is one of the most challenging ski areas on the east coast by anyone’s standards. Location-wise, it’s near Sugarbush, just outside of Fayston, VT on SR17. The resort is on the smaller side, covering only 115 acres across two peaks with four primary lifts offering four different verticals. The Base Lodge is located at 1600 feet while the highest lift soars to 3637 feet, giving a high vertical of 2037 feet. The trail difficulty is heavily skewed toward advanced skiers, with 10 novice trails, 16 intermediate runs, and 21 expert rated trails. The Glen is located in the “snow corner” and receives an average of 250 inches of snow per year.

The Trails

Even though the terrain is difficult, beginner skiers can still have a great time at Mad River. Take the Sunnyside Chair for a 4300-foot trip up to the Warming Hut and try out the easy Fox cruiser down to the Easy Way. This will land you into a dedicated beginner’s area with your own double lift and a 500 foot vertical easy steep named, appropriately, Loon. For intermediates, you can take the same chair and hit Quacky to one of the best intermediate runs, Bunny, which leads back down to the base area. Cricket is a fun groomer that has a length of a bit over 1300 feet and a 300 foot drop.

For expert skiers, you’re going to start off on the only single chairlift left in the lower 48 states. This 5610 foot long ride will take you up 2037 feet to the top of Mount Stark. From there, head to your right (left as you look down the mountain) to hit one of the most famous trails, Paradise. This 38-degree steep is usually ungroomed and filled with bumps and moguls. You’ll know you’re there as soon as you hit the mandatory air over a 4-foot high waterfall. Don’t worry, however, because it’s fairly isolated, so nobody is going to see you crash except for the other skiers on the run. If you’re in the mood for a straight and relatively easy steep, hit the Chute and finish up with the Lift Line.

Bottom Line

Worth noting is that Mad River is one of three resorts in the country that doesn’t allow snowboarders onto its slopes. This is a skis-only area, although you will occasionally see a poacher hitting Paradise. The Glen is owned by a skiing cooperative, which makes it unique in the United States. That also means that any decisions that the ski area makes are made by skiers and are for the good of the trails and you.

Quite simply, this is a skier’s paradise for skiers of all levels. There’s a dedicated ski school with instructors who love seeing someone tackle their first runs with a big grin on their face. No matter what level of skiing you feel you’re at, there are trails that will excite and challenge you.

Although it’s not the usual reason people visit, the après-ski at Mad River Glen is no slouch. General Stark’s Pub is one of the friendliest and coolest places to be and be seen. With a large selection of local microbrews and great pub food, Gen. Stark’s is always busy during ski season. Come sit and relax on the deck and swap ski stories with fellow skiers. This is one ski resort you’ll want to spend more than one weekend at.

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