Smuggler's Notch - Natch

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by Paul Maraschiello

It was a clear brisk morning as I drove down Vermont roads I had seldom driven. I drove past sleepy little picturesque villages, as the road wound through the mountains. I came around a bend in the road and the ski area came into view - three peaks, with beautiful trails coming down from the tops of Mounts Morse, Madonna and Sterling. The sight of those peaks got my heart racing and had me primed for a little serious skiing. I was rested and eager to check out a this great mountain. I got my ticket and headed for the nearest chair for a ride up Morse Mt. The mountain was in good shape. They had made snow and all the trails were open.

I had a lot of fun skiing Morse Mt., the trails were well groomed and in good shape. Smuggler's seems to have more snowmaking capability than when I was there last time. I got off the chair and made a nonstop run to the bottom. I hopped right back on the chair and rode up to the top again. I made run after run down all the trails, sampling all they had to offer. I was happy to find a restaurant/warming hut on the top of the mountain. The facility was a combination of warming hut-kitchen and unlike anything one usually sees. It is very Rustic. I was VERY grateful to be in out of the cold and the hot chocolate really hit the spot. I joked and chatted with the two locals who were running this oasis of warmth at the top of the mountain. After finishing a cup of steaming hot chocolate, I headed out the door to ski some more.

I kept seeing really great trails from the chair that tempted me to explore more of this family mountain. I was eager to sample a little of the good terrain at this mountain and I wasn't disappointed. I'm HARD CORE but you don't have to be hard core to have fun at Smuggler's Notch. This is a family mountain that has a reputation for being the #1 family resort in New England. They are really dedicated to making sure that every member of the family has a good time...and they mean it.

After I warmed up, I rode up the chairlift and skied the rest of the morning. I had a nice lunch and then got on the bus and returned to the "village" area. I spent the rest of the day exploring the runs and trails that were open on this mountain. I liked skiing the middle mountain with all those great trails that were there. I loved skiing Upper FIS, The Black Hole Upper Pipeline and some the other tougher trails.



I'm hooked. I'll be back to Smuggler's to challenge those difficult New England trails on another day soon. I spent a little time nosing around the village area. They have a nice deli with very reasonablely prices sandwiches and soup. The bakery also had a number of tempting items that were making me think about dinner.

The accommodations on the mountain were very nice. My condo had a fully equipped kitchen, so I could cook if I felt like it. There was a fireplace and a king-sized bed with a TV in the bedroom, as well as in the living room.

This is a very good place where the entire family can have a great time. Be sure to put Smuggler's Notch on your list of ski areas to explore.

To contact Smuggler's Notch, just click http://www.smuggs.com

Right now, they have 16 trails open and 4 lifts operating. The weather calls for flurries. They have received 4 inches in the past 24 hours. They plan to have the Morse Highlands lift open, the Village lift open to the summit, and the Madonna II lift open with link and lower F.I.S. by Monday, Dec. 24th! So if you haven't made plans for Christmas, why not try Smuggler's Notch for the holidays.





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