11 Absolute Best Vermont Ski Resorts for Beginners With Friends & Family

by Simon Knott | Updated On: September 1st, 2022
Killington Vermont ski resort

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Planning your first winter vacation on the East Coast? Overwhelmed with the choices available? Well, we’ve got you covered with our list of the best Vermont ski resorts for beginners. And which is our top pick?

Our pick for the best Vermont ski resort for beginners is Sugarbush. It’s a smaller resort and is generally quieter, enabling beginners to practice without the distractions of crowds of skiers and noise.

Top Picks

    11. Mount Snow

    Mount Snow
    Photo by Keri Long licensed under CC BY 2.0

    It might not be the most imaginative name for a ski resort, but boy does it pull in the punters, especially from the northeast metropolitan areas of Vermont. Luckily, with 600 acres of skiable terrain and plenty of lifts, there is little problem absorbing the crowds.

    Mount Snow is located in the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont. It’s a rural area but I-91 is only a few miles to the east giving great north-south connections

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    Beginners should head over to the right-hand side of the base area where you’ll come across the Learning Discovery Center. This is a dedicated beginner area that includes four magic carpet lifts, a rope tow, and a triple chairlift.

    It’s a quiet space where you can concentrate on developing your skills, without a lot of other skiers milling around.

    The skiing area is well designed so that even with a modest ability you can head halfway up the mountain on Canyon Express. Here you can discover the green runs NE Time and Snowdance, which take you straight back to the beginner area.

    There are further long green runs to be found on the left-hand side as well if you take the lifts Ego Alley or Grand Summit Express. At the top turn left as you leave the lift station and pick up, Long John, a sweeping green run, which takes you back down to the base.

    There are several other green runs on the way down that you can pick up to keep the skiing interesting if you’ve been down the run a few times. If you want to progress onto blue runs, ask one of the lift operators or a ski instructor to find out which are the easiest ones to start off on.

    The management at Mount Snow has been keen to invest in infrastructure and the resort now boasts the best artificial snow-making system in the northeast, so no matter the crowds, you can rely on the snow.

    If you’ve ever had an interest in trying out a terrain park, Mount Snow is one of the best, as it has 10 parks to practice your skills in, including several with extra small features for learners.

    You’re bound to work up an appetite on the mountain but your luck is in, as you can choose between a total of sixteen restaurants around the area for hungry skiers.

    Learning to Ski

    Tuition at Mount Snow is well organized with qualified instructors, who are used to dealing with first-time skiers and snowboarders. Lessons can be booked for a half, or a full day and kids can join group lessons from the age of 3+.

    At Mount Snow the instructors behind the adaptive ski and snowboard program are experienced in adapting the lessons to suit individual’s needs.

    Off the Slopes

    Mount Snow is a popular day trip resort, but if you decide to stay longer you’ll find several excellent ski in ski out accommodation options. Plus, some good budget-friendly choices are located nearby and connected to the resort by the shuttle service.

    What We Love About Mount Snow:

    • Well-designed, progressive terrain for beginners
    • The adaptive ski program.
    • The snow-sure artificial snow-making system
    • Ski school from three years old.

    Mount Snow Stats

    Summit Elevation:3600 ft / 1097m
    Skiable terrain: 600acres
    Lifts:20
    Runs:86
    Parks:10

    10. Bolton Valley

    Bolton Valley
    Photo by 2nd Green Revolution licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Situated close to the picturesque shores of Lake Champlain, Bolton Valley is located in the Green Mountains of Northern Vermont only 125 miles south of Montréal. The area is surrounded by over 5000 acres of mountain forest, and the resort has grown into an attractive alpine village.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    Bolton Valley consists of three connected peaks and 71 runs evenly split across ski abilities. This is ideal beginner terrain where even with limited abilities you can find green trails down from each of the three peaks.

    Just in front of the base Lodge you will find a drag lift and two shorter chairlifts, Snowflake and Mid-Mountain, which will give you a little altitude to practice on the local green runs. The runs are progressive at Bolton Valley so you can advance at your own pace to keep the pressure off.

    When it’s time to move on from the beginner area one of the easiest sections to try out next is Timberline Peak. You can access this by taking the Mid-Mountain lift and finding the green run, Deer Run, which connects with Timberline Lane, which takes you to the base at Timberline Lodge.

    From Timberline Lodge you can climb Timberline Peak and you then have access to numerous green runs on that side of the mountain, as well as the runs lower down in Vista Peak.

    If you’ve ever wondered what night skiing was like, Bolton Valley’s lifts are open until 10 pm five nights a week. So, if you fancy starting late one day you can carry on well into the evening under the floodlights.

    Learning to Ski

    Private lessons at Bolton Valley are organized to last one hour while group lessons last two hours. With private lessons, additional members of the same group or family can be added to create a semi-private lesson, which helps to keep costs down.

    If you’re not sure what level of lesson you should be signing up to, the Bolton Valley website has an ability chart, where you can rate your own ability.

    Off the Slopes

    There is a 60-room hotel on the mountain, and guests who stay there get free access to the sports center, which features a pool, sauna, hot tub, and gym for adults, while there is a skate and bike park and a pool table for the teenagers.

    You’ll find five dining outlets on the mountain, including ski in ski out waffle shack that always has amazing smells wafting from the door.

    If you prefer to lodge away from the resort, there are a few hotels and inns in the local towns and many more as you head west to the more touristy shores of Lake Champlain.

    What We Love about Bolton Valley:

    • Three peaks that beginners can easily access
    • The skate and bike park in the sports center.
    • The huge backcountry ski area.
    • Free ski passes for five and under.

    Bolton Valley Stats

    Summit Elevation:3150 ft / 960m
    Skiable terrain: 300 acres
    Lift:6
    Runs:71
    Parks:3

    9. Mad River Glen

    Public skiing at Mad River Glen got underway formally in 1948 when the first, hand-cranked, single-chair lift swung into action.

    Times change, and now Mad River Glen proudly promotes the slogan “Ski it if you can”, but don’t let that put you off. This resort might have some of the most challenging terrains on the east coast, but it’s surprisingly beginner-friendly too.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    Although Mad River Glen has a reputation for expert terrain there is still plenty to occupy first-time skiers and beginners who want to up their game. There is a long beginner area in front of the snack shack and pub, whose location may be good news or bad, depending on how well the practice is going!

    The downside at Mad River Glen? No snowboarders allowed! Mad River Glen is one of only three resorts in the US that does not allow snowboarders. At least you found out early on.

    It’s a dedicated beginner area so you shouldn’t be hassled by other skiers. The small chairlift gives you access to 6 short blue runs the easiest of which is Eaton’s Run, shown on the trail map as a blue dotted line to demonstrate it’s the easiest route.

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    When you feel like breaking away from the beginner area, wander in front of the base Lodge and find Sunnyside Chair. At the top of the lift, turn left and find the green run, Fox, which is shown as a dotted green line on the trail map to show it’s the easiest route down.

    If you follow easy green runs, Broadway, and Lower Panther these will take you to the next lift, Birdland Chair, which will give you access to numerous other green runs.

    All of these runs are progressive so you can increase the challenge by a small amount and slowly build your confidence.

    Learning to Ski

    Mad River Glen has a different ethos with a small-town community spirit. It is co-op run, anti-commercial, and refuses to bow to ski industry pressure. It’s one of the last resorts to rely entirely on natural snowfall, and for the team looking after the resort sustainability is paramount.

    The resort offers a Beginner Package, which is aimed at new skiers as an introduction to skiing. The instructors aim to teach the fundamentals of skiing with a focus on safety, building confidence, and of course, having fun! The package includes a 2-hour semi-private lesson, 1-day equipment rental, and a lift ticket.

    Off the Slopes

    The same woman has run the Cricket Club childcare center for 45 years, and she offers a warm, homely environment for kids six weeks to six years old. Alternatively, kids can join group ski lessons from four years old, have private lessons from three, and start telemark lessons from six years old.

    What We Love About Mad River Glen:

    • The Single Chair is known as ‘America’s favorite ski lift’.
    • All runs lead back to base camp.
    • The trail map highlights the easiest routes down the mountain
    • Free passes for under 6s

    Mad River Glen Stats

    Summit Elevation:3637 ft / 1108m
    Skiable terrain: 120 acres
    Lift:5
    Runs:45
    Parks:

    8. Bromley Mountain

    bromley-mountain
    Photo by Jesse Cottingham licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Bromley Mountain is a small budget-friendly resort close to the town of Peru, and seven miles east of the town of Manchester. The design of both the mountain and the accommodation has purposely been kept simple to attract beginners, who might feel intimidated by larger resorts.

    Also on the plus side, the resort is south-facing, so it’s generally warmer and sunnier than other resorts in the area.

    There are 47 runs evenly split across ski levels, so there is more than enough to keep beginners occupied. A lot of thought has gone into the design of the runs and trail map. For example, all the runs return to the Base Lodge, so losing members of your party shouldn’t be a problem.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    For beginners, the Learning Zone is graduated, so any new challenges are small. That way confidence can be built smoothly without any setbacks. You’ll find the Learning Zone just in front of the Base Lodge, where there is a moving conveyor, Star Carpet to carry you up the slight incline.

    Staying in the same area you can progress onto the East Meadow Chairlift, which will lead onto some longer green runs back down again. For a change of scene, you can try out the Lord’s prayer T-bar, which will teach you how to use a T-bar and enable you to try out a blue run when you feel ready for it.

    Your next challenge can be to take the Sun Mountain Express to the summit, where if you turn left you can pick up the green run, Run Around 1, which will bring you back down to the Base Lodge around the periphery of the ski area.

    Learning to Ski

    For complete beginners, Bromley Mountain offers ​​a First Timer package. This includes everything you need for your first-ever ski or snowboard experience, including equipment, the lesson, and a lift pass.

    The instructors will be experienced in dealing with beginners and they will understand the common difficulties and anxieties that new skiers tend to have.

    And The Bart Adaptive Sports Center offers adaptive ski lessons for adults and kids of all abilities and ages in Bromley.

    Off the Slopes

    The small resort offers some slope-side condo accommodation and five dining options, including a bar, fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, linen, Wi-Fi, and cable TV.

    If you need more choice, the town of Manchester is close by and contains a whole host of extra options but it is best to book early as accommodation quickly has booked up.

    What We Love About Bromley Mountain:

    • Progressive runs for beginners
    • The way all runs lead back to base camp!
    • The season-long ski school programs
    • The tie-in with the Bart Adaptive Sports Center to provide winter sports access for everyone.

    Bromley Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:3280 ft / 1000m
    Skiable terrain: 178 acres
    Lift:9
    Runs:47
    Parks:1

    7. Smugglers’ Notch

    Over 200 years ago, smugglers used the heavily wooded mountain range and the caves along Vermont’s Long Trail to transport illegal goods across the Canadian border. Hence the name Smugglers’ Notch became a common language. Smugglers’ Notch is a brilliant ski resort that goes out of its way to focus on welcoming beginners and family-friendly fun.

    The 1000 acres of ski terrain is spread across three mountain peaks and features 78 trails and the resort is home to the only triple black diamond ski run on the East Coast!

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    The Smugglers’ Notch ski area breaks down into three separate areas, Morse, Madonna, and Sterling Mountains, which all have their individual identities. Beginners need to start on Morse Mountain in Sir Henry’s learning park, which has its own dedicated surface lift.

    As you move on from the learning park it’s just as easy to stay on the same mountain, as there are numerous green runs higher up to practice on. If you take Moguls’ Mouse or the Village Lift, you can access the higher Morse Mountain runs.

    This part of the ski area tends to stay quieter, as most other skiers and snowboarders will be looking for more of a challenge.

    As you outgrow the green runs of Morse Mountain it’s easy to transfer to some of the easier blue runs on the other two mountains. You can always ask advice from a lift attendant or ski instructor if you’re not sure which are the easiest blue runs to try.

    Learning to Ski

    Smugglers’ Notch hosts its own First Timer Ski and Snowboard Package, which is aimed at first-timers aged 5+.  The package includes a full-day lift ticket, a 2-hour beginner group lesson, and ski or snowboard rental equipment with a helmet.

    Subsequent private or group lessons can be added on afterwards. At the other end of the scale, one of its six terrain parks is dedicated solely to three to five-year-olds! The Burton Treehouse Riglet Park contains features designed to get tiny tots used to snowboarding over box rails and a mini halfpipe. Adorable.

    Off the Slopes

    If you’re looking for something altogether more relaxing you can join in the fun at Funzone, a ​​26,000 square-foot indoor playground. It features laser tag, an inflatable zone, soft play, arcade games, and more. Or make a splash in the heated indoor pool, try the zipline, go ice skating, or snowshoeing.

    Lodging is straightforward at Smugglers Notch with a range of fully equipped condos, ranging from 1 to 5 bedrooms.

    What We Love About Smugglers’ Notch:

    • Dedicated beginner area without much traffic
    • The SNAP adaptive ski program.
    • Three ski areas provide a variety
    • Childcare in your own accommodation

    Smugglers’ Notch Stats

    Summit Elevation:3640 ft / 1109m
    Skiable terrain:1000 acres
    Lifts:8
    Runs:78
    Parks:6

    6. Jay Peak

    Jay Peak
    Photo by ihamr licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Just 5 miles from the Canadian border sits a resort with some of the best snow in Vermont. Jay Peak is Vermont’s most northern resort and offers some of the best conditions and one of the longest seasons.

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    See also 7 Best Idaho Ski Resorts for Beginners

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    Jay Peak is fortunate in that it exists in its own microclimate, where it receives more snowfall than any other east coast resort.

    When you couple this with the investment in snowmaking, which extends to 80% coverage you can see why the season here regularly lasts from mid-November into mid-May.

    As beginners, if you find your way to the Tramside Base Lodge you will see the beginner area spread out in front of you up the mountain. There are some shorter ski areas right at the base for complete beginners along with a magic carpet.

    While for those with a little more experience you can take the middle of three chairlifts, Metro Quad, which will take you halfway up the mountain and introduce you to the start of greens on either side, as well as runs which follow down the same route as the chairlift.

    This whole section of the ski area has been designated a slow zone, which should moderate the speed of any skiers and snowboarders. There are more green runs to try in the Stateside Lodge area, and many more blue runs from there.

    Learning to Ski

    Lessons at Jay Peak are mostly based on the Terrain-Based Learning Model, which is a proven method of tuition, which helps students to overcome their fears and anxieties about skiing more quickly.

    There are kid’s programs for ages 4-12 and adult lessons, both in groups. Or if you prefer, private lessons are also an option. If you can tear yourself away from the slopes, you’ll find plenty to entertain the whole family, including an indoor water park, a full-size ice rink, and an arcade.

    Off the Slopes

    If the thought of a long trudge back to your accommodation after a hard day on the runs fills you with dread, then Jay Peak may just be the place you are looking for.

    Most of the lodging is ski-in/ski-out and located near the Pump House Indoor Waterpark and Ice Haus Indoor Arena. For the style of lodging, you can choose between hotel suites, single-family homes, a range of condos, or townhouses.

    What We Love About Jay Peak:

    • Excellent snow coverage.
    • Slow the ski areas for beginners’ benefit
    • Easy accommodation
    • Late-night childcare

    Jay Peak Stats

    Summit Elevation:3,968 feet / 1,209 meters
    Skiable terrain:385 acres
    Lifts:9
    Runs:78
    Parks:4

    5. Sugarbush

    sugarbush

    Sugarbush is a resort in Vermont for skiers who don’t like crowds. As such it’s an ideal resort for beginners. The beginner terrain may be a little bit more spread out but that is all part of the learning process as you start to spread your wings.

    Sugarbush is quieter than most of the Vermont resorts on our list, but it’s a wonderful place to unwind and take in the beautiful Mad River Valley scenery. This part of Vermont is very much a working landscape that is home to pasture-raised meat and dairy, as well as vegetable farms.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    Beginners can make the most of 24 easy trails at Sugarbush but first things first. Where do you start out? The beginner area at Sugarbush is to be found at the base of Lincoln Peak Village.

    To start out there is a short, four-person chairlift giving you access to the higher parts of the beginner area. In addition, there is another shorter lift and magic carpet to try out maneuvers in different parts of the same area.

    At the far left of the beginner area, you can take the Gatehouse Express Quad, turn right on exit, and pick up the aptly named green run, Pushover. Once you’ve mastered most of these green runs you can slowly start to transfer to easier blue runs to up your game.

    As your confidence improves you can also try out some of the blue and green runs on Mount Ellen, which has some interesting glades down through the trees.

    Learning to Ski

    Sugarbush gives beginner learning the attention it deserves. They have developed a one-day and a three-day package, which both aim to cover the basics and develop confidence that you can build on.

    The three-day package includes three 2-hour group lessons. At the end, you should understand how to fit and feel comfortable with the equipment, be able to slide on snow, make some basic turns and understand how to get on and off chair lifts.

    As part of the package, you will also receive specially designed beginner equipment including a helmet, lift access to the beginner area during the first lesson, and upgraded lift access for the remaining lessons.

    There are plenty of activities at Sugarbush if you’re looking for a change. Choose from cross-country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a rock-climbing wall on offer for those who love to keep busy.

    Off the Slopes

    There are plenty of accommodation options listed on the Sugarbush website, which is handy because Sugarbush is set in a rural location with limited lodging in the local towns. Slope-side accommodation includes Sugarbush’s quaint country lodge right up to the modern hotel and condos on the resort.

    What We Love About Sugarbush:

    • Straightforward slope-side accommodation
    • Well thought out beginner package
    • The Ski Mountaineers program for true adventurers.
    • The peace and quiet compared to other Vermont resorts.

    Sugarbush Stats

    Summit Elevation:4083 ft /1245 m
    Skiable terrain:500 acres
    Lifts:16
    Runs: 111
    Parks:4

    4. Stowe

    A slightly smaller resort now, but no less impressive, Stowe Resort sits at the peak of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain. But why enjoy one mountain when you can have two?

    Spruce Peak is connected by a gondola for easy access to more terrain and Spruce Peak Village too. There you’ll find great shops, markets, dining options, and activities, including an ice rink and the Spruce Peak Performing arts center.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    The terrain for beginners at Stowe is a little more challenging than some other resorts. However, if you take your time there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to progress onto more difficult runs at your own speed.

    The beginner area is situated in front of the Adventure Centre and is well equipped with two magic carpets and two chair lifts, which give you access to a whole range of green and shorter blue runs to practice on.

    For more of a challenge, you can take the quad, Sunny Spruce, which takes you higher up in the same area from which you can try some simple blues back down again.

    When you want to try out a different part of the resort, take the Over Easy Gondola and walk down to the third lift, Mountain Triple, which will introduce you to a long and winding green run, Tollroad. This skirts around the edge of the ski area. At the base, you can pick up the Tollhouse Double chairlift, which lets you try out two other cruisy green runs.

    Or check out Stowe’s world-class cross-country ski area with 45 km of groomed trails plus 30 km of backcountry. It’s open to everyone from experienced Nordic skiers to complete beginners. Gear can be rented for children as young as three and pull-along sleds for younger ones.

    Learning to Ski

    Stowe offers both group and private lessons, which can be for skiers or snowboarders.

    It’s always useful to chat to one of the instructors if you are struggling to identify the best type of lessons for your group. Instructors have a range of skills but tend to specialize in certain areas, so they can be really effective in their teaching.

    Some students prefer a group lesson where you can socialize with the other students, while others prefer the personal touch of a private lesson, where the focus is much more one-on-one.

    What We Love About Stowe:

    • More varied beginner terrain than other resorts
    • The Spruce Peak Village, with its many entertainments.
    • Ski school from three years old.
    • The full range of adaptive ski lessons makes skiing available for everyone
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    Stowe Stats

    Summit Elevation:1104 m / 3625 ft
    Skiable terrain:485 acres
    Lifts:12
    Runs:116
    Parks:2

    3. Okemo

    okemo

    Okemo regularly rates as one of the best Vermont ski resorts for families. The resort is family-owned and operated, with the focus on providing a wonderful experience for all ages. The management understand the importance of continually investing for upgrades, with recent new grooming machines and improved dining facilities.

    The resort is located on the edge of the Green Mountain National Forest and has good north-south road connections courtesy of nearby I-91.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    While the emphasis is on family at Okemo, beginners are also certainly welcome. With 632 acres of skiable terrain, there are more than enough easy trails to provide interest for beginners.

    The large beginner area at Okemo spreads out in front of Mountain Lodge. Here you can choose between two quad lifts, which provide access to at least seven green runs that are mostly within the slow zone area.

    When you want to move out of the beginner area you can take the Sachem Quad lift, which will take you halfway up the mountain. Turn left at the top and you can pick up one of two green runs, Easy Street and Sachem, which both wind down to the beginner area.

    At the top end of the beginner area, you can take the Black Ridge triple chair, which if you turn right at the top will lead you on to the green run, Ridge Runner, which connects with a handful of other green runs on the way back down.

    When you’re really starting to find your feet there is nothing to stop you from heading right up to Summit Lodge or even Okemo Mountain Summit, as there are straightforward green runs from both, back down to the base.

    There are some excellent after-ski activities too, with snowcat tours, ice skating, snow tubing, or even the resort’s roller coaster, the Timber Ripper!

    Learning to Ski

    The ski school at Okemo is professionally run and they also operate a student competitive program associated with local schools.

    Kids can start lessons from three years old, skiing or snowboarding, and the ski area offers terrain for all abilities. As with most resorts, you can choose between private and group lessons, which can be adjusted for all abilities, even complete beginners.

    If you fancy getting more in touch with nature, there’s also an extensive network of cross-country and snowshoe trails.

    Off the Slopes

    A wide range of accommodation options includes slope-side condos, four-bedroom suites, and lodges. Farther afield from the resort, there is a good choice of mainstream, economical hotels, and inns.

    What We Love About Okemo:

    • The Timber Ripper roller coaster
    • The snow tubing park
    • Well-designed beginner terrain
    • The network of snowshoeing trails

    Okemo Stats

    Summit Elevation:3344 ft / 1019 m
    Skiable terrain:632 acres
    Lifts:20
    Runs:120
    Parks:6

    2. Killington

    Killington
    Photo by Geoff Alexander licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Nicknamed “Beast of the East,” Killington might sound scary, but it’s the sheer size of the ski area (1509 acres) and the number of runs (155) that warrant the title.

    Killington is the east coast’s largest ski resort and covers no less than six mountains. The trails span everything from wide-open cruisy runs to narrow tree trails to mogul fields and cliff drops.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    17% of the runs at Killington are classed as easy, making the resort perfect for beginners. There are moving carpets and separate slopes at the Snowshed and Ramshead base stations. This whole area is classed as a Slow Zone, so beginners shouldn’t be hassled by faster skiers and snowboarders.

    The resort has been designed so beginners can also explore almost the entire ski area on easy slopes. There are quite a few green runs to start off on, however, there are quite a few easy blue runs that beginners should feel comfortable tackling.

    These are often well groomed and are not particularly steep. Beginners will also love the long and easy glades, which run down to the Skyeship Express Gondola.

    As a bonus, a Killington ski pass also gets you access to its sister resort Pico Mountain, which you can access via a free shuttle service. Sounds good?

    If you want a change from skiing but still want fun in the snow, then Killington offers snow mobiling, dogsledding, and even sleigh rides. And if you head out into the surrounding area, you can even find museums and shopping centers to visit.

    Learning to Ski

    There is a comprehensive ski school program at Killington, which can be booked online. There are several filters you can select to narrow down your choice and find a lesson that suits your age and ability.

    There are packages for first-timers, where you will be using equipment designed specifically for beginners. The aim is to gain confidence in gliding, controlling speed, and learning to stop.

    Off the Slopes

    If you’re looking for home comforts after long days on the runs, then Killington Grand Resort Hotel should provide everything for you to make a quick recovery. The resort also has links with local lodging partners and there are mainstream hotels and inns in nearby Killington.

    What We Love About Killington:

    • Beginner terrain from the top of most of the mountains
    • The vast ski area and varied terrain.
    • The two-for-one resort deal with sister resort Pico Mountain.
    • Free passes for kids six and under and seniors over 80

    Killington Stats

    Summit Elevation:4241 ft / 1292 m
    Skiable terrain:1509 acres
    Lifts:21
    Runs:155
    Parks:6

    1. Stratton

    Stratton
    Photo by Jon Buckley licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Located on the highest mountain in Southern Vermont, Stratton has excellent snow, rapid lifts, a great variety of runs, and a high percentage of beginner trails. Plus, beautiful surroundings and a fantastic collection of non-ski activities.

    The resort is close to the wilderness of the Appellation Trail but at the same time not far from the north-south road connections of I-91.

    What’s the Skiing Like?

    For first-timers, you’ll find the beginner area just in front of the Snow Sports School. There are a couple of magic carpets and a short chairlift to transport you around the area.

    If you prefer to start on something a little more demanding head over to the Sun Bowl Lodge, where you can take the Solstice lift and take your pick of several green runs from the top. The difficulty of the runs is easily graduated so you can progress at your own pace, without suddenly being presented with an overwhelming challenge.

    If you’re not sure which to choose always check with a lift attendant or ski instructor, as they will be happy to recommend runs that suit your ability.

    Learning to Ski

    Stratton Ski School offers both daily and seasonal lessons. If you’re staying in the area for a few weeks a seasonal program of lessons will offer the flexibility to learn more gradually.

    Alternatively, you can try out a Lesson and Rental Package, which is a cost-effective way of learning from scratch. These packages include equipment rental, lift ticket, and a half-day lesson.

    If you need childcare, Stratton operates its own in-house facility, which accepts kids from six weeks old.

    Off the Slopes

    There is a European Alpine feel in Stratton Village, with its modern range of condos and lodges. There is no skimping on amenities either with a spa, fitness center, shops, bars, and restaurants. And the proximity to Manchester – only 20 minutes away – means a change of scene or a whole host of other amenities is on hand if necessary.

    What We Love About Stratton:

    • Two beginner areas, one for first-timers and the second learners
    • The European-style alpine village.
    • The tube park, ice rink, and other kid-friendly activities.
    • Snow parks for all levels, from beginners up to extreme athletes

    Stratton Stats

    Summit Elevation:3875 ft / 1181 metres
    Skiable terrain: 670+acres
    Lifts:11
    Runs:99
    Parks:5

    Why Choose Vermont for Skiing?

    Vermont is ideally placed for picturesque mountains and wooded slopes, along with the native wildlife. Many resorts and ski areas are rural but good road connections make for fast and easy travel.

    These are well-established resorts that have been operating for quite a while and so they understand the requirements of skiers and snowboarders, and design accordingly. All of the above resorts are suitable for complete beginners and many offer beginner packages, which include equipment rental, lift tickets, and the lesson.

    How Did We Order This List?

    To help rank our top selection of ski resorts for this list we compared the following ranking factors:

    👨‍👩‍👦 Ranking Factor📈 Power to affect Rank
    Amount of Beginner Trails (Mi) 4x
    Amount of Skiing Area (Mi) 3x
    Cost of two adult tickets + child ticket1x
    How many magic carpet lifts1x

    We gave each factor its own weighting depending on how important we feel it is for family fun across all ages. For example, a resort with more beginner trails is higher ranked than a resort with a lower-priced family ticket – with all else being equal. That’s because while cost is a factor, it’s not a primary one. We may also use our editorial judgment to remove or add resorts that we believe should make the list.

    When taking all of this into account, it gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.

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    Best Ski Resorts for Beginners In Vermont

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