Blog: Smugglers Notch
Smugglers Notch has been on my radar for more than five years. Without ever setting foot on the hill, I knew that Smuggs had it all: snow, terrain and old school vibe.
My experience in Northern Vermont is limited. I skied Stowe many years ago, as an intermediate. We had friends in the area and we would ski for a few days around Christmas. In those days I wasn’t a tree skier and I don’t remember us getting any new snow.
Then, about five years ago a bunch of us skied together for three days at Jay. The first morning the Jay Cloud went off at opening and delivered 5-8″ before lunch. My first experience with nice powder skiing in really widely spaced trees.
While it’s all about families at Smuggs (almost suffocating at times, and I’m a parent), the terrain really impressed me. It’s a good-sized mountain — a legitimate 2,600 vert covered by old-school EC terrain with lots of character, some steep shots, and skiable trees everywhere.
Smuggs reminds me of a bigger version of Magic Mountain, including the outdated infrastructure: vintage double chairs and an undersized, out-of-date lodge at the bottom of the main hill. I can deal with slow lifts, but I’m kind of puzzled by how they’ve managed to avoid updating the uphill capacity while courting a demographic that insists on a certain level of amenities.
Conditions were similar to Jay on Saturday: the trees were soft and the on-piste trails were very crunchy (once again, the r**n from two weeks ago did a huge amount of damage). I’d love to go back there when the snow is in better shape.