Middlebury Snow Bowl: The Road Not Taken

As you travel up VT Route 125, which connects Rt. 7 and Rt. 100, you see Frost everywhere. From the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail in the National Forest, to the Bread Loaf Campus of Middlebury College, where he taught for over 40 years, Frost is present at every turn.

Middlebury Snow Bowl

I traveled to this secluded place as a refuge from the holiday crowds. As I bounced between Sirius Channels 23 and 29, I glided past the frosted peaks of the National Forest. A simple sign and drive way leads to the base of the mountain.

Opened in 1934, the Middlebury Snow Bowl is one of the oldest continuously operating mountains in the country. Many would say it’s a place time left behind, but in reality it’s more a place time simply left alone.

Snow Bowl trail

Three lifts —a double and two triples — service 17 trails, and numerous glades. At 2650’, the north-facing peak collects an average of 250 inches per season, similar to it’s larger regional neighbors. With four inches the day before, and several inches during the week, the mountain was 100% open, on a gorgeous blue-bird day.

Given its ownership, much of the “crowd” fell in the 18-to-22 age bracket. The wait for a chair was measured in seconds on one of their busiest days of the season.

view from the lift

There’s a refined purity to the Snow Bowl, deriving from it’s ownership, Middlebury College, and a racing culture that’s hard-wired into every nook and cranny.

The Middlebury College Ski Team has been a national power since the 1950’s, and their accolades line the refurbished base lodge. Varying levels of race training took place all over the mountain, and some lucky racers received tootsie rolls at the finish line.

Snow Bowl lodge

The Snow Bowl skis bigger than it is. With 40% of the terrain black, and cliffs dotting the upper mountain at every turn, you forget you’re in Vermont from time to time. On the Worth Chair you pass a mid-mountain lake, and can feast on views of Lake Champlain and the High Peaks to the west.

And with no corporate influence, the Snow Bowl feels like Frost himself could have written a poem about this place, even today.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

14 comments on “Middlebury Snow Bowl: The Road Not Taken

  1. SO COOL!! only skied it 1.. maybe 2… love the old feel… Gotta drag the sister and BIL up to there alma matar…. as ski was able to Graduate on SKI’s. Others went down the hill in a canoe…

  2. I’ve only been there twice, late season. Never when the Bailey Chair has been running. But what a great place to go to avoid the crowds on a busy day. Look forward to getting back there sometime when they are 100% open.

  3. Thanks for the blog, I enjoyed reading it. The Snow Bowl it just one of the many things that makes skiing in New England special. I have skied most of the major New England resorts but I have neglected to try Middleburry. It is now on the agenda.

  4. Middlebury has been on my list for years but I still haven’t gotten there. It looks like a cool little place. Thanks for the great story.

  5. Midd is a great option during vacation weeks. But you forgot the most important lines of the poem:

    “I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:”

    Midd is not the mountain that I would associate with this poem! 🙂

  6. It looks like a place where you could have fun in the trees all day long. Who would show me around? I would love to go.

    Thanks to Saratogahalfday, one of our resident Magic guys, for this piece!

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