Stratton Mountain Resort
An Exhilarating Skiing & Riding Experience
Set on the highest peak in southern Vermont, Stratton Mountain offers an exhilarating skiing experience for beginner to expert with 94 trails and a 2,003-foot vertical drop. Stratton Mountain offers the best of both worlds as old-fashioned New England hospitality meets state of the art… More
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Comments and Reviews for Stratton Mountain Resort
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Expert ReviewerReviews: 34
Oct 13, 2011
Darryl K. Lewis
Jamaica, New York
Extreme ReviewerReviews: 75
Ski resort reviews can be helpful only if you know the skill level and skiing perspective of the person authoring the review. I am a middle age advanced skier who will often at high speeds hit a small lip in the terrain and get a little air. I will venture in and out of short mogul fields hoping to enhance my mogul skiing technique, and then often duck in and out of moderately spaced glades. If I had to describe the type of skier with which I most closely identify, it would be a high speed cruiser who enjoys medium to giant slalom turns. For Presidents’ Day week, I planned what would be a Vermont nostalgia trip for me and my granddaughter. We planned to Ski Okemo, Stratton, and Pico. The first time I put on skis (33 years ago) was at Stratton. I fell in love with Pico about 30 years ago as a novice skier, and also visited Okemo at about the same time. I haven’t been back since. I am a very different skier now than I was back then. With that said, here are my impressions of Stratton using the 5 point rating system:
Terrain – Rated 4.0:
Does Stratton have some tough stuff to ski? Yes, but you do have to search for it. Several of their glades on the left side of the mountain (as you are looking up from the main base lodge) are extremely difficult, and their super half pipe and terrain park features on their “Supertrail” can be tough if you are into performing tricks and flips on your skis or boards. But I am a cruiser at heart, and for me Stratton was pure heaven. Stratton’s “Upper Kidderbrook” trail may be arguably the best high speed cruising trail in the east. It is wide, and has slight curves and undulations that push you to step on your skis’ gas pedal. And the view as your flying down is astounding. It almost reminded me of skiing in Europe. On my next trip up the mountain, I immediately returned to “Upper Kidderbrook,” but about half way down took a cut off to a double diamond trail called “Free Fall.” “Free Fall” was steeper than “Upper Kidderbrook,” but it too was a great but shorter cruising trail. I later learned that “Free Fall” earned its double diamond rating due to the “Volkswagen Beatle” sized moguls that are usually present. But Stratton must have known that I was coming because the night before they groomed the trail and left it vacant of moguls. Any trail descending from the summit on the left side of the mountain was a super cruising experience. Upper Spruce, which descended from the right side of the summit, was also a good trail with steep sections. But I do think that Stratton’s management was a little too generous in giving its “Upper Spruce” trail double diamond status. At 600 plus acres of skiable terrain, Stratton is rather extensive with regards to eastern standards. One has to give credit to Stratton’s trail designers. The majority of the trails are interesting and the mountain’s overall layout is perfect. And then there was Gentle Ben!!! My granddaughter and I were on the left side of Stratton and took the “Sunrise Express” half way of the mountain .We took a right turn as we disembarked from the lift to head back to the main base lodge. We skied about 30 yards and to our right was a intermediate trail called “Gentle Ben.” It had a very interesting headwall and then flattened out some. I was going at a moderate speed only to discover that it snaked through the woods with slight moguls, banked trail edges and numerous twists, turns, and moderate jumps. Gentle Ben turned into a very exciting trail that took us back to the “Sunrise Express” lift. We immediate took the lift back up the mountain and headed straight for “Gentle Ben.” This time I knew what to do. I hit the headwall and immediate got into a tuck position to enhance my speed. I maintained momentum and was able to hold the tuck for the entire trip down; hitting the jumps and small moguls and riding the banked edges. I felt like a down-hill racer!!! I could do this without any fear of running over other skiers because it was just me and my granddaughter on the entire trail. On the right side of the mountain, as you descend toward the base lodge, you will find several glade areas of widely spaced trees, such as the “Emerald Forest,” There, you can practice and perfect your glade skiing techniques. Yes, I agree that at many other mountains I have visited, there was a greater percentage of territory designated for experts, but I will certainly visit Stratton again because it is a “heckuva” fun mountain to ski.
Service – Rated 5.0:
Customer service is where Stratton shines. The bathrooms have nice, long changing benches where you may change your clothing (unfortunately the bathrooms, like many other ski lodges, are accessed by descending stairs. It seems like the designers would realize that stairs are difficult to negotiate with ski boots on your feet). There is no wait time to get a shuttle from the parking lots to the village. The shuttles are positioned in line waiting for patrons. If no one else is approaching the shuttle it will leave the lot and head for the village (even if you are the only passenger). You unload directly into the base village area and are protected from the elements. At the customer service area (where you purchase your lift tickets) all the representatives are smiling and appear to enjoy serving you. There are roving customer service representatives throughout the base lodge and village area asking you whether they can be of some service to you. After cruising “Upper Kidderbrook” at warp speed, I discovered that my lift ticket couldn’t take the wind shear and detached itself from my ski parka (needless to say, I failed to tear off the small lift ticket stub that serves as insurance if you lose your lift ticket, so both the ticket and the insurance were gone). I went back to the customer service rep that served me initially and explained my situation. She immediately remembered me, electronically voided my lost ticket, and then reissued me another lift ticket. Now that is true customer service! At many other resorts I would have had to purchase a new ticket. Stratton is approximately 15 to 20 miles south of Okemo. On the previous day when we had skied Okemo, their snow conditions sucked. Stratton was subject to the same weather conditions experienced by Okemo, and their trail snow coverage and conditions were absolutely great. I asked a Stratton employee the reason for the difference and the gentleman explained that Stratton’s grooming expertise cannot be matched by any other eastern resort. After experiencing the snow at both Stratton and Okemo, I believed him.
Crowds – Rating 4.0:
We skied Stratton the two days directly following the Presidents’ Day holiday. Since it has been considered the most important holiday period of the ski season, we expected masses of people, especially at Stratton. Well, were we surprised! The only lift that had a modest line was the gondola (everybody wants to ride the gondola at least once). There were no lines for any of their remaining eight lifts. There were plenty of lockers to spare in the base lodges, as well as available seating at lunch time; even at the peak dining hours between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm.
Activities – Rating 5.0:
The entire corridor of southern Vermont presents a host of activities and things to do. The town of Manchester is nearby where you can dine, see a movie, or do some outlet shopping. Ludlow, another great ski town is 20 minutes or so north of Stratton. You can’t go wrong when visiting this area.
Value: - Rating 1.0:
The price of a Stratton adult lift ticket purchased on a daily basis from their customer service window, trails Killington’s price by only $2. Killington has the most expensive tickets in the east, thereby making Stratton the second most expensive lift ticket in the east. Nothing is inexpensive at Stratton, but I do believe that Stratton is worth visiting (at least once). Personally, I could never afford a frequent diet of the Stratton skiing experience. If you are a local you may be able to take advantage of frequent skier lift ticket programs, but this is not an option for those who live substantial distances from Stratton. Take heart! There is hope for those who have American Express credit cards and are participants in their points rewards program. You can redeem your points for Stratton lift tickets. My granddaughter and I skied Stratton for two days without dropping a single dollar for a lift ticket. The tickets were purchased with redeemed points at a savings for me of $336. Contact your Amex representative and ski Stratton free of charge.
In summary: Until I skied Stratton this past Presidents’Day holiday week, I was an outspoken critic of those “high-falootin” snob catering resorts that financially gouge you until you run dry. Again, yes Stratton is not only expensive, but it’s also beautiful to the eye. As you approach Stratton, the village and surrounding condos remind you of Disney World. Due to my recent experience at Stratton, I have somewhat softened my criticism of some of those expensive ski resorts. It is quite obvious that Stratton management has reinvested profits back into the resort, with a goal of providing the patron with the best skiing, riding, and customer relations experience that the mountain topography can provide. By the way, “Ka-ching” goes my American Express Card, because I am building up my bank of reward points for next ski season.
Mar 18, 2011
Novice ReviewerReviews: 3
Terrain: It's not a difficult mountain to ski. I've just started skiing again after a 7-year hiatus and was easily able to ski the blacks and double blacks. If you are an experienced skier and want more of a challenge, you can find some untouched tree skiing, as most of the skiers tend to stick on the open trails. Stratton would also be an excellent place to learn tree skiing because they have a few glades with sparse trees. I'd recommend Stratton for a day or maybe two day trip, more than that would probably be boring. The day I went was shortly after a nice storm so the conditions were great for most of the day. Janeway Junction has beautiful views. Only toward 3 o'clock did I start to hit ice patches (Grizzly Bear was a sheet of ice by 3pm). Upper Kinderbrook was long, bumpy and beautiful, my legs were aching by the end of it. The run out is way too flat, though.
Service: My experience with the service was great. The lifties were considerate, the foodservice workers were friendly and went out of their way to meet my dietary restrictions, all with a smile. There is a good variety of food. All of the staff that I encountered throughout the mountain were courteous and respectful.
Crowds: I went on a weekend, all parking lots full. I rode the gondola only once because the line was really long. It did move fast, but for the rest of the day I skied to the lifts which moved really fast. The blue and green trails were more crowded, so I avoided those for the most part. The blacks were fairly empty, so I stuck with those. I had a small problem with skiers who were skiing way beyond their ability, but you'll find that anywhere.
Activities: I can't speak from personal experience but I went with a non-skier who was able to keep himself occupied for the 5 hours I skied. There are also nearby towns, antique shops, and restaurants, Brattleboro is only 35 minutes away, etc...
Value: It's expensive if you buy at the window, no question. However, the X2 Card is a great value or if you purchase your tickets in advance online you can get a better deal. Also check for ski and stay pacakges. Any mountain is expensive if you don't plan ahead.
Jan 23, 2011
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