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Oh ski culture, perhaps I was too quick to judge you. For years I have adamantly cursed this winter sport. Who would voluntarily rocket down a mountain strapped to two boards, thighs burning, wind smacking your face, only to reach the bottom of the mountain and do it all over again? But after trip up to the Stowe Mountain Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, I have discovered that I am actually quite a big fan of the ski culture…minus the actual skiing.
This awkward time of year, when the ski season is over and it’s not quite warm enough for summer activities, is the perfect time to revel in ski culture sans ski: Eat, drink and relax, three things that I am very, very good at.
The lodge sits all the way at the top of Mountain Road, about 10 miles off the main drag in Stowe – perfect for isolation and mountain views. In fact, on the drive up we were hit with a fresh sprinkling of snow, just to make our arrival that much more picturesque.
If you should find yourself in Stowe in the early spring or late fall months, I highly recommend a stay at this resort. The majority of its rooms have views of the mountains and slopes (which are very nice to look at, especially when you know you won’t be going anywhere near them). The lobby/lounge area has several fireplaces, which are perfect for cozying up next to with a beverage and a book, and the food is out of this world. We were lucky enough to have the executive chef whip up a selection of the menu’s top sellers (flatbreads, pot roast, mussels, fried brussels sprouts and a variety of sorbets).
When you aren’t eating (which will be rarely), you should be at the spa, where it is easy to get lost for about three hours. If you book a treatment, which are incredibly affordable ($150 for a massage), you have all-day access to the Healing Lodge – a room with lounge cabanas, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and cold showers.
The town of Stowe is…quaint, but definitely intended for tourists. We made the trek in to check it out, purely for research purposes, but found that there was just more fun to be had at the resort. However, we did manage to find Frida’s, a small Mexican restaurant that seemed to be the only joint in town selling brunch on a Saturday. Mexican food in Vermont? Yes. Seriously – the lengua and al pastor tacos were slamming.
So what did we learn today? Watching the snow blanket the mountains, drinking by the fire, eating until you need to unbutton your pants, and getting rubbed down with aromatic oils in the spa is everything about ski culture that I can get on board with. And the getting on anything stops there. Sorry skis.
Stowe is about a five-hour drive outside of New York City, or a one-hour flight from JFK into Burlington.
Stay tuned for my next non-ski adventure in Aspen in July.
Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Blue Mountain Ski Area are ramping up their snowmaking efforts to counter the recent dry spell, and as a further incentive the two Lehigh Valley, PA-area ski resorts are offering Stay and Ski packages that combine vouchers for skiing, boarding or tubing with lodging at one of 13 participating area hotels. These packages are valid through March 31.
Rates at Bear Creek start at $95 per person at the resort’s slopeside hotel, which features indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs. Call 1-866-754-2822 or visit www.discoverlehighvalley.com/stay/hotels-motels/bear-creek-mountain-resort-2
Blue Mountain Ski Area boasts the highest vertical in Pennsylvania (1,082 ft), and the region’s only Natural Luge Run open to the public. This season it has added two new trails: Razorback for experienced skiers and Little Gap for beginners. Visit www.discoverlehighvalley.com/play/attractions/blue-mountain-ski-area
To learn more about Stay and Ski packages visit www.lehighvalleyski.com.
To learn more about the Lehigh Valley area visit www.discoverlehighvalley.com.
I’m not much of a snow person. My idea of skiing is sitting in the lodge with a book and some sort of spiked hot beverage. But I hear that plenty of you love the concept of doing physical activity in 17-degree weather, in which case, this Frugal Friday is for you.
Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain ski centers are the Great Northern Catskills‘ ski resorts, offering skiing two hours away from New York City.
Hunter Mountain is currently offering a “Big Lift Card” for $49. Card holders receive 25 percent off weekend and holiday tickets, and 50 percent off mid-week, non-holiday tickets. This promotion is valid all season long. Take the new Zephyr Express high speed quad or New York’s first six-passenger, detachable lift, the Kaatskill Flyer. Get snow reports, trail maps, daily
promotions, coupons and more via the mobile site m.huntermtn.com.
Play & Stay Packages at Hunter Mountain: Midweek special includes one night accommodations at the Kaatskill Mountain Club or Liftside Village. Package rates start at $125 pp/pn and include slope-side lodging, an all-access lift ticket and complimentary breakfast. Extend your stay for two nights or more and rates drop to $109 pp/pn. The offers is valid Sunday to Thursday, on non-holidays.
Nearby, Windham Mountain unveiled $2.4 million in renovations and upgrades for the 2011-2012 ski season. See renovations in the base lodge and new snowmaking and grooming equipment. A side-by-side Racing Zipline at Windham Mountain’s Adventure Park is also open this season, Other improvements for the winter season include the new trail WinTuck, a Competition Center for junior race programs, and the only Montana Crystal Edge Tuning Machine in North America, located at the Windham Mountain Sports Center.
Midweek Ski and Stay Package Windham Mountain: Stay at the Winwood Inn and ski or ride at Windham Mountain starting at $79.50 pp/pn. Package includes a lift ticket, accommodations, complimentary continental breakfast and a free shuttle to and from the mountain. On the weekend, package rates start at $120 pp/pn. Valid all season long, rates subject to availability.
Long Weekend Special: Purchase any multi-day Windham Mountain lift ticket that includes a Monday and receive 50 percent off of your Sunday night stay at the Winwood Inn.
Sign up for a free “Greene Card” that offers buy-one-get-one deals to both Hunter and Windham. The Greene Card makes the Catskills’ family friendly attractions even more affordable with the purchase of one mid-week ticket, card holders will receive an additional free ticket to be redeemed at the time of sale.