Small Vermont Ski Hills Offer Affordable Winter Fun
November 09, 2022
In the early days of New England skiing, winter enthusiasts flocked to small Vermont ski hills like Northeast Slopes in East Corinth, Gilbert’s Hill in Woodstock (home of the first rope tow in the United States), and Prospect Mountain in Woodford.
Vermont skiing has come a long way since its debut in the 1930s. Today, the Green Mountains are home to some of the best downhill skiing in the country.
6 Small Vermont Ski Hills to Visit this Winter
While resorts such as Stowe, Killington, Jay Peak, and Sugarbush draw visitors from near and far, small Vermont ski hills are holding their own and more appreciated and affordable than ever.
-A three-year-old learns to ski at Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond. Main photo: Skiing at Northeast Slopes in East Corinth.
Cochran’s Ski Area
Founded in 1961 by the Cochran family, this legendary ski hill has long been the go-to spot for youth ski racing and after-school programs. With eight trails, 15 skiable acres, a rope tow, T-bar, and handle bar called the Mighty Mite, Cochran’s is the perfect spot for beginners, aspiring racers, and even Olympic hopefuls.
In 1998, it was established as the nation’s first non-profit ski area and continues to provide affordable access to winter recreation. Tickets cost up to $19. (910 Cochran Road, Richmond; cochranskiarea.com)
–Boy Scouts skiing at the Lyndon Outing Club in the 1950s. / Courtesy of the UVM Landscape Change Program.
Lyndon Outing Club
The Lyndon Outing Club was founded in 1937 by a group of local skiers. The club was once home to a ski jumping competition and even served as a training ground for elite athletes. These days, the Lyndon Outing Club features 10 trails, a rope tow, T-bar, and night skiing.
The ski area hopes to install a snowmaking system in the future and is accepting donations to help fund the project. Tickets cost up to $15. (1580 Lily Pond Road, Lyndonville; skilyndon.com)
-Kids from Swanton Elementary School go sledding at Hard’Ack in St. Albans.
Hard’Ack in St. Albans
Hard’Ack Recreation Area started as a traditional ski hill in the 1960s and eventually closed in the 1990s. The city of St. Albans now owns and operates the 95-acre non-profit ski hill, which offers skiing, snowboarding, sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing—free of charge—in the winter. Donations are always appreciated.
Named after a tree species, Hard’Ack also features a nearly 700-foot rope tow. (179 Congress Street, St. Albans; follow Hard’Ack on Facebook.)
-The Brattleboro Ski Hill, formerly called Living Memorial Park, in 1968. / Courtesy of the Brattleboro Historical Society
Brattleboro Ski Hill
The Brattleboro Ski Hill first offered skiing in January 1938, back when a full-day ticket cost 35-cents). It was one of three rope tows operating in New England at the time. Today, the ski hill is maintained and operated by local volunteers. The two-trail ski hill includes a snowmaking system and a T-bar. A GoFundMe was launched earlier this year with a goal to raise $12,000 for the ski hill’s various snowmaking projects.
Ticket prices have slightly increased over the past 84 years: a full day ticket now costs $5. (24 Living Memorial Park Drive, Brattleboro; brattski.org)
Ascutney Outdoors, a non-profit with more than 100 volunteers, helped revive the Brownsville ski area that originally opened in 1935 and closed in 2010. It now features 26 acres of skiable terrain, eight trails, a T-bar, and loads of charm.
A New York Times article from February 2022 details the ski area’s comeback and is worth reading. Tickets cost up to $20. (449 Ski Tow Road, Brownsville; ascutneyoutdoors.org)
-Ascutney Rope Tow/Photo by Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
What makes Northeast Slopes in East Corinth so special is what hasn’t changed since the ski area opened in 1936. Back then, a rope tow was installed on the hill—and it’s now the oldest continuously operating rope tow in the United States.
This volunteer-run ski hill offers 12 trails, two rope tows, a T-bar, and more than 35 skiable acres. Tickets cost between $5-$15. (10397 VT Route 25, East Corinth; northeastslopes.org)
-A skier riding the T-bar at Northeast Slopes in East Corinth.
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