The name Smugglers’ Notch is no joke. Ironically, this family-oriented resort gets its name from real smugglers who used to hide out in the notches, or cavernous rocks and crevasses, of this twisted mountain pass. While the resort may have changed up the legalities of its clientele, the terrain remains the same—Smuggs has some of the steepest pitches on the east, replete with crazy cliffs and secret tree runs. The pass that runs between Stowe and Jeffersonville through the Mansfield range is closed in the winter to auto traffic—but not to riders. You can drop in from Stowe’s Spruce Mountain, cruise the trees, ride the road, and catch a Smuggs lift up and back over, and vice versa. But you didn’t read that here—really.

Smugglers’ Notch is freestyle on the mountain, too. It features one of the best pipes in northern Vermont—a 450-foot-long, Olympic-sized Superpipe, to be exact. Alongside the white wave, Smuggs maintains a terrain park program throughout the year featuring two advanced/intermediate parks with new rails and features, two intermediate/beginner zones, and a snowskate park. Smuggs has also committed to snowboarding, with weekly pipe jam contests and park events for the more advanced riders, and snowboard camps for “kids of all ages (meaning toddler to granddad).

Local Knowledge

The most convenient lodging at Smugg’s is, conveniently, at Smugglers’ Notch Resort. Check out the resort’s Web site smuggs.com for stay and ride packages. If you want to add a bit of variety in there and try to dig up some cheaper lodging, shred the Interweb to stowemuggs.org for a listing of hotels, motels, and small-town amenities in nearby Jeffersonville and Morrisville. The Brewski just outside of Jeffersonville maintains status as the après spot of choice. If you drove up or have access to a car, Burlington, 45 minutes to the northwest, has a broader choice of food, lodging, clubs, bars, and shopping.

Directions

Make sure to call ahead, but you can assume the notch to be closed from November through April. The route from the closest airport in Burlington is as follows: take I-89 north, then take Exit 15 (Winooski) onto Route 15 east through Essex Junction to Jeffersonville. Then take Route 108 south to Smuggs.

If you’re coming from anywhere south of Burlington, take I-89 to Exit 10, Waterbury, Vermont, then take Vermont Route 100 N through Stowe to Morrisville. Pick up Route 15 west through Johnson to Jeffersonville, and then follow Route 108 south to the resort.