Family Trees: Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont

In 1808, President Thomas Jefferson signed into law the Embargo Act, which outlawed any trade with Great Britain and, in turn, with Canada. Manyindustrious Yankees weren’t ready to give up trade with their friendly neighbor to the north, however, andstarted smuggling their goods back and forth across the border.

Such was the case in Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont-home to a brisk smuggling trade until the War of 1812. Caverns in the area were later used to hidecontraband-whiskey mainly-during prohibition. More recently, it’s been discovered that some of the East’sbest tree runs are stashed away at Smuggler’s Notch. Located in Vermont’s Green Mountains (rememberthe Green Mountain Boys?), this great little resort is less than an hour outside of Burlington, right next doorto Stowe. So close, in fact, that the locals will often ride from Stowe’s Big Spruce Mountain to SterlingMountain at Smuggler’s Notch (a ten minute ride and hike). Even though the two resorts are neighbors, theroad between them is closed from mid October to mid May, but you can buy a one-ride ticket back up themountain to get to the other side (check with patrollers to make sure Stowe’s Spruce Chair is running beforeyou head out!). Despite their proximity, Smuggler’s Notch is usually less crowded than Stowe, but stillboasts some incredible tree runs and snow as good as its more famous neighbor. The resort’s managementhas put serious effort into trying to attract more snowboarders. A newly designed snowboard park andhalfpipe have been getting rave reviews from area riders, and in the works for this season is a second park,more suited to the neophyte freestyler.

But if you’re more into freeriding than getting air, check out the glades Smugg’s is renowned for. Two of the best can be found off the Rumrunner and Drifter trails. A few minutes’ hike on the famous Long Trail puts you in position to drop into some of maple-syrup country’s best trees.They’re a little thicker than those you’d find out west, but after the marked runs are all tracked out, freshpowder will be waiting for you in the woods, and with 75 percent of Smuggler’s 1,000 rideable acres opento treeriding, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore. On top of its quality treeriding, Smuggler’s Notchhas another claim to fame-a long-standing rep as an excellent family mountain. Indeed, Smuggler’s resortvillage, found at the base of Morse Mountain, facilitates a great family experience with loads of restaurantsand shops, an indoor swimming pool, and myriad non-snowboarding activities. There’s no “club scene” atthis quiet resort, so the liveliest aprés happenings are family-style gatherings in the village condos. It’s not thata merry party can’t be had at Smuggler’s Notch-there’s never been a shortage of booze in thiswhiskey-runnin’ town-but it’s a quaint and quiet mountain, better suited for those who find their stimulation onthe slopes and prefer low-key evenings with friends and family.-Andrius Sruoginis Smuggled Goods

Accommodations: The Smuggler’s Notch Village Condos are just about the only game in town, but luckilygreat packages are available.

Call Central Reservations at 1-800-451-8752 for more information. Just downthe road from the village, the Smuggler’s Notch Inn, which opened its doors 160 years ago, is also a goodbet. Food and Spirits: Do yourself a favor and stock up on supplies in Burlington or Stowe; all condo unitsfeature full kitchens. When dining in the village, try the Hearth and Candle, the Mountain Grille, or theSnowsnake Pizzeria (free delivery). Just down the hill in Jeffersonville, Jana’s Cupboard is highlyrecommended.

For more information, visit the Smuggler’s Notch Web site at or call1-800-451-8752. Dial (802) 644-1111 for current snow conditions, and reach the Smuggler’s NotchChamber of Commerce at (802) 644-2239.