New England slopes dont always get respect
from skiers and snowboarders who prefer the Rocky Mountains, but if
there is an East Coast ski area that gives Aspen a run for its
money, it is Vermonts Stowe Mountain Resort.
Stowe is in the
midst of a massive, $400 million redevelopment project. To
understand the scope of the project, it helps to have a little
The concept of
Stowe as a recreation destination started in the 1800s, with
visitors coming in summer to enjoy the cool mountain
Mountain Inn, which is still in operation, began welcoming tourists
in the mid-1830s, followed by more resort properties as the
destination grew in popularity after the Civil War.
Skiing began to
evolve in Stowe the early 1900s, and by the mid-20th century, the
area became known to winter-sports enthusiasts for its vertical
drop -- Mount Mansfield is the tallest mountain in Vermont -- its
Austrian-village ambience and its ski patrols.
In the 1990s, a
new master plan began to be developed, in cooperation with the town
of Stowe, the resort, local planners and
approved in 2003, evolved into the Spruce Peak at Stowe Project, said David Norden, vice
president and project manager for Spruce Peak.
of Stowe Mountain Resort will include a wide range of amenities,
residences and homes in the alpine neighborhood at the base of the
mountain as well as new lifts, trails, new snowmaking systems and a
redevelopment of the mountain infrastructure, Norden
The project is
about one-third complete, with some mountain cabins, ski-in/ski-out
duplex town homes and a golf course making up the first
The completion of
the project is slated for 2010, but for travel agents, the biggest
news will be the opening in 2007 of Stowe Mountain Lodge, the first
of the larger buildings set to go up in the village
The property, to
be managed by Destination Hotels and Resorts, will feature a
relaxed style and a 21,000-square-foot, three-floor spa.
travel agents will be able to book some of the individual new
homes, which are high-end (rates will be $1,000 to $2,500 a night),
but the majority of rentals will be at the lodge.
Norden, who came
from Aspen to work on the project, doesnt expect the redo to drive
traffic from the West Coast to Stowe. But he does anticipate a
strong influx of skiers and snowboarders from New York and New
England, with tourists arriving from even farther afield in summer
And he does see
an advantage in the intimate scale of the project; hundreds of
guest units are planned rather than the tens of thousands on offer
at some of the bigger resorts in the Rockies.
sprawl, planners wrapped thousands of acres of conservation
easement around the new construction and worked with
environmentalists to make sure the development was
place for the 2005-06 season include a high-speed quad replacing
the double chairlift on Spruce Mountain; automated snowmaking
systems, top to bottom; and an extensive trail designed to allow
access to new routes down the mountain. These projects alone
represent $30 million in upgrades.
come on top of the two new lifts and beginner terrain that were
added to Spruce in the 2004-05 season.
Longer term, the
new village will feature -- in addition to the residences and the
spa hotel -- a new base lodge, outdoor ice-skating, a performing
arts center, restaurants and shops.
Village, just down the road from the mountain, has added a few new
restaurants, including Flavor, a restaurant with multi-ethnic
cuisine; Hana Japanese Steak House, complete with sushi bar and
tatami room; and Steve & Erikas, featuring preparation of local
reporter Felicity Long, send e-mail to [email protected].