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Mad River Glen, Fayston, Vermont

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Expert skiers love Vermont's Mad River Glen (MRG) for its narrow, long, and very steep trails and off-trail skiing. Long time New England skiers also hold a nostalgic place in their heart for MRG because it has retained its old world patina with little concession to modernization or expansion. There is very little grooming of the slopes, which makes it the more difficult to ski, and MRG prohibits the use of snowboards. So now you see why expert and advanced skiers treasure this small and very steep and demanding ski area. In fact, a group of avid skiers jointly own the area, not a corporation or hospitality group. For all intents and purposes, it is a true "skier" destination.

Mad River Glen ski resort
flickr image by Smart Destinations

It is also a favorite ski destination for Boston residents because it is a four hour drive away, which makes it easily accessible for a weekend of skiing. When they see the words, "It's snowing!!!" on the Mad River twitter or Facebook pages they start packing for the weekend, all intent on heading up to Vermont on Friday night after work so that they can make the first tracks on virgin snow on Saturday morning.

Its long history as a Vermont ski destination began in 1947 when it was opened by investors including the wealthy Rockefeller family. Now owned by the small group of skiers who bought it in 1995, it is becoming known as a unique ski destination that makes a huge effort to preserve the forest, preserve the wildlife, preserve the trails just as they have always been, and to preserve the ambiance for future skiers.

Although recognized as an expert skiers' mountain, MRG does offer the Birdland trail for beginning skiers who can practice on its flatter slopes. It actually is perfect for families or groups of mixed advanced and beginning skiers because it is so close to other very large multi-use ski areas like Sugarbush, so that skiers can split up for the day to pursue the kind of slopes that they most want and still come together in the evening back at their hotel to dine and share in the local nightlife.

The other interesting aspect of MRG is that it appeals to and allows telemark skiing, which is a way of skiing on skis where your heel is free and not attached. It is an old fashioned Norwegian technique that has regained popularity in the United States once more.

Unlike European or even U.S. ski resorts in the western part of the country, this ski resort is not where you go for excellent cuisine on the top of the mountain, or for chic apres ski wine bars at the base of the mountain, or to shop for designer ski clothes. Other nearby resorts will fill that need. This is a tried and true and totally straightforward paradise for those who honestly just want to revel in the joy of skiing down one of New England's most stunning mountains in peace. To be able to brag that they spent a great holiday cruising up and down MRG's challenging slopes earns a badge of courage and respect from other serious skiers!

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I was at Mad River Glen right after two feet of snow fell. The trails were great and everyone was having a good time. I was thrilled over the expert terrain. The lifts are a bit slow but the terrain and the views make up for it. The people are truly friendly. This is definitely a great place for the true skier. Roseann Lahey

If you are looking for a ski resort where skiing is still a sport and not an industry then look no further than Mad River Glen in Fayston, Vermont. The resort is a place like no other and has a unique quality in that it is owned by its patrons in a co-op type format. Mad River Glen is famous for its legendary expert terrain that boasts beautiful trails that cater to all levels of skiers from beginner to intermediate and they also have the nation's last surviving single chair lift. With an extensive selection of trails that line the breath taking scenery of General Stark Mountain, skiing these slopes that are free from snowboarders is an experience that is like no other and one you will remember for a long time! TH

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