SMUGGLERS' NOTCH RESORT REVIEW

Images courtesy of Smugglers' Notch

Smugglers' Notch Resort Overview

November 2020

"America's Family Resort" is the official slogan of Smugglers' Notch "Sumggs," but don't let that statement fool you. While Smuggs boasts one of the best ski schools on the East Coast, this independent resort can go toe-to-toe with any resort in the east for terrain variety. Smuggs holds a true old-school New England design that features: narrow-cut groomed runs, an abundance of pristinly manicured glades, and two seat, fixed-grip chairlifts keep the nostalgia flowing at Smuggs. Fun fact: Smugglers' Notch got its name when alcohol smugglers used the notch between Sterling Mountain and Mt. Mansfield during prohibition.


The resort is made up of 3 unique peaks. Families and new skiers typically stick to Morse Mountain, the only place you can find green-rated trails. Powder hounds flock to Madonna and Sterling Mountains for their copius high-burning turns and technical obstacles. The lake-effect produces a healthy, average annual snowfall of 280 inches to the delight of locals and tourists alike. The resort is 1-hour from the airport in Burlington, VT or 3.5 hours from Boston, MA or Albany, NY and the trip to Smuggs is well worth it. You will find lodging suitable enough, though not luxurious, for your family, friends, or ski club. Smuggs is a can't-miss resort on the East Coast.

Snow Reliability

Snow-Making & Grooming

Travel Convenience

Terrain Variety

Extreme / Off-Piste Terrain

Ski School

Accommodations

On Mountain Dining

Quick Take

Let's Go

  • Smuggs has 1,000+ acres of glades, steeps, groomers, and bumps

  • The Black Hole. The only triple-black diamond rated trail on the East Coast

  • Super family friendly. Check out the fire pit on Morse Mountain for daily hot chocolate

  • Some of the best snow on the East Coast. A 30-40" lake-effect storm is not uncommon here

  • Outstanding ski school. Smuggs team of well-trained, personable instructors uses a level system that increases in difficulty with progression. View all of Smuggs' ski school options here

Hesitations

  • The resort only has fixed-grip doubles lifts and the locals want to keep it this way. Getting up the mountain can be slow

  • Lodging is only available at the resort and while the options are nice, they may not fit all budgets. You won't find many alternatives nearby

  • The food on the mountain is pricey and mostly typical pub fare. There is not much more in the sourrounidng area

  • Smuggs laid pack après scene is tailored to those looking to enjoy a couple of beverages, listen to acoustic music, or take their kids for free hot chocolate around a bonfire

Insider Tips

  • Advanced skiers/riders should skip Morse Mountain completely. Head straight over to Lot #1 to beat the rush on Madonna and Sterling

  • When the Madonna I lift-line is long, head over to the Madonna II lift. Madonna II services ~65% of the terrain accessible by Madonna I, which makes it a great alternative to waiting in line. Go get those turns!

  • Look in between the trails for fresh turns. Smuggs has an open-trail policy as long as the area is not marked as closed

  • Book a snowshoe dinner on Sterling Mountain. Enjoy a sunset lift ride followed by drinks, music, and a five-course meal. You wrap up your experience with a guided snowshoe hike down the slopes under the moonlight. Snowshoe dinners are held every Tuesday night (weather permitting)

  • Smuggs is not featured on any mega-passes. Adult season passes start at just $369

Trail Map

For an in-depth breakdown of Smugg's terrain, head to our Mountain Guide. Top trails and mountain stats included. 

Smugglers' Notch

Getting To & Around

We recommend having a car to visit Smugglers' Notch. Parking is free at all Smugglers' Notch Resort parking lots. We recommend arriving early to get a spot at Lot #1 (direct access to Sterling and Madonna Mountains).

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