THE SNOW BOWL TODAY
At the Middlebury Snow Bowl, you’ll find plenty of untracked powder, ripping lines and camaraderie. Here’s how to ski (and eat) like a local.
For Olympian Doug Lewis’s reminiscences about growing up as a ski racer at The Snow Bowl, see “The Little Ski Area Where Dreams of Medals Are Born,” here.
The Middlebury College Snow Bowl (still operated by Middlebury College) serves as a training ground for some of the top ski racers in the country—both those who grew up skiing here, such as current U.S. National Ski Team member Abi Jewett, and the Middlebury College Division One ski team.
On Friday afternoons you’ll find a mix of former college racers (some with national and
international competitions behind them), local business people and retirees all competing on the same gentle course for Middlebury Ski Bum league bragging rights.
Everyone gathers at a bar in town after to share stories, hear the results and win prizes offered up by local businesses. Often, that bar is Two Brothers, whose owners, brothers Holmes and Beale Jacobs, grew up racing against Lewis. On Tuesdays this season, telemark clinics take over the mountain. On weekends, there’s rarely a line and you can still find fresh tracks mid-morning and good glades runs.
This year, for the second year running, the Snow Bowl offers up a $50 weekend ticket that includes a half day at the Snow Bowl and a half day of skiing the extensive Rikert Nordic Center trails that snake through the college’s Breadloaf Campus, just a mile down the road. The views from the trails, set high on the western flank of the Greens and surrounded by the Breadloaf Wilderness, are stunning.
The Nordic ski jump is no longer there but what hasn’t changed since Lewis was growing up, is this: families can still set their kids loose on the mountain knowing they will all find their way back to the lodge’s big fireplace for a cocoa after.
Best For: Families, kids, ski racers and anyone seeking fresh powder and no lift lines on a weekend. Stats: 3 chairlifts, 17 trails plus glades Eat, Drink, Stay: In the morning, grab one of the signature sticky buns at Haymaker Bun Company. After skiing, stop at the Waybury Inn, stylishly updated since it served as the set for Bob Newhart’s Vermont inn in the Newhart Show. The Inn also manages the food service at the Snow Bowl cafeteria. For drinks in town, head to Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury, owned by ski racers Holmes and Beale Jacobs. If you’re staying the night, the Middlebury Inn is a brick classic on the town green and the Robert Frost Cabins provide cozy cabins in the woods of Ripton, nearer the mountain. Signs of Soul: The volunteer ski patrol is still staffed by Middlebury College students and just west of the Rikert Nordic Center, the Robert Frost Trail celebrates the poet laureate and some-time Middlebury College professor who lived and wrote in a cabin just off the Nordic trails. Don’t Miss Events: On Feb 1, 2020, as part of the mid-winter “Feb” graduation ceremonies, seniors who graduate in February ski down the Allen trail in caps and gowns. Last year, the Snow Bowl held its first pond skim. Dates to be announced. Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weekends, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Day tickets: $40-60, $520 season passes. middleburysnowbowl.com
Featured Photo Caption: A Middlebury College ski racer trains at the Snow Bowl. Photo by Jason Duquette-Hoffman, courtesy Middlebury Snow Bowl