In an era where bigger is believed to be better, where the latest is considered the greatest and where commercialism is king, a classic ski town tucked into the heart of the Green Mountains dares to do things a little different.
There’s something about the Mad River Valley that flows counter to the “pamper me with more, now” mainstream, much the way its namesake river flows uniquely north. Here, in the historic towns of Warren and Waitsfield, the mountain terrain is legendary yet the lifestyle remains purposefully more relaxed.
The valley’s two ski destinations — Sugarbush and Mad River Glen — are just a few miles apart, yet they hardly consider themselves competitors. They’re more like sisters — one a “resort” and one an “area,” who always have lived next to one another and who always have insisted on forging their own identities. Accept them for who they are.
Together, they offer some of the most challenging terrain in all of New England, yet they often take a back seat to their notable neighbors situated along Vermont Route 100: Killington (“The Beast”) to the south and Stowe (Vail Resorts) to the north. As such, the Mad River Valley often is overlooked by those skiers chasing a perception, when, in fact, the Holy Grail might be closer than they think. Be warned. If one day you decide to take Exit 5 off I-89 and twist your car to the top of the Roxbury-Warren mountain road known as “the Gap,” when the Mad River Valley suddenly opens up below, you might soon discover that you never want to leave the place.