How to Plan a Magical Vermont Winter Vacation — Luxury Hotels, Ski Resorts, and Off-mountain Activities Included

Here's how to make the most of your cold-weather vacation in Vermont.

Rolling hills of Vermonts farm country with clearing winter storm

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Visiting Vermont in the winter is like entering a snow globe. Cozy villages become blanketed in snow, covered bridges cross icy creeks, and kids in brightly colored snowsuits careen down sledding hills. The temperature gets brisk, snow is almost always falling, and everyone's a little more jolly. And why shouldn’t they be? Winter in Vermont is as fun as it is beautiful

Pack your layers and come prepared for snowy outdoor adventures — from sleigh rides through open fields to skiing and snowboarding at the state’s best resorts.

Best Places to Go Skiing in Vermont

People Skiing On Snowcapped Mountain Against Cloudy Sky at Killington, Vermont

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Vermont is a renowned ski and snowboard destination with more than 20 ski areas. Topping most lists are Stowe Mountain Resort, Okemo Mountain Resort, and Killington Resort. The first two are on the Epic Pass, making it easy to hit both during your trip, while the latter boasts the largest acreage in the East and the biggest vertical drop in New England. 

Those looking to get lost in deep East Coast powder should head to Jay Peak Resort, which claims the “most snow in eastern North America” and a lenient in-bounds policy (meaning you can chase untouched powder stashes).

Families will want to head to Smugglers’ Notch Resort, a.k.a. “America’s Family Resort,” which has a great ski school, a child care program, and plenty of off-mountain activities, including winter carnivals, bonfires, and ice skating.

More Vermont Winter Activities

Woman cross country skiing under snowy skies in Vermont

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If you’re not into downhill skiing and snowboarding, don’t worry, as Vermont has plenty of other things to do. The state is basically covered in cross-country ski and snowshoe trails, including those found at resorts like Stowe and Smugglers’ Notch. Probably one of the coolest places to cross-country ski and snowshoe is the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, which has more than 60 miles of trails, or the equally sprawling Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury.

Other winter experiences include horse-pulled sleigh rides (Gentle Giants in Stowe and Rainbows Edge Farm in Sutton are both solid options), dog sledding, and, of course, tubing, and sledding.

If you’d rather stay warm and cozy than brave the elements, make a trip to the Vermont Salt Cave in Montgomery. You can start with a warming session in the salt cave, followed by a visit to the infrared sauna and a massage. For a sauna experience with a view, book a private session at Savu, and for a more traditional spa day, head to Topnotch Resort in Stowe for a full day of pampering.  

Where to Stay in Vermont

Winter exterior of Twin Farms at twilight

Courtesy of Twin Farms

For a cozy, boutique experience, book a room at The Hermitage Inn, a historic property that was recently renovated and has a handful of Green Mountain adventures on hand — from cross-country skiing and ice skating to cooking classes. 

Up north, Woodstock Inn & Resort in the town of Woodstock provides guests with opulent accommodations in a walkable (and wildly picturesque) Vermont village. The property has four distinct restaurants, an expansive spa, and an activity center that helps guests get situated with snowshoes, fat tire bikes, and cross-country skis, as well as prepared for a day of downhill skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Saskadena Six ski resort.

And finally, for a five-star, all-inclusive experience, head to Twin Farms in Barnard. This circa-1795 farmhouse has been turned into a beautiful hotel where guests can enjoy farm-to-table dining and access to a spa with glass-brick steam rooms. To take your trip up a notch, book one of the suites or cottages with a stone hot tub.

What to Pack for Vermont

Winter in Vermont is all about getting outside, even when it’s almost below zero. That said, you’ll want to pack your outdoor gear (think Gore-Tex shells, down jackets, long underwear, and boots, in addition to cozy, sitting-by-the-fire attire). Don’t underestimate the power of a warm hat, wool socks, and layers of clothing.

Things to Know Before You Go

Winter landscape in Vermont

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In the winter, average temperatures range between two and 12 degrees Fahrenheit. The low temperatures paired with relatively high humidity can make the day feel frigid — especially when the sky is gray — but once you bundle up and start moving, you’ll be glad you did.

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