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Easy blues - smuggs or sugarbush?

Burlyreturnee

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Hi all -

This season has been my first after a decade off the slopes. I’m skiing now and in my mid 30s, but used to be a much riskier snowboarder. I need to hold back the urge to take too many risks now. I got comfortable on blues at Bolton, though I ended up on my face recently on one of the narrow, moguly blues off the wilderness lift. I’d like to try a new mountain on Monday and am considering either smuggs or sugarbush.

at sugarbush, it seems that jester, slowpoke, snow bail, racers edge, spring fling, rim run, Joe’s cruiser, and which way are the easiest blues.

at smuggs, the easiest blues seem to be snow snake, chilcoot, catwalk, rum runner, and the whole network off the M1 lift.

im guessing I can’t go wrong at either location, but wanted to confirm with the gurus on this board. Which mountain is better for me? smuggs seems to have slightly more trails and better greens if I just need to take it easy. On the other hand, sb trails seem wider but if I switch between ellen and Lincoln I’d lose some time.

thanks for any help! trail map links below for reference.

https://www.smuggs.com/pages/winter/skiride/trail-map-large.php
 

KustyTheKlown

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i feel like both smuggs and sugarbush the terrain tends towards more difficult.

like a blue at okemo or stratton is definitely easier than a blue at smuggs or sugarbush.

but you should be fine at either. you wont have lines mid-week next week.

fwiw, sugarbush has a much more modern and fast lift infrastructure. smuggs lifts are all slow old doubles.

smuggs will be much cheaper if you are buying day tickets, probably a $50 difference.
 

skef

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I can't compare Smuggs to Sugarbush, as I've never been to the latter, but, FWIW...

I spent a solid week at Smuggs 15ish years ago successfully working my way up from solid beginner to fledgling intermediate. Snow Snake on Morse may look like a logical slope to master before moving to the bigger mountains, but, short as it is, I think it's actually a bit trickier than some of the runs off of Sterling or Madonna. If you can ski it, no worries. If you can't quite, I think you can still venture over...

For easy blues on the bigger mountains, you might try, in this rough order:
  • Father Bob's -> Lower Chilcoot (M2 lift)
  • Link -> Lower FIS (also M2)
  • Rum Runner (Sterling)
  • Upper Rum Runner to Crossover to Treasure Run (Sterling)
Once you're comfortable with all that, then you might try Upper Chilcoot, Drifter, etc., off of M1. Both Chilcoot and Drifter can be dicey for short stretches, but are generally pretty mellow once you get past them.

Good luck!
 

cdskier

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at sugarbush, it seems that jester, slowpoke, snow bail, racers edge, spring fling, rim run, Joe’s cruiser, and which way are the easiest blues.

Never been to Smuggs, so I can't compare there, but I can at least comment on the terrain at Sugarbush.

At Mt Ellen I think you touch on most of the easier blues (Rim Run, Which Way, Cruiser). Generally speaking there are some nice blue cruisers at Mt Ellen. I'd also suggest that Walt's Trail (a green) can be quite fun. It is all natural snow, but does get groomed periodically so tends to be fairly smooth. For blues at Mt Ellen, Elbow would be another option if you're comfortable with the other blues there. It is a little steeper, but still very wide.

At Lincoln Peak, I'd skip Slowpoke. That trail has terrain park features on it. Spring Fling is actually steeper than you think for a blue, but plenty wide. Lower Snowball is the "easier" blue on that side of the mountain. Gate House and North Lynx also offer some good blue terrain. Birch Run and Sleeper are 2 trails you didn't mention that are relatively easy blues in the Gate House/North Lynx areas (for Sleeper, make sure you bear right onto Sleeper instead of left/straight to Sleeper Chutes when they split up). Hot shot/Waterfall/Lower Hot Shot is another good blue option (Waterfall is 1 short steeper section, but if you want to avoid that you can take Second Thoughts right above Waterfall and then from Pushover use Overshot to cut back over to Lower Hotshot just below the Waterfall trail).
 

kingslug

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Are you limiting this only to Bush and Smuggs. Stowe has a lot of blue..The whole spruce side is fairly easy and never crowded..tickets are cheaper than Bush but more than Smuggs..lifts are faster than Smuggs for sure. And the town has a lot of stores and food. On the main face you can ride the triple chair all day and ski blue runs and its never crowded as well.
 

Mum skier

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Hi all -

This season has been my first after a decade off the slopes. I’m skiing now and in my mid 30s, but used to be a much riskier snowboarder. I need to hold back the urge to take too many risks now. I got comfortable on blues at Bolton, though I ended up on my face recently on one of the narrow, moguly blues off the wilderness lift. I’d like to try a new mountain on Monday and am considering either smuggs or sugarbush.

at sugarbush, it seems that jester, slowpoke, snow bail, racers edge, spring fling, rim run, Joe’s cruiser, and which way are the easiest blues.

at smuggs, the easiest blues seem to be snow snake, chilcoot, catwalk, rum runner, and the whole network off the M1 lift.

im guessing I can’t go wrong at either location, but wanted to confirm with the gurus on this board. Which mountain is better for me? smuggs seems to have slightly more trails and better greens if I just need to take it easy. On the other hand, sb trails seem wider but if I switch between ellen and Lincoln I’d lose some time.

thanks for any help! trail map links below for reference.

https://www.smuggs.com/pages/winter/skiride/trail-map-large.php
Smugglers Notch is a long drive from most places! The pass from Stowe is closed in winter. And the slow lifts mean it’s hard to do many laps even without crowds. I felt the runs were on the harder end of the ratings.
I have not skied Sugarbush, but someone mentioned Okemo. Runs there are very mild and easy routes down from every express lift. Not super exciting but doesn’t sound like you are looking for that yet.
 

Cobbold

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smuggs is no where near sugarbush level skiing, sugarbush and Stowe are worlds away from ever other ski are in Vermont, in my opinion, skiing Stowe sugarbush is like being out west, people love Smuggs, gorgeous Mtn, but the lifts are old and slow, if you can handle that then it’s ok.
 

KustyTheKlown

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smuggs is no where near sugarbush level skiing, sugarbush and Stowe are worlds away from ever other ski are in Vermont, in my opinion, skiing Stowe sugarbush is like being out west, people love Smuggs, gorgeous Mtn, but the lifts are old and slow, if you can handle that then it’s ok.
smuggs terrain on map, and especially off map, stands up to everything at stowe and sugarbush. easiest access to best sidecountry in the state.
 

flakeydog

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It would help if you indicated what you see as challenging to you.

There are 3 dimensions, if you will, that may shape your experience on any given trail.
Width - narrow or wide
Steepness - a lot of variability on blue trails
Grooming - bumps or no bumps

For instance, if you were ok with a little but of steepness as long as the trail was wide enough and well groomed, you might do well on Spring Fling. Maybe you like narrow trails and even some bumps but the steeps really get to you, perhaps try Murphy's Glades or even cut in to Lower Domino. No trail is one-dimensional, especially blue trails.
 

Burlyreturnee

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Thanks so much all. These are great insights.


It would help if you indicated what you see as challenging to you.

There are 3 dimensions, if you will, that may shape your experience on any given trail.
Width - narrow or wide
Steepness - a lot of variability on blue trails
Grooming - bumps or no bumps

For instance, if you were ok with a little but of steepness as long as the trail was wide enough and well groomed, you might do well on Spring Fling. Maybe you like narrow trails and even some bumps but the steeps really get to you, perhaps try Murphy's Glades or even cut in to Lower Domino. No trail is one-dimensional, especially blue trails.

Wide, without bumps is my preference. I can handle a little steepness.

Also Thanks to everyone for the great insights. I’ve heard the crowds are pretty bad at Stowe this year, even mid week, and that the blues are generally harder there. I’m also avoiding okeemo because it’s 2 hours from me, whereas the others are only 1 (based in Burlington).
 

KustyTheKlown

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Thanks so much all. These are great insights.




Wide, without bumps is my preference. I can handle a little steepness.

Also Thanks to everyone for the great insights. I’ve heard the crowds are pretty bad at Stowe this year, even mid week, and that the blues are generally harder there. I’m also avoiding okeemo because it’s 2 hours from me, whereas the others are only 1 (based in Burlington).

nice. to clarify, i would never be like 'go to okemo its so awesome', because really, it fucking sucks and is terrible. but if you are looking to like boost your confidence by skiing blacks, okemo is the place, because its flat and it sucks. but especially being in Burlington, no reason to go to okemo. have fun, welcome back to skiing.
 

kingslug

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SB less crowds because if you don't have a pass a weekend ticket is 179.00...Stowe is 139.00
Which is amazing..who would ever think SB would have Vail prices.
 

cdskier

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SB less crowds because if you don't have a pass a weekend ticket is 179.00...Stowe is 139.00
Which is amazing..who would ever think SB would have Vail prices.

This may be splitting hairs...but it is $169 at SB weekends (not $179) if you didn't plan in advance and get cheaper tickets when they first went on sale. It will be interesting to see what happens next year. Was this year just higher to help restrict sales a bit due to COVID capacity concerns? Or is that the new normal for a day ticket? You also at SB have the option to ski Mt Ellen only for $99 instead of $169. Stowe is all or nothing...
 

kingslug

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Don't forget to add tax. Next year we are getting an Ikon as well as epic and ski 3 ny card..then I'm covered. Don't know why they would jack up the price so high..Keeps people away which doesn't really help them..meanwhile Stowe is super crowded.
 

cdskier

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Don't forget to add tax. Next year we are getting an Ikon as well as epic and ski 3 ny card..then I'm covered. Don't know why they would jack up the price so high..Keeps people away which doesn't really help them..meanwhile Stowe is super crowded.

I wouldn't exactly say Sugarbush has been empty this year. There's plenty of people here most weekends. So either there's a lot of people with Ikon passes, or a decent number are paying those high rates. I'd leave the rates on the weekends high and just lower the midweek prices to try to drive some mid-week traffic when the place is relatively empty. But I don't really get a say in this...
 

deadheadskier

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Are you limiting this only to Bush and Smuggs. Stowe has a lot of blue..The whole spruce side is fairly easy and never crowded..tickets are cheaper than Bush but more than Smuggs..lifts are faster than Smuggs for sure. And the town has a lot of stores and food. On the main face you can ride the triple chair all day and ski blue runs and its never crowded as well.

I second the Stowe recommendation. It has far more to offer for blue terrain than Sugarbush or Smuggs.

Both Smuggs and Sugarbush best Stowe for on map expert terrain, but Stowe has the best intermediate terrain in terms of quantity and quality North of Okemo.
 

rebel1916

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Smugglers Notch is a long drive from most places! The pass from Stowe is closed in winter. And the slow lifts mean it’s hard to do many laps even without crowds. I felt the runs were on the harder end of the ratings.
I have not skied Sugarbush, but someone mentioned Okemo. Runs there are very mild and easy routes down from every express lift. Not super exciting but doesn’t sound like you are looking for that yet.
As a bonus, almost every trail is exactly the same. So if you can ski one, you can ski them all.
 
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