Saturday, 13 December 2014

Ski resorts in Stratton, Vermont

More than a decade ago, one of my relatives showed me postcards of some of the most stunning winter landscapes in the world. "They are of the ski resorts in Stratton Vermont," he had told me then.

I am not totally unfamiliar with Vermont. For instance, I do know that it is a state in the New England region of the north-eastern United States. Vermont is also the sixth smallest in area and people-wise, it is the second least populous among the 50 United States.

Its main industry is tourism and while the vibrant colours of fall already attract quite a number of people to the state, it is in the winter months that a different kind of tourist - both international and domestic vacationers - descend on the snow-capped mountains there.

The town of Stratton in the Windham County of Vermont is usually the focal point of these visitors. From here in winter, they travel to the nearby Stratton Mountain to enjoy the most exhilarating skiing and snow-boarding experience.

It matters not whether the skiier or snow-boarder is an old hand or an absolute beginner, Stratton Mountain has much to offer visitors of various levels of experience.

There are 97 recorded trails covering some 38 miles (60 kilometres) across 670 acres (270 hectares) of skiable terrain. About 40 percent of these trails are rated easy and hence are suitable for novices, 35 percent can be enjoyed by those of intermediate skill, while the truly experienced skiiers or snow-boarders can look forward to the most challenging 25 percent of these trails.

At its highest point, Stratton Mountain stands at 3,875 feet above sea level, and it is a vertical drop of 2,003 feet to the base below. There are several ski resorts in Stratton that caters to different groups of tourists and from there, the tourists have a choice of using 11 lifts to travel from the base stations to the various skiing or snow-boarding points. These lifts are capable of moving up to 33,000 people in an hour. The average annual snowfall in Stratton is 180 inches (460 cm). Stratton also ranks in the top 10 of SKI Magazine for snow, grooming, lifts, terrain parks, service, lodging, dining, on-mountain food, apres and nightlife.

As a nature lover, if ever I get a chance to visit the eastern United States, I would place Vermont - and especially Stratton - as among the bucket list of places to visit. I really, really hope to be there one day...

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