Smugglers Notch and Stowe gondola connection may be coming…
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mook21
8 months ago (edited 8 months ago)
Member since 12/30/2013 🔗
50 posts

There used to be a shared pass between the two resorts. The “birthday bowls” between the two are amazing in a good snow year, so excited to see this potential development. As an owner at Smuggs, hope it does not mean future Stowe ownership, but connecting the mountains would be great. Smuggs has some of the best glared riding and skiing in New England, and to be able to easily connect to Stowe would be a great bonus. https://www.vermontpublic.org/local-news/2023-06-02/smugglers-notch-and-stowe-are-exploring-a-half-mile-connector-ski-lift

JohnL
8 months ago
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,550 posts

mook21 wrote:

There used to be a shared pass between the two resorts. The “holiday bowls” between the two are amazing in a good snow year, so excited to see this potential development. As an owner at Smuggs, hope it does not mean future Stowe ownership, but connecting the mountains would be great. Smuggs has some of the best glared riding and skiing in New England, and to be able to easily connect to Stowe would be a great bonus. https://www.vermontpublic.org/local-news/2023-06-02/smugglers-notch-and-stowe-are-exploring-a-half-mile-connector-ski-lift

 Vail would only do this for ownership…

Holiday Bowls? Thought it was Birthday Bowls? But I am not a local…

mook21
8 months ago
Member since 12/30/2013 🔗
50 posts
Ha ha, yes, birthday, not holiday:)
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
8 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,224 posts

I was surprised to learn that the idea of a gondola to connect Smuggs to Stowe was initiated by the owner of Smuggs. Formal planning started six years ago. The idea is part of the evolution of thinking that started before Vail Resorts bought Stowe. Stuart interviewed Bill Stritzler on June 2.

Smugglers’ Notch Plans Gondola Interconnect with Stowe; “No Discussions” on Vail Buying Smuggs - June 3, 2023

" . . .
“The question for an independent like Smugglers’ became: what is an independent gonna do?” Stritzler said in an interview on Friday [June 2] with The Storm Skiing Journal. “How are we going to survive, take care of our guests, take care of those who own homes here, take care of the employees in this new environment? Our team internally was asking ourselves ‘how are we gonna survive when we're surrounded by giants who have extraordinary amounts of capital to invest that we don't have?’ What are the things that we might be able to do that would enable us to continue to compete?”

The answer, Stritzler and his team decided, was a gondola. Seated just a half mile from the top of Smuggs’ mainly intermediate Sterling Mountain is the top of Stowe’s Spruce Peak. Skiers had been skating between the two resorts for decades. Why not connect the two mountains – both widely considered among the best ski areas in New England – with a fast, modern lift? A sort of Alta-Snowbird – or at least a Solitude-Brighton – of the East? Two owners, one interconnected ski experience.
. . ."

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
8 months ago
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,984 posts
I don’t think it will happen. Too much local opposition and a long permitting process. Also, the whole thing is being driven by Smugs, not Stowe. What does Stowe have to gain from the link except more people descending on an already overcrowded mountain.
nickhaas212
8 months ago
Member since 11/13/2019 🔗
67 posts
Wouldn't Smuggs want to first invest in their aging chairlift fleet? Upgrades per the Liftblogdata look like they need to realign some lifts for better traffic flow and avoid wind closures at times. Additionally, new infrastructure may benefit the mountain as a whole.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
8 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,224 posts

Smuggs is a 4-season resort.  Can't survive as a business without the revenue from people staying at the resorts during the "green" seasons.  As is the case with other gondolas in the northeast, charging people to ride up the mountain and/or enjoy other pay activities during the summer and during the weeks with fall colors can bring in a fair amount of revenue.

Spending millions to upgrade lifts that are only used during the ski season is unlikely to bring in many more people who want to stay overnight at Smuggs.  Especially not midweek.  I would guess that growing the bed base and parking isn't really practical for Smuggs.

I know a few families who love Smuggs.  They went with kids in elementary school learning to ski as an annual trip for several years.  The parents were intermediates.  The way the base is laid out where there is slopeside lodging was perfect.  Wasn't too crowded during school break periods.

The one day I checked out Smuggs as part of a trip meeting up with folks to ski Stowe, I wandered over from the Madonna side and rode the lifts over on Morse Mountain.  My impression was that if I lived in NYC or Boston, I would've considered making the drive with my daughter.  Just as my ski buddy who lives in Cleveland used to do with his wife and daughter when she was little.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
8 months ago (edited 8 months ago)
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,984 posts
My speculation is that Smugs wants to get the gondola in first and then upgrade lifts with increased revenue from Epic pass swipes (from Stowe customers), and perhaps some help from Vail with financing. Long-term, they might be thinking of selling to Vail. Hard to say. I agree that the logical first step would be for them to upgrade their lifts and then focus on a link to Stowe downstream. Stowe has major traffic and parking issues these days on weekends. With a link, Smugs might be thinking that some potential Stowe customers might choose to stay on the Smugs side and commute to Stowe via the gondola. The drive from Burlington to Smugs is the same as Stowe Mountain Resort.
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