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Smaller, independent ski areas rock!

Photo of a red double chairlift on a snowy day

Photo credit: Magic Mountain, Vermont

A new short film focuses on the country’s small, independent ski areas. TGR recently created “In Pursuit of Soul” and among the ski areas featured are a pair of gems from Vermont. Check out the 34-minute film for free at the TGR website.

These ski hills do what they can to get families and school kids on the mountain without breaking the bank. And while they do that, they usually operate on the slimmest financial margins.

If you grew up skiing in New England, chances are you’ve been to a local ski hill. You know, the kind of places where kids are let loose to zip around the mountain together. Since there’s usually only one base area, chances are they won’t get lost!

Do any of these independents ring a bell to you? Boston Hills (now extinct), Mittersill (was extinct; now part of Cannon Mountain), Black Mountain or Pat's Peak? These were the first places in Massachusetts and New Hampshire where my sisters and I learned to ski. Later we would take on ski areas like Cranmore, Wildcat, Attitash, Cannon and Mt. Sunapee — in a time before resorts started to consolidate.

Thank goodness for the smaller areas, or I would not know the joy of sliding through the snow surrounded by snow-encrusted trees, or floating through powder that’s light as a feather!

And thank goodness for amazing parents who took the time to bring us skiing. Even if it meant playing hooky during a non-holiday week — for better skiing and lodging value for our family. Skiing has been such an important part of my life! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

These days, the Skimeister and I ski all kinds of mountains — big and small. We enjoy independent ski areas near home like Bolton Valley, Mad River Glen and Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont. They’ve got a local vibe that’s hard to beat. Sure, they may have slower chairlifts, but you’ll just have to relax and enjoy the view and conversation!

What smaller, independent ski areas have you enjoyed skiing or riding? (Let us know on Facebook.) And if you haven’t been to one lately, maybe this is the year to do it!

Ski areas featured in TGR’s “In Pursuit of Soul”

  • 49 Degrees North, Wash.
  • Beaver Mountain, Utah
  • Berkshire East, Mass.
  • Black Mountain, N.H.
  • Bolton Valley, Vt.
  • Brundage Mountain, Idaho
  • Cannon Mountain, N.H.
  • Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Mont.
  • Magic Mountain, Vt.
  • Mission Ridge, Wash.
  • Saddleback Mountain, Maine
  • Snow King, Wyo.

See our list of Vermont ski areas — big and small, independent or not — with links to their snow report pages.

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