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New England Smugglers Notch and Stowe Propose Interconnect Gondola

Philpug

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From Liftblog...
Two of Vermont’s largest ski resorts could be connected by gondola under a plan uncovered by the Morrisville News and Citizen. Stowe Mountain Resort parent Vail Resorts and longtime Smugglers’ Notch owner Bill Stritlzer have reportedly been in talks for several years but sought to keep initial work on the project confidential. Lawyers for the State of Vermont recently determined that documents could be released under public records law.
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Under the proposal, a 9 tower gondola would link Spruce Peak at Stowe to Sterling Mountain at Smugglers’ Notch along a relatively flat area home to an alpine pond and the Long Trail. A ride across the 2,600 foot connector lift would take just over five minutes and link two very different mountains. Vail-owned Stowe currently operates a fleet of six high speed lifts while Hall doubles service narrow New England-style trails at Smuggs. One mountain accepts the hugely popular Epic Pass while the other shuns multi-mountain passes entirely and charges $85 for a peak day ticket. If connected, the two resorts would encompass six peaks, 17 lifts and 194 trails with 5.5 miles of distance separating Toll House at Stowe from Morse Highlands at Smuggs.

The gondola would only rise about 350 vertical feet and no new ski trails would be cut between the two mountains. The lift would be designed with only 26 cabins and a modest hourly capacity of 1,200 skiers per direction. As part of the project, Smugglers’ Notch would place 72 acres of private land under conservation easement and Stowe would protect another 92 acres to offset development of the gondola. A portion of the Long Trail could also be rerouted to reduce visual impacts. If approved by state regulators, the project would take two years to implement.

Full story here...
 

Scruffy

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Wow. I know that "officially" connecting the two ski resorts has been talked about for years, but with Vail/Epic now owning Stowe, you couldn't be trying to connect two more differently managed ski areas than those two. Going to make a lot of Smuggs faithfuls not happy. If this goes through it's going to be interesting to see how they sell tickets for the interconnect-dual usage of the two mountains considering their disparate ticket/pass models.
 

Talisman

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I don't recall the exact years (1985-88?) but before Spruce Peak got all fancy at Stowe and had a double chair to get to the summit, there was a groomed access that permitted traversing between the resorts across the pond pictured. The traverse was a healthy skate on alpine skis and the interconnection ended according to legend when a groomer went through the ice on the pond.
 

Tricia

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Dave Marshak

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I don't recall the exact years (1985-88?) but before Spruce Peak got all fancy at Stowe and had a double chair to get to the summit, there was a groomed access that permitted traversing between the resorts across the pond pictured. The traverse was a healthy skate on alpine skis and the interconnection ended according to legend when a groomer went through the ice on the pond.
IIRC in 1970 that trail wasn't groomed, but we still skated over to Smuggs from time to time. We used to ski to Binham Falls as well.

They don't need a gondola or even grooming. All they need is a reasonably priced one use lift ticket to get to the other side. Without that a gondola is useless.

dm
 

4aprice

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When Stowe replaced the Big Spruce Double the connection was for all intents and purposes broken. The new Spruce quad has a different alignment. The double ended up on a knob slightly higher then Sterling summit on the Smuggs side. I believe the route from Spruce to Sterling actually followed the Long Trail hiking trail. The Sterling to Spruce run involved crossing Sterling Pond and IIRC was pretty flat.

Hypothetically the connection between the 2 would be a huge deal. Would create a complex of wonderful terrain (especially for experts) and some of the most snow fall in the east. I think Smuggs needs a makeover but there are plenty of people who love it as it is and don't want it to change.
 
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Mister Tea

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Maybe I'm confused, and I've not skied either Stowe or Smuggs, but a few years ago I attended a wedding at Stowe, and the next day we hiked up to the top, crossed over the top, and looked down at Smuggs.

So, is a connector lift needed, or could they just open a gate or something to connect the two?

All this independent of how different the two areas are cultrurally, and how lift passes would work...
 

Wilhelmson

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Decommission the auto road and visitors center and let the connector happen.
 

Tony S

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Decommission the auto road and visitors center and let the connector happen.
"Why does that road even exist, in 2023?" does seem like a rational question to ask, especially considering that it's seasonal.
 

Wilhelmson

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"Why does that road even exist, in 2023?" does seem like a rational question to ask, especially considering that it's seasonal.
It is pretty cool that people who can’t hike up can check it out, but the whole touristy part in the summer just seems off to me. Of course I was a tourist too, only with a tank top and old hiking boots.
Mine was more of a snarky modest proposal. I appreciate protecting the alpine zone but if done right a connector might not be too invasive.
 

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