December BrewFest!

Calling all libationist, beerologists, and beer mavens! Join us for our December BrewFest this Saturday, December 10th.

Enjoy samples from Citizen Cider, Canteen, High Noon, and White Claw. If your tastes run closer to home, don’t miss samples from Vermont’s own Harpoon, Otter Creek, Shed, 14th Star, Fiddlehead, Von Trapp, Zero Gravity, Switchback, and Woodchuck Cider.

A DJ spins the tunes and the Resort’s Mountain Grille provides an appetizer buffet. From 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm in the Meeting House. Tickets are available at the door – $28 entry includes 8 samples and a souvenir sampling glass. 21 & older.


2022/23 Opening Day Thanksgiving Weekend!

Mark your calendars! We’re just weeks away from beginning our 2022/23 winter season of skiing and riding. Get ready to take some turns on November 25, the Friday after Thanksgiving (*weather permitting*). Speaking of Thanksgiving, enjoy the Smuggs Thanksgiving Family Celebration November 23-26! It’s the perfect time to sneak away, avoid the craziness of cooking and allow us to take care of all the trimmings for the whole family.

Frosted tips on top of Madonna Mountain 11/14/22

With the recent snowmaking temps and some more help from Mother Nature expected Wednesday, we’re excited to continue our snowmaking efforts through the week as we approach our expected opening day of 11/25 *weather dependent*.

As excited as we are for fresh snow, please keep an eye on our Snow Report for all Uphill Travel conditions.


Solar Powered Wildlife Tracking Antenna

Smuggs recently assisted the Northeast Motus Collaboration (NMC) with the installation of a solar-powered wildlife tracking antenna at the warming hut on the top of Madonna Mountain. The NMC is a coordinated effort among Willistown Conservation Trust, Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, Project Owlnet, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Maine Audubon, Connecticut Audubon, New Hampshire Audubon, Massachusetts Audubon, and Audubon Vermont (“Collaborators”) in cooperation with Motus Wildlife Tracking System and Birds Canada to install a series of receiver stations throughout New England (“New England Motus Array”).

Motus Wildlife Tracking System project is coordinated by Birds Canada, and now includes hundreds of collaborating institutions, agencies, and independent researchers.  With small Motus towers in place from Nunavut, Canada to Chile, more than 22,000 animals representing more than 200 species, including songbirds, raptors, seabirds, bats, monarch butterflies, and migratory dragonflies, have been tagged by dozens of participant researchers. See Motus by the Numbers for more information. 

Kirtland's Warbler: Scott Weidensaul
Kirtland’s Warbler: Scott Weidensaul

Motus’ goal is to combine individual research projects into a massive, collaborative, coordinated, hemispheric network of VHF nanotag receiver stations, allowing researchers to track the movements of flying animals too small to support traditional satellite or GPS telemetry. All participants use a single shared radio frequency, shared infrastructure, a shared database, and (within reason) shared results. Movement tracks are presented on the Motus website for public education in a way that does not jeopardize the publications or research interests of individual cooperators. 

This New England Motus Array will expand the ability to track migrating animals passing through the region and share with others the information thereby collected. The primary species tracked are songbirds but can also include things like butterflies. Dan Maxon, Manager of Energy, Planning, and Permits at Smuggs, was responsible for making this happen.


Vermont Volunteers Receive a Free Winter Daycation Pass at Smuggs

It’s Smuggs Love, when you give, we give!

“Here at Smugglers’ we believe that any person that contributes to the health of the community through volunteerism should be rewarded. There are numerous non-profit organizations that provide incredible services to members of our Vermont community that are struggling. Smugglers’ is in the position to help and provide an additional incentive to get folks involved so these organizations can continue to fulfill their mission and serve the needs of the community.” — Owner, Bill Stritzler

Volunteer at a local non-profit for at least 10 hours per month with a 3-month commitment* and receive a Winter Daycation Pass for your immediate family! The Vermonter Winter Daycation Pass provides entry into the heated pool and hot tubs, ice skating, bonfire warm-up, tubing, the Ozone at FunZone 2.0, and more all season long! Valued at $139/adult and $99/youth. Email ski-ride@smuggs.com to redeem your Smuggs Love Vermonter Winter Daycation Pass. Please include contact information, volunteer organization, and supervisor approval.

*Documentation from the organization supervisor must be provided to receive the benefit.

Buy your 2022/23 Season Pass or Badge today!


Replacing 5,000′ of Snowmaking Air and Water Pipe on Lower Chilcoot

Our hardworking Mountain Ops crew has had their hands full, literally, of snowmaking pipe. Recently, they’ve begun the process of replacing approximately 5000’ of snowmaking air and water pipe on Lower Chilcoot. This project will improve our overall ability to make snow on the Lower Chilcoot and be a great addition to our early-season snowmaking capabilities.

Welders using the Zap-Lok process
Workers prepping pipe before being loaded into the Zak-Lok machine

To expedite the process, GW Tatro Company, mountain construction specialists, are using their exclusive Zap-Lok process to join together 40’ pieces of 8” (water) and 6” (air) pipe into strings several hundred feet long. These pipe strings will then be pulled up the Lower Chilcoot trail with a log skidder, placed with an excavator, and shallowly buried at all trail crossings. A welder connects the pipe to the existing infrastructure and welds threaded couplings to the pipe to accept air and water hydrants. Once the pipe is installed, the Smuggs snowmaking crew will re-install the tower guns and hydrants.

Zak-Lok machine doing its thing!

In preparation for this project, Smugglers’ snowmaking crew previously removed all the tower guns, air, and water hydrants from the trail. Working with Bob Edwards Excavating and Trent Roy, welder, the old pipe was removed from the hill, pulled to the base area, and cut up by the Mountain Operations team into 20’ sections. The old pipe was loaded into dumpsters and then sent off for recycling.

Pipe being pulled up Lower Chillcoot by an excavator

As much as we’ve been enjoying summer in the heart of Vermont, we’re very excited for cooler temps to arrive and the first snowfall. Big thanks and shout out to our hardworking Mountain Operations team for another job very well done!


M2 Project

Is it too early to think about the upcoming winter season? Well, here at Smuggs we’re always planning ahead, so to prepare for an amazing winter season, this summer we’re giving our M2 lift’s bull wheel a little love. Like your car needs regularly scheduled tune-ups and maintenance based on mileage and age, so do our lifts. The mechanical components of the bull wheel, such as the planetary gearing or the upper portion of the hub and the brake drum, wear over time from use and needs service. This typically happens every 10-15 years. It involves removing major pieces from the bottom drive of the M2 lift including the gearbox and the bull wheel itself where the planetary is mounted. This is similar to any planetary gear that you would find on many pieces of equipment including our final drives for the snow cats…only a lot bigger!

Below are the detailed steps of how we’re getting the M2 lift ready for ski season.

Pictured: Mountain Operations staff re-tension the lift cable on Madonna II after the lower bull wheel has been serviced for years of further use and enjoyment

The first step is to de-tension the cable on the lift which requires jacking the counterweight up to take pressure off of the cable. Then we have to lower the cable down on the first few towers to give enough slack to remove the cable from the bottom bull wheel.

Pictured: the Madonna II lift cable down on the first few towers to give enough slack to remove the cable from the bottom bull wheel

Next, we cut a hole in the roof of the M2 drive and disassemble the gearbox to remove it so we could access the top of the bull wheel structure.

Pictured: Lift Mechanic Kody Houle’s view of the gearbox disassembled

Once this is done, a service member from Doppelmayr assists with the delicate procedure of lowering the wheel and planetary down to be transported out of the drive area. At this point, the bull wheel which is around 6000 pounds, can be flipped over for access to the planetary. A large excavator and our lull were needed to perform this as the structure is about 12 feet in diameter.

Pictured: the Madonna II bull wheel lowered and being serviced

All of the internals on the planetary are serviced and put back together. The whole process begins in reverse to get the bull wheel and planetary back into place for many more years of operation.

Pictured: Mountain Operations staff completing the entire process in reverse

2023 SKI Magazine Resort Survey

The latest SKI Magazine Readers Resort Survey is live and waiting for your vote!

Last year we were thrilled to be voted #1 Overall in the Eastern US and Canada! We’re also extremely proud to have been voted #1 for Terrain, Service, Family, and Overall Satisfaction! Smugglers’ also received top 10 rankings among Eastern resorts in the categories of Access, Dining, Lodging, Après, Nightlife, Family, and Local Flavor.

We appreciate all of our skiers and riders who make Smuggs their home, helping us to maintain our independence, and allowing us to continue to offer affordable access to some of the best terrain in the Northeast. We are so grateful for your support.
2022 SKI Magazine Awards awarded to Smuggs

Thank A Snowmaker!

It’s nice to see natural snow falling again and thumbs up to these folks who keep it snowing regardless! #thankasnowmaker

Our snowmaking efforts continue on Morse Mountain on Sir Henry’s Learning Hill, Lower Morse Liftline, and Howie’s Wanderer. Conditions permitting, we plan to have beginner terrain open soon on Morse!

Sir Henry’s Learning Hill
Snow Guns Firing!
Whale backs starting to form