Stowe's considerable charm is about to become more charming. A $220 million expansion plan is moving ahead. Among other things, it includes additional lifts, snowmaking and terrain, along with a "hamlet" at the base of Spruce Peak. Resort President Hank Lunde promises the architecture will "rival that of any ski resort in North America." He expects to break ground next summer-we'll see. Though readers complain about the "lack of connection between mountains" (the new master plan solves this) and the "53 uphill steps between the base lodge and the quad," they also revel in the "classic feel" of Mt. Mansfield. As one READER REMARKS, "There's great grooming for those who want it, and a cornucopia of hidden stashes and trails for those who don't." It's no accident that "most skiers in Stowe are better than average," and that there's a "great ski school." Stowe has been a magnet for generations of racers and mogulists. Many settled here to raise families. In fact, the town has a large population of ex-instructors. When the resort gets busy, many are pressed into service-much to the benefit of guests. "Stowe is like living in a snow globe," says a reader. The bucolic setting, plus a sophisticated skiing population, enhances the visitor's experience. The downside is that many locals are convinced they can run the resort as well as-or better than-Mr. Lunde. -S.C.
(-) "Stowe attitude." "Be prepared for cold and wind. It is New England after all."