A reader writes, "I had not skied Stowe in 20 years. All that changed is that the lift-ticket price doubled and they replaced a single with a detachable quad." Some would hear this as a complaint, others as the highest praise. Everyone agrees that Stowe needs a face lift. Managers continue to struggle with Vermont's Environmental Commission over the resort's proposed $220 million expansion. In the meantime, the many fans who descend on the nostalgic New England village, infamous steeps, glades and what a reader calls "seriously undulating trails," relish Mt. Mansfield's enduring classic look and feel. Cold weather and sometimes unyielding snow create a stoic skier type. Few Bogner suits here. Look for cutting-edge gear, then for faded hi-tech skiwear, patched with duct tape, topped with a neck gaiter and a wool hat. Such characters exhibit a get-out-of-my-way manner-on the slopes and in liftlines. They can be pushy, even "snobby" as a reader complains. To counteract this aggressive stereotype, Stowe has instituted an Awareness, Attitude and Accountability etiquette campaign. In its third year, the program is having an impact; those on-mountain point to a higher level of civility. Stowe may be, as a reader says, "a throwback to what I remember skiing to be in the Sixties." But its retro-mystique, relentless fall-line runs, Currier-and-Ives landscape and fabulous après and dining continue to set standards that will never be compromised-even if that multi-million-dollar expansion is approved.
(-) "Ice! Cost!" "Harsh weather and lack of accessibility can put a strain on the experience."