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Stratton Mountain, Vermont

Alpine Ambiance

From a mile away as you approach the mountain along the access road, you can spot Stratton's symbol, a 132-foot high clock tower that looks as if it belongs in the Alps. Not surprising! The biggest single ski mountain in the East has had an affinity for all things Austrian since the first visitors buckled up their boots here in 1961. In the three decades plus that skiers have been doing runs down the nearly 4000-foot elevation, the entire Stratton complex has grown—in trails, in lift systems, in acreage of skiable terrain, in accommodations and in facilities for other active pursuits, including swimming, tennis, racquetball and working out. What hasn't changed is the Alpine ambiance. The Stratton Mountain Boys in their Tyrolean garb are still yodeling for guests four times a week in the Bear's Den in the base lodge. The prevailing decor in the early days was chalet-style and new construction faithfully follows that design. Stratton Village Square is like a tiny, picturesque European town grown prosperous with the addition of clothing boutiques, crafts shops and restaurants. The Ski School has a reputation for being among the best for both serious and Sunday skiers. A recently opened "Ski Learning Park" affords novices a 45-acre special space all their own.

No matter what your level of skill is– beginner, intermediate or advanced–you can take the gondola all the way up to the top of the mountain and ski down from the peak on well-marked trails ranging from "easiest" and "more difficult" to "most difficult' and "experts only." The longest run is a delightful three miles. The wait at the lifts, even on holidays, is not too bad. The real challenge at Stratton comes at lunchtime when the lines in the main cafeteria are endless and finding a place to sit is often the day's most difficult feat.

Stratton Mountain, VT 05155. Tel.802-297-2200; Stratton Resort Information, 800-STRATTON. www.stratton.com

Fall 1994