There are really only TWO things that TRULY inspire me to set the alarm clock for some ridiculous hour in the morning: Catching an airplane or SKIING!! On December first it was the anticipation of kicking-off my own ski season with a visit to Ski Vermont’s Burke Mountain Resort that dragged me out of bed.
My little sister and assistant for the day left our sleepy town of Northfield, Vermont at about 6:50 am (the goal had been earlier…) We rolled out of the garage and into what every skier/rider hopes for when heading up to the mountain = SNOW. It was SNOWING. The roads were snowy. The TREES were snowy. We were like giddy little kids and super excited to get on with our little adventure to the Northeast Kingdom.
Neither of us are much for chit-chat first thing in the morning (especially before the first cup of coffee,) and we were NON STOP!!! From already complaining about the sore muscles we would have the next day to singing along with Katy Perry’s ‘Wide Awake,’ which we were!! We rocked out to Magic 97.7 the entire drive and let out a high pitch girlie squeal when they announced Burke’s Opening Day the SAME MOMENT we pulled into the parking lot… yah… that did happen!
The drive, even with some slick conditions only took us about an hour and twenty minutes. We traveled up route 12 to Montpelier, picked up route 2 East which brings you over to Interstate 91 to head North, and poo on me as I can not recall the exit but it’s route 5 for Lyndonville and it’s about the easiest drive with plenty of conveniences along the way (i.e. gas stations, ski shops, eateries, shops, etc.) You’ll take a right onto 114 which will bring you into East Burke, then ANOTHER right onto Mountain Road but you will NOT miss the sign!
We could have actually slept in a bit longer… pulling into the parking lot at 8:15 am and first chair was not till 9 am! This mountain is MUCH closer than it seems and can NOT believe this is a first time trip. In truth, it always FELT further away, and technically it is but for those of us in Northfield-Montpelier-Barre it’s nearly a DIRECT route.
Given our early arrival and that this is very much the Vermonter’s ski area, were maybe the 5th car in the lot! WHOOP! There was NO line while fetching our passes and no stumbling over folks to get our gear sorted. I think we actually scored the 5th chair up the Sherburne Express. The only noise was the hum of active snow machines and a passing snowmobile.
We both settled in, having used up much of the child-like-energy getting my sister sorted in her alpine boots (always a struggle the first ski of the season!) The snow was coming down at a good clip now, a little chilly, but we were both way too excited about our first run to care much over that. Will let the next set of images tell the tale of our first run…
The skiing itself was not for the faint of heart, BUT and a MASSIVE BUT, this IS early season skiing and can’t judge a mountain till Mother Nature delivers the goods. For an opening day it was just PERFECT. The upper mountain rewarded with a few powdery turns along the edges and Burke even had a few non-groomers with ‘thin cover’ opened for the folks like me who are not much for the groomers but were gifted shin-deep fluffy natural snow from the system that passed over Northern Vermont the night before. Lower mountain was bit of an adventure, however when you wait MONTHS to ski your local hill there are no complaints.
At about 11:30 the legs were screaming for a break and with the Kingdom Cafe closed for a wedding, they opened up the cozy Tamarack Grill which has a front seat view of the mountain and screams aprés hang-out! We ponied up to a table, and emptied out the bag of all it’s goodies…
My sister and I are one for packing lunch and treating ourselves on the way home. A typical bag of goodies for us will include a mix of gluten-free treats (I have celiacs and also sensitive to corn and soy products.) The Vermont Gluten-free Whoopie Pies are a MUST HAVE for ANYONE!!! We rounded out the “treats” with some healthy local options! One can NEVER go wrong with Vermont Peanut Butter, Cabot Cheese, and Champlain Orchard’s Empire Apples… YUM!!!
We ate up and got ourselves back out there for a few more runs. It remained a quiet day with a constant and steady steam of folks. Never stopped snowing so sadly was never able to really SEE the magnificent view I hear this mountain offers from it’s highest point, but no matter. We experienced enough on this one day to KNOW there will be another visit once the snowy season really takes grip.
This is just a TASTE and expect to read more on my experiences on this solitary mountain tucked away in the ‘True North’ region of Vermont. To learn more, please visit and read their story, it’s a good one! In addition, when you DO make a visit you MUST stop at the Northeast Kingdom’s Country Store and Cafe (you’ll pass it on your right heading up 114 and not far before your right onto Mountain Road.) Their chili was DELICIOUS and the PERFECT meal to rest in my tummy for the ride home. Ah… and GLUTEN FREE!!! Another win for me!
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