Stowe Mountain Resort is known for its opulent lodge, world-class groomers and post-ski hot tub time. However, there is a side to Stowe that the average Epic Passholder won’t be able to find: those secret spots that only seasoned locals frequent. While I can never reveal my sources of how to cash in on these powder stashes, I will shed light on a few of my favorite backcountry spots on Mount Mansfield.
Balls Falls is a classic local zone with relatively easy access, with some of the best views and cliff drops on Mansfield. Consisting of three cliffs and about a hundred yards of wide-open skiing, Balls Falls has quickly become my go-to spot on the mountain after a storm. Getting to this unknown spot is an adventure (I won’t go into any further detail than that), however it’s well worth the effort.
The drop point is a shallow cave covered by hanging icicles that, if nudged, could end your day abruptly. With the killer ice navigated, you now have to shoot a small gap in order to enter the main ski zone. After landing a 15-foot cliff jump, you’re smooth sailing towards some of the best ski turns Mansfield has to offer.
Over the years, “The Chin” has gained the status of Vermont’s backcountry heaven. In the minds of east coast skiers, hiking the chin is akin to the journey to Mecca--it’s something that every east coaster who lives for the sport should do in their lifetime. While most end up skiing Hellbrook, Profanity, or Hourglass, I’ve found joy in the lesser known “Rock Garden” zone.
Just a short traverse along the ridgeline from the boot ladder, Rock Garden is home to a massive, open-powder field with larger boulders to jump and jib. During the summer, this area is dense forest, so early season skiing (anytime before February) IS NOT ADVISED. However once the cavities are filled in, Rock Garden is the ultimate!
Angel Food is another Stowe staple. Easily accessible from lift service, Angel Food is probably the most well known of these spots. Bringing skiers into the notch, the open tree skiing provides a feeling completely unlike traditional tree skiing in the East. While New England is more known for its tight turns and dense schwack, Angel Food has well-spaced trees that make the skiing worry free. No blind corners and no kids flying around the woods--just a massive, lightly-wooded area.
The only major drawback of this zone is the hike out. Angel Food spits skiers out onto the Notch road, so it's a long walk to get back to the lift for seconds.
“Insert Name Here” Chute
Aptly named because I don't really have a name for it, this spot is easily the most accessible and least known on the list. Hidden in plain sight, this tight and steep chute brings skiers into the dense forest of Stowe’s interior. Only about 10 or 15 feet wide, this chute challenges even the best tree skiers to make quick changes of direction in order to survive the drop. After the initial chute, the track makes its way through dense, steep forest that is more climbing than skiing. But the first 10 turns are worth it… if you're first!
I hope you guys enjoyed the list, and if you find any of these spots that I listed above, DON'T TELL ANYONE. If you have spots of your own, DON'T TELL ANYONE… except maybe me. Happy shredding!
By Tucker Beatty