Stowe

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With skiing on Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, Stowe is one of the best known resorts in the world, and one of the most picturesque, although with a bit of a traffic problem at peak times. The 'quaint old New England village' with its white spired church is one of a handful of North American ski centres which merit the name 'classic' and can be listed along side other early winter sports meccas such as St Anton, St Moritz, Gstaad and Chamonix. Indeed the resort's 'European feel' is thanks in part to the fact that many of the local lodge owners are from Europe, and the village's skiing history began with the arrival of Sepp Ruschp from Linz in Austria.

Stowe is perhaps the only north American mountain resort that has welcomed tourists since the 1800s. The first recorded descent of Mount Mansfield on skis took place in 1914 and the first trail to be cut specifically for skiing was created in 1933. The first rope tow was added in 1937 but it wasn't until 1940 that what was then North America's longest and highest chair lift opened.

More than 50 years later Stowe was still underlining its world class status, opening what was, until recently, the world's fastest eight-passenger gondola in 1992. It had built the world's first high speed detachable quad in 1986. Also unlike almost all of North America's other top resorts it has escaped purchase by one of the big resort owning chains and kept out the big bland hotel chains in order to maintain its unique ambience.

Stowe has recentntly completed a 10 year revitalisation plan, during which the resort is investing over $400 million in new lifts, trails, snowmaking, a hotel, performing arts centre, spa, retail shops, restaurants and real estate making up a dynamic Alpine village at the base of Spruce Peak. An exciting part of the changes is a transfer lift that better connects Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak.

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