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Smugglers Notch Statistics
Smugglers' Notch is a resort area in the Town of Cambridge, near Jeffersonville, Vermont. Its vertical drop of 2,610 feet (800 m) is the fourth largest in New England and the third largest in Vermont. Smugglers' Notch is nicknamed Smuggs. Smuggs consists of three mountains: Morse Mountain, Madonna and Sterling Mountains. The resort attracts skiiers in the winter and summer vacationers during the warmer months.
Smugglers Notch is a mountain pass in Lamoille County, Vermont. The notch separates Mount Mansfield (the highest peak of the Green Mountains) from Spruce Peak (Stowe) and the Sterling Range. Most of the notch is in Mount Mansfield State Forest.
Smuggler's Notch State Park
Smugglers' Notch State Park was created near the Notch by the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. In 2003 the park was relocated, allowing for a larger campground and new, modern facilities incorporating alternative energy. In order to preserve the work these pioneering conservationists, all original structures created by the CCC were painstakingly relocated to the new site.
Smuggler's Notch Hiking
The Long Trail, a 272-mile (438-km) hiking trail running the length of Vermont, traverses Smugglers Notch. The trail down from the summit of Mt. Mansfield to the west reaches the road south of the height of the pass, and resumes about a mile and a half north on the former Sterling Pond Trail, climbing east to the summit of Madonna Peak.
Smugglers Notch Resort, located on the north side of the mountains on the northeast side of the pass, takes its name from the pass. Stowe Mountain Resort straddles the southern end of the pass, with developments on both Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak.
Winter at Smugglers Notch, Vermont
In the winter the resort centers around skiing and snowboarding. "Smuggs" claims the second highest snowfall average in Vermont behind Jay Peak. A fleet of Hall double chairlifts service a variety of terrain, including novice trails at Morse Mountain and The Village area and intermediate to expert terrain on the main mountains, Sterling and Madonna. Smugglers Notch has been rated the number one family ski resort for years.
Summer and Autumn at Smugglers Notch, VT
Smugglers Notch has numerous heated pools and organized children's camps during the summer as well as a canopy tour that involves both scenic hikes and zip lines.
Smuggler's Notch History
Smugglers' Notch was founded 1956, by a group of Vermont skiers. The first lifts were two pomas (or platter lifts) on Sterling Mountain. In the early 1960s, Tom Watson, Jr., Chairman of IBM, became involved with the mountain. The site of the village today was an open field and logging station. Watson envisioned a village patterned after those found in Europe. Soon, he developed the nearby Morse and Madonna mountains. It is said that Watson placed the bottom of the Madonna I chairlift several feet below the lodge to obtain the honor of owning the world's longest bottom-drive chairlift at the time.
After this was done, Watson started on the Village at Morse that he had envisioned. He hired Stanley Snider of Stanmar, a Massachusetts-based developer and Martha's Vineyard resort owner, to create that village. After a heart attack, Watson began to divest in some of his business holdings and sold Smuggs to Snider and Stanmar, who operated the resort for years. At that time Terpstra and Morrow constructed a large in-ground pool and 24 four-bedroom, four-bath, pool-front luxury condominiums. Terpstra is still a very active property owner at the entrance of the resort. They hired AT&T's Bill Stritzler, who owned a home at Smuggs, as the Managing Director of the resort. When Snider retired, he sold the resort to Stritzler.
Smugglers' Notch namesake comes from the smugglers almost 200 years ago, who used the thick forest on the mountain range and the caves and caverns along the Long Trail to transport illegal or embargoed goods across the Canadian border. The notch was most likely involved in bootlegging during the Prohibition-era of the 1920s, using the same caves as a cache for smuggled Canadian beer, wine, and spirits. Scenic Smugglers' Notch proper comprises the Sterling Mountain/Spruce Peak ridgeline to the east and Mount Mansfield to the west. Extremely steep terrain drops down into the notch where Vermont Route 108 winds through switchbacks below, connecting Smuggler's Notch Resort with adjacent Stowe Mountain Resort a few miles to the south. The road is closed to cars November–April, but open to snowmobilers and winter sports enthusiasts.