Chances are you've never heard of Magic Mountain, but the Southern Vermont ski area is lined with some of the best terrain in New England. "It's one of the only places in the region that you'll find consistent, 40-degree pitches with real cliffs and glades," says Brent Coombs, a local skier, nephew of the late, great Doug Coombs, and a guide for Alaska Rendezvous Heli-Ski. The ski area is caught in a 1970s time warp, with a ramshackle base-lodge, one rickety old double chair, and hardly any hotels. "Magic is never crowded, and it's a lot cheaper to ski there," says Coombs. "Plus, they're only open Wednesday through Sunday, so powder stashes stay intact longer." Start by warming up your legs on the mountain's skier's left groomed trails. "Then head to Sorcerer and Talisman for classic, steep Vermont bump runs," says Coombs. "After that, ski Red Line. It's flowy and has three 10-foot cliff drops."
Where To Stay: There's no lace to crash at Magic, so post up at Stratton Mountain, which is just 15 minutes away and offers the comforts of the Long Trail House — complete with fireplaces, saunas, and hot tubs — and Verde, an award-winning restaurant that serves up New York strips and lamb risotto.
Inside Tip: For après, make your way to the Black Line bar for pitchers of Switchback. "It's the only place you'll see any crowds," says Coombs.