I am not a big Vermont ski area celebrant. I know VT has great hills; I get the whole quaint village thing. But it is very cosmopolitan; the NYC presence is very obvious. When I walk from the skiers' drop off up the stairs to the Okemo base (for instance), I feel like I am making my way toward an urban bus stop. I hate it.
I will say that the new base area at Sugarbush is stunning, while I found the new Stowe megalith too tony for my taste. The restaurant/tavern at the Bush (Lincoln) is simply unbelievably gorgeous, in my opinion (but it IS tony, and yet in a rustic sort of way).
Over the years I have found that I am much more of a Maine mountain kind of skier. I have no idea what I mean; I can't give you an example at all. But at Sunday River and Sugarloaf I find the big ski area feel without all the trappings of urban life (well, Sunday River has SOME of those trappings). And this despite the fact that shuttle buses flit through Sugarloaf village right outside the hotel's windows, cutting skiers off from the hill (ever so mildly). Cannon is easily my favorite New Hampshire hill; it perhaps could use a little updating, but it is a mountain that is first and foremost about the skiing. It is not a place to be SEEN. Does that make sense?
Indeed, the wealthiest Manhattanites and Bostonians will never glory around dinner about their ski weekends at Sugarloaf, Cannon or Sunday River. Stowe, Sugarbush, Okemo, Stratton: These possess the necessary cache, and fall trippingly from the tongue. I say let them have it. I will try to keep the more rustic and rugged places for myself. (Wildcat is great, but I need SOME amenities. There ain't nothin' round them parts for miles.)