By Sasha Yakovleff
If you follow ski racing at all, you have probably heard of Burke Mountain Academy—responsible for producing over 29 Olympians and countless nationally and internationally-ranked skiers since its inception in 1970—including the reigning World Cup slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin. This small school is located at Burke Mountain Resort in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, a small-town community revolving around skiing and other outdoor pursuits.
If you have the pleasure of skiing Burke Mountain you will notice two things: It is steep, and it is quiet. One of the best runs on this tucked-away mountain is the Training Hill, also known as Upper and Lower Warren's Way. This particular run, accessed by an old Poma, is prominently located blazing down the middle of the mountain, straight down the fall line. This is where the future Olympians perfect their magic in preparation for future global domination.
This is also, by far, one of the best runs on the hill. Why? The snow is always good, it is extremely wide, and fall-line groomed terrain rules. The mountain takes meticulous care of this slope at all times. While this is largely aimed at preventing a racer hooking an edge going 70pmh while smashing gates, it also helps the rest of the skiing crowd as well—you never really have to worry about inconsistencies or sudden grade dips found on normal groomed runs.
How is it on a pow day? Unbelievable. The new snow sets up on top of a perfectly-manicured base for effortless turns of all shapes and sizes. The trail's sheer width alone makes it worth hitting multiple times to fully dice up any new snow.
Burke generally hosts a more skilled crowd of skiers than most mountains in the region. The local skiers and riders tend to head into the trees after a storm. So if you arrive early, chances are you can make a pass or two down the Training Hill while everyone else is slashing through their favorite tree run.
Another perk of this trail is that the brand-new high-speed quad provides lap times under 7 minutes. So on a quiet day (like most days there) you can bang out a ridiculous number of runs.
Possibly the best part of the Training Hill for some skiers is the Bear's Den bar located at the bottom. Swing in for some good beers, Northeast Kingdom locals, and Wednesday night Pizza Nights. Burke is a true skier's mountain and the Training Hill can put a smile on anyone's face—just point, shoot, and let it rip.