Magic Mountain: Southern Vermont’s Quiet Secret

By Sasha Yakovleff


Magic Mountain is the place to go if you want to avoid the Southern Vermont ski crowds. Magic is situated right in the middle of Southern VT ski country, between Stratton, Okemo, and Bromley. All three, and a slice of Killington, are visible from the summit. Magic looms over the small village of Londonderry and lives up to its name—there is something magical about this steep, tucked-away mountain that pulls you back again and again.


Magic Matt Cote Williams
Matt Cote finds some magical turns at Magic Mountain, Vermont. Photo Greg Williams.


Magic Mountain does not have the high-speed quads and 5-star hotels that its neighbors boast. The mountain offers 1,700 feet of vertical, more than 200 acres of trails, and a boundary-to-boundary open treeskiing policy. The woods are some of the best in the region, thanks to an army of volunteers who meet up three times a summer to clean old glades and cut new stashes. Otherwise, Magic is a lot like what Vermont skiing used to be.


Magic is not about putting up big trail or lift numbers; it’s about a stress-free skiing experience. As soon as you pull into the parking lot and see the European inspired lodge with the classic red double chair heading up and out of view, you know you're in the right spot: no crowds, no frills, a local vibe, and classic steep-and-deep New England skiing.


Magic Red Chair
Magic’s Red Chair is one of two tickets to the goods. (The Black Chair is the other). Photo: Derek Taylor


Magic's trails are steep and winding—the perfect alternative the wide and mellow groomers you can find at other nearby resorts. But the real fun is in the trees. Goniff Glades and Twilight Zone provide double fall-line glades dumping you into a tree-filled bowl where you can pick any line or cut far left and bushwack into some more tight and challenging trees.


Magic Jeff Novak
Don’t call it retro: Magic’s classic lifts and down home feel are the future for Southern New England skiers looking to avoid the crowds. Jeff Novak braves rush hour. Photo: Greg Williams.


If you stick to skier's left from the summit you can pick any number of lines in either The Wardrobe or The Hallows. The Wardrobe is slightly steeper and longer and is made of a challenging slate and pine-filled top section that filters into a mellower Vermont hardwood runout. The Hallows includes more contemporary, wider hardwood skiing in between rolling ledges and frozen brooks.


Magic Sunshine Corner
Sometimes the best aprés spot isn’t actually an aprés spot. Day’s end beers at Sunshine Corner, with some of Magic’s glade skiing in the background. Photo: Derek Taylor


The best time to hit Magic is when it is dumping and the woods are filled in. This little north-facing mountain packs a punch. The ski area encourages skiers to skin up and enjoy the goods. As a courtesy, though, it’s common practice to patronize the restaurant at the base after your tour. This shouldn’t be hard; the Black Line Tavern has great food (try the cheesesteak) and a welcoming vibe.


Magic Pecan Pie
The pecan pie is a go-to at the Black Line Tavern. Photo: Derek Taylor


Magic Mountain hosts events like the Ski The East Freeride Tour, which is all about charging East Coast freeride lines, so you know the terrain is on-point. Lodging is affordable and close to the lifts at the Upper Pass Lodge. Even if you’re driving in, you’ll never have to park more than a few minute walk to the chairs. Next time it is dumping and you are looking to maximize your pow turns head to Magic and find your own stash.