Vermont

Where do you go if you want the privacy of minor royals out for a spot of skiing practice? Brigid McConville finds the perfect place - and it's family friendly, too

Two-and-a-half feet of snow fell in upstate New York the week we left for America. And the US telephone snow lines told us that their ski resorts had been making snow for a month, no problem ...

So it seemed a cruel twist of fate when the thermometer climbed 30 degrees the day after our arrival, heralding 24 hours of relentless rain. "Skiing?" laughed the gas station attendants. "You'd have to go as far as Maine, or even Canada, to find any snow." Yet as we travelled up into the mountains, patches of white hinted that all was not lost, and sure enough, the "ski area" signs into Vermont led us to a little place called Bromley.

Bromley, celebrating its 60th birthday this year, is antique by US standards. The main lodge is all brown wood, with dusty heads of deer mounted on panelled walls. Many Americans prefer this small, family resort, famed for its friendly staff and excellent creche for up to 60 children, to larger, more expensive resorts such as Stratton Mountain, 20 minutes' drive away.

As we snapped on our ski boots and stepped into the hired Rossignols, we realised that Bromley was waiting just for us, because no one else was there to ski. On another hillside was a single graceful snowboarder. I wondered which is worse when you haven't skied for ages: to stumble about under the disdainful eyes of bronzed, supercool habitues; or be exposed as the only duffer on the slopes?

"Hi! Was that good?" grinned the chair-lift operatives as we shuffled towards them after each rattling descent. "Lovely!" we assured them politely, feeling like minor royals out for a bit of practice in private.

I had loved skiing as a child living in Canada and the speed, freedom and perfection of flying over snow still beckon to me from that time. But apart from a few forays on freezing Scottish mountains, I hadn't been on skis since. Would I be able to recapture the easy exhilaration I remembered, or had those days gone for ever? As the lift took us higher and higher above slopes called "Shin Cracker" and "Nightmare", I thought of broken bones, I thought of my children (mostly at home in England), and I thought of taking my skis off and walking down the mountain through the trees. After all, who would ever know?

The first run was a graceless ordeal, and by the end of it my knees were trembling. The snow surface, raked and then rained upon, was like crinkle- cut crisps; my skis clattered and shook in sympathy with my legs.

"Hi! Have another go!" shouted the lift attendants, as I reached the safety of level ground. The second run was better, and the third better than that. Gradually I progressed from power-snowplough into what used to be called the "stem christie", and by the end of the day I could get down the intermediate-level slopes in a series of acceptable swishes.

And once the initial fear had gone, I could take in the view: a giant sweeping panorama of low, forested hills backed by range after range of impressive, snow-capped mountains. Straight ahead stood Stratton Mountain, a lofty peak streaked with white.

As it got dark I went to collect our toddler, who was happily playing with Lorraine, who has run Bromley's daycare centre for 27 years. She now looks after the children of children who came to her back in the Sixties - when I learned to ski. The sport is far more accessible now, she believes. Local schoolchildren come to Bromley to learn to ski once a week, and the sport is a valuable source of jobs for Vermont's young people.

The other dramatic change has been the advent of snowboarding, which threatens to make skiing a sport for old fogies. Lorraine still skis regularly. But that is not good enough for her young colleagues at Bromley, who are always nagging her to take up snowboarding. They don't realise, she says, that bruises last longer when you get older.

From the nursery window we watched in admiration as the solitary snowboarder carved and floated his way to the bottom of the hill, his board a fourth dimension of liberation from gravity. Neither of us would ever do that, we knew. But with that feeling of being at peace which follows a day's skiing, I personally didn't mind a bit

Vermont essentials

The closest gateways from Britain to reach Vermont are Boston - served direct by American Airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic - and Montreal, served by BA and Air Canada. Fares to these destinations are relatively high, however, at pounds 260 return or more. It is much cheaper to fly to Newark (New York) and travel overland from there by rental car or Greyhound bus. For example, Trailfinders (0171-937 5400) has a fare of pounds 185 on Continental from Gatwick or pounds 191 on Delta/Virgin from Heathrow. From Manchester, Airline Network (01772 727272) has a fare of pounds 197 on Continental.

Vermont's Department of Tourism and Marketing in Burlington can be called on 001 802 828 3237 (office open 12.45pm-9.30pm British time). For details on the resort of Bromley, call 001-802-824 5522.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Day In a Page

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable