SKI RESORT INFORMATION
Smugglers Notch, Vermont 5464
Smugglers’ Notch was founded 1956, by a group of Vermont skiers. The first lifts were two pomas (or platter lifts) on Sterling Mountain.
In the early 1960s, Tom Watson, Jr., Chairman of IBM, became involved with the mountain. The site of the village today was an open field and logging station. Watson envisioned a village patterned after those found in Europe. Soon, he developed the nearby Morse and Madonna mountains. It is said that Watson placed the bottom of the Madonna I chairlift several feet below the lodge to obtain the honor of owning the world’s longest bottom-drive chairlift at the time.
After this was done, Watson started on the Village at Morse that he had envisioned. He hired Stanley Snider of Stanmar, a Massachusetts-based developer and Martha’s Vineyard resort owner, to create that village. After a heart attack, Watson began to divest in some of his business holdings and sold Smuggs to Snider and Stanmar, who operated the resort for years. At that time Terpstra and Morrow constructed a large in-ground pool and 24 four-bedroom, four-bath, pool-front luxury condominiums. Terpstra is still a very active property owner at the entrance of the resort. They hired AT&T’s Bill Stritzler, who owned a home at Smuggs, as the Managing Director of the resort. When Snider retired, he sold the resort to Stritzler.
Smugglers’ Notch namesake comes from the smugglers almost 200 years ago, who used the thick forest on the mountain range and the caves and caverns along the Long Trail to transport illegal or embargoed goods across the Canadian border. The notch was most likely involved in bootlegging during the Prohibition-era of the 1920s, using the same caves as a cache for smuggled Canadian beer, wine, and spirits. Scenic Smugglers’ Notch proper comprises the Sterling Mountain/Spruce Peak ridgeline to the east and Mount Mansfield to the west. Extremely steep terrain drops down into the notch where Vermont Route 108 winds through switchbacks below, connecting Smuggler’s Notch Resort with adjacent Stowe Mountain Resort a few miles to the south. The road is closed to cars November–April, but open to snowmobilers and winter sports enthusiasts.