Suicide Six Ski Area
Suicide Six is one of the most historic ski resorts in the United States. In 1934 the first ropetow in New England was built near the site of the current ski area. As these early skiers took laps on the original hill, Suicide Six founder Wallace “Bunny” Bertram (a former Dartmouth ski coach ) joked that skiing on nearby Hill No. 6 “would be suicide.” Just a few years later, Bertram moved the operation to this steeper hill and the name “Suicide Six” stuck. Bertram would continue to run the ski area until 1961 when he sold it to Lawrence Rockefeller.
Rockefeller owned the nearby Woodstock Inn and since 1961, Suicide Six has been an alpine skiing amenety of the inn. While a large percentage of Suicide Six’s skiers are guests at the Woodstock Inn, the resort is open to the public and is a popular choice with families because of its relaxed atmosphere and cozy feel. Suicide Six is a throwback to ski areas of yesteryear. It’s a place where parents feel safe letting their children take a few laps while they enjoy a hot toddy by the fire. Almost the entire ski area is visible from the base.
The skiable terrain is spread across the face of one small hill with a 650′ vertical drop. Two double chairs and a J-bar are the uphill options. One double goes to the very summit, while the other services a shorter pod of terrain to the looker’s left side of the hill.
Suicide Six ski area is located 3.8 miles from the Woodstock Inn. Shuttle service is provided from the inn to the slopes.
Suicide Six Beginner Skiing
Despite the resort’s imposing name, Suicide Six is actually one of the most beginner-friendly ski resorts in New England. With 30% of the terrain marked green for novices, beginners have plenty of options.
Suicide Six’s learn to ski terrain is located on the lower mountain. The Pearsons’ Path trail serves as the bunny slope and has its own J-Bar. The shorter double chair has two green options – Milky Way and Standard. Beginners can also take the longer double chair to the very summit and experience the longest run at Suicide Six – Easy Mile.
Suicide Six Intermediate Skiing
Intermediate skiers will enjoy the 40% of Suicide Six’s terrain that is marked blue. Options are available from both double chairs. The shortish vertical drop means that many of the named runs are really just alternate routes down the same slope separated by trees. Bunny’s Boulevard (named for founder Bunny Bertram) is our favorite blue trail. We also enjoy skiing Perley’s Peril to Bourdon’s Bowl as it’s always fun to ski a narrow trail which opens into a wide meadow sporting long vistas.
Suicide Six Advanced and Expert Skiing
Black diamond skiers will be surprised to find out that Suicide Six has some surprisingly steep terrain, atypical for a resorts with similar vertical drops. The wide open steeps of The Face (the clearing that Bertram though it would be suicide to ski) is the most well-known run on the mountain. The widest trail at Suicide Six, The Face is always groomed and begs advanced skiers to carve fast turns.
The aptly named Showoff run under the summit double chair is Suicide Six’s best mogul run. Skiers can strut their stuff under the chair on this short pitch. The double black diamond Back Scratcher trail is the steepest pitch on the mountain. It’s really more of a headwall than a true slope; the pitch is steep, but short and has ample runout.
Suicide Six Backcountry and Off-Piste Skiing
Suicide Six has several outstanding tree runs. The top of the just above the main pitch of The Face is a great open glade. The double black diamond The Glade run off Bunny’s Boulevard is the only other marked glade on the mountain. 110″ of snowfall is enough to make the woods skiable generally from mid-January through mid-March.
Suicide Six Restaurants & Bars
On mountain, the best option is the Out of Bounds restaurant. Located slopeside, Out of Bounds serves hearty sandwiches and soups with a view of the slopes. An indoor/outdoor fireplace makes it a great choice for hot chocolate and apres ski.
The Red Rooster at the Woodstock Inn has earned a AAA four-diamond rating. It specializes in farm-to-table and locally grown organic foods. Also at the Woodstock Inn is Richardson’s Tavern, which serves light fare in a wood-paneled study.
The village of Woodstock is also home to a number of excellent restaurants. Simon Pearce, overlooking the falls of the Ottauquechee River, is the most highly regarded. Meals are served on Simon Pearce tableware designs.
Suicide Six Village
The village of Woodstock, just a 10 minute drive from the ski area is quintessential Vermont. Woodstock truly looks as if it were pulled straight from a Norman Rockwell painting, right down to the covered bridge across the Ottauquechee River. A walk down Elm and Central streets and around the village green is a great way to experience downtown Woodstock and its shops and galleries.
Suicide Six Accommodation
The Woodstock Inn is of course the most popular lodging choice for Suicide Six skiers. One of the world’s great country inns, the Woodstock Inn has a pricetag that matches its reputation. However, this five-star hotel lives up to its billing as one of New England’s finest lodging properties.
For those seeking a more modern Vermont experience, 506 on the River Inn provides an updated take on country elegance.
Suicide Six Other Activities
The Woodstock Inn offers nordic skiing in around the village of Woodstock. 30 km of mapped trails are available. Trails are groomed for both classic or skating techniques and snowshoeing is also permitted. Guests at the Woodstock Inn receive complimentary trail fees Sunday – Friday. The Nordic Center is located in the Woodstock Inn and offers clothing and equipment rental.
A number of local breweries and distilleries are in the Woodstock area, including Harpoon Brewery, Long Trail Brewing Co. and Silo Distillery.
Getting to Suicide Six
Suicide Six is located just 3.8 miles (10 minutes) from the village of Woodstock, Vermont in the eastern part of the state. Traveling from Boston and points east, I-91 to US-4 West provides easiy access.
Suicide Six Resort Statistics
Top: 1,200 ft
Bottom: 550 ft
Vertical: 650 ft
Skiable Area: 100 ac
Annual Snowfall: 110 in
Lifts: 3 (2 double chairs, 1 J-Bar)
Suicide Six Pros and Cons
+ fantastic nearby lodging at the Woodstock Inn
– limited vertical drop (650′)
– lower snowfall than surrounding resorts (110″)
Updated for Winter 2015-2016 – David B. Cronheim