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Mad River Glen is at once the radical dude and the Zen master of Vermont's skiing universe -- a place whose motto is still "Ski it if you can!" High-speed detachable quad chairs? Forget it; up until 2007, the main lift here was a 1948 single-chairlift that slowly creaked its way a mile up to the summit. Snowmaking? Nope. This hill functions according to the whims of Mother Nature. Snowboarding? No, it's forbidden. Gourmet restaurants? A lodge? Toll-free number? Fancy website? No, no, no, and definitely not. Mad River long ago attained cult status among "soul skiers" (for lack of a better term), and its fans seem determined to keep it this way. Owned and operated by a cooperative since 1995, it claims to be the only cooperatively owned ski area in the country -- you can even buy a small share of the resort yourself, and get discounts on tickets afterward. But don't mistake this gentler approach for easier skiing; the slopes here are twisting and narrow, hiding some of the steepest drops in New England. (Nearly half of Mad River's runs are classified as "expert.") A ski school, kids' program, and telemarking classes are all offered, and care is taken here to both preserve and explain the mountain's ecology. Tickets are pretty affordable, too, especially midweek. A renegade spirit perseveres here, even in the face of the sport's (and Vermont's) inexorable process of upscaling. If you're interested in a different skiing experience, or one that's more "ecotouristy," this is it.