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Wachusett Mountain

 

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Transportation
Transportation

Wachusett Mountain is located at 499 Mountain Road in Princeton, MA, just off Route 140 and near where Route 140 meets Route 2.

CAR TRANSPORTATION

Wachusett Mountain is easily accessible by car from Boston, Worcester, and most of Southern New England.  Driving takes about 70 minutes from downtown Boston, and 30 minutes from downtown Worcester.

Parking is free, with a fairly large parking lot at the base area.  This fills up quickly on weekends; there is an extremely large overflow lot down Mountain Road, and a second smaller overflow lot next to it.  On days when the main parking lot is full, shuttle buses run back and forth every few minutes from the base lodge to the overflow lots.  There is also reserved (paid) "VIP" parking available; this is a roped-off area of the first few rows of the main parking lot.  See the website for details.

AIR TRANSPORTATION
 
LOCAL TRANSPORTATION
 
 

Lodging
Lodging

Note: there is no overnight lodging at the base area of Wachusett Mountain itself.  The listings here are nearby, but you will need a car to get to the mountain if the hotel does not have a shuttle service.
 
Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range

Wachusett Village Inn 

 

 

The Inn offers regular guest rooms, fireplace suites and cottage rooms with refrigerators and complimentary Internet access.  There is a spa and restaurant on site. 

Extra person charges may apply 

 

$109 and up 

 

The Chocksett Inn 

 

Convenient location offering 25 one and two room guest suites with complimentary continental breakfast and Internet access and work out room. 

Extra person charges may apply 

$109 and up 

The Maguire House 

 

Charming B&B offering complimentary breakfast and Internet access.

 

Extra person charges may apply 

$165 and up 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • See Lodging for additional options.

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Dining

 

There are a number of dining options at Wachusett Mountain.

 

See Food and Beverage Information (Wachusett Mountain Site) for additional restaurant information.

 

Cafeteria

 

The Wachusett Cafeteria is located on the main level of the base lodge, and is open all day and evening.  It serves a wide variety of prepackaged and freshly prepared food and drinks.  Dining options include:

  • Breakfast (bagels, muffins, cereal, fruit, etc.)
  • Pizza (with a daily special pizza)
  • Grill (burgers, fries, chicken fingers, etc.)
  • Soup (several rotating choices each day, including chili, beef stew, and Thai noodle soups)
  • Salad Bar
  • Deli Counter (made-to-order sandwiches and wraps)
  • Sushi (made daily on site)
  • Rotating hot lunch/dinner entrees

 

The cafeteria also stocks a selection of packaged foods, such as cookies/brownies, granola and energy bars, and cider donuts from Bullock Lodge.

 

Restaurants

 

The Black Diamond Restaurant is a sit-down restaurant with bar located on the second level of the base lodge, up the stairs directly across from the cafeteria entrance.  It is open for lunch and dinner.  The restaurant features pub-style dining with table service, as well as a small bar serving beer and mixed drinks.  (Menu)

 

The Coppertop Lounge is a large bar (21+) with limited food service located on the first level of the base lodge, directly across from the cafeteria entrance.  It is open for lunch and dinner.  The lounge often features live local music acts, and is a popular choice for apres-ski.  (Menu)  There is a full bar, as well as a selection of beer and cider on tap.  The beer selection often features local breweries, particularly Wachusett Brewing Company from nearby Westminster.

 

Snacks

 

Balance Rock Coffee Company is a walk-up counter serving Starbucks coffee and a selection of baked goods.  It is located on the main level of the base lodge, between Mountainside Sports and the Cafeteria.  Balance Rock Coffee is open all day.

 

Bullock Lodge Cider House is a small on-slope lodge that was recently (2010) refurbished and reopened.  The Lodge is operated by Red Apple Farm of Phillipston, MA, and serves a variety of homemade pastries as well as coffee, soft drinks, and (as the name implies) hot and cold apple cider.  The lodge itself is a historic building constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.  It is located in the stand of trees between Lower 10th Mountain Trail and Salamander Cutoff, and can be seen on the left as you ride up the Polar Express quad.  To access the lodge, follow Lower 10th Mountain Trail, and stay left (following the liftline) at the fork after the entrance to Salamander Cutoff; the lodge will be on your right as the trail narrows.  Check the website for schedule details; during peak season it is normally open whenever the lifts are turning, but during early and late season it may only be open on weekends.

 

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More

 

Lift Tickets and Passes

 

2011-2012 Lift Ticket Rates

  • If you are planning to purchase multiple single-day tickets, a 3-Peat Card will save you a few bucks.
  • Season Passes break even very quickly for weekday or evening visits!

 

 

Beginner Lift and Lesson Packages

  • Note that the three-day beginner package currently includes free equipment rental for the rest of the season, as well as some lift ticket discounts.
 
Wachusett now offers four season passes:
  • Bronze: Weekdays (except vacation weeks), all evenings (including weekends).  $10 off on other days.
  • Silver: Weekdays (except vacation weeks), all evenings (including weekends), weekends in the early/late season.  $15 off on other days.
  • Weekender: Only weekends and vacation weekdays.
  • Gold: Unlimited access.

Passes are offered at reduced prices until early October.

Passholders also get some discounts at other resorts, both in New England and around the country.

 

 
DEALS
 
Wachusett's website has a page for Gift Cards and Deals that has some information.
 
3-Peat Cards are generally the cheapest way to buy a small number of single-day lift tickets.
 
Seasonal group rates are available for as few as 4 people through the GPS Club Program.
WHAT'S NEW
 
For the 2011-2012 season, a new high-speed quad is being installed, replacing the aging (and painfully slow) Monadnock Triple fixed-grip chair on the beginner terrain.  The base lodge also received some minor renovations.
 
Although it's not 'new', the terrain park is generally overhauled and adjusted every season, typically with a few new elements being added.
 
A new 'Weekender' season pass has been added, offering only weekend/holiday access.  This is priced above the weekday+early/late season pass, but below the all-access 'Gold' pass.  If you want to ski every weekend but can't ever visit on weekdays/evenings, this may be the pass for you.  See the Season Passes Page (Wachusett Mountain Site) for details.
ACTIVITIES
 
Wachusett Mountain hosts a number of events and activities year-round.  For up-to-date information, visit the Events page on the Wachusett Mountain site.  Typically there are several music events over the summer, AppleFest and BBQFest in the fall, plus extra events from time to time.
 
Specific to snowsports, there is an annual Ski and Snowboard gear swap/sale on Columbus Day weekend in October.  Sellers receive 100% of the sale price in Wachusett Mountain credit, or 80% of the sale price in cash.
 
Wachusett also hosts extremely popular Night Race Leagues, with two championship races at the end of the season.  There is also an open NASTAR course (on certain days; check the website for details).

 

Since the mountain is located in a state park, in the summer the land is publicly accessible and is a popular hiking destination.  The Midstate Trail runs through the area as well.  From the summit you can see quite a bit of Massachusetts and New England, including both the skyline of Boston and Mount Washington!  The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation site has more details on access, including trail maps.  For less-active sightseers, it is possible to take the access road very close to the summit during the summer months (although it was closed for repairs in summer 2011).

SERVICES
 
RENTALS
 
Ski and snowboard rentals are available, as well as seasonal rental passes.  Information and rates are available on the Wachusett Mountain site.
 
Rentals are purchased at the ticket window.  The Rental Center is located in the side building, above the Polar Kids area and next to the Ski and Snowboard School.
 

DEMOS

 

Mountainside Ski and Ride offers high-performance ski and snowboard demos throughout the season, including high-performance boots.  The Demo Center Page (Wachusett Mountain Site) has more information and current rates.

 

The Demo Center normally carries a selection of Atomic, Fischer, Volkl, and Rossignol skis.  If you are looking to demo a particular model, contact the shop to make sure they have it available.

 

Note that demo packages are not purchased at the ticket window, and are paid for directly at the demo center.

 

SKI SHOP / SKI TUNING AND REPAIR
 
Mountainside Ski and Ride is an on-site retail shop selling ski and snowboard clothing and equipment.  It is located on the main level of the base lodge, near the front entrance.  There is also direct access to the shop from the rear side of the building, across from the Minuteman Express quad.
 
The shop also offers high-quality race tuning and repair services.
 
For more hands-on users, there is also service bench outside the shop with basic tools.

 

SKI AND SNOWBOARD SCHOOL (LESSONS)

 

The Ski and Snowboard School at Wachusett offers instruction from beginner to expert levels, as well as specialized training for terrain park features and Telemark skiing.  The office is normally open from 9AM to 9PM daily.  The school is affiliated with PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) and AASI (American Association of Snowboard Instructors).

 

Wachusett Mountain has a large and very experienced ski school given the size of the ski hill.  Many of the senior staff members have been teaching for decades and have PSIA Level 3 certification.

 

Class and Private Lessons (Wachusett Mountain Site)

 

Class (group) lessons are available at a number of times throughout the day.  Lessons are normally scheduled at 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM, 5:30 PM, and 7:30 PM.  Note that children must be at least 6 years old to take class lessons.

 

Private and semi-private lessons can be booked at any time in 1-hour blocks.  Note that on very busy days, instructors may be in short supply from 10:30-4, so booking in advance is recommended.

 

A number of Beginner Packages are available, which include lift tickets, rentals, and lessons for a discounted price.

 

While there is no unlimited lesson package available, you can purchase multiple class or private lessons at a discount.

 

Clinics

 

Wachusett offers several multi-week clinic programs throughout the season.  The most popular are the Breakthrough Clinics.  In this 8-week program, students are broken into groups based on skill development, and work with the same clinician and group each week.  Women's Clinics and Race Clinics are also available.

 

A number of Wachusett Mountain instructors are active here on EpicSki.  If you are looking for a recommendation for a private lesson, try posting in the Wachusett Get-Togethers thread.
 

WEBCAMS
 

Wachusett Mountain Webcams (Wachusett Mountain Site)

 

GOOD, BETTER, BEST
 
 

 

Wachusett Mountain
Description:

Located in the heart of New England, Wachusett Mountain offers 1,000 feet of real mountain skiing about an hour from downtown Boston. From the 2,006-foot summit, you can take in panoramic views of six states on a clear day (or night!) Enjoy big-mountain amenities close to home, with on-site retail, demos, repairs, and race-quality tuning at Mountainside Ski and Ride. A newly-renovated cafeteria, sit-down restaurant, coffee shop, and slopeside lodge (featuring homemade treats from local Red Apple Farm) ensure you won't go hungry, and the 21+ lounge with live entertainment means you won't be bored either. Wachusett features 100% snowmaking coverage, helping the crack grooming crews maintain consistent conditions from late November to early April. Nearly every trail is also equipped for night skiing -- come on out after work for a few laps and a beer in the Coppertop Lounge, or hone your skills in the Night Race League. Wachusett's superb Ski and Snowboard School features one of the biggest and most experienced teaching staffs in New England. Whether you're out on the snow for the first time, looking to get back into skiing after taking a break, or polishing your skills between trips out West, their top-notch instructors can help you get the most out of your time on the hill. Children in the Polar Kids all-day program enjoy their own private bunny hill, and rippers-in-training can push themselves to the limit in the Dev Team and Xtreme Team training programs. While it may lack the expansive scale of its bigger brothers to the north, the mix of convenience, terrain, and amenities is hard to beat, making "Wa-Wa" one of the most popular day-trip destinations in New England.

Details:
DetailValue
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Posted

Pros: close to city

Cons: crowds

One of my faovirte place for early morning turns on the weekend or during the week before work.  Not much challenging terrain but you can get your legs going before the crowds invade the place.  If there's a powder day, go someplace else, they groom everything religiously here to maintain their base.  In short, get here early and ski a half day (you get $5 off if you return your ticket before 12:30.) 

Posted

Pros: close by

Cons: overpriced, overcrowded, and very few deals

Wachusett is too expensive for what it is. The only way they get away with their prices and lack of real deals is because they are the biggest mountain close to Boston. We usually drive the extra distance west or north for a more pocketbook friendly place.

Posted

Pros: Convenient location, nicely groomed trails, fair priced, fun night skiing

Cons: Over crowded on weekends, long lines, too many kids to watch out for on the trails

Wachusett Mountain has been a lot of fun for me for both times I've gone. I've only been skiing 3 times, but I'm pretty much addicted already and I definitely plan to get into it more now. Most of the trails here are in the intermediate range. They are perfect for guys like me who picked up skiing really well and like a nice well groomed trail to fine tune their turns on. They also do a really nice job making snow and keeping the trails groomed here.

 

The first time I skiied at Wachusett, I took a 1 on 1 lesson. The instructor was awsome, he helped me out with turning correctly, maintaining my speed, and many other good tips. This was all last year.

 

Yesterday I went back there for a day of skiing. I found myself going down intermediate difficulty trails with no trouble at all. Trails like Ralph's Run are awsome for taking it easy and learning how to "carve" as you turn. I definitely made some good progress by being able to take my time going down, and having excellent snow to ski on. Other trails like Challeger are fun too. They are a little more steep for added difficulty, you can go faster on these.

 

Their rental skiis/boots weren't bad either. After this season I will of course end up buying my own set anyways.

 

The only down side is the large crowd. You wait quite a while in the lift lines. There are a lot of little kids there because it is a "family" mountain.

 

If you're looking to do some hardcore skiing/snowboarding, go elsewhere. They only have 2 black diamond trails here for those who like the harder runs.

 

Please keep in mind this is a smaller mountain compared to what you'd find up north in NH and Maine.

 

But with that being said, Wachusett Mountain is an ideal place for a guy like me who lives 35 minutes away and wants to get into skiing. I can get out of work, and drive straight there, and enjoy a night of skiing during a week day without lots of people crowding the place. You can't beat that!

Posted

Pros: Close, highspeed lifts, snow-making, grooming, there times and places to beat crowds

Cons: Can be crowded at peak times, no off-piste skiing, almost nothing left ungroomed

I'm a firm believer the skiing should be a multi-day a week activity.  The way to get good is not to blast yourself to death for two-days a few weekends a season.  The way to get good is to ski at least a couple days a week all season, even if only for two or three hours each time out.  Unless you are lucky enough to live within an hour of a destination resort, or a few hours and have $$$$$$ for a condo, that's an impossibility. 

 

The solution is to have a local mid-sized mountain you can get to often.  Wa fits the bill in spades.

 

The snow making and grooming are stellar.  So even if the weather bites, there's still okay skiing.  Sometimes it's better than when the weather is good and the massive crowds show up.  My only complaint about the grooming is I wished they'd leave a little bit totally ungroomed.  Like after a good dump, don't groom Balance Rock or Salamander Cutoff at all.

 

Yes, it can get crowded but there are times and places to beat the crowds.  Obviously most weekdays are pretty quiet.  Ski before 12/25 or after mid March.  Ski at night on holidays.  Ski at night after 7:00 PM when the school groups bug out. Get to the lifts at 8:00 AM on a weekend and do laps on the highspeed quads until 10:00 AM and you'll be ready for a break.  Ski the Vickery lift when the lines get long.  Look around the mountain for places where it doesn't get skied off even when it's crowded; there are some.wink.gif

 

Three stars for terrain as there certainly is enough terrain to get a work out, even if you are an advanced skier.  The steepest trails are barely black by New England standards but they are enough for any skier to hone their skills.  If a so-called expert skier says they need a double-black to get some practice and a work-out, they are not an expert skier.

 

Unfortunately, the state park which owns the land Wachusett Mountain leases for the ski area will not allow off-piste skiing.  It's a bummer but it's a price to pay for having a ski area in a highly-populated area.  Suck it up and obey the rules.

 

Wa has a easier rail park that's open to all without a pass a big park that requires a pass only to keep the not-park-skier traffic down.  I'm not much into park; most I'll do is a ride-on/ride-off box or maybe a little kicker, but I've heard some park rats on the lift saying stuff like "Wa's park is sick".  I figure that's a compliment so I gave it four stars for park.

 

I gave nightlife a three instead of one like the others because, in my opinion, ski nightlife isn't a hot club to go dancing until 2:00 AM.  Real skiers don't do that.  They are in bed by 10:00 PM dreaming of tomorrow's runs.  To me, ski nightlife is a bar to have a couple beers with friends after skiing and Wa does have a very nice bar, and also full service restaurant that's open late if you want a nice sit-down dinner.

 

Oh, and the Cider House at Bullock's Lodge is just great, donuts, cider, hot cocoa and coffee, and bluegrass music right on trail side.  I think it may be open evenings now some days of the week.

 

 

Disclaimer: I've been working at Wa for 15 years.  But, I was a client for 15 years before that and have many friends and family that are currently clients.

 

Posted

Pros: near boston, 1,000" vertical

Cons: school kids after 3 PM

Nice hill to get your ski legs back... NASTAR racing, the Smith-Walton trail has a nice pitch to it. The 10th Mountain trail is named after the famous WW2 division that fought so well in Italy and Europe. Many of the 10th Mountain alumni were famous for building the US ski industry after WW2. 

 

I was at Wachusett a few days ago on 1/7/11 and the stone cabin off of 10th Mtn by lift tower 4 (?) was open, think they call it the Cider Shack or somehtin. They had black cherry and apple soda, apple fritters, mulled cider, fireplaces, sweets, and a very nice rustic feel to the place. Very cool.

 

Also, tried the GPS Speedo app on my droid and wrnt 41 MPH on Smilth Walton... not bad for 59 years old on 165 cm skis!!

Posted

Pros: Good ski school

Cons: Crowds

The review of Wachusett Mountain  www.wachusett.com  by Mattias99 is pretty fair - I would add a thing or two to the info he posted.
I am also a P/T instructor there - Wawa sells a huge program of 8 weeks of night skiing to MANY elementary and middle schools in MA., so they NEED a large pen of instructors to show for lineup! It's 6 weeks of instruction, 2 weeks of free skiing. Kids are a huge part of the skiing population at Wawa, so night/weekday skiing is pretty crowded because of this. 
Also,  the folks at Wachusett have developed a very very good ITC program. It's open to any age group, and prepares the attendees for a possible P/T gig teaching for them, and perhaps to go further w/ the sport (PSIA, etc.) The staff that teaches the teachers is very dedicated and talented - many Level II and III skiers there to mentor and coach you.
It is a wonderful place to get your legs under you, for new skiers who needa good start w/ an instructor, and also for the pro wanna-be, as the instructor training is so good it is actually a model for other programs elsewhere.
Have fun this winter wherever you ski!  

Posted

Pros: Close to Boston, good ski school (if I say so myself...), night skiing

Cons: Small, very limited expert terrain, gets crowded on weekends/holidays

(Disclosure: I teach in the ski school at Wachusett.)

Wachusett Mountain is the closest ski resort to Boston that could reasonably not be referred to as a "bump".  With 1000' of vertical and a summit at ~2000', it's the highest point in Eastern/Central Massachusetts and offers some decent skiing with reasonable amenities and a few nice perks.

While fairly small compared to the bigger resorts up in NH/VT/ME, it's less than 90 minutes each way from downtown Boston, and less if you live in the suburbs west of the city (or in Worcester, where it's about 20-25 minutes).  You can make an easy half-day trip there from Boston -- not something you're probably going to do even to, say, Loon or Waterville Valley.  Wachusett also offers night skiing on almost all their trails (open until 10PM every night), which is great for getting some runs in after work, or doing an afternoon/evening trip on a weekend day.

Obviously, Wachusett does not offer the same kind of terrain that a bigger resort can serve up.  The trail selection is fairly limited, with only two black diamond-rated trails (they don't even *try* to pretend that they have something that needs to be called a double-black.)  However, the selection of beginner and intermediate terrain is pretty good.  There is essentially no off-piste skiing of any kind; they are in the middle of a national forest, so it's illegal to go out of bounds -- and the very dense trees would stop you quickly in most spots even if you tried.  (Patrol may occasionally overlook a few people hiking up to the very top of the summit, which is a couple hundred feet above the top chairlift, after a big dump.  But you didn't hear that from me.)  There is a fairly active NASTAR community, if you are into local racing.

On the plus side, they have extremely good snowmaking -- even if it's been warm in the surrounding areas for a few days, they can usually keep almost everything open and have good cover.

There is also a fairly large terrain park.  They took out the superpipe last year, citing the expense of building it and the fact that it tended to ice up really badly in the only spot they could fit it.  (That area was filled in with more rails and a large jump last season; I haven't seen what they have planned for this year.)

There is a large base lodge, with food (both self-serve cafeteria style and a sit-down restaurant), places to stash gear (including pay lockers), and a full service shop.  The soups and sandwiches are pretty good and the prices aren't completely absurd.  You can also rent out a suite, which is a little pricey but could make a good 'home base' for a large group and would prevent having to jockey for table space downstairs.  (I think you can also get catered food if you get a suite, but I've never looked into it.)

The on-mountain shop has a fairly good selection of gear and skis/boards/boots, but they can't really do bootfitting (extensive adjustments, footbeds, etc.)  The repair/tuning guys seem to do a good job and generally have a quick turnaround time.  Demos are available; you can try up to three boards or pairs of skis for one demo fee (which is also deducted from your purchase price if you buy within a certain number of days).  They host a large ski/board swap in October.

Wachusett also has a large ski and snowboard school, with (IMO) an above-average number of experienced instructors for the size of the resort.  It helps that they can support a large population of part-time instructors who have day jobs in Boston and Worcester, many of whom have been teaching there for years and have L2 or L3 certifications from PSIA/AASI.

Overcrowding on weekends and holidays -- especially after any sizable snowfall -- can be pretty bad.  While they have two high-speed quads, lines can still get quite long in the late morning and early afternoon.  Supposedly "expert" skiers/riders bombing down crowded runs can be a serious issue, especially when far less experienced skiers/riders are in their path.  They also run programs with many local schools -- which means that the lower slopes will be overrun with inexperienced kids on weekday afternoons, and certain trails will be closed from time to time for high school races.  And the lodge, while fairly large, can get extremely crowded around meal times.  However, they are rarely crowded early in the morning or for the night skiing sessions, even on otherwise busy weekends.

There is also pretty much zero nightlife (other than the night skiing).  I mean, they have a bar, but that's about it.  That said, you could just drive down to Worcester (or Boston!)

And like any resort not way up in the mountains, they're at the mercy of the weather to produce good snow cover.  No matter how many snow gun towers and fans they have -- if it's too warm, they can't make snow.  The elevation helps, but the weather can still be fickle, especially in the spring.

Lift tickets are not hideously expensive -- the best deal is the "3-Peat" card, which gets you three visits (on any day, doesn't have to be consecutive) for $100.  The cheapest "Bronze" season passes (all day on weekdays except school holidays, and all weekend nights) are also extremely popular with locals, and are dirt cheap if you buy them early in the season.

I wouldn't recommend driving hours and hours to get there -- go a little further and hit a bigger resort.  But if you live in Sourthern New England and you need some turns on a Sunday afternoon, or you're looking for some lessons to get back in shape or improve your technique, Wachusett is the place to go.