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Secondary College Ski Passes for next year

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I am currently in college through 2012 and one of the benefits of being a skier in a northeastern college/university is that many of the mountains offer college season passes.  I currently get an SOS pass (that is a season pass for Stratton, Okemo and Sunapee), as a birthday present, which is good since I have a place that I can stay near Okemo.  However, the aforementioned mountains are rather easy, as barring crappy conditions, I can do any run on those mountains without too much trouble.  This has caused me to start trying new mountains (via Liftopia), but has been costly.  Hence, I am considering to get another college season pass to a "nearby resort" (i.e. less than 2 hours away).  I want a mountain with non-gladed terrain that I can grow into (my skiing improved markedly last year) and I am hesitant about doing glades as I often ski solo, and tree skiing is dangerous if one skis that way.  The major things I will be factoring in are: how tough the terrain can get on a mountain, how good and big the mountain is, how far away it is, how much the pass is and how often and long the ski area operates.

 

I have not been to all of the places I will mention (and I have not skied more than 2 days at any of them):

 

Here are the places I am considering (in no particular order):

 

1. Magic Mountain (assuming they are open next year): $129, ~25-30 minutes away

2. Killington: $399, 30-40 minutes away

3. Sugarbush*: $399, 90-100 minutes away

4. Mad River Glen: $289, 105-120 minutes away (this pass is also good for Bolton Valley and Jay Peak (2.5-3 hours away and 4+ hours away respectively)

5. Stowe*: $399, 2 hours away

 

*Never been to these mountains, though only have heard positive things about them.

 

I will appreciate any recommendations.  Thanks in advance and I apologize for the wall of text.

post #2 of 21

go for Killington, you will spend less time driving and less money on fuel. They have a wide variety of terrain from steep groomed cruisers to bump runs. Once you get the lay of the land there you will know where to spend your ski day and how to avoid crowds. You can find challenge there as you could with the others on your list just they are a longer drive. Don't know anything about Magic sorry.

post #3 of 21

anyone have info on west coast passes.  heavenly had a killer deal at 279 but I do not think they are continuing the program


 

post #4 of 21

That seems like a no-brainer to me. Go with the MRG/Jay/Bolton pass. It's a hundred bucks cheaper than everything else and gives you access to some of the most challenging terrain in the east. I've never done MRG (I snowboard), but its reputation kind of speaks for itself in terms of challenge. Jay also has some challenging terrain and is also a nice place to try some glades (I know you say you don't want to, but it sounds like there's interest there--I ski glades/trees alone all the time).

 

 

post #5 of 21

I'd go with Magic.  It's practically right next door, ridiculously cheap, and when you can rip everything on the mountain, you won't have much trouble skiing anywhere in the east.  The lack of grooming will make you strong  It seems the no brainer, particularly if you have a pass to the nearby resorts for when the snow is bad.

 

Also, the local folk are pretty friendly.  If you want to ski the trees you'll run into people to ski with.

 

Reasons for not getting a Magic pass:

1. You ski mostly during the middle of the week.  It's not open Tues-Thurs on most weeks.

2. You really hate slow lifts.  I only notice it when I'm by myself and skiing only groomers, but the chair is slow.

post #6 of 21

MRG is a great resort if you want to ski trees/bumps but doesn't have as much to offer in the way of groomers. it sounds like you won't be doing much tree skiing so MRG may not be the place to buy a pass. if you love bumps though, and want to do some glade skiing eventually then maybe it is your place. as far as i know it operates everyday of the week.

 

i've never skied stowe so i can't say anything from experience but everyone i know who skis there loves it. as far as i know it has a little bit of everything but is geared more towards expert skiers? also has great glades/backcountry when you start skiing that stuff. would be a good choice i'm sure. operates everyday

 

i've skied Killington a few times, but not a lot. it has a lot of really good groomed runs and some good bump runs as well, but the mountain is definitely more orientated to the groomer skiers than bump skiers. it is also harder to navigate than all the others cause its a lot bigger and spread out over many peaks. but you can't go wrong with it just because of its size, you're bound to find something you like. it does have some good glades, but not as good as sugarbush or stowe or MRG i don' think. it runs every day of the week.

 

i grew up skiing sugarbush and know it far better than the other mountains and am also probably a little biased. but i think it has great terrain variety and is a really good mountain to grow your skills on. there are some good cruising runs, though not as many as killington and they can feel repetitive after awhile. the mountain has bump runs for every level of skier, the main reason why i think its a very good mountain to grow your skills at. like stowe it also has very good tree skiing for if/when you want to do it. it also runs every day of the week. one of its downsides is that transporting between lincoln peek and mt. ellen isn't the most convenient thing to do and can make the resort feel much smaller than advertised if you end up only skiing one side most of the time (which is what i did, and it was never a problem for me).

 

don't know anything about magic really, but i've only ever heard good things, like MarcusBrody says.

 

ultimately i don't think you could go wrong with stowe, sugarbush or killington, all depends on what you like. if you want a very modernized, big resort feel with lots of good cruising runs, go to killington. if you want a more rustic/ classic new england feel and a mountain geared towards harder skiing try stowe. and if you want a classic new england feel on a mountain with a little bit of everything, try sugarbush (though i do think the mountain is slightly biased towards expert terrain over beginner).

 

 

post #7 of 21

My 2 cents, being close to the mountain will make it easier to get there which will help you ski more and get your money's worth.  Buy one at Magic and at Killington.

 

Magic is all about natural skiing, trees, glades, and ungroomed trails.  If you ski there you will meet other younger skiers and that will help you to improve.  Meeting other skiers could leave you with friends for life and I see that happening a lot at Magic.  Keep in mind the season tends to be short there, so you will find your ski-days at Magic limited.  The place is friendly and fun.  $129 is a no brainer.

 

Killington is big and it has the groomers you talked about.  It also has bumps and trees.  There is a lot going on at night too.  I find it to be a bit sterile.  You can get a lot out of the season and they dedicate to snomaking more than many other mountains.

 

I skied Mad River Glen in college and it was "the best".  Mad River and Magic are both ski areas as opposed to ski resorts which keeps the tourists at a reasonable number.  Mad River has some incredible cruisers, but not that many.  It is old school and friendly.  Again, you will meet other people your age at MRG.

 

If you ski at Magic or MRG, my bet is that you will improve.

post #8 of 21

If you want to try out Magic to see how you like it, this might be the weekend to do so.  They had a pretty solid base left and are about to get a lot of new snow (crosses fingers), plus tickets are just $25.

post #9 of 21

Also, it's Cape Day on Saturday @ Magic. So wear a cape.

 

As far as the season pass: best terrain in SoVT for $129.  nuff said

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by farlep99 View Post

Also, it's Cape Day on Saturday @ Magic. So wear a cape.

 

As far as the season pass: best terrain in SoVT for $129.  nuff said

Last weekend I was told it was costume day.  So I showed up in costume.  Except apparently no one else on the mountain knew about costume day.  So there I was, dressed as Chester A. Arthur, and everyone kept giving me baffling looks.

 

So you know what they say, fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, feel the wrath of my cape!
 

 

post #11 of 21

It was supposed to be costume day, but a large core of regulars didn't make it at the last minute.  I think costumes work any day @ Magic.  And certainly capes.  There will be fresh snow and capes tomorrow for sure - count on it.  My biggest problem is lack of draft beers recently!!

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

@MarcusBrody:

Went to Magic today (have to go back to where I go to school tomorrow), but had a blast.  Great terrain, small crowds, though the lift is pretty slow (it is needed after the tougher runs).  The ice storm from March did a number there though with many downed trees across parts of trails.  Strongly considering getting a pass for there next year when I know for sure if it is open (70 shares short of the 300 to start the Co-op, but skier visits were up 33% this year or so).

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBVT View Post

 

 if you want a more rustic/ classic new england feel and a mountain geared towards harder skiing try stowe. .

 

 


Up until 4 or 5 years ago, the description of Stowe as a rustic/classic type of place would have been accurate. But that has since changed. Stowe has rebuilt its whole Spruce base area, which is now extremely upscale, and very much has the modernized resort feel. The Mansfield base lodge is still the building built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 30's, and Midway is a fairly modern lodge as well. Also, Stowe isn't necessarily geared towards harder skiing. That reputation comes from the Front Four, which are the four double blacks that come down the front face of Mansfield. There's also plenty of blue cruisers behind that ridge line, and a bunch of green terrain in the Toll House area. Throw in a couple nice cruisers off the gondola, and there's plenty of everything on Mansfield. That doesn't even count Spruce Peak, which is an entire mountain of almost exclusively green and blue terrain. Just giving you the rundown in the interest of full disclosure.

 

That being said, do the Triple Major pass (MRG, Jay, Bolton). By far the best deal.

 

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post




Up until 4 or 5 years ago, the description of Stowe as a rustic/classic type of place would have been accurate. But that has since changed. Stowe has rebuilt its whole Spruce base area, which is now extremely upscale, and very much has the modernized resort feel. The Mansfield base lodge is still the building built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 30's, and Midway is a fairly modern lodge as well. Also, Stowe isn't necessarily geared towards harder skiing. That reputation comes from the Front Four, which are the four double blacks that come down the front face of Mansfield. There's also plenty of blue cruisers behind that ridge line, and a bunch of green terrain in the Toll House area. Throw in a couple nice cruisers off the gondola, and there's plenty of everything on Mansfield. That doesn't even count Spruce Peak, which is an entire mountain of almost exclusively green and blue terrain. Just giving you the rundown in the interest of full disclosure.

 

That being said, do the Triple Major pass (MRG, Jay, Bolton). By far the best deal.

 


i see, i see. as i said, i've never personally skied stowe, so no surprise i was wrong about it. good to know all that though, thanks for the information.

 

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wraith View Post

@MarcusBrody:

Went to Magic today (have to go back to where I go to school tomorrow), but had a blast.  Great terrain, small crowds, though the lift is pretty slow (it is needed after the tougher runs).



Glad you were able to give it try.  That mountain rocks!  It draws a unique crowd, too.  Hope you will consider it.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wraith View Post

@MarcusBrody:

Went to Magic today (have to go back to where I go to school tomorrow), but had a blast.  Great terrain, small crowds, though the lift is pretty slow (it is needed after the tougher runs).  The ice storm from March did a number there though with many downed trees across parts of trails.  Strongly considering getting a pass for there next year when I know for sure if it is open (70 shares short of the 300 to start the Co-op, but skier visits were up 33% this year or so).

What makes you think there's a chance it won't open next year?  I talked to the owner and the assistant manager (as well as some of their friends) this weekend and no one seemed to think not reopening was a possibility.  They were testing out infrastructure stuff for next year and talking about the patrol organization meetings.  I think it's a fairly safe bet that it will be open next year.

 

I'm glad you had a good time.  I was up there too.  I was wearing a tiger print cape.  Both Saturday and Sunday skied well for the time of year.  What parts of the mountain did you hit up/enjoy?
 

 

post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 

@ Marcus Brody:

 

I think I saw you down by the base of the Red Lift then (hanging out with a guy who was using an Irish flag as a cape).  I had my yellow jester's hat on, so you may have seen me.  I mostly hit up parts of the west side (Talisman and Sorcerer), the former in particular was very good, and I took a few mandatory runs on the east side (mostly on Trick). 

 

I am not going to lie, Broomstick scares me due to a lack of room to turn (even though I did the trail before, as my dad reminded me later on Saturday).  The cliff drops look rough though I have no clue on how to approach those

 

Any idea what the mountain is going to do should they not be able to sell the shares?  Also, when I talked to someone there, he said that the March Ice Storm set the glading back a ton due to the downed trees.  I also heard that the black lift had additional issues that were not anticipated when they tried to run it this year, which is why it was down for far longer than normal.

post #18 of 21

I was under the impression (and there are people around who know a lot more than me) that the share money is needed for capital projects, but not selling them wouldn't mean an immediate closing of the mountain.  The glades will get taken care of.  Having to clear all the ice induced deadfall might mean that fewer new areas are thinned out this year, but one or two more should be added and if you become a regular, you're likely to find some that aren't on the map.

 

Do you mean the cliff drops on Red Line as you head up the lift?  Talisman and Sorcerer were both skiing great yesterday.  I went down Broomstick, but don't remember what it was like.  It can be tricky when it's bumpy or icy as it's so narrow.  I took one of my worst tumbles this year going down it.  It's usually not too bad though.

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

Oh, I thought the share money was to transfer the title of the property, and $200,000+ would be needed for Y1 operating costs.  I think the shares may also be to generate extra cash to cushion any short term operating losses as well as the capital projects.

 

How tight are the glades, the two double diamonds looked steep but not that tight at all.

 

Yes, I was referring to the red line cliff drops.  How are you supposed to navigate them?

post #20 of 21

Goniff's and Twilight Zone are only kind of glades.  They're more tight, steep runs with a few trees left in them.  Well actually Goniff's and Twilight were tighter than usual this weekend due to some of the downed trees but actual glades are much tighter. 

 

With the Red Line cliffs, you basically just have to choose a line that looks like it has few rocks, commit, and go straight over them.  There is a way to get around the first one to skiers left, but it's usually not too bad to go over them.  Depends on how filled in they are though.  If there is good coverage and you choose the line far skiers right on the first drop, you can stay on the ground the whole time.  Just don't try to turn.  People always try, but it's just rock right beneath.  Stop at the top.  Straightline it, then regroup at the bottom for the second drop.  I did the middle line today and actually found it pretty manageable.  There's a bit of necessary air, but you start lower than the right line, so you're not going as fast at the bottom.

 

 


Edited by MarcusBrody - 4/3/11 at 9:11pm
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

Okay, I finally made it to Sugarbush (was waiting for cheapish tix, and finally found a liftopia deal for $40).  Only Lincoln Peak (Sugarbush South) was open as Ellen is closed for the season, but I was extremely impressed by the variety of terrain I encountered.  You have your So. VT boulevard cruisers off the Gate House plus Jester/Downspout/Spring Fling. Some tough runs by the Heavens Gate Triple and Valley House (closed today) double and my favorite part (especially with the new snow) was Castlerock, which as many have pointed out is like MRG, and while looking at liftline and rumble looked rough, I did the rest of the run (sans Middle Earth) and loved it.

 

I was also off on how much the pass is, it is $319, not $399, which makes it more of an appealing choice.

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