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Season Pass Rates for Ski Areas within Reasonable Driving Distance of Albany, NY

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Had a great day skiing bumps on "The Rumor" at Gore Mtn. with my son on Saturday (4/9).  Got a nice tan (slight burn) too.  Gore expects to open next Fri/Sat/Sun for a "last Hurrah."

 

As always occurs at this time of year, I've been checking out the "deals" offered if you purchase early season passes at nearby ski areas.  I'm looking for a family of 3, with a 10 y.o., I will not drive South (toward NYC/NJ) to ski, and the drive needs to be less than 3 hours each way.

 

Here's what I found at the resorts I might reasonably consider:

 

Killington/Pico (I assume the Killington pass is also valid at Pico--I didn't check) is $1050/adult for a full season pass, and I would have to pay an additional $700 for my son.  Grand total = $2800

 

The only option would be to get the blackout pass (18 days--ouch) at $730/adult for me and my wife.  Alternate grand total = $2160.

 

Killington appears to be the most expensive option.

 

Sugarbush has a couple of options that might appeal to me.  Full adult season pass is $1050/adult.  But, for each paid adult, one kid 12 or under skis free (same is true for all Sugarbush season passes).  Grand total $2100.

 

Mt. Ellen Plus Pass is $750/adult (the plus part is early and late season skiing all over the resort, plus five days I can use any time to venture off Mt. Ellen).  However, the better season-long kids ski programs at Sugarbush all require an all-mountain pass, so we would probably have to consider getting at least one of those.  Grand total $1500 or $1800 if we got one Mt. Ellen + and one full season pass. 

 

Sugarbush should consider permitting parents to upgrade their kids' "free" Mt. Ellen and Mt. Ellen +

passes to all-mountain for an additional fee of $100 or $150.

 

Mount Snow appears to be offering the best deal for adults w/o kids.  Classic Pass with 11 blackout dates (but 5 pre-loaded free tickets that will permit you to ski on blackout days) is $600/adult.  But, there is no discounted kids pass (must pay full adult rate for kids), so Grand total $1800.

 

Whiteface/Gore (valid at both locations) full season pass is $720/adult and $300 for my son.  Grand total $1740.  We've had season passes at Gore/Whiteface for 3 seasons now (next year would be 4), so a change would be nice, but probably isn't in the cards.

 

Pico (only) full season pass is $320/adult and $220/child.  Grand total $860. It looks like a great deal if the terrain is good (I've never skied at Pico).  However, Pico does not appear to offer a season-long learning program for kids (big minus).

 

Interesting options--the Sunday Ticket that Okemo, Stratton and Mt. Snow all offer looks like a good deal.  Stratton's is $250 each ($750 total), Mt. Snow $300 each ($900 total) and Okemo $320 each ($960 total).  We would have to pick up tickets for holiday skiing elsewhere, probably by taking advantage of MRG Mad Cards and similar products.  Another alternative might be Magic Mountain season passes.  Magic has not posted its prices for next year yet.

 

End result--I'm jealous as heck of the deals folks get out West and I'm gonna have to find out what people think of Pico.

 

STE

 

post #2 of 24

Hmm, as someone else who lives in the Capital Region, I would also look at Mad River Glen.  Hunter and Windham are not bad mountains either, and I took a pair of days at Jiminy this year (a mere 45 minutes away from Albany).

 

Ultimately, it comes down to what you want in a mountain.  How good of a skier are you and the rest of your family?  With that question, you should be able to eliminate many ski resorts here.

post #3 of 24

Killington is as far as I am willing to travel for a day trip, generally speaking (from Troy).  If I go to MRG or Stowe an overnight is necessary.  My feeling is that if you get a pass at Mad River, you will find the drive too far from time to time and you won't get your money's worth.  Keep in mind, the season opens late there and Saturday and Sunday are a mob scene - hour plus lines on good snow days.

 

Killington is open early and stays open the latest.  Their snow making is among the best in the east.  Lots of mountain and variety.  Woods!  Good lift capacity, etc.  I could see Pico.

 

Gore is dull.  Everyone from Albany goes there.  Vermont is where it's at.

 

 

post #4 of 24

I like Pico a lot.  Killington, if you have gear worth stealing, well don't worry; it will be.  Worse they did not even sell ski locks in the shop when I forgot them one time.

 

Pico was kind of a quiet alternative to K'town but my prediction is you will be back to Whiteface for the hill and vert.,  Weekends may be different so I'm probably wrong?

post #5 of 24

Pico is nice mountain with lots of vertical, but it doesn't have the variety of the larger mountains.  Major problem is that its closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and also opens late and closes early.  In a good snow year its great, but in a lean one the minimal snowmaking means llimited terrain.  All that said, I love the vibe of the place.  It's like stepping back to how skiing was in the 1970s. 

post #6 of 24

Does Pico's season pass allow for early and late skiing at Killington?

post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

Does Pico's season pass allow for early and late skiing at Killington?



Doesn't say anything about use at Killington on their website.

 

Best deal for me is the Killington midweek. Closest mountain to my house (besides Pico).

 

Of course that only works if you can ski midweek.

post #8 of 24

No.

post #9 of 24

Killington passes are good at Pico, but Pico passes are not good at Killington.

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

I agree with Paul that Killington/Pico is about as far as one can reasonably expect to go for a day trip from Albany.  Around 4 times per ski season I drive up to Sugarbush or MRG for a day trip, but if we were to get passes at Sugarbush, I would commit to either a seasonal rental or a small, cheap condo, because my son and wife hate the long drive (so we would stay the weekend and ski both days smile.gif).  Yes, I recognize that throwing in the cost of a seasonal rental or condo entirely skews the economics of my season pass price comparison, but I would be skiing two days each weekend instead of one smile.gifsmile.gif.

 

I would not ski MRG as my primary mountain due to lack of snowmaking (same reason I would be cautious about choosing Magic as my primary mountain).  MRG would have been okay this year, but I wouldn't want to take the chance on a bad snow year.  If we got the Mt. Ellen + passes at Sugarbush, I would certainly get a family mad card so my son and I could spend time at MRG. 

 

Paul, I think you're being a bit tough on Gore.  I love the variety of glades, especially the new Barkeater glade, and skiing in the woods at the top of the new 46'er trail.  Skiing the bumps on Rumor is great fun in the Spring.  IMHO, Gore is a great mountain, with lots of variety (except that it desparately needs a dedicated bump run with snowmaking--Chatiemac or Sagamore would do).  I'm sure we'll all enjoy Gore again next year if we re-up.  However, because there are several good mountains within a reasonable drive, it is tempting to consider different options for next year.

 

With regard to midweek skiing, my son is still in school, so midweek passess won't work for us.  I don't mind the fact that Pico is closed on Tues. and Wed.

 

Just how bad are the weekend crowds at Killington, and how do you avoid them?

 

STE

post #11 of 24
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ski the East View Post

 

...  If we got the Mt. Ellen + passes at Sugarbush, I would certainly get a family mad card so my son and I could spend time at MRG. 

 

...Paul, I think you're being a bit tough on Gore.

 

...Just how bad are the weekend crowds at Killington, and how do you avoid them?

 

 


Mt Ellen is a run out.

 

People always tell me that Gore is good.  I say no - only skied there once.  I go to Vermont to ski.  Seems like all the same to me at Gore.  Low angle skiing.

 

Killington weekend crowds are not that bad from what I have experienced.  When the whole mountain is open you can move around to find lifts that are not so busy.  Not a big fan of Killington either, but it is a big mountain with great woods, steeps, good lifts, long season, natural terrain, bumps, and groomers.  Drive time for me is 1:45.  Mad River is 2:45.

 

Not sure what the drive time from Albany to Gore (1:30 ??) actually is but Killington is probably under 2 hr.

 

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 24

Killington is about 110-115 minutes from Albany (assuming you go via Whitehall) and I am pretty sure it is as far as Okemo.

 

What are you looking for in a mountain, good programs for the kids, tough terrain, terrain variety, family friendly, etc.?

 

Another alternative is to use Liftopia (which I used last month to try a bunch of mountains at very discounted rates).

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wraith View Post


Another alternative is to use Liftopia (which I used last month to try a bunch of mountains at very discounted rates).


Watch for deals because they are out there.  But a season pass at a home mountain is a good thing.  I use Jiminy Peak which is 30 min from my house.  I go there even it the conditions might be questionable.  I can justify skiing a short day.  When in doubt I just go and it helps me get more days on snow.  On the other hand, I find myself taking the easy way, skiing Jiminy when I should head up north or to Magic.

 

I know Killington pass holders who never go to any other mountains and that seems wrong to me.

 

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
.

 

I know Killington pass holders who never go to any other mountains and that seems wrong to me.

 



Not this pass holder. I've got 4 days at Sugarbush, 3 days at Stowe, 2 days Bromley, 1 day MRG, 1 day Okemo besides 20 something days at K-Mart and this was a bad year for me. Didn't get around to much in NE & didn't go out west.

 

One thing I will add though is that I don't think I would be happy buying a season pass for any other mountain in the NE besides K-Mart. I enjoy other areas but non have the variety of K.  Never get tired of skiing there because everyday you can do something totally different.

post #15 of 24

If you do make the move to VT then your cost equation will have to include a seasonal rental.  I have been doing the 3+ hour trip from the Boston area to Sugarbush for the last 6 years.  We ski most every weekend and school vacation and average 40+ days on the mountain.   Go for the all mountain pass and you’ll have access to the best variety and challenging terrain in the northeast.  Mt Ellen opens later in December and closes earlier and the cost differential with the Mt Ellen plus pass might be marginal to your use.   We mix it up between Lincoln Peak and Mt Ellen and never experience the crowds and lines that are typical of southern VT resorts.   My kids both participated in the Blazers programs which are outstanding skier programs and a great way for your kid to make friends.  The Mad River Valley is worth the extra drive time.

 

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

What am I looking for in a mountain?  Good glades/bumps and a good season-long learning program for my son (prefer same kids/instructor every week). 

 

We've been happy with Gore's season long program, my son's instructors have all been good.  It doesn't look like Killington offers a seasonal program for kids, I'm kinda surprised by that.  Sugarbush's Egan's Adventure Blazers is exactly the kind of program I'm looking for, but I would prefer that it only be one day each weekend so that we get more time to ski together.  Mt. Snow's development program looks good as well.

 

My experience with drive times is approx. 1:30 to Gore, 1:45 to Mt. Snow, 2:15 to Killington, 2:30 to Whiteface, 2:45 to MRG, 3:00 to Sugarbush.

 

STE

post #17 of 24

Pico is very popular with families.  If its still on your list, I would give them a call.  I know they have very popular kids programs, but not sure how they are structured.  If you want to sample Pico, keep an eye out next fall for their Express cards.  They had one this season for $99 that included 3 days of skiing plus 50% off midweek and 25% off weekends after that.

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski the East View Post

What am I looking for in a mountain?  Good glades/bumps and a good season-long learning program for my son (prefer same kids/instructor every week). 

 

We've been happy with Gore's season long program, my son's instructors have all been good.  It doesn't look like Killington offers a seasonal program for kids, I'm kinda surprised by that.  Sugarbush's Egan's Adventure Blazers is exactly the kind of program I'm looking for, but I would prefer that it only be one day each weekend so that we get more time to ski together.  Mt. Snow's development program looks good as well.

 

My experience with drive times is approx. 1:30 to Gore, 1:45 to Mt. Snow, 2:15 to Killington, 2:30 to Whiteface, 2:45 to MRG, 3:00 to Sugarbush.

 

STE


 

Hmm, I cannot speak about Gore as I never made it there, but MRG, Sugarbush and Whiteface all have great terrain and bumps.  Snow was pretty flattish when I went there (save for Ripcord and possibly Jaws (which was not open).  Magic is another option for that as well.

 

I, unfortunately, know next to nothing about most learning programs taking at most a lesson a year.

 


 

 

post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post


Gore is dull.  Everyone from Albany goes there.  Vermont is where it's at.

 

 


If you've only skied Gore once, you shouldn't say anything about it.  The trail layout is still pretty poor, even after the new lifts, but Gore is all about trees.  I never find it dull.  I found 2 new glades I never skied before this year.

Gore has the best terrain by far near Albany, it's the cheapest and most kid friendly, and you get a Whiteface pass with it.  It's a no brainer.

 

BK 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post




Mt Ellen is a run out.

 

People always tell me that Gore is good.  I say no - only skied there once.  I go to Vermont to ski.  Seems like all the same to me at Gore.  Low angle skiing.

 

Killington weekend crowds are not that bad from what I have experienced.  When the whole mountain is open you can move around to find lifts that are not so busy.  Not a big fan of Killington either, but it is a big mountain with great woods, steeps, good lifts, long season, natural terrain, bumps, and groomers.  Drive time for me is 1:45.  Mad River is 2:45.

 

Not sure what the drive time from Albany to Gore (1:30 ??) actually is but Killington is probably under 2 hr.

 

 

 

 

 



 

post #20 of 24

Noticed Bromley is not on the list - I think they have a good ski school program for your son and more glades and bumps than meets  the eye, and Magic is right down the road for even more glades and trees and escape from holiday crowds.  Bromley season pass prices are high for adults but what about just getting a pass for your son, and discount cards for yourself at Bromley and/or Magic.  Or adult passes at Magic (seriously doubt prices are going up).  Once you factor out lodging and extra fuel costs for going further north you might come out ahead on the economics and the convenience of the closer drive could mean more skiing.  

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski the East View Post
  It doesn't look like Killington offers a seasonal program for kids, I'm kinda surprised by that. 


Killington programs are run by the Killington Winter Sports Club.  400 or so member families, alpine, freestyle, snowboarding... http://www.killingtonwintersportsclub.org/general_info.php

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post




If you've only skied Gore once, you shouldn't say anything about it. 

Gore has the best terrain by far near Albany, it's the cheapest and most kid friendly, and you get a Whiteface pass with it.  It's a no brainer.

 

BK 

 





 


I know I probably shouldn't but I do.  Place is flat except for two short runs.  It's a run out.  It doesn't have terrain, it has good woods though.  Most serious skiers that I know will admit that.

 

It's an hour and a half and it's got charm.  It does not have terrain.

 

post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 

Curtis, thanks for the info. on the Killington Winter Sports Club, that's very helpful.  They have the kind of season-long program that I'm looking for, and the instructors appear to be highly qualified.  Is there a similar organization for Pico?  I found a Pico ski club, but it only appears to be for racing (I don't see mention of other kinds of lessons).

 

STE

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 

After all my gnashing of teeth, I just ponied up for Gore/Whiteface passes for me and my wife for next season.  Kids rates don't change until mid November, so I can wait to get my son's pass. 

 

I would've loved to try some place new, but that would've required me to spend significant $ on lodging (either getting a place or paying for a seasonal rental), because my wife and son hate long drives. 

 

Note that the cheapest rate for Gore/Whiteface season tickets (for adults) is available until 6/21/11, so if you're planning to get a Whiteface/Gore 2011/2012 season pass, better do it soon.

 

Perhaps something will change next year.

 

STE

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