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Planning Trips to New England

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

we're planning out our ski trips for this coming season and look for some feedback.  so far we've been to stowe and stratton.  we absolutely loved stowe, but we also want to see what the other places are like.  we've been bouncing around sugarbush, okemo, bromley, and magic mountain (i think we also thew whiteface in there even though it's not technically new england).  we are also entertaining the idea of staying someplace central and hitting up several locations in the same trip. not sure what time of the season we'll be going...possibly either january or march/april.

 

so, the things that we're looking for is a place with a good variety of terrain (groomed, bumps, steeps, whatever), interesting/scenic trails, clean and modern lodging, descent apres ski, and 8 hr max drive from philly. 

 

thanks!

post #2 of 20

You seem to prefer areas that have accommodations at the bottom of the hill as opposed to commuting daily from a few miles away to an area with little resort development.  With that in mind, Sugarbush will give you a very fine experience similar to Stowe.  Okemo will be more like Stratton.  Bromley and Magic are smaller places that would be good for side visits from Stratton.  You haven't mentioned Killington, I haven't been there in about ten years, but used to love the place provided you avoid a busy holiday time frame.  It would appear to meet all your criteria.

For an experience that is quite different from VT with more rugged mtn scenery, you might consider NH, perhaps look at Bretton Woods or Loon (both similar to Stratton in some ways and just under 8 hrs from Philly) with a side trip to Cannon and/or Wildcat a MUST.  The latter two are GREAT mtns, but with little/no development at base (Wildcat is perhaps my favorite ski area of the approx 40 I have skied in the East).

Maybe 1 hr beyond your 8 hr limit, but Sugarloaf, Maine with side trip to Saddleback would be outstanding March choice and also present a different feel than VT.

Just for fun, here's a photo taken at Wildcat, NH in March 2010:

DSCF1761.jpg

 

post #3 of 20


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitar73 View Post

we are also entertaining the idea of staying someplace central and hitting up several locations in the same trip. not sure what time of the season we'll be going...possibly either january or march/april.

 

 

thanks!


Central could work in many areas. You could stay in the Mad River Valley & have  Mad River Glen & Sugarbush right there. Sugarbush is actually 2 seperate mountains so you'd have 3 areas to chose from. Within an hours drive from there you'd have Stowe, Bolton Valley & even Smugglers Notch to the north (Smuggs might be a little over an hour). Within an hours drive to the south you'd have Middlebury Snow Bowl, Pico & Killington. You could also stay at Killington & have K-mart & Pico right there with the Mad River Valley areas within an hour to the north & Okemo, Magic, Bromley & Stratton within an hour to the south.

 

The suggestions from jamesj could also work. Northern New Hampshire has many ski areas to chose from all relatively close to each other, you could also hit Sunday River in Maine within an hour from northern NH. Northern NH has the best scenery in New England in my opinion with the northern Adirondaks around Whiteface a close second. Sugarloaf & Saddleback are both very nice mountains but they are almost an hours drive apart from each other & a bit further away from you then you wanted to drive. It takes me 7 1/2 hours to get there from NYC. Personally I stay in the Killington area since a buy a season pass for there but I also ski all the other VT. areas & northern NH. pretty regularly & hit up Sugarloaf & Saddleback every few years. I like the northern areas better because they have more challenge & variety. Okemo, Stratton & even Bretton Woods are intermediate only mountains with every trail basically the same but that's my opinion. Same thing with the southern NH areas.

 

Just putting out some ideas for you.

 

 


Edited by steamboat1 - 8/15/11 at 9:47am
post #4 of 20

We usually stay in a central location. We also live in the Philadelphia area and get to:

Rutland, VT from which we hit Killinton, Pico (each about 1/2 hour) and sometime Middlebury (45 min). From there you can also get to Sugarbush or Mad River (about 1.25 hr) or Suicide Six (1 hr), Okemo (about 1 hr.), Stratton or Bromley (1.25)

 

We stay in Burlington (good eating) and hit Stowe, (1 hr.) Smugglers (1 hr plus an excellent maple sugar house on the way), Jay (1.5 hr), Middlebury (45 min); Mad River or Sugarbush (1 hr). Cochrane's (15 min) or Bolton.

 

One of our favorites is New Hampshire where from N. Conway you can get to Wildcat in a 1/2 hour and a whole bunch of others (Loon, Cannon, Breton Woods, and even Sunday River all in 45 min  to 1.5 hr). There is also a little local hill right in N Conway and good shopping, and spectacular drives. Attitash is also about 1/2 hour).

 

We find towns more interesting in general than the resorts.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

You seem to prefer areas that have accommodations at the bottom of the hill as opposed to commuting daily from a few miles away to an area with little resort development.

 

You haven't mentioned Killington, I haven't been there in about ten years, but used to love the place provided you avoid a busy holiday time frame.  It would appear to meet all your criteria.

 


when we skied @ stowe we stayed at the green mountain inn, which was like 8 miles from the mtn....and that worked well for us.  we usually got on the slope around 10:30-ish, stayed til close...it worked out well for us.  as for k-mart; i'm not really interested in skiing there for several reasons: 1) crowds, 2) over-exagerated vertical drop, 3) relatively expensive for what you get.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboat1 View Post

 

Central could work in many areas. You could stay in the Mad River Valley & have  Mad River Glen & Sugarbush right there. Sugarbush is actually 2 seperate mountains so you'd have 3 areas to chose from. Within an hours drive from there you'd have Stowe, Bolton Valley & even Smugglers Notch to the north (Smuggs might be a little over an hour).

 

Okemo, Stratton & even Bretton Woods are intermediate only mountains with every trail basically the same but that's my opinion. Same thing with the southern NH areas.

 

ya, i was thinking about the sugarbush/mrg area....is there a bunch of lodging around there? i was also thinking of finding lodging up in waterbury jctn to be kind of halfway btwn sugarbush and stowe....

 

i liked stratton, but it felt kinda like an ego-boosting mtn (terrain and difficulty-wise), ya know?

 

 


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

 

We stay in Burlington (good eating) and hit Stowe, (1 hr.) Smugglers (1 hr plus an excellent maple sugar house on the way), Jay (1.5 hr), Middlebury (45 min); Mad River or Sugarbush (1 hr). Cochrane's (15 min) or Bolton.

 


i really want to check out burlington...great views of the green mtns and the 'dacks.  any good places you'd recommend  (lodging/eating/sight-seeing)?

post #6 of 20

Regarding Burlington, it is a nice town and we enjoy it. It has some good dining - places we like are American Flatbread (craft brews and pizza), Leunig's (French bistro), City Market (good carry out Indian and sandwiches if we are beat and want to get an early start), 3 Tomato's (italian, also in Rutland). The only sight seeing we have done is down by the Lake and what we see walking/driving around. We stay at one of the Marriot's (usually with points from other business travel). If you are on 100 near Sugarbush there is also an American Flatbread at the Lareau Farm and in Waterbury is the Alchemist a great brew pub and restaurant. We also like one of the Mexican places on the Stowe mountain road (the one near the snowboard shop). Burlington can also have some good cultural events. Last March they had a Philip Glass/Lucinda Child Dance piece that we had seen earlier in the year at Philadelphia that was excellent. So I would check out what is going on.

 

I saw one of your options is March/April - that is usually when we go to Burlington. We then have the flexibility to hit Jay if it is warm. MRG if there is still good snow (or even if there isn't), Sugarbush (although Mt. Ellen closes early) or wherever seems best as some years are great then and others are not.

 

By the way, Killington after St. Patrick's day is not busy and during the week can be great. They have some excellent terrain. We did almost 3 weeks of a wide ranging trip this March/April. If you are there in the spring, get maple syrup from one of the many farm sugarhouses. Our favorite is on the way to Smugglers and Jay from Burlington (Rt 15 in Cambridge on the left hand side right before Rt 104 if you hit Brown and Jenkins coffee you have gone 200 yards too far, turn around first maple leaf sign on the right NOT Putnam's and NOT the outlet). Brown and Jenkins by the way has excellent coffee and good pastries. (If you want to actually go there PM me and I will look it up).

post #7 of 20

guitar there are plenty of places to stay in the Mad River Valley, no major chain hotels though. I'd suggest the Mad River Barn on Rt. 17 for a layed back experience & to get a good feel for the area.

 

I've been skiing Killington mid week for eons. You'd be surprised how empty it can be during the non- holiday weeks. As for price there is inexpensive lodging to be found & their ticket prices are competitive with any other major Vt. ski area, maybe even a few bucks less. Especially if your talking about Stowe. As for the mountain & vertical drop it's kept me busy.

 

Shhhh don't tell anyone.

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 20

guitar there are plenty of places to stay in the Mad River Valley, no major chain hotels though. I'd suggest the Mad River Barn on Rt. 17 for a layed back experience & to get a good feel for the area.

 

I've been skiing Killington mid week for eons. You'd be surprised how empty it can be during the non- holiday weeks especially in Jan. where it down right desolate. As for price there is inexpensive lodging to be found & their ticket prices are competitive with any other major Vt. ski area, maybe even a few bucks less. Especially if your talking about Stowe. As for the mountain & vertical drop  it's kept me busy with mucho variety.

 

Shhhh don't tell anyone.

 

 

 

 

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

@vsirin....thanks for the info. i'll def PM you if we decide to go up there this winter.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboat1 View Post

As for price there is inexpensive lodging to be found & their ticket prices are competitive with any other major Vt. ski area, maybe even a few bucks less. Especially if your talking about Stowe.


you know, that's what suprised me about stowe.  i priced out several areas for that trip (sunday thru tuesday...mid feb). k-mart, okemo, etc....they were all significantly more expensive than stowe. maybe i just didn't know all of the lodging options?? 

 

post #10 of 20

FYI, I discuss a couple lodging options (& prices) near Sugarbush and MRG (also a really great place, but skiers only) in these threads.

 

Modest budget:

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/102128/vintage-vermont-march-2011

 

Extra modest budget:

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/86119/new-to-the-mad-river-valley-hostel-tevere

post #11 of 20

I've had great success with using Priceline (3.5 stars and higher) for lodging around Stowe.  Coupled with a Stowe Points card, and it's a pretty good deal.

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

FYI, I discuss a couple lodging options (& prices) near Sugarbush and MRG (also a really great place, but skiers only) in these threads.

 

Modest budget:

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/102128/vintage-vermont-march-2011

 

Extra modest budget:

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/86119/new-to-the-mad-river-valley-hostel-tevere


sweet.  i think my wife would have my head if i booked a hostel or similar.....she gets creeped-out really easily about hotels, so i kinda makes things tricky when we're picking places out and there aren't a lot of chain hotel options. (i assume that's a common issue with families on ski trips??)  one time (on a last-minute trip) i booked a place near windham mtn...it looked great on the internet, got OK reviews, but it was a total dive.  had holes in the wall, electical sockets hanging out of the walls, etc.  it was below even my tolernace for cheapness.  needless to say she didn't let me forget about that place  ;) .....

 

post #13 of 20

OP mentioned Magic as a possible..better know what you're getting yourself into.  The best parts of the mountain are not groomed and it's great when there's fresh snow but you have to know the mountain real well or have a great guide like Do Work if it's been a while.  I love it and just bought my pass but always tell people that it's definitely old-style skiing...one slow lift (maybe 2 slow lifts this year!) and tough, narrow, steep, bumpy expert skiing.  There is some groomed skiing and some advanced beginner and intermediate skiing, but not much.  Oh, and the snow making is pretty rudimentary.  If you like this type of skiing, you will love Magic.  If you're looking for a resort and pampering, think Stratton, Bromley, and Mount Snow in southern Vermont.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohansson View Post

OP mentioned Magic as a possible..better know what you're getting yourself into.  The best parts of the mountain are not groomed and it's great when there's fresh snow but you have to know the mountain real well or have a great guide like Do Work if it's been a while.  I love it and just bought my pass but always tell people that it's definitely old-style skiing...one slow lift (maybe 2 slow lifts this year!) and tough, narrow, steep, bumpy expert skiing.  There is some groomed skiing and some advanced beginner and intermediate skiing, but not much.  Oh, and the snow making is pretty rudimentary.  If you like this type of skiing, you will love Magic.  If you're looking for a resort and pampering, think Stratton, Bromley, and Mount Snow in southern Vermont.


thanks for the heads up RE: magic mtn.  i don't care about the resort/pampering stuff.  in fact, that was my wife's number 1 complaint about stratton; she said if felt like Disney World, lol!

 

post #15 of 20

Might I suggest making St Johnsbury, VT (6.5 hours of all interstate from Philly) a central location for your ski trip?

The Comfort Inn (http://www.vermontvacationland.com/html/burke-mountain-ski-pkg.asp) right off of I-91 has a really good Ski and Stay packages for Burke Mtn and Jay Peak.

Burke Mountain is roughly 18 minutes away.

Jay Peak is 1 hour.

Cannon Mtn (in NH) is 35 minutes.

Bretton Woods (also in NH) is 50 min.

Stowe is 1 hour 20 min

Sugarbush/Mad River Glen 1.5 hours

post #16 of 20

I would be concerned about the Vermont highway system after the floods.  This might be the year to stay at one place.  If you would be staying in the Mad River Valley, it might be a very hard drive on Route 100 to visit either Killington or Stowe.  

post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by PVnRT View Post

I would be concerned about the Vermont highway system after the floods.  This might be the year to stay at one place.  If you would be staying in the Mad River Valley, it might be a very hard drive on Route 100 to visit either Killington or Stowe.  


North of I-89 the roads are fine. Rt 100 is probably going to be pretty rough. The Interstates are fine, so you'll be able to move up and down I-91 with ease. What happens when you get off and try to get to a ski mountain in the middle and South of the state is anyone's guess though. I read yesterday though, that VDOT actually consulted with VT Tourism about which roads are most important for ski season, and are pushing to do those first. This is our economic lifeblood up here.

post #18 of 20

I just drove through southern Vermont on 9, 11, and US 4 last weekend.  9 is still a bit rough in spots, 11 showed almost no damage and the repairs on US 4 were nothing short of spectacular.  If you saw the pictures of US4 right after the storm you would have thought it would not be open until next June.  Kudos to VDOT.  No worries about being able to get to skiing this year.

post #19 of 20

Great news about the roads. I was concerned - I have 4 tickets for Stowe that need to be used before the end of 2011 so I was planning for a week in mid Dec. probably hitting Killington for a race and somewhere else (depending on conditions) for a couple of extra days to fill out the "9 day" week.

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

has anyone seen the roads up near sugarbush and mrg?

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