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Big easies in the east?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I am an outright beginner, hoping to reach the exalted rank of low intermediate by the end of the season.

Assuming it works out, I'd like to reward myself with a modest trip to a real resort, somewhere in Quebec, upper NY, or maybe northern Vermont. Mainly, I want long, easy groomed runs, the like of which we don't have at the family hills around Ottawa. Good scenery and economical accommodations would be a nice bonus. Don't need dance clubs or four-star restaurants, but I do love a good pub.

Any suggestions?

post #2 of 23

IF you head over to Maine Sugarloaf would fit your needs especially with fairly priced on slope accomandations, also in NH Bretton Woods has nice easy groomers

post #3 of 23

You want really nice green to greenish blue cruisers that descend from the very top of the mountain to the bottom without criss-crossing expert slopes (like so many Vermont greens do).

 

I got two suggestion-both are nice if you bring your significant other along as they are pretty plush.  Take time off of work and ski weekdays...that's mandatory any place you ski in the East as a reward for getting better at skiing.

 

1.  Stratton-beautiful, classy resort with a host of great green and fairly easy blues that descend the whole mountain without crossing expert slopes.  Nice resort to stay at, it's got one of those trendy villages with ok restaurants and places that sell fancy beers.  Oh, it's pretty close.

 

2.  Stowe-Further, bigger, classier, and more beautiful.  Lot's of swanky places to stay, it has whole beginner mountains on Spruce.  Also it has some of the best easy cruisers from the top that run their own course without crossing through the burly middle of the Mountain: Lord, the whole Toll RD trail and green offshoots.

 

Never been, but I here Bretton Woods is good for what you describe

 

Like all places in VT/NH they suck on saturdays for beginners or for people who can't ski away from the crowds.  But Monday-friday, they're as good as it gets for what you are describing.  

 

 

post #4 of 23

Mt. Snow and Okemo are great So Vt easy and fun mountains that you won't get into too much trouble on. 

 

Windham in NY is a lower option too. 

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the ideas, guys. I'll check their sites for inspiration. Now if we could get some snow around here, I could get started on my goal of semi-competence.smile.gif.

post #6 of 23
Mont Ste Anne is beginner friendly. Some of the runs that run the east side of the mountain are as gentle as it gets. One of the runs is called la famille I believe. the best thing is they go from the top to the bottom of the mountain and you don't have to worry about chairlifts since you're in the gondola. The north side is very gentle too.

If you get enough confidence at Ste Anne, le massif has a lot of solid blue runs too that go top to bottom. It's about 25 minutes away and is widely considered the best ski resort in eastern north America.
post #7 of 23

I'd put Killington and Pico on your list.  The Rams Head area at Killington is a lower intermediate's paradise with its own mile long high speed quad serving a  bunch of easy runs.  And the run all the way down Great Eastern to the Skyeship gondola base is something you will remember for a long while.  Pico is much less expensive than Killington but is still a decent sized mountain with a great classic Vermont atmosphere.  Runs from the lower mountain quad are a great mix of novice and easier imtermediate runs.  A number of less expensive motels and lodges along Route 4 in Mendon and down in Rutland if you are on a budget.

post #8 of 23

My top three, in order, would be:

  • Bretton Woods.  As a benefit, it has some truly spectacular views of the Presidential Range (highest mountain range in New England).
  • Okemo.  The people who own Okemo also own Sunapee over in NH (about an hour away), so if you go for a couple days and want a "change of scenery", your pass will still be good at Sunapee.
  • Mt. Snow

 

The above three will be crowded on the weekends.  Try to get away mid-week to have a better, quieter (and cheaper!) experience.

 

Every area in New England has terrain for people of your ability level.  A couple caveats on some of the above mentioned areas:

  • Stowe:  it does have Spruce peak which does have lots of intermediate cruising terrain.  However, some of those "intermediate" trails are fairly steep; I've seen more than one skier take some long pauses over on Spruce, and I've talked a couple of them down.
  • Killington:  it does have lots of green-circle trails, but a lot of those "green" trails are more or less connectors between the various peaks.  i.e., they aren't much good for cruising. 
post #9 of 23

Mount Ellen at Sugarbush. Intermediates can ski something like 2600' of vertical top to bottom off a few different trails + the Inverness slopes are nice also. The run off of the top of Mt. Ellen into I think it's called elbow then lower down several different trails returning to the north ridge chair is probably the best & longest intermediate cruiser in New England, I know it's my favorite. The view across the Champlain Valley looking towards the Adirondaks from the summit is one of the more spectacular views you'll see in VT.

 

I don't even want to mention the Lincoln Peak area of Sugarbush. Another intermediates dreamland.

 

You were asking about northern NY, VT or Quebec (assuming Eastern Townships) correct.

post #10 of 23

When I was a real beginner, I loved Killington. It takes some planning but you can ski greens from the tops of almost all the mountains and trails like Juggernaut and Great Eastern are long and very interesting. Plan your routes, make a list, it can get confusing but very doable and very fun. You essentially spend the whole day actually going from one place to another on trails you can handle rather than doing laps on the greens.

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

When I was a real beginner, I loved Killington. It takes some planning but you can ski greens from the tops of almost all the mountains and trails like Juggernaut and Great Eastern are long and very interesting. Plan your routes, make a list, it can get confusing but very doable and very fun. You essentially spend the whole day actually going from one place to another on trails you can handle rather than doing laps on the greens.


If one is a beginner/novice, just based on what you have just stated alone, why would Killington be a good choice over the others?

 

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the ideas, folks. The thought of those long, long runs will be very sustaining as I struggle to master the beginner terrain at my local hills.

Thanks for the tip about the gondola at Ste. Anne, JoeSchmoe. It sounds great, although I'll have no fear of chairlifts after a winter in the Ottawa Valley, where you get LOTS of practice getting on and off lifts.

Steamboat1: The Eastern Townships are a strong candidate, come to think of it, and only about half the distance of some of the others. Does anyone know about the beginner/intermediate experience at Sutton, Bromont, Orford or Owl's Head?

post #13 of 23

I've ski'd the east for many moons now and keep going back to Killington. Great Mt, good nightlife, good food, cheap places to stay if a storm creeps in and you want fresh in the morning. Long Trail Brewing company right down the road. Awesome beer, decent food. You'll find their beers featured throughout killington. 

 

However, my sister and a big group of friends have been taking to Whiteface a bit lately. Lake Placid has alot to offer for fun other than skiing. Its a cool place, though I get a stuck up feeling from people I spoke with here and there. Lake Placid has awesome food, good beer thanks to Lake Placid Brewing Company (Again, you'll find this beer featured at whiteface for 8 dollars a beer cool.gif ). 

 

Also Smugglers Notch really built up the resort. There's arcades and a Kid hang out spot / teen hang out spot and bars for the rest of us. 

 

 

All three mountains are a good size. Have good skiing and have things for everyone. 

 

Cheers and have a good 2011/2012 season! 

beercheer.gif

Brendan

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post


If one is a beginner/novice, just based on what you have just stated alone, why would Killington be a good choice over the others?

 


Killington is a good choice for beginners in that Juggernaut and Great Eastern are each green trail that are several miles long and offer a fairly unique experience to the new skier - you go from the tops of some big mountains (by Eastern standards) through sections of woods, over a bridge and you have a destination, unlike most beginner skiing you are not just doing laps on the same few easy runs. I found it the MOST interesting place for green trail skiing. In fact, I took one of those same trails the whole way late last year and had very fond memories revived.

 

post #15 of 23
The eastern townships are smaller hills and are known for their glade skiing. If you're a beginner I'll say again to go to Quebec for mont Ste Anne and le massif if you feel yourself closing on on low intermediate status. As well, you're mainly skiing with metro Quebec city as opposed to the entire eastern seaboard who ski Vermont. Thus crowds are minimal to none.
post #16 of 23



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post


Killington is a good choice for beginners in that Juggernaut and Great Eastern are each green trail that are several miles long and offer a fairly unique experience to the new skier - you go from the tops of some big mountains (by Eastern standards) through sections of woods, over a bridge and you have a destination, unlike most beginner skiing you are not just doing laps on the same few easy runs. I found it the MOST interesting place for green trail skiing. In fact, I took one of those same trails the whole way late last year and had very fond memories revived.

 


Killington is an ideal choice if you are adventurous and like people - lots of people, up close and personal, in your face kind of close. It's is the perfect place for a beginner to go if you are one of those that enjoys driving in NYC and sporting with the cabbies. It's a real eye opener. It's a place you either love or hate. Big fish / small pond or small fish / big pond kind of thing. Once there - it's hard to go back home.

 

Disclosure: I have a Killington season pass for the last 7 years and love driving in NYC & especially messing with cabbies. Whatever turns you on.   

 

PS: Stay off Juggernaut - It's more nordic rather than alpine.  

 

 

  
 

 

post #17 of 23

Did anyone mention Tremblant?  I've never been there, but that would seem to be an obvious choice from Ottawa if not yet visited by OP?  

 

Lots of other fine choices mentioned already.  I would second MSA and Le Massif, Stowe, Killington (on a weekday), and perhaps a sleeper for best Northern VT combo of numerous long intermediate runs and possible bargain opportunities:  Sugarbush/Mt Ellen. 

 

Old MSA/Le Massif trip report:  http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=1145&mode=headlines

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

Did anyone mention Tremblant?  I've never been there, but that would seem to be an obvious choice from Ottawa if not yet visited by OP? 


Mont Tremblant is just like how KingGrump describe Killington but only in a French speaking setting. Same large busy each-for-his-own crowd. And, just as expensive. These were the people who bumped into my 8yo and didn't even stop to look many years ago. Although I suspect as a mountain itself, the layout of MT is far less confusing than Killington.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post


Killington is a good choice for beginners in that Juggernaut and Great Eastern are each green trail that are several miles long and offer a fairly unique experience to the new skier - you go from the tops of some big mountains (by Eastern standards) through sections of woods, over a bridge and you have a destination, unlike most beginner skiing you are not just doing laps on the same few easy runs. I found it the MOST interesting place for green trail skiing. In fact, I took one of those same trails the whole way late last year and had very fond memories revived.

 

Not exactly the answer to my question. If Killington's terrain is as confusing as you have mentioned (especially for a novice) where one can waste hours in finding a way out after getting lost, why would it be a good choice for destination a beginner? (BTW, parts of Gore can be that way with its terrain too -- only to a smaller scale)

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post
If Killington's terrain is as confusing as you have mentioned (especially for a novice) where one can waste hours in finding a way out after getting lost, why would it be a good choice for destination a beginner? (BTW, parts of Gore can be that way with its terrain too -- only to a smaller scale)


The first time I was at Killington, I took 30 minutes the night before I went to study the trail map, made a list for a route that got me to the top of all 6 or 7 mts. and down on nothing but green trails. I stuck in my jacket, i.e. X lift to Y trail, L onto Z, R on T up the Quad lift, turn L to U trail,  etc. I refreshed myself on the next part of the route on every lift ride. The trails there are very well marked. I did not get lost. It can be confusing if you don't do any planning but I would not be worried about being lost for hours (assuming you stay on trails).  There are lots of Mountain hosts, instructors and ski patrol to help.

The reason I found that to be good for a beginner is that at most places, it can get dull doing the same few trails over and over especially if the greens are not from the mountain top. Killington gives the beginner an experience of diversity of trails and situations that I enjoyed. But that was me, your experience may differ.

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone, for your help. Great ideas and insights. Any further suggestions, dissenting views or endorsements would be greatly appreciated.

post #21 of 23
Quote:
I refreshed myself on the next part of the route on every lift ride. The trails there are very well marked. I did not get lost.


Good for you that you didn't get lost and you had a great time. Don't get me wrong. I'm adventurous (or how should I put it? stupid) myself that way too and would definitely find it exciting if everything goes as planned. But, as a novice with (very) limited skills and maneuverability on skis in unfamiliar terrain/settings in short daylight. that excitement can easily turn into a disaster in an instance, even for something as simple as making the wrong turn or getting on the wrong lift (or dropping something you have to find). How fast do you think a newby can traverse from one side of the mountain to the next and how far can he/she hike in ski boots?

post #22 of 23

I think Bretton Woods would be excellent for you. Most of the mountain is fall line greens and easy blues with excellent views of Mount Washington. If you're looking for lower cost there's not much in the immediate area. Other than the Mt. Washington Hotel and other Omni Resort lodging, there's just not much in the immediate area at all. The Hampton Inn in Littleton is very clean and comfortable, includes a continental breakfast, and has decently priced packages to BW. Most of the blues at Mount Snow are easy intermediate. By reputation Okemo or Stratton would likely also be good choices. IMO, Stowe (which overall I really like and think the village is great) is not great for lower intermediates. Runs like Lord and North Slope have some pretty dark blue sections. There's a headwall on Main Street that is groomed by winch cat. There is some good lower intermediate terrain but the blues vary greatly in terms of pitch. I'd make the same comments about Sugarbush.

post #23 of 23

+1 on  Bretton Woods as a very nice place with lots of good views. It is not real close, but there are lots of hotel choices in North Conway about 45 minutes away.

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