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East Coast Mountain Suggestions

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a place to vacation with my family. It has to be somewhere on the East Coast, as much as I'd love to go out west. My family covers a fairly wide range of abilities, from low-end intermediate to mid-expert, and we're looking for something to accommodate that. We love mountains as big as we can get in the east - preferably over 2,000 vertical with over 500 skiable acres. Small crowds are key. We've skied Sugarbush VT and loved it, as it was the right size, had terrain for the entire family, and was very empty. We don't care much about a great town, as we're just looking for good skiing. Are there any mountains at all that fit the bill? We've been considering Sugarloaf - how is it?

Thanks.

post #2 of 18

Tremblent Quebec, Canada.  2116 ft (advertised) vertical.  Lot's of beginner terrain.  I thought it wasn't crowded, except for a few runs, when I went day-skiing on a Saturday.

 

Jay Peak at 2153 (advertised) vertical ft is also nice.

 

Here's a list with "true-up" vertical to narrow your search.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_England_ski_areas_by_vertical_drop

 

 

 

 

post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmb4197 View Post

I'm looking for a place to vacation with my family. It has to be somewhere on the East Coast, as much as I'd love to go out west. My family covers a fairly wide range of abilities, from low-end intermediate to mid-expert, and we're looking for something to accommodate that. We love mountains as big as we can get in the east - preferably over 2,000 vertical with over 500 skiable acres. Small crowds are key. We've skied Sugarbush VT and loved it, as it was the right size, had terrain for the entire family, and was very empty. We don't care much about a great town, as we're just looking for good skiing. Are there any mountains at all that fit the bill? We've been considering Sugarloaf - how is it?

Thanks.

 

Big as you can get in the East?  Whiteface, Whiteface Whiteface!  3216ft true vertical (http://mountainvertical.com/).  Bigger than Vail, Breckenridge, Winter Park, Crested Butte, Snowbasin...  Look down from the top and where one normally sees a parking lot at other East Coast resorts, at Whiteface you'll see the top of another lift (the Gondola).  The next closest in the East is Sugarbush at 2552ft.  Killington's true vertical is actually only 1645ft.  If you get bored at Whiteface (can't imagine how) you can ski nearby Gore at 2100ft true vertical.  I believe multi day lift tickets are good at both places.

 

Awesome challenging terrain for all skill levels and one of the best ski schools/instruction in the Northeast.  Whiteface is about as serious as skiing gets in the Northeast.  How many resorts can you go to and ski the Men's and Ladies Olympic downhill runs?

 

You might not care about a great town but Lake Placid and the surrounding area is a great place to visit any time of the year.  I still get chills visiting the Herb Brooks Arena.

 

Small crowds?  On any good ski day there are going to be crowds.  "Crowd control" is more important.  High speed detachable lifts with short lift lines might give the appearance of small crowds but oftentimes I find the crowd just piles up on top of the mountain so it's like making one's way through a mosh pit.  I prefer mountains with limited uphill capacity so the crowd is dispersed on the hill.  On a busy Saturday I might have to wait 30-45min for the single at MRG but when I get to the top, the mountain is all mine.   Additionally, on some mountains the trail system is cut in such a way that promotes bottleneck at certain places.

 

 

 


Edited by eelhc - 2/24/12 at 8:07am
post #4 of 18

If you like Sugarbush (and who wouldn't).  You will like Stowe.  Mont Sainte Anne or Le Massif in Quebec.  Personally, I do not care for Whiteface.  It is tall and steep yes, but it is very narrow and the runs all ski the same and every time I have been there every run has been groomed.  OK for a day, boring for a week unless you are a racer maybe.  Great town though...however, the town is about 10 miles from the mountain.

 

Seriously though, look into Sainte Anne and Le Massif, both over 2000 vert and taking your family to Quebec is a great adventure.  Not sure where you're coming from but it is about a 9- 10 hour drive for me in southwestern Connectucut.

post #5 of 18

This year most of the East, except northern Vermont, is in pretty tough shape.  Stowe is in good shape, but the steeps and the intermediate trails are on different mountains, and it's crazy pricey.  Gore has been better than Whiteface, but they have both been thin this year (although they may get some snow today). Sunday River was thin a couple of weeks ago and they haven't had any new snow yet.  Sugarbush and Jay Peak are your best bets now.

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 18

Nothing wrong with all the other suggestions.  Lots of options.  Are you talking this season or next?  That would dictate some of the recommendations based on current snow conditions.  Believe a lot of northern New England is in for about a foot of snow tonight/tomorrow.

 

General comments:

The small crowds part is easy on weekdays, anywhere will work.

-Sugarloaf would be a fun choice and probably less crowded on weekends/holidays than some less remote big Eastern hills, especially later in the season after Pres Weekend when it often skis very well and is less likely to have frigid temps.

-If you have the budget Stowe is pretty hard to beat all-around.  Will often be busy weekends, but empty on weekdays.  Great steeps on Mansfield and Spruce has nice easier terrain.

-I like Killington on weekdays too, it's closer to most folks and has size and variety.  Beware weekends.

-Smugglers Notch is highly regarded for families and has good terrain variety, but slow lifts if that matters to you. It also has moderate crowds due to being a little off the beaten track and overshadowed by Stowe.

-I agree that Sugarbush and Mt Ellen are a very good combo for size and crowd avoidance.

post #7 of 18

I'd suggest Sugarloaf.  It's a hike, but worth it in my opinion.  It's a big mountain, lots of terrain variety, and a single base area which is ideal for groups of different ski abilities.  Not as much natural as the Northern Greens, but they've fared a lot better in terms of avoiding rain and retaining snow.

post #8 of 18

First, all east-coast areas will be far more crowded on a weekend then they are during the week.

 

Sugarloaf is huge.  If the snowfields are open (big "if"), they are seriously fun.  They've only been open rarely in the times I've been there though.  YMMV.  Note that Sugarloaf is in the middle of nowhere.  The nearest town (more like a named crossroads) is about 10 miles away, and the nearest real town is a good deal further then that.

 

Stowe is, without a doubt, my fave mountain in New England.  It is "interesting" top to bottom (there is very little run-out), there's enough variety of terrain to keep anybody entertained, it gets more snow than just about anywhere in New England, the town itself is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, and if you include the easily accessible side-country areas, it is probably the biggest mountain in the north-east.  You should really have a guide before heading out into the side-country though; there are a number of people from the Stowe area who post here who can show you around.

post #9 of 18

I have been to all of the mountains listed and like all of them. Whiteface can be a challenge for lower level skiers if it gets icy but can't be beat for terrain. Stowe has the best combination of factors - quality skiing, variety, and a nice town, downside is it is expensive. Sugarloaf is a great mountain (they did the US championship there a couple of years ago), but a further drive than most others, upside is you may see a moose. Sunday River has a nice variety but less at the more challenging end than the others. Killington has absolutely the best variety but can be confusing and crowded. Given the light snow, I would head to one of the northern areas: Jay, Stowe, Cannon, Wildcat, or Sugarloaf. (In fact, I will be at Sugarloaf sometime in mid- late March, stopping at Hunter, Middlebury, Killington, Stowe, and somewhere in NH along the way.)

post #10 of 18


Quote:

Originally Posted by crank View Post

Personally, I do not care for Whiteface.  It is tall and steep yes, but it is very narrow and the runs all ski the same and every time I have been there every run has been groomed.  OK for a day, boring for a week unless you are a racer maybe.

 

Hmmm...

 

I guess I've never been there when every run is groomed.  Have you done the slides?

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

  Personally, I do not care for Whiteface.  It is tall and steep yes, but it is very narrow and the runs all ski the same and every time I have been there every run has been groomed.  OK for a day, boring for a week unless you are a racer maybe.  Great town though...however, the town is about 10 miles from the mountain.

 



I also have not been to Whiteface when everything was groomed and I have been there 30+ times. All the runs are not the same. It is not all very narrow. It is an interesting mountain, it can have sometimes have challenging (icy) conditions for lower level skiers but it is a wonderful place with a very interesting town.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post



I also have not been to Whiteface when everything was groomed and I have been there 30+ times. All the runs are not the same. It is not all very narrow. It is an interesting mountain, it can have sometimes have challenging (icy) conditions for lower level skiers but it is a wonderful place with a very interesting town.


I'm with Crank here.  When Vermont gets snow, Whiteface gets cold.  When the Slides are open, Whiteface has some of the best skiing in the east, but the Slides are almost never open.  The tree skiing at Whiteface is limited as well. 

Whiteface just doesn't compare to northern Vermont.

 

BK 

 

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by eelhc View Post


Quote:

 

Hmmm...

 

I guess I've never been there when every run is groomed.  Have you done the slides?


I have skied there about 4 or 5 days over the last 2 decades and everything but the slides was open.  I am not a hater, just not a lover...however I do want to try it when the slides are open.  Have been considering doing some backcountry skiing in the region as well though probably next year.  Want to  ski Mt Marcy!

 

post #14 of 18

Gore Mtn in NY would be a good fit. It is never crowded - even on holiday weekends. They are about 85% open and offer the wide range of trails that your group wants. There are 2 high speed lifts and a gondola. I love skiing Whiteface but the low intermediates in my family are not fans. There is just not enough low blue or green at WF. It is also about 1/2 the acreage of Gore. If you go to Gore the tickets are good at both places and WF is about 80 minutes north of Gore (if you felt like trying WF).

post #15 of 18

Surprised that Smuggs (VT) hasn't been mentioned as much.  Not as cosmopolitan as Stowe, not as gnarly as Jay, but should easily suit the OP's description.

 

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

Surprised that Smuggs (VT) hasn't been mentioned as much.  Not as cosmopolitan as Stowe, not as gnarly as Jay, but should easily suit the OP's description.

 


I used to get up to Smuggs every year.  Great Family Mountain with an excellent ski school.  It's kind of the Disney of skiing.   I like Smuggs but have not been back since I've started skiing the other big hills in Northern Vermont.  The terrain is good but not memorable.  I recall that Smuggs was really crowded during the weekends... especially if the Madonna chair was on wind hold (which was practically every time I was there).   If I was trekking North of Burlington I would drive a little more and hit Jay instead.

 

Here's another option...Rent a house near the Mad River Valley and hit Stowe, Sugarbush, MRG which are all very close.  Maybe even take the ride up to Jay.  I've done this before and even skied Bolton Valley which I thought was a nice mountain (the Burlington locals like to ski there).

 

If going to the Adirondacks in NY you can hit both Gore and Whiteface.  Easy to get to... They are both ~30 minute drive from the Northway.  Whiteface's reputation for icy conditions is a bit overblown IMO.  Like anywhere else it really depends on the snow/conditions.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmb4197 View Post

I'm looking for a place to vacation with my family. It has to be somewhere on the East Coast, as much as I'd love to go out west. My family covers a fairly wide range of abilities, from low-end intermediate to mid-expert, and we're looking for something to accommodate that. We love mountains as big as we can get in the east - preferably over 2,000 vertical with over 500 skiable acres. Small crowds are key. We've skied Sugarbush VT and loved it, as it was the right size, had terrain for the entire family, and was very empty. We don't care much about a great town, as we're just looking for good skiing. Are there any mountains at all that fit the bill? We've been considering Sugarloaf - how is it?

Thanks.

Here you go, this big enough? Really this mountain has everything one could want for a ski/ ride vacation. That picture was taken in April 20th of 2007, they can have amazing snow very late in the year. Stay on slope and just ski out your door, take shuttles in the evening to dinner or the pool. Prices are usually very competitive especially for the ski in/out lodging.
798.JPG

 

post #18 of 18
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

 

Stowe is in good shape, but the steeps and the intermediate trails are on different mountains

 

 

 

 



Don't understand this answer as both the fore runner quad & gondi on Mt. Mansfied have plenty of intermediate terrain in addition to the trails on big/little spruce.

 

In my opinion any VT. ski area from Killington north is good to go.

 

If you want more of an adventure & have the feel of being in Europe without leaving the east than the Quebec City areas are all good (even the smaller hills). Eastern Township areas as well.

 

Sugarloaf is great but like others have said it's in the middle of nowhere. Actually I call it the edge of civilization.

 

So many choices, so little time.

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