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What is currently the best East Coast season pass deal?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

All the season pass talk got me into thinking. What is currently the best deal on season pass on East Coast? I'll be skiing on weekends and I won't need holiday dates as I plan to go to Canada to beat the crowds.

 

I live in NYC and I think when I account for time spent driving, size of the mountain and cost of the season pass, Whiteface wins. It's currently $439 ($585 with Gore included). Mountain is fairly large with a number of really good runs. Lake Placid itself is a very nice town with a lot of activities for my wife who does not ski. Unlike all VT resorts, it's easy and relatively traffic free to get to. I found it to be less crowded then Catskill mountains (Hunter and Belleayere). On the downside, weather is tricky and you can find the mountain icy or too windy.

 

Killington is currently at $729. I've been there only briefly last year, but it is bigger then Whiteface. The downside - I heard Killington gets REALLY crowded. Also, even though its pretty much the same 5 hour drive, it's a drive through the land of never ending traffic, Connecticut, so 5 hours most likely will end up more like 8+ hours.

 

Stratton + Okemo + Sunapee pass is currently $649. I've never been to either. Are these more like Hunter (small & crowded) or are these on a bigger side? Stratton/Okemo are both just under 5 hour drive which is a plus, but then again, it's a drive through CT... Looks very interesting, but again, I never been to either so I don't know if its something I should even consider.

 

Any other good mountains within driving distance from NYC that should be considered.

 

P.S. I know Stowe is 6 hours, but its pricing model does not really fit my idea of the best deal... Hunter is 3 hours away, but no way I'm would pay $749 for a season pass when Whiteface is just an extra 2 hour drive from Hunter and offers not only much cheaper pass, but also MUCH better skiing.

 

Cheers!

post #2 of 26

What about someplace like Catamount?  http://www.catamountski.com/ 

 

Smaller than the places you were talking about but much cheaper and closer: $299 for the pass and 2.5 hours from NY.  If you stay in Great Barrington there's plenty for your wife to do.  And it's got some legitimate challenge, more so at least than Stratton and Okemo.  At that price you could feel justified in going somewhere else when you got tired of it.

 

(I grew up skiing there & it was fun!).

 

post #3 of 26

I'm not much of a Whiteface fan.  When Vermont gets snow, WF gets cold.  Unless the Slides are open, I prefer Gore.  There's a reason a Gore pass is more than a WF pass, but there's not much to do in North Creek when the lifts close. 

Okemo and Stratton are good for easy groomers.  Killington has lots of terrain at all levels, but it's a weekend zoo.

You should think about Sugarbush. It's less than an hour past Killington, and it has lots of groomers and trees, plus Castlerock.  You'll also be close to Mad River Glen.

From Brooklyn, the fastest way to most of Vermont is Taconic Parkway to NY22 to VT7, not I95/I91.

 

BK

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 

cometjo - thanks for a tip, I'll need to hit them up next season. It does sound interesting from money/travel point of view, but as with all small resorts - how crowded do they get on weekends? Slow elevators all at the base of the mountain usually mean long lines in my experience...

 

BK - is that route really faster? Gives me an extra hour on Google Maps. How are the speed limits on those roads? I've been thinking of trying I87 to Albany and then somehow to connect to VT...


Edited by mx22 - 3/26/12 at 1:48pm
post #5 of 26

Greek Peak $325 if you buy before April 15th.Not a bad hill if Mother Nature helps,they light about 2/3 of mountain great night skiing

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mx22 View Post
How are the speed limits on those roads?


Cops are very aggressive on Taconic Pkwy.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mx22 View Post


BK - is that route really faster? Gives me an extra hour on Google Maps. How are the speed limits on those roads? I've been thinking of trying I87 to Albany and then somehow to connect to VT...

Google maps is wrong.  Mapquest makes them Taconic or I91 about the same, but if you think you will lose 3+ hours in Connecticut traffic, there's no contest.
The speed limit on the Taconic is only 55, but Rt7 in Vermont is 65 from Bennington to Rutland. 

The NY Thruway goes too far west, there's about $14 in additional tolls, and it's a slow trip from I87 to Vermont, especially if you go through Troy to Okemo or Stratton.

 

Epic- The cops everywhere in NY are aggressive, but the judges let you plead speeding tickets down to a parking ticket, so at least you never need to lose your license for speeding.

 

BK

 

post #8 of 26

Taconic is fine if you set cruise control to 64 

post #9 of 26
I agree with Bode. Think about Sugarbush - its more $$$, but usually better snow. If you're set on Whiteface, get the Gore add on. You're guaranteed a lot of cold hard days at WF where you'll want some variety every once in awhile.
post #10 of 26

here's my thoughts:

 

Catamount does have some nice terrain and I don't think it gets super crowded, however, at just over 1 thousand feet of vertical it might get boring for an entire season.  Driving through CT is not so bad if you wait out the traffic on Friday evenings...easy for me to say because you have and extra hour plus to get get from where you live to where I live in SW CT.  So leaving NY at 7PM you should miss the traffic but the earliest you would likely make it to Killington would be around midnight.  I find driving up the Taconic to be very fatiguing (narrow, hilly, winding and dark) and there always seems to me more state police on that road than anywhere else...except  maybe Route 9 on the way to Lake Placid. 

 

Whiteface and Gore sounds the most reasonable for you bearing in mind your location and the price, however, I have no love for Whiteface and Fore, while a very fun mountain, has nothing for you wife.  Okemo, Stratton, etc. are a bit closer than Killington but lack a lot of challenge, can be crowded, and would probably be boring to ski all season.

 

For Killington, driving up 87 and cutting east at Whitehall (route 4) is doable and I think a lot of New Yorkers do take that route, however it always takes longer to get across than I think it will.

 

If I were thinking about getting a season's pass I would want a big hill with a good variety of terrain.  For me that would be (not in any order) KIllington, Sugarbush, Gore.  (Like I said really not a fan of Whiteface but if you can get that and Gore on one ticket it might be your best bet.

post #11 of 26

Why is Windham not on the list? I've never been, so I don't know anything about the place. I've been to Hunter, so I can see why you'd leave that off the list - might as well figure out how to ski the Fresh Kills garbage dump.

post #12 of 26
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

 

...  Killington has lots of terrain at all levels, but it's a weekend zoo.

You should think about Sugarbush. It's less than an hour past Killington, and it has lots of groomers and trees, plus Castlerock.  You'll also be close to Mad River Glen.

 

 

From Brooklyn, the fastest way to most of Vermont is Taconic Parkway to NY22 to VT7, not I95/I91.

 

BK


I would think that the fastest route to the Mad River Valley is to go I-87 all the way up to Scroon lake and cut across the new bridge and pick up Rt 17, though Bristol, past MRG and cut over German Flats Rd.  You have to go north so 87 is the fastest route north and you have to cut over.  It's a pretty straight line over the Appalachian Gap.

 

You could also cut over Rt 4 and pick up one of the roads north.  I take a country road up and then cut over to Rt 17.  Rt 7 is a road that I avoid.

 

I live in Troy and go West to pick up I-87.  It's faster than Rt 7 or 7 100.  It's safer for speeding tickets.  Going to Killington or Magic I take Rt 7, obviously.

 

Sugarbush would be awesome, but you would need a place to stay.  It's a hell of a drive to take tackle on a regular basis.  Mad River Glen wouldn't make sense since the season is so short and the snow is unreliable.

 

Killington has a ton of terrain and I haven't experience problems with lift line very often.  The season is long, they make a lot of snow and the season is the longest.

 

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post


I would think that the fastest route to the Mad River Valley is to go I-87 all the way up to Scroon lake and cut across the new bridge and pick up Rt 17, though Bristol, past MRG and cut over German Flats Rd.  You have to go north so 87 is the fastest route north and you have to cut over.  It's a pretty straight line over the Appalachian Gap.

 

You could also cut over Rt 4 and pick up one of the roads north.  I take a country road up and then cut over to Rt 17.  Rt 7 is a road that I avoid.

 

I live in Troy and go West to pick up I-87.  It's faster than Rt 7 or 7 100.  It's safer for speeding tickets.  Going to Killington or Magic I take Rt 7, obviously.

 

 

The OP is in Brooklyn, so using I87 means he needs go through th Bronx or MAnhattan to get to the Thruway. That route also goes through Appalachian Gap, which is sketchy when there's weather.

 

The fastest way from Albany to Bristol is through Whitehall, not the new bridge.  It's even worse from Troy, because you need to go through Latham.  Why not skip the interstates and head out through Schaghticoke and Cambridge?

 

BK 
 

 

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post


 

For Killington, driving up 87 and cutting east at Whitehall (route 4) is doable and I think a lot of New Yorkers do take that route, however it always takes longer to get across than I think it will.

 

 


That's the route from NJ.  From Brooklyn your choices are Taconic or I95 to I91.  Taconic is faster to Stratton.  I91 is faster to Stowe.  

 

BK

 

post #15 of 26

If your thinking about Stratton they also have a good hotel package called the Fab 5 (need to Be on their email list and it books fast). You get 5 nights lodging at the Longtrail house for $650 (studio), cheaper if you want the Stratton Inn. The Longtrail House is across the street from the lifts and has an outdoor pool and hottubs plus indoor parking. Great choice when the wife and kids want to quit early. I get the value season pass ($499) plus the Fab 5 and i'm skiing 10 day for just over $1000 for me. I think Stratton skis bigger then Hunter and coming from NJ it is usually pretty quick drive (4.5 hours).

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Why is Windham not on the list? I've never been, so I don't know anything about the place. I've been to Hunter, so I can see why you'd leave that off the list - might as well figure out how to ski the Fresh Kills garbage dump.



I haven't been to Windham either, but I've been to Hunter and Belleayre... I guess when you really need to satisfy your ski urge quickly, Catskills will do; but I don't see any real appeal - these resorts are not really big, not very diverse, overcrowded and overpriced. It seems like Whiteface is not really popular here, but its head and shoulders above either of the above mentioned mountains.

 

I've never been to Sugarbush. How does it compare to Killington and Stowe? What about Smuggler's Notch - is it worth considering for season pass?

 

P.S. Any idea why neither Stowe, nor Smuggs did not publish their 12/13 season rates? Tried calling Stowe, but all I'm getting is answering machine...

post #17 of 26

I used to ski Windham regularly but haven't been there in over 10 years. In my opinion, Hunter has more challenging terrain, and at that time (don't know what, if any improvements they've made), a better lift system. Both were equally crowded, the difference being that while Hunter's crowds were on the slopes, Windham's were stuck in lift lines.

post #18 of 26

All good points.  Made it to MRG in 2:40 without pushing.  I am worried about tickets.

 

Your way from Troy would be to get to Rt 22, then 22a then 17, right.  I have only needed to abandon the car once on the Gap back in the 70s.  It was near the top of the gap so I hiked and got to ski for the day and then deal with it!  You should have good tires to say the least.

 

Coming from Troy to Killington or Magic.  I live a bit East of Troy so I just grab a back road the brings me to Rt 7 in NY and off I go.  The other rout that you mentioned is a good way to get to 22, I just tend not to go that way.

 

Latham is no big deal since the route keeps you on high speed highway.

 

 

This is with regards post #13.

post #19 of 26

The main point though is that the Mad River Valley is a long friggin ways to travell.

 

If you like Stratton, perfect. 

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mx22 View Post



I haven't been to Windham either, but I've been to Hunter and Belleayre... I guess when you really need to satisfy your ski urge quickly, Catskills will do; but I don't see any real appeal - these resorts are not really big, not very diverse, overcrowded and overpriced. It seems like Whiteface is not really popular here, but its head and shoulders above either of the above mentioned mountains.

 

I've never been to Sugarbush. How does it compare to Killington and Stowe? What about Smuggler's Notch - is it worth considering for season pass?

 

P.S. Any idea why neither Stowe, nor Smuggs did not publish their 12/13 season rates? Tried calling Stowe, but all I'm getting is answering machine...


 

Sugarbush is one of my top 3 areas in VT.  It has a very good variety of terrain from Castlerock, which is similar in feel to MRG in that it is steep and ungroomed with an old, slow double chair which has had half the chairs taken off the line - so not a ton of skier density up there, to signature bump runs like Stein's Run, to easier terrain off Gatehouse lift and plenty of blue and black cruisers...plus they have good glades, tree skiing and all of Sugarbush North/Mt Ellen.  For me it ranks above KIllington and close to Stowe with Stowe edging it out due to the off piste adventure to be found on Mt. Mansfield and the great early days of VT ski history feel you get there.

 

I hate to admit I have never skied Smuggs.

post #21 of 26

Sure, there are tons of better places to ski than the Catskills, but before you spring for that pass, you should really give some thought to the commute, not just under ideal conditions, but based on leaving NYC during the Friday rush, not to mention less than ideal driving weather. I speak from experience.

 

My brother has a house near Stratton and my family and I are frequent weekend guests, particularly in the winter. If I can get out of work around 5:00 and an ever changing combination wife/kids/friends can do the same (a big IF), if traffic is normal and the weather is decent, we roll in for a late dinner between 10:00 and 11:00. All of us could use a little more sleep, but we usually make it out on the hill by 8:30-9:00 Saturday morning, just in time to beat the crowd. We're out early again on Sunday and usually quit around 2:00  (maybe 3:00 if it's really good), take a quick shower, grab a snack, hit the road 4:00-4:30, and get home by 9:00. 

 

That's Stratton with an average drive time from NYC of 4 hours and when everything works (it doesn't always); do the math for someplace like Sugarbush. Consider you'll be doing this almost every weekend.

 

More drive time = less ski time.

 

 

 

 

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mx22 View Post

P.S. Any idea why neither Stowe, nor Smuggs did not publish their 12/13 season rates? Tried calling Stowe, but all I'm getting is answering machine...


If we can use history as our guide, don't expect to see Stowe rates until the end of the summer or even early fall. I don't know why they do it that way. I do know that they are making an even bigger push with snowmaking next year. Just got the greenlight to buy an additional $10 million worth of automated fan guns. There are cheaper passes for sure, but you do get what you pay for.

post #23 of 26

I'll second Crank's endorsement of Sugarbush.  Up there with Stowe (possibly bigger with North and South), great challenge, great snow, a range of woods from easy cut glades to tight secret stashes.

 

If it were me I might do something like get a Catamount pass and a Sugar Direct card (which gives you a good discount at Sugarbush), and ski something like 2 out of 3 weeks at Catamount and head North when I felt like more variety.  If you are up for the drive more often, I'd happily ski at Sugarbush all year.

post #24 of 26

Sugarbush is such a long drive.  You'd need to get a house to justify the season pass.  Great place to ski though.

 

I get a pass at Jiminy and then try to get to as many other mountains as possible.  Jiminy is only half an hour from the house so I can ski a few hours and justify it.  Then I search for discount tickets and deals and work that angle to keep my costs down.

post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 

I agree that drive to VT is rather long. That's actually why I rated Whiteface above VT resorts in my first post - it's at least 1 hour shorter drive for me. That said, I only plan to ski weekends and hopefully one full mid week, around 20 days or so. It's cheaper to stay in hotels (especially if on occasion I can convince my friends to come along and split the cost of the room with me). Also, I tried a slightly different approach this season - instead of leaving on Friday after the work and sleep 2 nights near the mountain, I tried waking up very early (2-3am) and head straight towards the mountain. It's a bit tiring (but so was a late night drive to the hotel), but I can usually start skiing when mountain opens instead of 10/11am and save quiet a bit of money too.

 

Erik, I know Stowe is probably one of the best choices here on East Coast, but its price is steering me away - doubt I'll be able to swing for a season pass this year. Do you happen to know what was the "early bird" price for 7 day pass (no holidays) this year? Was it around 1k or 1.5k?

 

Sugarbush - is it even worth to consider pass to Mt. Ellen only? It's half of All Mountain pass...

post #26 of 26

I live in Blyn myself. Going to southern VT. or K I usually go over the Whitestone to the Hutch then depending on time of day take either the Sprain Pkwy or I-684/84 to the Taconic Pkwy. I don't like driving the lower Taconic in the dark. Get off the Taconic at Chatam (last exit before toll) & then I think the road # is 249 to Rt. 22 (there is a short cut at Queechie Lake to Rt. 22). Take Rt. 22 to Hoosick then pick up NY 7 into VT. 279 (I think that's the number)) which takes you to VT. 7. I make K in about 5 hrs. + or- a few minutes & Stratton/Bromley/ Magic in 4 hrs. Of course this depends on which section of Bklyn you live in. For me getting to the Whitestone is easy but it might not be for you. If I was going to the MRV or Stowe then I'd take Hutch to Merrick then I-91 to I-89. The MRV or Stowe is about the same drive time going this way. I drove straight to Stowe last week & from my driveway to the Stowe parking lot was 5hrs. 45 min. I also like leaving early in the morning so traffic getting out of the city isn't a factor. I can't recommend what is the best season pass deal since I buy a weekday only pass to K & don't ski weekends. I'm semi-retired so I can do this now but was a weekend warrior for many years. For me this is the best deal because it's the closest mountain to my ski club (cheap lodging). Can you believe $24 a night? I also buy a few VT. Pass coupon books so that I can ski around a little & not just ski K everyday. To me the couple of extra hours to get to VT. as opposed to the Catskills is well worth it because of vastly better terrain, snow conditions & scenery. Like someone else said if I set my cruise at 63/64 mph. on the Taconic the cops don't bother me, at least they haven't yet. Whatever you decide I hope you enjoy yourself.

 

edit: I think Whiteface is about the same drive time as K, might even be a wee bit longer. I'm not a big fan of Gore.


Edited by steamboat1 - 3/28/12 at 11:00am
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