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Best Resort for First Trip to New England? - Page 2

post #31 of 41
Originally Posted by Ski the East View Post




The week before Christmas can be risky at Whiteface.  Some years the snow is good, even great.  More likely, they will have the snow guns blazing to get a good layer of cover down for Christmas week. 


Your luck is likely to depend on when the first big winter storm comes through, and whether it is followed by rain.  An 18" dump that sticks can make a huge difference in the early season skiing at Whiteface.




I figured I'm taking a chance when I booked the trip, but as long as the have a few runs open with a decent amount of vertical that will be enough to keep me happy.  Especially if I can do the bobsled/skeleton run at the Olympic facility while I'm up there.   Since I mostly ski the Mid-Atlantic areas, skiing with snow guns blazing is how most of my skiing is done :).  And hey, if conditions are bad when I'm up there, it will just mean I will have to book another trip sometime.


 A bunch of factors just came together to let me take that week off for an extremely cheap vacation, with the two main ones being it was one of the few weeks I could take off this ski season and I was able to get lodging at Lake Placid and airfare to Albany for practically nothing that week.

post #32 of 41

Southern Vermont


Snow, Okemo and Stratton (and Bromley) are all easy cruising mountains.  No need to go father north.  It gets a lot tougher north of Okemo.

post #33 of 41

I've been to many of the ski areas in New England and the Adirondacks, and the ones that really stand out are Whiteface and Sugarbush.


Whiteface can be cold and windy, but 3200' of vertical makes for some fast and steep runs. It's never crowded. Lake Placid is a great little town and you can't beat the scenery of the nearby High peaks.


Sugarbush is set of differently, but again, there's alot of vertical for the east coast. Plenty of high speed quads to get you again, and the Castle Rock area is really special. 

post #34 of 41

LEMII, Stowe would be great, but I would choose Stratton.  It is much closer for you, and I think Stratton has better grooming on the green/blue.  If weather is sketchy Stowe will have better/more snow.    Stratton also has a village with excellent (Verde / Partridge) and good restaurants / cafes (as does Stowe).   Having lived and Skied in NC, I think you would be very happy with all of the resorts listed for skiing, but Stratton and Stowe might be better for a nice, no commuting vacation if you like dining after skiing and nicer lunches.  Stratton is particularly good at snow management and grooming, which your wife might enjoy... Happy wife, happy life.... 

post #35 of 41

Stratton would be a safe bet, for all the reasons listed above. Plus, their lift system is about the best anywhere in the East, and the mountain is easy to navigate. Easier terrain is somewhat segregated from the harder trails, making for a less stressful experience for intermediates. And there are plenty of easier green/blue runs that can be accessed from the top of the mountain. My wife and I always have a good time there, and she's by no means an aggressive skier. 

post #36 of 41

Mad River Valley would also be a great choice. Beautiful New England scenery and classic towns. Sugarbush's 2 mountains offer a variety of terrain that is among the very best in New England. Then you have the iconic Mad River Glen. Ironically, while MRG is known for its expert terrain, it also happens to have some of the best beginner terrain in the East.

post #37 of 41
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post


Nice summary here.  Just to clarify, the base of Okemo ski area is the town of Ludlow.  I've never paid much attention to the town of Ludlow.  In terms of land area, Ludlow is a pretty decent sized town for Vermont -- i.e., it has a traffic light.  Not sure what is there in terms of "to do", although Okemo does cater to families, so I imagine there's some sort of "family friendly" type activities going on in town.


Also, note that Smugglers Notch and Stowe are geographically right next to each other.  You can see Smuggs from Stowe.  That said, the two areas are about a 45 minute drive apart as the direct road between them is closed in the winter.


I really like Stowe and think the town and surrounding area is really special. It's kind of the quintessential New England village. I like Waterbury a lot as well. Stowe has great learning terrain but many of the blues would be considered blacks at a lot of places. There's not a lot of easy intermediate terrain. Parts of North Slope and Lord are fairly challenging. They often let the middle part of Gulch bump up. Most of Perry Merrill fits the bill but the top bit could be a challenge for a green skier looking to progress. Several have mentioned Bretton Woods. It has great terrain and a lot of it for novice skiers. As noted, greens from every lift and most of the blues are low intermediate. Lots of glades if the natural snow is good. Otherwise not a lot to challenge to challenge advanced skiers. North Conway offers tons of options both on and off the slope. I agree that Wildcat has some of the best views anywhere. I think basing yourself by Loon during a mid-week, non-holiday period would be a something to look at and it's not far from BW and Cannon. And I'd suggest taking a look at Mt. Snow. Not much green terrain and if you're wife is not ready to deal with early intermediate, probably not the choice. But most of the blues are what I'd call early intermediate terrain. There's some steeper stuff on the North Face, and they really do a good job with snowmaking if mother nature cooperates at all (she really didn't last year).

post #38 of 41
Surprised no one has mentioned Jay - great mountain with good amenities, although the town is lacking outside the resort area. Rentals are reasonable as well.
post #39 of 41

I have skied Stratton a number of times and while the mountain would work fine, what I find lacking there is any New England feel. I always think of Stratton as where all the New Yorkers ski. It has good grooming and a decent diversity of runs but the village is an artificial  Intermountain creation. Manchester has some good dining but is an outlet center. Great shopping but light on ambiance. If you are HQ at Stowe, you can reach Sugarbush and Mad River in less than an hour and Jay in about 1hr 15 min. You will also get to see VT on your drive up which should be part of the fun. Stowe has a whole mountain and base area that should work fine for your wife and as the week progresses she can take the gondola up and do Gondalier and Perry Merrill and then finally hit a tour of the other side on some easy greens like Toll Road. It will be fun. I was at Mad River when I had just skied for a year or two and had lots of fun - a high whoopee factor.

post #40 of 41

If you're looking for great wide open groomers ... I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Sunapee. Not the greatest destination resort and it will be super crowded on weekends, but midweek it's a blast. They have amazing snowmaking and grooming, so conditions are usually great.


If you're going to go up by Stowe, also check out the smaller areas around there for some true new england charm. Check out Cochran's, with their extensive world cup bib collection and a few olympic medals, and Bolton Valley, which is another pretty small area with great character and history. Both are ~30-40 minutes from stowe but with more new england character and less swanky overpriced resort-ness.


Sugarbush is also a great new england resort. Both peaks have great terrain, and Mt Ellen (North) is almost never crowded, and is home to great cruisers, moguls, and glades (if there's natural snow). Also some of the best views in VT.


The N Conway area is awesome for skiing. People have talked about easy access to Wildcat, Attitash, Cannon, Bretton Woods etc., but Black Mountain is super cheap, tiny, never crowded, and has great terrain. It's a locals local place, but it's great, at least for a day.


In terms of skiing, almost every ski area will have terrain for both of you. It's really about how many areas you want to go to, price points, and what you want besides the skiing. If you want to consider upstate new york as well, both Gore and Whiteface offer some pretty sweet skiing.

post #41 of 41

My two cents, having learned to ski within the past 10 years as an adult and having skied most of the areas mentioned here. My husband and I have a time share at the Trapps in Stowe the second week of January. We've had plenty to ski there during that week in the past 7 years, starting from level 2 or 3 skiing up to our current upper intermediate level. You should find some great runs on Mt. Mansfield and she can do most runs on Spruce Peak across the way connected by the Over Easy gondola, and she'll be able to ski Toll Road on Mansfield, a beautiful 4-mile beginners run that I still love skiing especially when there's a little fresh snow. She can probably also ski some of the blues on Mansfield especially during the week when they're not crowded.


We also really love Bretton Woods. When there's  a lot open, there's plenty to ski for most abilities (skiing trees for you probably, but that's really unlikely early in the season.) Bretton is the kind of place that you can find cool little trails that no one else seems to find, and they do a pretty good job at getting stuff open early, even if it's not a lot of terrain. I think your wife would absolutely love Bretton Woods, we still do even though most terrain there is quite easy for us. Part of what's nice about it is the mellow vibe, there aren't many teenage bombers who want to prove something and scare the crap out of you in the process (you get a lot of these at Stowe on the weekends early season.)


As others have mentioned, New England is not that big and travelling from one resort to another is pretty easy. I'd recommend a cute town that we love in New Hampshire, Bethlehem. It's 20 minutes from Bretton and Cannon, less than 2 hours from Stowe and Sugarbush, I think about 2 hours from Sunday River, an hour or so from Burke Mountain in northern Vermont, and also about an hour from Jay Peak, way north in Vermont. I can tell you more about the area if you're interested.


I have to say that in my opinion, it's not worth driving all the way up here and skiing at Stratton or Okemo. I've been to both and really disliked both of them. I would hate to see someone drive all that way and come away with the opinion that New England was like Stratton or Okemo. No offense, anyone, just my personal preference. Once again, it's more about the vibe and my perception of lack of atmosphere at those two places. In any case, I love Stowe and definitely recommend you take a spin through there even if it's a non-skiing day to rest your legs, it's a great place.

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