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Which New England resort should this Brit choose for mid December?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!


I recently moved to Montreal from the UK having been brought up skiing mainly in the French Alps. I'd consider myself advanced level and been to all the major French, Swiss and Italian ski resorts as well as Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, additionally my family owns a chalet in Chamonix which I visit very often so I'd say I'm fairly experienced. I'm mostly into off-piste skiing or backcountry as its called in N. America. I'm looking to spend a weekend skiing in mid-December somewhere close to Montreal so ideally Vermont area. I realise the mountains in the East aren't quite the size of the Rockies or Alps. Just wondered if any of you could recommend any resorts that are suited to backcountry or good for getting fresh tracks in the East. I know this might be asking a lot but just thought I'd try anyway.



post #2 of 14

Backountry/off-piste skiing doesn't pick up until a bit later in the season, I'm afraid - closer to mid-January before I'd think about skiing in the backcountry thats withing striking distance from Burlington, VT.  Other hardier souls may disagree, but I would stick to the pistes in mid-December if you're going to be in the area.

post #3 of 14

Welcome to North America and EpicSki!  Any particular reason you are thinking of New England and not Quebec?


I added Tags (look to the right of Post #1) that you can use to quickly get to the EpicSki info for the regions near Montreal.  Also Whiteface in Lake Placid, which is only a couple hours drive from Montreal.


Have fun!

post #4 of 14

Two areas that are known for relatively easy back-country access are Stowe and Jay Peak, both of which are in northern Vermont.


The lifts at Stowe stop well below the geographic summit of the mountain, and the ski-able woods extend well into the Smuggler's Notch region as well.  That said, you would want to befriend a local before you go out-of-bounds at Stowe.  There's a lot of ways to get lost or cliffed-out there.


Jay Peak has Big Jay right next to it.  Access to Big Jay has been restricted over the past couple years in an effort to curtail all the illegal trail cutting that's gone on there over the years, but I'm sure it still gets skied.


All that said, back-country skiing in New England in December is sometimes possible, but I sure wouldn't count on it.

post #5 of 14

Swiss/Air Canada has a nonstop Montreal -- Zurich, 7hrs. 25 min.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the responses. I didn't opt for Quebec because the resorts that interest me like Le Massif are just a bit too far to drive for a weekend. Tremblant doesn't interest me that much as I heard its overrated, expensive and doesn't have the best snow record in the East. In the end I've booked for Stowe as it looks like a nice town and the ski area doesn't look too bad at all despite the extortionate price of the one day ski pass.

Taking a transatlantic flight back to Europe isn't really an option as I've neither the time or the money to make skiing in the Alps worthwhile. Besides since I'm in N. America I would like to try something different. Hope to make it out West someday though. The amount of snow the Rockies get really puts much of the Alps to shame!
post #7 of 14

If the temps hold up and the snow continues to fall, you might be in luck. N VT has gotten 12+ inches in the last couple of days. Jay, Smuggs and Stowe are probably closest to you that have good off-piste skiing, marked or unmarked.


Yes, Mont Tremblant is way overcrowded, overrated and overpriced. The best part ppl like about the MT is the European feel, but you're already from Europe so it might strike up as fake anyway.

post #8 of 14

Mid December in Vermont can be tricky and weather dependent.  Backcountry is usually non existent in December unless we get a very good Nor easter to lay down 2- 3 feet of snow.  Even then, it will be un settled and probably not worth doing.  Having said that, a good storm will make every area great in bounds


Best bet is to watch the storms and go where the most snow has fallen is falling. As mentioned, a place like Stowe has good snow making and would be even better if the natural snow is falling. You need to become a bit of a weather geek. 

post #9 of 14

Two choices that early: Stowe will give you the best combination of mountain and New England atmosphere, right down to the white steepled church. If there's snow, its trees are wonderful. Killington is a bigger mountain, more snowmaking, more possibilities if you have to stay on groomers, but ambience is more anyplace-apres-ski than New England, and natural snow - already dicey in mid December - will be bit less reliable than Stowe. 

post #10 of 14

this year is looking pretty good (knock on wood) that you'll have a chance of skiing off trail in mid December.  I was skiing trees yesterday at Jay.  Thats unheard of for Dec. 1st. Jay is probably your best chance for good conditions off trail.  Stowe would probably be up there as well.

post #11 of 14

Looks like Jay and Stowe have deals for lift tickets on Liftopia.com, per usual depending on the dates.

post #12 of 14

Sunday River, Maine is a good bet!

post #13 of 14
I'm a Brit based in Boston and have, over the years, skied extensively in the Alps (mainly Chamonix, Tignes and the Chatel/Avoriaz area)

I moved to Boston this summer and although I've skied the New Hampshire area before, I've not skied further afield in the NE. From my extensive investigations ( word of mouth, ski show visits, forums etc) my best advice would be:

jay Peak.
Sunday River

Don't expect to get anything to Apine and embrace the opp to tree ski and I think you'll have a great time. Also remember how close the West coast and mid west are. That two week vacation could be knee deep in Utah powder or Whister bowls.
post #14 of 14

Hey Dude, noticed your inquiry about backcountry skiing in the east. You are certainly correct about the mountains out here being smaller, but I assure you there is still awesome and challenging skiing to be had. Do you have skins and an AT set up? I'd be willing to talk about my favorite places if you're ever interested. I know New Hampshire's White Mountains like the back of my hand and that's for sure where you'd find terrain that closest resembles the alps or rockies, etc. Though its still a far cry from that kind of skiing. Anyhow, another book I recommend is by David Goodman and its called "Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast". Its my bible for skiing out here. I have personally found many more good places to ski than aren't in his book too though. The biggest issue with some of our backcountry skiing is accessibility. Some good skiing would require most or a full day to approach the base, so sometimes winter camping gets mixed in. Either way, good luck.


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