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Torontonian looking for good resort in N.E. USA

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

A few of us want to go on a ski trip before the holiday season begins, around Dec. 11th. I used to live in Quebec and had access to great ski hills and would take advantage of them every week. However, being in Toronto for the past decade has put a serious dent in my ski/snowboard adventures. There's nothing good here, and the "best" one in Ontario is Blue Mountain which is a joke.

 

My friends want to go to Tremblant, but having been there a dozen times I know how it's like and I'd rather avoid it. I've discovered Whiteface and Stowe on the internets as two alternatives. My concern is that Whiteface may not get a lot of snow by mid-December. Stowe might, but it's a longer trip to Stowe than it is to Whiteface. I also have no idea about the charm of their town, or their pricing (relative to Tremblant).

 

Can anyone help? Thanks.

 

Oh, first post :) 

post #2 of 22

Welcome to EpicSki!

 

Here is a related thread.  Perhaps if you add to it then the OP and you will get more answers.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/115429/which-new-england-resort-should-this-brit-choose-for-mid-december#post_1511735

 

Have you ever been to the places up near Quebec City?

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Welcome to EpicSki!

 

Here is a related thread.  Perhaps if you add to it then the OP and you will get more answers.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/115429/which-new-england-resort-should-this-brit-choose-for-mid-december#post_1511735

 

Have you ever been to the places up near Quebec City?

Thanks for the link. It's a very short thread though :)

 

Yes I've been there dozens of times, although it was years ago and I can't quite remember how they were (been to most of them).

 

It's really important for me to go to a hill that has a good vertical and a decent # of runs, but it's also very important that the town and resort I'm staying at have a charm to them. I can't remember how those towns and resorts near Quebec City and Sherbrooke area were (I'm not talking about Quebec City itself, which is great but usually a good drive away from the hills). I do remember the slopes to be great and the weather to be f******* freezing. 

post #4 of 22

Sometimes threads only get going after someone bumps it to the top with a new post.

 

I'm curious to see what advice you get because I'm probably going to have a reason to be in New England a year from now.  

 

Have heard about how cold northern Quebec can be.  SInce I have to fly to get to any big mountains, I go west to the Rockies instead of north.  Learned at Whiteface long, long ago.  Can be pretty cold there too.

post #5 of 22

Stowe is often regarded as a Norman Rockwell painting "come to life".  It looks like what you expect a classic New England town to look like.  There is tons to do there besides ski.

 

It's been a long, long time since I've been to Whiteface.  I remember the town being a bit more "modern", probably because they hosted the Olympics there back in 1980.

 

Stowe definitely gets much more natural snow and has a more powerful snowmaking system then Whiteface does.  Whiteface is known as "Iceface" for a reason, but Stowe can become a hockey rink as well.  Both places also have a well-earned reputation for occasionally having some brutally cold days.

 

That said...  mid-December?  Nobody in New England will have much open.  Both mountains offer some exceptional skiing (I'm biased towards Stowe myself), but right now, what you're going to get is "skiing" not "exceptional skiing".

post #6 of 22

I'll second the "charm" of the village at the base of Stowe.

Mid December?  Well, you take what conditions you can get. Mid-December  isn't as likely to give you single digits as mid-Jan or Feb, but it may do that.

 

Which is more important to you, the apres ski activities, or the terrain expanse and variability?  Are you looking for groomed blues, blacks, or off-piste challenges?

post #7 of 22

If you're driving from Toronto, the difference in distance is trivial.  Both towns are cute, both hills are good.  Lodging will NOT be an issue.  When you get across the border check a few websites and then decide where to go.  Its been pretty cold so the snowmakers are working hard.  Ironically, southern Vermont ( Stratton / Snow / Okemo ) might have better conditions as they are more focussed on snowmaking and probably will have more trails open.

post #8 of 22

I'd like to clarify some of the info of the previous 3 posts (as someone from the T.O. area).

 

Given Kevin has not been to Whiteface in a long time, he wouldn't be up on what the millions of $ in improvements to the snowmaking has done at Whiteface.  I've been there my share of times, and never found ice to be a problem.  In fact, I remember an artificial powder day, of lapping the gondola and hitting the snow under the guns.  It was ridiculously cold, which kept the crowds away, and the artificial snow was dry and flaky. As well, I'd question whether Stowe's snowmaking is as good.

 

While Liquid is seconding the charm of the Stowe village, nothing beats Lake Placid and the Adirondacks.  Lake Placid feels like Niagara-on-the-Lake, but with an Olympic/outdoorsy bent.  Its my family's favourite spot to vacation in the Northeast of Canada/USA.  That said, the bar scene isn't rockin like Tremblant, but the restaurants are good, and there's a top-notch brew pub.  As well, the Adirondack area in general is as close as it gets in the East of feeling like you're out in the BC wilderness.  The mountains are huge, and some are even white-capped.  Outside of a couple towns like Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, there's zero development... just the Adirondack State Park.

 

I've gone from Barrie to Lake Placid in 6 hours and 40 minutes with a stop for dinner in Brockville.  From TO, if you push it, and drive 120k on the 401, you'll be under 6 hours guaranteed.  If you leave early, you can even get an afternoon on the mountain.  You won't be doing that at Stowe.

post #9 of 22

I have been to both Stowe (probably 15 times in the last 2 years) and had a season pass a few years ago to Whiteface. I like both mountains and I like both towns. If I were going mid December, without advanced knowledge of the conditions, I would probably pick Whiteface for 1 reason - it is colder and they are likely to have made more snow. I was at Stowe last December for a race camp about a week before Xmas and conditions were not good. That was one year though and the worst conditions all year I've seen in the last 15 years. In prior years, I have had good December conditions at Stowe. The two mountains are both among the very best in the East and both are worth a visit. On the cost front, Lake Placid is cheaper than Stowe for comparable lodging and meals. One drawback to Whiteface is that it is about 10 miles from town and there are only one or two motels close and, if you stay in them, you end up driving to Lake Placid for dinner anyway. Stowe is the more scenic town but Whiteface has a lot going on and a real charm with the Lake in the middle of town (snow covered usually and with skating). I personally like the dining better in Lake Placid, there are some really top notch places including an excellent high end place and an excellent Italian grill. Stowe has some very good Mexican and Italian. Adjusting for the dollar being at par CAD/US, Stowe might be a touch higher than Tremblant and Whiteface a touch lower but mid December has such good discounts that it is hard to tell without real research.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

 

Which is more important to you, the apres ski activities, or the terrain expanse and variability?  Are you looking for groomed blues, blacks, or off-piste challenges?

The skiing for sure. I'm looking for blues and blacks. A variation would be nice. Off-piste is a no-go in mid-December, and I'd rather stay on the trail after 3 years of not having been on the hills.

The terrain expanse and variability is definitely more important.

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

So thank you all for your suggestions. I suppose it boils down to Whiteface and Stowe.

 

For those of you who've been to either and experienced pleasant  accommodation, do you remember where you stayed at?

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sepandee View Post

So thank you all for your suggestions. I suppose it boils down to Whiteface and Stowe.

 

For those of you who've been to either and experienced pleasant  accommodation, do you remember where you stayed at?

 

For Stowe, there's the GoStowe website (http://www.gostowe.com/) for booking lodging in the village.  There's a wide range of prices.  I've stayed at "Town & Country" and "Stowe Motel & Snowdrift" a bunch over the years.  If you're looking for "really nice", the Stoweflake fits the bill.

post #13 of 22

Stowe - I was at the Stoweflake last December (week or 2 before Xmas) and was disappointed. It is apparently when they do their new carpet, painting, major repairs (at least last year). The Green Mountain Inn in the village is nice. I was not happy with the English Inn. The new condo residences right at the base are very nice but expensive. Stone Hill Inn is nice. Topnotch is nice but pricy.
 

Whiteface - Mirror Lake Inn is very nice. There are a couple of hotels right downtown that have been recently renovated since the last time I was there - Best Western Golden Arrow, what used to be the Hilton but now has anew name and what used to be the Holiday Inn. I would be comfortable staying at any of them (and will try one of them as I have a trip sometime this winter to Lake Placid.) Hungry Trout is near the mountain and is OK but I haven't stayed there in years. Lake Placid Lodge is excellent with great dining but very expensive. For dining, we like the Cottage (right on the lake in a boathouse) at the Mirror Lake Inn for casual; and Cafe Rustica on the road to Saranac Lake in the shopping center with the Price Chopper grocery, The Lake Placid brew pub is good for a beer but the food is just Ok.

post #14 of 22

A thread with info about snowmaking at Stowe in Nov, by people who are skiing there now.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/115122/thanksgiving-2012-killington-sugarbush-stowe

post #15 of 22

A few of the guys took a trip to Whiteface last Feb, had a great time.

 

The first day the summit was closed due to wind, so we covered the lower lifts. We'd driven in that morning so no big.

The second day the summit opened up, Skyward was a blast. Love that vertical drop.

The third day everything was open, including the Lookout mountain lift, which has a beautiful long trail with plenty of blown powder. 

 

Stayed in a place called the Ledgerock, which was literally across the highway from the mountain.  Walked to the lifts from the hotel room.

 

Emailed the ower and he was happy to cut a deal for lift and lodge.  I'd go back, nothing fancy,  just a good clean room.  There is a games room with billards and some boardgames too.

 

The only down was getting to back to the hotel from Lake Placid, about a 20 $ cab at the end of the night.  You can catch the shuttle bus from the mountain into Placid.

post #16 of 22

Go to whiteface, they have got a great start to the season right now they are what they were at mid-december last year... So at this rate when you are their they should have the summit and maybe even lookout open. It can be cold but not quebec city cold and last year we had one day of 5 to 10 c in mid-december again last year was terrible but just goes to prove it can be anywhere from -15 to 15. If the weather is cold at whiteface its going to be cold at stowe so don`t worry about that. 

 

Lodgin wise, don`t even research lake placid we have been there enough to say that you can`t get a better rate then crown plaza`s ski and stay with 3 night and day free package. It`s actually cheaper to do this package then buy 3 days of lift tickets. Also quality wise a unbelievable property, it up on top of a hill looking over the lake and in the town enough to be in the town but not enough to be noisy or in the town. 

From toronto it`s an easy 6 hour drive and ogdensburg is probably the fastest us-canada border in the country. But if you are driving leave early in the morning it is a terrible drive at night and if it snows

post #17 of 22

the Crowne Plaza is the site that used to be the Holiday Inn. It is a nice place and good rates.
 

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiwhitblu View Post

 

Lodgin wise, don`t even research lake placid we have been there enough to say that you can`t get a better rate then crown plaza`s ski and stay with 3 night and day free package. It`s actually cheaper to do this package then buy 3 days of lift tickets. Also quality wise a unbelievable property, it up on top of a hill looking over the lake and in the town enough to be in the town but not enough to be noisy or in the town. 

I called them. Their price seemed pretty decent. I don't know why I'm always fixated on finding a place that has an outdoors hot tub, but this place seems pretty nice.

post #19 of 22

Try northern Vermont......they have had the most snow! Jay Peak for steeps
 

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabMan View Post

Try northern Vermont......they have had the most snow! Jay Peak for steeps
 

 

Whiteface has more terrain open than Jay Peak.  As well, if you're not into tree skiing Jay is pretty disappointing terrain wise.  Most runs are 1000-1500ft vertical, which really isn't worth the drive from TO given there are many other good choices.  If the Whiteface Summit Quad existed at Jay peak, it would be the best 3 or 4 on-piste runs there.  The only 2000ft vert runs are from the tram, and there's maybe two of them... plus you have to wait all that time for the tram to come, its not even worth it.

 

If you're an expert and into tight tree skiing, Jay Peak has a lot to offer.  It's probably too early in the season for that though.

post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post

 

Whiteface has more terrain open than Jay Peak.  As well, if you're not into tree skiing Jay is pretty disappointing terrain wise.  Most runs are 1000-1500ft vertical, which really isn't worth the drive from TO given there are many other good choices.  If the Whiteface Summit Quad existed at Jay peak, it would be the best 3 or 4 on-piste runs there.  The only 2000ft vert runs are from the tram, and there's maybe two of them... plus you have to wait all that time for the tram to come, its not even worth it.

 

If you're an expert and into tight tree skiing, Jay Peak has a lot to offer.  It's probably too early in the season for that though.

I've booked for Whiteface. So far only around 25% of the trails are open, along with 3 of 11 lifts. They don't seem to be getting much snow these days, but the temperatures are below freezing point so their snow guns are working. Everyone says they make decent snow at Whiteface so I'm hoping it'll be good.

post #22 of 22
Hopefully they'll be able to make a bunch more snow. I don't think they're too far off seasonal as far as open terrain goes... That's what you get for eastern mid-December skiing.
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