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Where to go stowe vs whiteface vs sugarbush or white mountains

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi we are thinking of going skiing in the east at the end if january and cant afford to go out west because of the price of flights . We are from the uk and theres 2 of us who are okay intermiedates and one who is a begineer ,we want to do a city stopover at the end of our holiday at either boston or nyc . Which one of these resorts is best suited to go to and is the snow good at the time of year and we are on a budget of £2300 or 3700 dollars this includes flights acc car hire and lift tickets and rental . The white mountains ( loon , cranmore ,bretton woods and cannon) come out at the cheapest and have a lift pass which you can use all of these resorts but is it worth it to pay a little more to go to stowe , whiteface or sugarbush . Also we dont mind for mad apres just a few bars
post #2 of 26

Where have you skied before? What does your usual ski holiday look like? and what do you usually spend on skiing on one trip?

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Govnor View Post

Where have you skied before? What does your usual ski holiday look like? and what do you usually spend on skiing on one trip?
iv being andorra once and levi in finland twice once in 2010 and went last year . Temps there got to -32 c so i have skied in the cold before also there where ice patches about. Normally we ski until late afternoon then go back to hotel to get changed and have some food then take a wonder around the town and a drink then back to the hotel . We dont do late nights . There is a 16 year old grandson who's coming and he can ski okay/ intermiedate
post #4 of 26

OK. I'm not an East Coast skier (at all), so I'll leave your exact questions for the experts here. It's always good to have some background knowledge though.

 

I assume the budget you mention is for 3 people for your entire trip?

post #5 of 26

In my humble opinion yes, indeed it's worth it to pay a little extra for the best ski experience.  You're flying from the U.K., you might as well enjoy the best there is.

 

My personal preference would go to Stowe, then Killington, and lastly Whiteface.  I can't comment on Sugarbush, I haven't been there (yet).

 

Stowe offers some awesome skiing, but as others have mentioned it can be crowded on holidays.

 

Killington offers a vast skiiing area, varied terrain, and nice views.

 

Whiteface might not have the best snow conditions compared to the other two, however it's fun to visit the Lake Placid village and Saranac lake area, site of the 1932 and 1980 winter olympics, and to see the ski jumps, and for 80$ you can even go down in a bobsled on the very same run that was used in the 1980 olympics.
 

post #6 of 26

I am an east coast skier and have been to all of those areas multiple times.

 

Number 1 - the snow should be good to excellent at any of those areas in late January and none has a big advantage over the others with respect to that criterion.

Number 2 - I think this is a good idea and you should have a great time.

 

Another couple of questions:

- are you good snow drivers? There are differences among the roads around, and getting to/from, the different areas. I am assuming you would be flying into a major city, Boston or NYC/Newark, driving to the ski area, skiing, and then driving back and doing the city visit.

- how important are non-ski activities at your destination (shopping, ice skating, dining, etc. etc.)?

- how important is scenery at and getting to the area?

post #7 of 26

First, NH.  Loon, Cannon and Bretton Woods are all fairly close to each other.  It's about a 10 minute drive from Loon to Cannon, and then another ~30 minutes to Bretton Woods.  BW has some of the best beginner / intermediate terrain in New England; the entire mountain is pretty gentle.  The views from BW are amazing.  Loon will be very crowded on the weekends; if you will be there during the week (i.e., Mon through Fri), it's fine.  Again, there are a lot of blue cruisers; it has some more challenge then BW, but it's not typically considered one of the more challenging mountains in the northeast.  Of the three, Cannon definitely has the steepest terrain.  Beginners at Cannon would be limited to a pretty small portion of the mountain; solid intermediates would be ok to explore a bit more.  Cannon's conditions can also be very "hit or miss"; it tends to get raked by the wind and the wind can expose the ice.  However, the view from the top of Cannon is pretty amazing.  You can always ride the tram up and back down if you just want to see the view.

 

I have no experience with Cranmore.  Cranmore is another hour or so past Bretton Woods.  It's not "close", but it's not "far" either.  It does make it more difficult to find one central spot to stay during your trip.  If you just want to visit BW, Loon and Cannon, it's probably best to stay in either Franconia (base of Cannon) or Loon (base of Loon).  There's a very fancy hotel (the Mt. Washington Hotel) at the base of Bretton Woods as well, but staying there might blow your budget.  Taking a tour of the hotel is worth it.

 

As for Vermont.  Stowe and Sugarbush are about an hour apart.  I'm more familiar with Stowe then Sugarbush.  Stowe has multiple mountains (Mansfield and Spruce).  Solid intermediates could ski on the Mansfield side; beginners might be a bit intimidated.  Stowe's easier terrain is all over on the Spruce side, and it's much quieter over there during peak periods (i.e., weekends and holidays).  I guess everybody wants to ski where the "hard" terrain is.

 

Somebody else would need to chime in on what the beginner / intermediate terrain is like at Sugarbush.

 

There's another area between Stowe and Sugarbush called Bolton Valley.  BV is a smaller place.  It's overlooked by the crowds that Sugarbush and Stowe attract, it has a good amount of "true" intermediate terrain...  It's a more "laid back" type of place.  Might be worth checking out.

 

The Stowe / Sugarbush area definitely gets more snow then the NH mountains do, although I'm not sure you'd notice much difference in the snow quality on the groomed terrain.

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Govnor View Post

OK. I'm not an East Coast skier (at all), so I'll leave your exact questions for the experts here. It's always good to have some background knowledge though.

I assume the budget you mention is for 3 people for your entire trip?
yes it is
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks people we can drive in the snow when it snows in the uk and the roads are normally chaos as they dont clear them as good as the us . We dont really care about the scenary and as long as theres a few bars and restaurants and maybe shops . If we went to new hampshire then i would stay in lincoln as its not far from loon and the other mountains and seems to be more of a town . What i have noticed is the price for lift tickets is more in stowe than the others
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by benefc123 View Post

Thanks people we can drive in the snow when it snows in the uk and the roads are normally chaos as they dont clear them as good as the us . We dont really care about the scenary and as long as theres a few bars and restaurants and maybe shops . If we went to new hampshire then i would stay in lincoln as its not far from loon and the other mountains and seems to be more of a town . What i have noticed is the price for lift tickets is more in stowe than the others

 

The town with the most bars, restaurants and stores is going to be Stowe, hands down.  Stowe has some fancy places to eat and shop.

 

The Lincoln / Woodstock area of NH (they're basically one town) has a few, but there's not much going on once the lifts shut down.  There's some shopping there, but the dining opportunities are kind of limited.

post #11 of 26

If you go to New Hampshire, North Conway is a much bigger town with more to offer than Lincoln.  Vermont quite often gets more natural snow than New Hampshire.  Stowe is your most expensive option.  Sugarbush is a big mountain with plenty of interesting intermediate skiing and the surrounding area, known as the Mad River Valley, has a good amount of restaurants, inns, shopping, etc... more so than Lincoln, NH.  No place is really crowded in January except for weekends. Unfortunately, the east coast is susceptible to the dreaded January thaw which can happen any month, or not, and really screws with the ski conditions; If I were you I would try to find a way to fly another 2000 miles or so to Colorado or Utah.

 

New York over Boston any day...just a lot more to see and do there. Neither city is exactly budget friendly and I would thinkBoston is probably a bit less expensive than NYC.

post #12 of 26

Good point on the size of North Conway.  There are a good number of ski areas easily accessible from the North Conway area:  Black Mountain, Wildcat, Attitash and Cranmore are all easily accessible from there, and they will all be cheaper then Stowe.

 

As crank said, the weather in New England is famously fickle.  Snow storms and / or warm weather can hit at any time.  Usually late January is a pretty safe bet -- there aren't any holidays then, so the mountains will be relatively quiet.

post #13 of 26

+1 on North Conway over Lincoln as a base. Just in terms of restaurants, I would guess it has at least 10 times as many and you should find somewhere reasonable there to stay, it has a ton of motels/hotels. Cranmore is right next to (or maybe in) N. Conway and Bretton Woods is about a half hour. The drives to Cannon and Loon are on roads that tend to be kept up well.

 

Stowe is the nicest area overall and also the most expensive. As discussed, it has both good intermediate and easier terrain and it is not hard to connect with people doing the other terrain for lunch or a few runs. The town has lots of restaurants and shops and a nice atmosphere. There are a wide range to hotels/motels some fairly reasonable, but more expensive than N. Conway or Whiteface.

 

Whiteface (town is Lake Placid) would be number two on my list of the nicest areas overall. It is a very interesting place, more scenic, and has a fair number of affordable places to stay. In fact, I think you can get some good hotel/lift ticket deals from some of the hotels in Lake Placid, The mountain is terrific for everyone but maybe the beginner. There is a good sized beginner area but it has something of a shortage of trails that are good for an advanced beginner/low intermediate. But I found it very enjoyable overall when I was starting out skiing. It was used for two Olympics so there are ski jumps, luge, bobsled runs that are all interesting to see even if you don't want to use them. There are good dining options that are affordable and plentiful. 

post #14 of 26

Town-wise, I like Lake Placid. But ski-wise, I suspect Whiteface might be quite intimidating for beginners to low intermediate. It also doesn't get as much natural snow as Vermont.

 

Ski-wise, Stowe definitely has the most variety. But when it comes to beginner to intermediate, Bretton Woods might be even better! That is, assuming there's sufficient natural snow. That's when Vermont has the advantage.

 

Never been to Sugarbush so can't comment on suitability for beginner/intermediates.

post #15 of 26

Personally I really like Whiteface.  It is where I ski most often.  I would describe the crowd as the "wool and duct tape" set and I mean that in the best possible way (skiers not posers).  Lake Placid is cool too.  But it is not close to NYC or Boston.  Haven't skied at Stowe or Sugarbush in years so no comment.  Might also want to add Mount Snow to your list.  It is pretty easy to get to from both NYC and Boston, and quite close to Hartford (CT) too so you may consider flying in/out of there.  Okemo (VT) has some of the best intermediate terrain and grooming in the NE.  If you choose Boston for your home base then Sunday River (ME) is not too far to drive.  Good luck.

post #16 of 26

I'm just offering my opinion since others were unable to chime in about Sugarbush/Mad River Valley. Sugarbush & even MRG have plenty of beginner intermediate terrrain in addition to an abundance of the most challenging. When you talk about Sugarbush you're really referring to two separate ski areas (Lincoln Peak & Mt. Ellen) & with MRG that means there are 3 major ski areas within minutes of each other. At MRG however you'd have to hope they're running the Birdland chair otherwise your choice of beginner/intermediate terrain is limited. They often don't run it weekdays. Snow should be good that time of year after all we are talking about northern VT. If natural snow is touchy Sugarbush does a fairly good job with snow making & grooming. When it comes to variety of skiing options the Mad River Valley is hard to beat.

 

The downside to the valley is it is fairly quiet. The only nearby towns are Warren & Waitfield which don't offer a heck of lot of shopping or other activities.Your lodging options would also be more limited as there are not many large hotels/motels in the area but there are many condo options. There are good restaurants around but here again your options are limited. The area is not known for it's nightlife & bar scene but it is available. If other options besides skiing is what your group is looking for the other choices already mentioned would be more suitable.The Mad River Valley does however offer some of the best skiing in New England.

post #17 of 26

If you want to ski Whiteface you need to fly into Newark Airport (13 miles from NYC). You are looking at about 5 hour drive to Lake Placid, mostly highway except for the last 45 minutes. As mentioned, Lake Placid is a great winter town with lots to do besides skiing. There are a large amount of food and beverage options. Whiteface is ok for intermediates. About an hour closer than Whiteface is Gore Mountain in North Creek, NY. It is an intermediate paradise and has the most acreage of any ski area in NYand a vertical drop of over 2500 feet. It is usually less icy and warmer than Whiteface. North Creek is pretty mellow when compared to Lake Placid or Stowe of North Conway, but there are a few fun bars and restaurants. It tends to be less expensive than Lake Placid and Stowe and the town and mountain are only 20 miles from the highway. One advantage these 2 mountains have over the others is that they are less crowded on the weekends and holiday periods.

 

When you return to Newark Airport you can take an easy train ride into NYC. Good luck with your choices.

post #18 of 26

All of the areas you name have adequate beginner and intermediate terrain to keep you busy.  Best towns are Lake Placid, NY and Stowe, VT. 

 

You might be interested in this NY Times article on Bretton Woods.  The article might give you an idea of whether or not Bretton Woods is the kind of place you would be interested in.

 

http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/travel/20Bretton-Woods.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

If you want to ski at Whiteface, it might make sense to fly into Montreal, drive down to Lake Placid (2hrs), then drive from Lake Placid to NYC (5 hrs) at the end of your ski trip, enjoy NYC for a few days, then fly out from one of the NYC airports (Newark or Kennedy).  You might enjoy starting your trip with a day or two in Montreal.

 

Mountains with good intermediate terrain that are closer to NYC than any of the areas you named are Gore Mountain (run by the same folks that run Whiteface, and most passes are valid at either area), Stratton and Okemo.

 

Here are links to my guide to Gore Mtn., and the Gore Mtn. web site:

 

http://www.epicski.com/products/gore-mountain

 

http://www.goremountain.com/

 

And here are links to the Stratton and Okemo web sites.  Stratton and Okemo are under common ownership. 

 

http://www.stratton.com/

 

http://www.okemo.com/index.asp

 

My final suggestion would be to consider skiing midweek and visiting the city on the weekend.  Some of the ski areas tend to get crowded on weekends.

 

Hope you enjoy your trip. 


STE

post #19 of 26

Hey guys, don't mean to hijack the thread, but I think I have a fairly similar predicament to the OP: I live in Northern Jersey, and my sister is visiting me for a couple of weeks. We were thinking heading up to Vermont for the before Christmas weekend. I fully realize that it's kind of stupid to be planning a skiing vacation a week in advance, but out of the New England mountains, what is likely to have the most snow and the least crowds? I'm a fairly intermediate snowboarder(so MRG is out) and my sister is beginner/intermediate skier. I'm guessing farthest North would be better so that has me leaning towards Jay. Am I missing something?

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

Hey guys, don't mean to hijack the thread, but I think I have a fairly similar predicament to the OP: I live in Northern Jersey, and my sister is visiting me for a couple of weeks. We were thinking heading up to Vermont for the before Christmas weekend. I fully realize that it's kind of stupid to be planning a skiing vacation a week in advance, but out of the New England mountains, what is likely to have the most snow and the least crowds? I'm a fairly intermediate snowboarder(so MRG is out) and my sister is beginner/intermediate skier. I'm guessing farthest North would be better so that has me leaning towards Jay. Am I missing something?

Yes you are missing something.  Jay is all about the natural snow skiing in the trees.  They have an OK trail system but their real popularity stems from the off piste and glade skiing.  That being the case it is only really worth going there if there are large quantities of real (read not man made) snow.    I often wait until last minute to book ski trips; not a problem as long as it is not a holiday and I think you are getting in just before the high season so you should be good on lodging and pricing too.  Look at areas that have large snowmaking capacity.  Okemo is great for intermediate skiers and snowboarders as is Stratton. KIllington is a little bigger and has tons of nightlife.  Stowe and Sugarbush in Northern VT are also good bets. 

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

Yes you are missing something.  Jay is all about the natural snow skiing in the trees.  They have an OK trail system but their real popularity stems from the off piste and glade skiing.  That being the case it is only really worth going there if there are large quantities of real (read not man made) snow.    I often wait until last minute to book ski trips; not a problem as long as it is not a holiday and I think you are getting in just before the high season so you should be good on lodging and pricing too.  Look at areas that have large snowmaking capacity.  Okemo is great for intermediate skiers and snowboarders as is Stratton. KIllington is a little bigger and has tons of nightlife.  Stowe and Sugarbush in Northern VT are also good bets. 

Thanks, that's exactly the answer that I needed. Plus all of these places are closer than Jay, which I considered a minus, in terms of crowds, but is definitely a plus, in terms of driving time. 

post #22 of 26

As an avid east coast skier who has been to all the major slopes in the east and a few out west I am happy to share my thoughts.  I have had a season pass at whiteface for the past 15 years and it is by far the best in the east.  The village of lake Placis has hosted 2 winter olympics and has the all the international traveler would desire from lodging, apres, food and of coarse skiing.  The highest verticle drop in the east ensures abundant snow cover from January through March and improved snowmaking keeps the snow soft and the slopes covered.  The trails are very long and the lift system opens up the whole mountain.

 

As for Stowe - would be my second choice although it lacks amediatied in the dinning and apres area.  Also the most expensive ski town in the east.  Killington would be a major dissapointment as the trails are very short and the crowdes can  be untolorable.  Sugarbush is nice but getting to and from the resort can be a challange and outside of the ski area their is very minimal dinning and apres options.  White mountains do not compare to VT or NY so I wouldnt recomend any MT within New Hampshire unless you want to hike Tukermans Revine in the  late spring.

 

Hope this helps, enjoy your trip to the states and our great skiing.

post #23 of 26

Another way to get to Whiteface is to fly to Montreal.  A couple hours north of Lake Placid.  Gore is relatively nearby and is less expensive.

post #24 of 26

Why in the world would you ski eastern north america when you could ski europe instead?

post #25 of 26

I've you've got $3700 to drop, you'd be far better heading to anywhere in the Alps. Eastern skiing is perfectly fine if you live in on the Eastern seaboard but I can't imagine flying all the way from the UK to ski here (I'm a Brit living in Montreal). But if you really want to come here for a ski holiday I'd recommend basing yourself in Stowe and trying out a few of the resorts within an hours drive from there. But seriously when you can get all inclusive chalet package holidays to places like Meribel or Val d'Isere for around £600 why would you choose to spend why much and come to the East and have an inferior ski holiday. If you want to ski in N. America and your coming from the UK, head out West to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming or British Columbia. 

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboat1 View Post

I'm just offering my opinion since others were unable to chime in about Sugarbush/Mad River Valley. Sugarbush & even MRG have plenty of beginner intermediate terrrain in addition to an abundance of the most challenging. When you talk about Sugarbush you're really referring to two separate ski areas (Lincoln Peak & Mt. Ellen) & with MRG that means there are 3 major ski areas within minutes of each other. At MRG however you'd have to hope they're running the Birdland chair otherwise your choice of beginner/intermediate terrain is limited. They often don't run it weekdays. Snow should be good that time of year after all we are talking about northern VT. If natural snow is touchy Sugarbush does a fairly good job with snow making & grooming. When it comes to variety of skiing options the Mad River Valley is hard to beat.

 

The downside to the valley is it is fairly quiet. The only nearby towns are Warren & Waitfield which don't offer a heck of lot of shopping or other activities.Your lodging options would also be more limited as there are not many large hotels/motels in the area but there are many condo options. There are good restaurants around but here again your options are limited. The area is not known for it's nightlife & bar scene but it is available. If other options besides skiing is what your group is looking for the other choices already mentioned would be more suitable.The Mad River Valley does however offer some of the best skiing in New England.

 

I agree, Sugarbush and MRG offer some of the most diverse skiing in the Northeast. However, both are lacking in "extensive'' beginner and intermediate terrain. Killington being the largest resort, offers a weeks worth of trails for all abilities. Killington is also about 15min away from Okemo, Okemo also is very gentle with tons of options for beginners and intermediates. If  you want night live Killington is also unbeatable. Though, I would make sure you also check out Sugarbush, Stowe, Stratton, and Okemo; All are in range of an easy day trip as Killington is located in the middle of the state.
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