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Northeast road trip: Showing up unannounced

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I'm kind of an advanced beginner planning a road trip to try out some real mountains for the first time. The destinations would involve a series of relatively easy 3-hour drives from Ottawa, and I want to be able to go on the spur of the moment, when the weather and conditions are right. I want good, long groomed runs, and my only other concern is finding cheap but decent accommodations without reserving in advance. Here's a possible route, leaving on a Monday and returning Friday or Saturday: Day 1 at Titus in upstate NY for a warmup, Days 2 and 3 at Jay Peak, Days 4 and 5 at Sunday River, and straight back home the next morning.

I`m wondering whether these resorts offer lots of easy intermediate terrain or whether others nearby are more appropriate. I presume there are rooms to be had midweek pretty well any time, but I do not know for sure.

Any advice would be appreciated.

post #2 of 28

How about Burke and Bretton Woods on the way to and from SR?

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

How about Burke and Bretton Woods on the way to and from SR?

Thanks. Didn't realize those two were that far north. Of the four resorts mentioned -- Burke, Bretton, Jay and Sunday River -- could someone rank them in terms of relaxed, long, scenic -- but not boring -- cruisers?

post #4 of 28
Jays trees is the big draw, there on piste stuff is nothing out of the ordinary. Ive always wanted to hit up Bretton Woods, i hear they have some great trees up there too
post #5 of 28

Others may pipe in with more informed opinions, but SR and BR will have the most of what you are looking for.
 

post #6 of 28

sunday river will provide you with plenty of what you are looking for.  bretton wood's vertical is around 1k so if you are looking for LONG trails, may not fit the bill, but its a cool spot and the scenery of the presidential range is beautiful. Wildcat, also in NH, has approx. 2100 vert and top to bottom blues...also in the presidential range with amazing scenery.  I would add Bolton Valley in VT as well, with the northern part of the state as criteria.

post #7 of 28

For long groomers, Whiteface is the best.  From Ottawa, its probably your closest big mountain too.  Jay Peaks groomers are short, and from what I understand, so are Sunday River's.  I'm actually surprised Sunday River is on your list when there are SO many closer and better options.

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post

For long groomers, Whiteface is the best.  From Ottawa, its probably your closest big mountain too.  Jay Peaks groomers are short, and from what I understand, so are Sunday River's.  I'm actually surprised Sunday River is on your list when there are SO many closer and better options.


Ah, this is why I'm asking. Most ski sites (understandably) don't dwell on the kind of terrain I can enjoy, so I put my questions to the knowledgeable folks here. I picked Sunday River almost at random. It happens to be half a day's drive from Jay, which is an easy drive from Titus, which is an easy drive from Ottawa. Three hills in three states without any marathon motoring sounded good. But I'm cool with any combo of NY, Quebec, NH, VT and/or ME hills that would give me some vertical, some variety and lots of time on the snow at minimal cost in gas and driving time. All suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

post #9 of 28

Stowe is pretty hard to beat for long groomers too. 2000 vertical feet and it's all skiing top to bottom, no runout.

post #10 of 28

Check out www.skitown.com.  It has state/province maps with all the ski resorts and has all their stats, trail maps, etc.  It's probably your best resource to figure out where to go.

 

When I was an advanced beginner, I went to Whiteface and left mid-intermediate.  Against my better judgement I took on Skyward (the olympic downhill run from 1980), and didn't regret it.  It feels like you're on top of the world up there.

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post

Check out www.skitown.com.  It has state/province maps with all the ski resorts and has all their stats, trail maps, etc.  It's probably your best resource to figure out where to go.

 

When I was an advanced beginner, I went to Whiteface and left mid-intermediate.  Against my better judgement I took on Skyward (the olympic downhill run from 1980), and didn't regret it.  It feels like you're on top of the world up there.


Thanks for the link, Joe. It looks like a great trip-planning tool.

Is Whiteface a good low-intermediate area (Olympic runs aside)? It's a reasonable drive from here, but I keep hearing it's steep, icy and scary.

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipshod View Post


Thanks for the link, Joe. It looks like a great trip-planning tool.

Is Whiteface a good low-intermediate area (Olympic runs aside)? It's a reasonable drive from here, but I keep hearing it's steep, icy and scary.

 

I liked it as a low-intermediate... though I was really motivated to progress and try stuff possibly over my head. 

 

Most of the Facelift lift is low-intermediate (~1400ft vert).  Excelsior is an excellent low-intermediate run off the gondola.  Wilmington trail is another awesome one to try.  The runs on the south side of the summit are blues too... they're only scary because they give you the "top of the world" feeling- I like that feeling though.

 

I think Whiteface used to be icy... before they poured millions and millions into their snowmaking.  I've had a good 8 or 9 days there, and its never been a problem.  I think reputations and opinions are hard to change though.  I actually found more ice on my one (and only) visit to Jay Peak.

post #13 of 28

At Whiteface, if you get lots of wind, you can get pretty icy conditions but not too hard. I always came away with a real sense of accomplishment. I like Whiteface for almost any level of skier.

 

In terms of some of the others, there is a very cost/gas efficient combination of Bretton Woods, Wildcat and Sunday River. BW is really pretty much an ideal place for a skier such as yourself. If you keep advancing in 3 or 4 years it might be dull, but now it should be good. You can stay in N. Conway and be within a half hour/45 min of both BW and Wildcat. Wildcat is a mountain I love as a more advance skier, but I have taken my grandchildren there when they were low intermediates/advanced beginners and we had lots to ski that was interesting skiing for them. It is also one of the absolutely most scenic areas in the east. From Wildcat, Sunday River is only an hour. While each trail does not have giant vertical, the overall layout of the mountains is interesting in that you don't just go up and down a few trails but I always enjoyed going from one area to another -  ski from White Cap at one end to Jordan Bowl at the other is something you can do all on  Greens and easy Blues and has you on something like 20 different trails with a sense of purpose, even if it is just lunch at Jordan.

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post

 

I liked it as a low-intermediate... though I was really motivated to progress and try stuff possibly over my head. 

 

Most of the Facelift lift is low-intermediate (~1400ft vert).  Excelsior is an excellent low-intermediate run off the gondola.  Wilmington trail is another awesome one to try.  The runs on the south side of the summit are blues too... they're only scary because they give you the "top of the world" feeling- I like that feeling though.

 

I think Whiteface used to be icy... before they poured millions and millions into their snowmaking.  I've had a good 8 or 9 days there, and its never been a problem.  I think reputations and opinions are hard to change though.  I actually found more ice on my one (and only) visit to Jay Peak.

I actually have more trouble with slop than I do with ice. And my skiing has improved a lot this year (lessons and new boots help a lot), so Whiteface might just be the place.

Vsirin, thanks for the NH ideas. I had barely heard of Wildcat, and Bretton Woods always reminds me of first-year economics classes. They both look very nice.

post #15 of 28

You need to visit Gore Mountain in NY. It is a blue cruiser paradise. There is a 1500 ft vert high speed triple and a 1700 ft Gondola. There is also a 1450 ft vert HSQ. All serve lots of cruisers. The front main face of Gore is all cruisers. It is warmer and less exposed than Whiteface. It is about 70 minutes south of WF.

 

I would go Whiteface, Gore, Pico, Sugarbush North, Stowe. You will be driving way less and with the last 3 get to enjoy the awesome snow that falls on the Green Mountains of VT.

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

At Whiteface, if you get lots of wind, you can get pretty icy conditions but not too hard. I always came away with a real sense of accomplishment. I like Whiteface for almost any level of skier.

 

In terms of some of the others, there is a very cost/gas efficient combination of Bretton Woods, Wildcat and Sunday River. BW is really pretty much an ideal place for a skier such as yourself. If you keep advancing in 3 or 4 years it might be dull, but now it should be good. You can stay in N. Conway and be within a half hour/45 min of both BW and Wildcat. Wildcat is a mountain I love as a more advance skier, but I have taken my grandchildren there when they were low intermediates/advanced beginners and we had lots to ski that was interesting skiing for them. It is also one of the absolutely most scenic areas in the east. From Wildcat, Sunday River is only an hour. While each trail does not have giant vertical, the overall layout of the mountains is interesting in that you don't just go up and down a few trails but I always enjoyed going from one area to another -  ski from White Cap at one end to Jordan Bowl at the other is something you can do all on  Greens and easy Blues and has you on something like 20 different trails with a sense of purpose, even if it is just lunch at Jordan.

 

Coming from Ottawa, the New Hampshire resorts don't make a lot of sense.  Doesn't make sense to drive pass the Adirondacks and the Greens to ski the Whites (which are arguably inferior). 

 

Scenery wise, you can't beat the Adirondacks either... and Gore Mountain isn't too far down the road.

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipshod View Post
I had barely heard of Wildcat, and Bretton Woods always reminds me of first-year economics classes. They both look very nice.

Your economics class memory is germane. The Mt. Washington Hotel, where the Bretton Woods accords were negotiated, is part of the overall property with the ski area.

post #18 of 28

Interesting discussion, I have planned several trips up there and always try different things.   I really like skiing the White mountains, they are taller and Wildcat is a perfect cruiser mountain, if you ave fun on blues there are lots of options down and a great lift to get in tons of runs.  You can even dream about Tuckermans Ravine and the hike you will one day make.  I think your trip looks pretty good as originally planned too. 

Are you comfortable on Blues? If it were me... I would keep the driving down while hitting major name resorts clustered in an area, it takes forever to get around the mountains safely at this point it will give you a frame of reference too.  I would do like Stowe, Stratton and Smugglers (plenty of cruisin there awesome stuff) OR  Jay Peak, Mt Sutton, Owls Head, Bromont  OR   Wildcat, Loon, Bretton, Attitash, Burke. 

Either way you will have a blast, but I think if you keep the driving down (especially after skiing all day) the trip becomes more about the skiing itself. With the above mentioned groupings you could just get a rental cabin and hit them all from a central location.

 

Have fun!

post #19 of 28

I you are planning on hitting Whiteface, then Gore is a no-brainer.  It is about a 45 minute drive from LP and in my opinion just has a better "vibe" than "Iceface".
 

post #20 of 28

Whatever you do, skip Titus.  There is no reason to do as much driving as you proposed.  Either do a couple of places in Vermont, or the upstate New York places (much cheaper)  Going to three or four states is just stupid unless you have weeks

post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeddyO View Post

Whatever you do, skip Titus.  There is no reason to do as much driving as you proposed.  Either do a couple of places in Vermont, or the upstate New York places (much cheaper)  Going to three or four states is just stupid unless you have weeks

 

I have to agree.  Something like Jay/Stowe/<other Northern VT resort> or Cannon/Bretton Woods/<other Northern NH resort> would be a LOT less driving, at least once you're in NE.

 

If you want to cut way across NE you could do something like <Jay or Stowe>/<Bretton Woods or Cannon>/Sunday River.  Google Maps says that's only about three and a half hours total.  If you didn't want to go straight from Ottawa->VT on the first day you could ski Whiteface on the way.  A long drive back, though.

 

If you really want to get to SR maybe you could do something like:

 

Sunday night or very early Monday: Ottawa-><Jay or Stowe>

Ski Monday in VT.

Monday night: <Jay or Stowe>-><Cannon or Bretton Woods>

Ski Tuesday in NH.

Tuesday night: <Cannon or BW>->Sunday River

Ski Wednesday and Thursday in ME.

Thursday night: SR-><Cannon or BW>

Ski Friday in NH.

Friday night: <Cannon or BW>-><Jay or Stowe>

Ski Saturday in VT.

Saturday night or Sunday morning: VT->Ottawa.

 

That would be one day each at Jay, Stowe, Cannon, BW, and two days at SR.  A lot of driving, although once you're in VT each leg is no more than 2 hours.

 

A less crazy trip might be:

 

Sunday or early Monday: Ottawa-><Jay or Stowe>

Monday in VT.

Monday night: VT->NH.

Ski Tuesday/Wed/Thursday at <Cannon/BW/Loon>.  If you stay around Lincoln these are all close drives.

Thursday night: NH->VT.

Ski Friday and/or Saturday in VT.

Drive VT->Ottawa.

 

From Ottawa, skiing just in upstate NY is definitely a lot easier logistically...

post #22 of 28

Well I have put in the a good word for Wildcat.  It has over 2000 ft vert. about a three mile trail that green ( Polecat).  I can be challenging at times.  It has the best view of Tuckermans Ravine which is right across the valley.  If skiing is all you are looking for that what you get at the Cat.  No Condo, No Restaurants And no lodging with one exception an that is at the AMC camp At Pinkham Notch. ( bunk rooms) I'm pretty sure some meals are included.  

Also Wildcat is one of the oldest ski area in NE 75 years 50 year with lift service.  Its a third world ski area which make for great skiing and small crowds

 

Hank

Ski Pro at Wildcat

post #23 of 28
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 

Wow, thank all of you for the good advice and great suggestions. I'm leaning toward NY now, for more skiing and less driving. But I do love a road trip: I once drove to Virginia just to go fishing. The fishing was no better than it is at our own cottage, but the drive through the mountains was fantastic.

TeddyO: I'm considering Titus because it's day-trip distance from here, and I'd like to see if it's worth the drive. Plus, it gets us half a day closer to whatever destination we end up choosing.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipshod View Post

Wow, thank all of you for the good advice and great suggestions. I'm leaning toward NY now, for more skiing and less driving. But I do love a road trip: I once drove to Virginia just to go fishing. The fishing was no better than it is at our own cottage, but the drive through the mountains was fantastic.

TeddyO: I'm considering Titus because it's day-trip distance from here, and I'd like to see if it's worth the drive. Plus, it gets us half a day closer to whatever destination we end up choosing.

 

If I lived in Ottawa, I'd have a season pass and a place near Whiteface.  Realistically, I'm about 7 hours away so that's a bit too far for my family (if it were just me I'd do it anyways).  3 hours would be a done deal.

post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipshod View Post

Wow, thank all of you for the good advice and great suggestions. I'm leaning toward NY now, for more skiing and less driving. But I do love a road trip:

I would hope you will come to the new england areas some trip but I do agree with more skiing and less driving

post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildcat hank View Post

I would hope you will come to the new england areas some trip but I do agree with more skiing and less driving


Wildcat sounds great, Hank, and it's not all THAT far, so maybe.

post #28 of 28

Did you take the trip?  Ifso, Where did you go?

 

The season is coming to an end especially after the rain this past tuesday.    It now cold right now and I will be at Sunday River tomorrow to ski with one of my longest friends( I have known him his whole life).

 

Hank

 

PS remember to contact me if you never plan to come to wildcat. 

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