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Vermont Mid December?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hey Everybody, 

 

I'm planning a trip to Vermont in Mid December, and I have never skied any of the New England resorts.  I'm wondering if anybody can give some insight on if its even worth it (Should I save my money or head west instead) ?  What will have the best/most terrain open this time of year?  Or is it jus a crap shoot based on snowfall?  

 

More than likely fly to Burlington from Wash DC and Rent a car so I can get around.  But I could drive to southern VT/Killington/Okemo if that's the better option.  Thanks

post #2 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCski11 View Post
 

Hey Everybody, 

 

I'm planning a trip to Vermont in Mid December, and I have never skied any of the New England resorts.  I'm wondering if anybody can give some insight on if its even worth it (Should I save my money or head west instead) ?  What will have the best/most terrain open this time of year?  Or is it jus a crap shoot based on snowfall?  

 

More than likely fly to Burlington from Wash DC and Rent a car so I can get around.  But I could drive to southern VT/Killington/Okemo if that's the better option.  Thanks

Welcome to EpicSki!  Where have you skied before?

 

Personally, I would drive from DC.  But then I drive 4 hours to northern VA from NC for weekend trips.  Flying for a ski trip is a pain, assuming you bring boots, skis, and it's going to be cold enough to need several layers.  Worth the effort going out west.  Not convinced for New England from DC by the time you add the expense of a rental car to a plane ticket . . . and time spent in airports.  Plus if you plan to drive, then there is no need to make a decision until early Dec.

post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCski11 View Post
 

Hey Everybody, 

 

 Or is it jus a crap shoot based on rainfall?  

 

 

Fixed it for you.

 

BK

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 

Yea, I do not mind the driving considering I drive 3-4 hours to the Canaan Valley most weekends.  It is the girlfriend that might not enjoy the 8-10 hour hike and the trip is for her birthday.  That's the only reason I am even considering Flying.   

post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCski11 View Post
 

Yea, I do not mind the driving considering I drive 3-4 hours to the Canaan Valley most weekends.  It is the girlfriend that might not enjoy the 8-10 hour hike and the trip is for her birthday.  That's the only reason I am even considering Flying.   

If you have to commit to a particular week or weekend, and you are going to fly anyway, look for cheap direct flights to Salt Lake City or Denver.  Those are the most reliable early season places that are more likely to have better flight choices.  

 

BK

post #6 of 26

The skiing in Northern Vermont can be good in mid-December. One of my best ski days ever was on a Dec 14th. Chances are that you will find average skiing. Average skiing for Stowe for example will be wall to wall snowmaking coverage with probably three ways down Mt Mansfield and beginner terrain open on Spruce. If you are both reasonable skiers it could be a good weekend of skiing. It all depends on what your expectations are. It could be knee deep pow (over grass), or puddles and dirt.

post #7 of 26

Be prepared for WROD or epic powder days, and everything in between.

 

But it's skiing, so it'll be a blast.

post #8 of 26

It's a crap shoot. I will say though that often skiing in VT. before the Christmas holiday is some of the best skiing of the season.

post #9 of 26

December is a fairly quiet time a deals are plentiful. You can wait until after Thanksgiving to make your plans. If you are going to drive, both Okemo & Killington have the best snowmaking capacity. Okemo tends to have better grooming. If you want to fly to Burlington, Jay Peak is a great option.

post #10 of 26

Alittle dicey that time a year,I would not make any solid plan to go to any resort till a day or two before.

Chase the best conditions is what i do in VT that time of year

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.  Sounds like I should just wait and make a game time decision later on down the road. I'm used to chasing the snow, just hoping to get some early season turns in before my home mountains in West Va. open up.   

post #12 of 26

It's certainly a crapshoot in New England pre-Xmas, even way up north.  Sometimes even post-Xmas -- I had a trip to Stowe one year just after New Years and it was raining!  If you want to go to Stowe for the romantic ambiance and treat the skiing as a bonus, that may work.  But you can't book way ahead in the early season and count on great skiing.

 

If you can be flexible with your travel plans, going where the snow is will be the best shot at good ski conditions.  It could be awesome in VT -- or maybe upstate NY or elsewhere -- but you won't really know until just a week or two before at most.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Thanks for the replies.  Sounds like I should just wait and make a game time decision later on down the road. I'm used to chasing the snow, just hoping to get some early season turns in before my home mountains in West Va. open up.

Absolutely. It could be great but the odds are against you picking a date in advance.    You will be able to find last minute lodging deals in mid-December. Don't even think about flying, which locks in your commitment.   If it's good, drop everything and go immediately.  It could rain the next week.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Absolutely. It could be great but the odds are against you picking a date in advance.    You will be able to find last minute lodging deals in mid-December. Don't even think about flying, which locks in your commitment.   If it's good, drop everything and go immediately.  It could rain the next week.

 

Week?  It could rain the next day.

 

As others have said above, New England ski conditions are highly variable at any time of the year.  With the exception of November, I have had my best day of the season in every month from October to April.    I've also had my worst days of the season in every month from October to April.  Just keep your eye on the forecasts, and when it "looks good", drop everything and come immediately, because it usually doesn't stay "great" for long.

 

Northern Vermont areas (Sugarbush, Stowe, Jay Peak, etc) get substantially more snowfall than southern Vermont ski areas do.  Snow-making capabilities range from "not much" (see:  Mad River Glen, Jay Peak) to "enormous" (see:  Stowe, Sugarbush).  The southern areas (Killington, Okemo, Stratton, etc.) are more reliant on snow-making, and certainly have a larger percentage of their terrain covered by snow guns.

 

I have made the drive from the DC region to northern Vermont.  It takes FOREVER.  When you're looking at flying up here, renting a car for a few days...  I'd be looking at flights to Utah or Colorado myself, especially if you're not in a position to "drop everything and go" when (if) it gets good up here.

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

Ok Cool thanks everybody!  Really appreciate the responses.  Im trying to do a "cheap" (as if there is such a thing for skiing) trip early in the season and save the trip (or 2) out west for later in the season. Itching to get back to JH this year. But I could maybe flip flop those ideas.  I will have pretty good flexibility to drop everything and go in December, so I think that will be the best choice.  

post #16 of 26

If you're looking to do both (Trip out West and last minute storm chasing in the Northeast), I would suggest keeping an eye on the Catskills.  Places like Hunter or Plattkill are usually good for a late Dec dump, and you'd cut your drive time almost in half.

post #17 of 26

Loding is easy as our lift tickets, wait to see if there is snow then decide

post #18 of 26
Can be done what I consider cheep,mid week is key.Got a buddy to share room and gas?I head up with 3 others guys and find you get some great deals
On room and pass combo at most mom and pop lodging.I dont think i spent more then $250 for a 2 day pass ,room,gas.Food and beer well i dont count
for they are a given.
post #19 of 26

Have been skiing every year  Xmas to NY week since 2007 in Smugglers Notch (one of the best for snow conditions in NE). 2007 and 2012  last week of  Dec conditions were good to spectacular. every other year conditions were either mediocre or downright unskiable, like in 2011. You said that you really like JH, which tells me that you probably will be hugely disappointed if skiing is what it often tends to be in Vt in december. For me it is different  due to the fact that I have my time share and it does not cost me anything. Plus if conditions r not good I just climb in the gym in Burlington or do some ice climbing nearby. Trip from Philly to VT usually takes me at least 9 hours, from DC it would be a torture.

I would plan for a trip West. Even there conditions can be really shitty like it was in Utah, WY and Co in Dec 2011. We skied Solitude on Xmas week and half mountain was closed and everywhere else it was even worse. However Whitewater and Kicking Horse had every trail open. I would wait till mid Nov and see where there is good base and fly there. Air tickets to Spokane or Calgary are probably no more expensive in mid Dec than to Burlington. Rental car is the same, finding a place to stay should not be a problem at that time. You will need passports, but boy u can have so much fun in those places. check historic snowfall for Nov- Dec in Whitewater: http://www.skiwhitewater.com/whitewater_ski_resort_snow_accumulator.php?cur_month=November&cur_year=2011. And if the conditions are right you can also hit the Red and Schweitzer each mountain is better than anything you can ski in Vt. On other hand if your GF doesn't care too much about skiing she will love Stowe and Church street district in Burlington.

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCski11 View Post
 

Yea, I do not mind the driving considering I drive 3-4 hours to the Canaan Valley most weekends.  It is the girlfriend that might not enjoy the 8-10 hour hike and the trip is for her birthday.  That's the only reason I am even considering Flying.   

New boots or skis or ski jacket or ski anything with the trip tickets to JH wrapped inside the package. A  win all around, too much of a crap shoot for mid Dec in New England

post #21 of 26
Before you drive that far check the ski reports. If the mountains aren't 100% or near 100% open don't go. Mad River Glen has the only honest snow report and great weather blogger with forecasts. You may get lucky that early in the year but not likely. The resorts from Killinton northward get more snow and will be more reliable.
post #22 of 26

Mid-December in Vermont (or anywhere in the East) can be great or terrible.  Big question is how much terrain will be open.  That largely depends on snowmaking capacity and how cold the weather has been.  Don't expect anything close to fully open.  I would hold off making a decision to see how things unfold and then drive.

post #23 of 26

stowe will have the most miles open, killington will have the most trails open, I know which one matter more.

post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post
 

stowe will have the most miles open, killington will have the most trails open, I know which one matter more.

 

Stowe has been able to make a run for the "most trails open" title ever since they ditched the "Great 48" philosophy and went with naming every segment of every trail.

 

I don't even know where some of Stowe's "trails" are.  Phils Zuggy?  Shifter's Shot? 

 

(And yes, I know why Stowe did it...  Doesn't mean I have to like it).

post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 

 

Stowe has been able to make a run for the "most trails open" title ever since they ditched the "Great 48" philosophy and went with naming every segment of every trail.

 

I don't even know where some of Stowe's "trails" are.  Phils Zuggy?  Shifter's Shot? 

 

(And yes, I know why Stowe did it...  Doesn't mean I have to like it).

 

 

ha both of those were actually part of the original 48...... its the upper lower and middle..liftline, nosedive, elect.....

 

Phil Zuggy's is top of 13 pitch to the right and one of the few powder stashes on trail at stowe, the other is Duck walk.

post #26 of 26

West coast (or rather intermountain) cheap: fly to SLC, stay in a motel in Sandy, take public transit to Little Cottonwood. Maybe not so romantic, but staying in the city means access to restaurants etc., especially if you throw in a cheap car rental (if the threat of snow is such that you worry about taking a low end rental up into the Canyon, thank Ullr and switch to the bus at the park and ride at the base of the canyon).

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