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Planing an Ski trip to North East [parent and first-time tween]

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

I am planning a trip to take my daughter skiing for the first time, she is 11, I am looking for a good area in the North East USA, no preference, flying from Miami and planing to stay 5 days in the area next week, we will be there for New Years. Any ideas or suggestions from locals would be greatly appreciated, looking for family friendly, beginners OK, security, small crowds and the most important, close to the airports, I do not want to drive more than 1 hour to get there. Suggestions ???

post #2 of 34

Welcome to EpicSki!  I hope you aren't set on staying slopeside.  Options for that type of lodging may be limited at this point.

 

Check out this thread is Family Skiing.  Smuggler's Notch was mentioned by several people.  It's fair to say that the farther you go from NYC and Boston, the fewer people you will find.  Lake Placid has Whiteface and plenty of other things to do beside skiing.  However, it's a 2-hour drive from Albany.  Plattsburgh is only an hour.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/105795/advice-wanted-our-first-family-ski-trip-northeast

post #3 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ana7545 View Post
 

I am planning a trip to take my daughter skiing for the first time, she is 11, I am looking for a good area in the North East USA, no preference, flying from Miami and planing to stay 5 days in the area next week, we will be there for New Years. Any ideas or suggestions from locals would be greatly appreciated, looking for family friendly, beginners OK, security, small crowds and the most important, close to the airports, I do not want to drive more than 1 hour to get there. Suggestions ???

 

 

Alta, Utah just not on saturday.

post #4 of 34

Smugglers Notch, VT has a reputation for being a very safe and family friendly place with plenty of beginner terrain.  About an hour or maybe a little more from an airport in Burlington, VT.  

post #5 of 34

This thread was more for families with younger children, but still may provide ideas.  Smuggler's Notch and Stratton are mentioned.

 

http://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/what-are-the-best-ski-resorts-for-families-with-young-children.9786/

 

From Miami, a direct flight to SLC could well be worth considering.

post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the welcome and the suggestions, I really like the Smuggler's Notch resort, but it is booked for my dates and airfares for next week out of my budget, I found good prices on airfares to Plattsburgh, NY, and few resorts in the area, any suggestions on this particular area?

post #7 of 34

Are you already booked for Plattsburgh?

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ana7545 View Post
 

Thank you for the welcome and the suggestions, I really like the Smuggler's Notch resort, but it is booked for my dates and airfares for next week out of my budget, I found good prices on airfares to Plattsburgh, NY, and few resorts in the area, any suggestions on this particular area?

If you fly to Plattsburgh, certainly worth considering going to Lake Placid.  Whiteface has a separate area for beginners. My impression is that the ski school is pretty good.

 

There is lodging at various price points in Lake Placid or Wilmington.  I would suggest staying in Lake Placid.  If you stay in town, then can walk to places to eat.  Visiting the Olympic sites can be fun.

 

Perhaps @moripper will stop by with info about Jay Peak in VT.  All I know is that there is an indoor water park.

post #9 of 34

Whiteface has a separate kids learning area, and would probably be the closest to Plattsburgh.  Jay Peak VT would be another choice.

Just keep in mind the northeast just had a MAJOR meltdown (I live in NE PA, and had 8" of snow in my backyard Saturday morning...24 hours later it was all grass). Conditions will not be the greatest, and this time period is the busiest of the year.  So don't expect small crowds.

post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

Are you already booked for Plattsburgh?

i have not booked yet, until i know i can find hotel and accommodations, this is a last minute plan, plan to leave Miami on Dec 29th to January 4th, so far Plattsburgh has been the cheapest i found, not sure about other destinations or how hard is it going to be to get around in there, this is my first trip just me and my daughter, my ex used to do all the plannings and driving before, i am trying to do it this time, but i have been 2 days searching and nothing yet, i do not want to mess this one out!

post #11 of 34
BTW, I just checked both Jay and Whiteface's conditions, and the forecasts from tomorrow into next week are for cold enough temps for snowmaking with a few possibilities for some natural snow. I'm sure the whole region will be cooling down, so by next Sunday the skiing should be decent.

Putting together all the logistics of even a short vacation is a challenge, but you're doing your research, which will help a lot. If you and your daughter approach it as an adventure you'll be able to roll with the punches and have a great time. smile.gif
post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 

thank you for your suggestions, i have to book something tonight, i have nailed down to Stratton (flight to Alabany NY) or Whiteface, flight to Plattsburgh, is going to be cold next week, hopefully there will be some snow in the ground, any suggestions or comments on these two? 

post #13 of 34

An hour drive is tough. Most of the New England mountains are a good distance from the airport. If you stretch it to 1.5 hours, then you can get to the White Mountains of NH and ME by flying into Portland, ME or Manchester, NH (depending on the mountain and prices). There are a number of resorts that would fit your need there: Black, Sunday River, Attitash, Cranmore, Waterville Valley, Bretton Woods. That gives you the ability to ski more than one place.

post #14 of 34

I think at this date you should just take whichever one of those two has any availability. You should be fine at either one. They both have decent snowmaking and a reasonable amount of beginner terrain. I think Stratton probably has the edge on terrain and on ski school (Whiteface's Ski School is very small).

post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ana7545 View Post
 

thank you for your suggestions, i have to book something tonight, i have nailed down to Stratton (flight to Alabany NY) or Whiteface, flight to Plattsburgh, is going to be cold next week, hopefully there will be some snow in the ground, any suggestions or comments on these two? 

Be sure to check on rental cars as well.  Plattsburgh is small.  Albany gives you more options for final destination.  Tough call.

 

If I were making a choice for me and my daughter, I'd probably book the flight to Albany and plan on doing more driving. But I don't think anything of driving 4 hours one way to ski for a weekend.  Plus I'm not that worried about driving in snow.

post #16 of 34

Well, Whiteface is bigger and further north and is nicknamed "Ice Face"  Stratton is further south and between a 1-2 hour drive from Albany.  It has better snowmaking and grooming than ice face but is nicknamed" Flatton"

 

Startton attracts a big crowd from the suburbs of NYC and from CT.  Whiteface is farther from the population centers and will likely be less crowded.

 

Due to the recent rain and thaw coupled with the impending freeze and lack of natural snow in the forecast I would choose Stratton.  Driving should not be a problem and if it is that is a good thing because it means we got snow!  

 

Lake Placid is a very cool town and is about 10 miles from White...I mean Ice Face.  Stratton is just a few miles from Manchester, VT which has shopping dining lodging etc. and is also niceish.

 

Were I you, coming from Florida, I think I would choose Stratton on the likelihood that it should be a bit warmer and have better conditions.  

post #17 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all your help, i am getting a better idea here.

 

I am coming from Miami, can also flight from ft Lauderdale airport, still not booked anything (today is my 3rd day searching), way too many options, but nothing convincing, i was looking into Plattsburgh because I found really cheap airfare there, it was tempting, but the plane arrives at 1.00 am to Plattsburgh and departs at 6.00 am, not very convenient .....

 

What about Niagara Falls, (US or Canada)? So far I think I will end up flying to Albany and drive form there to Startton

 

Tough choice, I want to convince my daughter to go to the Bahamas, i know how to get in and out of there really good, lol, if you ever need tips down in the islands, let me know, i am a warm weather person and i know the Caribbean like the palm of my hands

post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ana7545 View Post
 

Thank you for all your help, i am getting a better idea here.

 

I am coming from Miami, can also flight from ft Lauderdale airport, still not booked anything (today is my 3rd day searching), way too many options, but nothing convincing, i was looking into Plattsburgh because I found really cheap airfare there, it was tempting, but the plane arrives at 1.00 am to Plattsburgh and departs at 6.00 am, not very convenient .....

 

What about Niagara Falls, (US or Canada)? So far I think I will end up flying to Albany and drive form there to Startton

 

Tough choice, I want to convince my daughter to go to the Bahamas, i know how to get in and out of there really good, lol, if you ever need tips down in the islands, let me know, i am a warm weather person and i know the Caribbean like the palm of my hands

So are you interested in skiing yourself?  Do you have appropriate clothing for very cold weather?  Meaning teens and 20's.

 

It's a long drive from Albany to Niagara Falls, way more than an hour.

 

To throw in a completely different idea, to learn to ski does not require a large mountain.  In theory you could fly to DC and drive over to Massanutten.  A little over two hours, but less worries about driving in snowy weather.  That's my home mountain in northern VA even though I live in NC.  Very good ski school.  But hard to say if there are still slots in the full-day ski school.  Although your daughter is old enough to do the group lesson package deals.  One advantage to mid-Altantic skiing is that it's not nearly as cold as New England.  Massanutten also has ice skating, snow tubing, and an indoor water park.

post #19 of 34
You dont need a big hill if your learning to ski.look at Greek Peak in New York a hour from Syracuse or Binghamton.They have a water park if the skiing thing don't pan out and would have plenty to ski for beginners even with the recent change of weather
post #20 of 34

Tell your daughter it rained up here and the ski conditions are not any good but the good news is that you can go to the Bahamas and waterski!

post #21 of 34
I moved from DC this year. My favorite NE airport for ski trips was Manchester, NH. Next was Albany. Manchester was easier to get in and out of, and seemed to have more ski options.

Of Stratton or Whiteface, I'd choose Stratton. But in that area, you have a lot of choices within a 2-hour drive of Albany or Manchester... including Okemo, which advertises its family-ness and, I hear, has a good ski school.
post #22 of 34

None of us want to discourage you from skiing, but conventional wisdom is that it doesn't make sense to get in an airplane from your point of origin to go skiing unless you are heading out west, particularly early season like now.  As crank said, things are kind of tough in the east right now.  Also, you can get the best deals if you plan ahead and/or go outside the prime school vacation periods.  If you stick with Platsburg, then Lake Placid/Whiteface is probably a good choice.  Another possibility might be Bolton Valley, VT.  If you find a fare to Denver or SLC that would afford better conditions and a new range of possibilities.  There are smaller, reasonably priced ski areas that could meet your needs and still provide a very memorable experience.

post #23 of 34

I learned how to ski at White Face, which we did call Ice Face and for good reason. The mtn was poorly designed and faces the wind. This means not only is it a cold mtn, but the wind keeps snow from accumulating, which does not help us skiers.  North east skiing is cold and Ice Face colder. If your daughter is looking for an extreme from Miami, Ice Face wouldn´t be a bad choice. As long as it´s not too cold and there´s snow, you and your daughter will have a great time where ever you end up.

post #24 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

So are you interested in skiing yourself?  Do you have appropriate clothing for very cold weather?  Meaning teens and 20's.

 

It's a long drive from Albany to Niagara Falls, way more than an hour.

 

To throw in a completely different idea, to learn to ski does not require a large mountain.  In theory you could fly to DC and drive over to Massanutten.  A little over two hours, but less worries about driving in snowy weather.  That's my home mountain in northern VA even though I live in NC.  Very good ski school.  But hard to say if there are still slots in the full-day ski school.  Although your daughter is old enough to do the group lesson package deals.  One advantage to mid-Altantic skiing is that it's not nearly as cold as New England.  Massanutten also has ice skating, snow tubing, and an indoor water park.

 

 

Thank you all for your help and special thank marznc for giving me a different perspective, I booked a flight to Asheville, North Carolina, it is very close to many ski resorts and the driving is minimal, temperatures are in the 30's and it will not be so bad for us, I personally do not like cold weather, I plan to visit few resorts in the area and will come back to share my experience, so far I have Sugar Mountain and Catallochee in mind, and also found a great B&B with home made breakfast (i think i will enjoy it myself). Hopefully there is no much rain on the days we are staying, but I think we will enjoy it either way. If you know the area and have any suggestions, please share :-)

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ana7545 View Post


I booked a flight to Asheville, North Carolina

Honestly, it's hard to justify a flight to Asheville. I live 1.5 hrs from there, and I rarely drive up to the NC Mountains for skiing. They are crowded, relatively expensive, the conditions are variable, and the hill is small. To each his own, but if you are going to fly someplace, rent a car, stay overnight, and rent skis...go west!

Full disclosure: this was written on the Tarmac at SLC after an 11 day ski trip to Alta/Snowbird!

FYI, you should have a 24 hour cancellation window.
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ana7545 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

So are you interested in skiing yourself?  Do you have appropriate clothing for very cold weather?  Meaning teens and 20's.

 

It's a long drive from Albany to Niagara Falls, way more than an hour.

 

To throw in a completely different idea, to learn to ski does not require a large mountain.  In theory you could fly to DC and drive over to Massanutten.  A little over two hours, but less worries about driving in snowy weather.  That's my home mountain in northern VA even though I live in NC.  Very good ski school.  But hard to say if there are still slots in the full-day ski school.  Although your daughter is old enough to do the group lesson package deals.  One advantage to mid-Altantic skiing is that it's not nearly as cold as New England.  Massanutten also has ice skating, snow tubing, and an indoor water park.

 

 

Thank you all for your help and special thank marznc for giving me a different perspective, I booked a flight to Asheville, North Carolina, it is very close to many ski resorts and the driving is minimal, temperatures are in the 30's and it will not be so bad for us, I personally do not like cold weather, I plan to visit few resorts in the area and will come back to share my experience, so far I have Sugar Mountain and Catallochee in mind, and also found a great B&B with home made breakfast (i think i will enjoy it myself). Hopefully there is no much rain on the days we are staying, but I think we will enjoy it either way. If you know the area and have any suggestions, please share :-)

Well, can't say that Asheville would be my recommendation for a flight from anywhere.  The ski areas are small and will be very crowded.  That's why I suggested flying to DC and driving to Massanutten, which is not nearly as crowded as any of the NC ski areas on weekends or holidays.  However, the NC mountains area is a fun place to visit.

 

For more about skiing in NC, check out SkiSoutheast.com .  Note that for skiing, it makes more sense to stay in Boone than Asheville.

 

Cataloochee is closer to Asheville but smaller than Sugar or Beech.  If there is no snow on the roads, I personally like Beech better than Sugar.  Although the beginner area at Sugar is probably better because it's off by itself.  Appalachian is perhaps the best place for a first time lesson.  No matter where you decide to ski, I strongly suggest you call ahead and make a reservation for ski school.  On the days you ski, it's well worth getting up early and arriving at least 30 min before the lifts open.  45 min is even better.  That way parking is easy.  Plus you will be ahead of the crowd if you decide to rent equipment on the mountain.  Also possible to rent at a shop near the entrance of the ski area.

 

The town of Beech Mtn has a free sledding hill that's fun after skiing.  Even has snowmaking to make sure there is enough snow.  Need to have your own sled.  Can get a cheap one at the local grocery stores.

 

Places to visit in the Asheville area include the Grove Park Inn and the Biltmore House.  Biltmore is decorated for the holidays.  Pretty pricey so should go when you can spend at least half a day.  Or make it a whole day and stay for dinner.

post #27 of 34

Just some opinions.  It will be tough to find anything within an hour drive from any major airport.  If you are willing to hop on a puddlejumper and fly into Plattsburg, Albany, Hanscom etc then you have options that might be somewhere near an hour.  For example, Stratton, Bromley and Okemo are about 90 minutes drive from Albany.

 

If you can talk yourself into spending the extra time to get there, I suggest Bretton Woods (NH) for a first time skiing experience with your daughter.  You'll make up the drive time in the lift lines - take my word for it.  The primary reason to pick BW is that it will almost certainly have the best snow conditions, least wind (oddly since it is right by Mt. Washington)  and the grooming, at least in my experience, is very good - excellent.  And lift lines are nearly non-existent - ski around and climb back on.  The cons for BW are night life / dining choices (just 2 or 3 choices unless you drive down to Conway.) and the trails are not particularly challenging.  But a great place to learn.  If you have a car you can go to other areas with more challenging trails at places such as Cannon (Franconia Notch) or long list of places down by N. Conway.  Black Mountain is old-school and challenging.  But the likelihood of icy conditions and wind is much higher.  When everyone else has ice W has snow.  Ice will wreck a beginner's experience so, just a suggestion, but avoid the icy places.

 

In VT I am familiar with Bromley, Okemo, Stowe, Sugarbush and Smugglers.  Bromley is small.  If you can ski at all you'll ski everything in a morning.  Very much a family friendly place and you may find some great package deals.  Okemo is famous for their grooming and slopeside deals.  The mountain is good, it has two areas - Okemo and Jackson Gore.  A good mountain to have some fun, plenty of good grooming.  More challenging are Stowe and Smugglers' Notch.  Can't speak to the lodging on the mountains.  We did deals in small places - cheap but OK.  I was a beginner when I went to Stowe and found it a bit intimidating.  Smugglers in CHARMING in caps, usually has great snow, but the lifts are painfully slow which can be a bad thing when it is really cold, especially for poorly equipped beginners.  I know people who won't go anywhere else but Smugglers' just because of the old-school charm.  Can't get my gang to go there again because of getting frozen stiff on those incredibly slow lifts.  But I have a photo of Smugglers' hanging on my office wall.  Really pretty place.  Never been to Killington but it is a big area by NE standards.  Lots of people love it.

 

I've only been to Whiteface once but it lived up to its reputation - tons of ice and crap grooming - it was like skiing in the plow pile at the end of a driveway.  I doubt I'll ever go back but it is a quick shot up the I-87 throughway from lbany. 

 

I've done a lot of skiing in PA and suggest you avoid it for a beginner - a lot of ice and long lift lines at the popular place, not much in the way of challenge at the less popular.  Jack-Frost / Big Boulder are well liked by many people.  I was at Big Boulder yesterday and had fun.  Never been to Jack Frost.  I go to PA because it is closest for me and it can be a day trip.

 

Sunday River and Sunappe have a lot of loyal followers. 

 

Good luck with your trip!  You might want to consider Utah (Salt Lake) or Summit County CO 90 minute drive from Denver.  You can't go wrong with Breck, Keystone, Copper.  Headed that way in a couple weeks. 

post #28 of 34

ana7545,

Where have you ended up going?
Report back!

...and have a happy holiday with your daughter.

post #29 of 34
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone, I am here to report back, we had a great trip.

 

I ended up flying to Asheville, from Miami to Charlotte and Charlotte to Asheville, arrived on 12/31 in an early morning flight, that evening we had a nice dinner in a restaurant at the Biltmore.

 

The next morning I drove up north to Wolf Ridge, the scenery was beautiful and the weather in the 40's, just about 30 minutes from Asheville, went skiing in the Wolf Ridge mountain, it was small and very pleasant, not big crowds and I found the prices very reasonable, it is a small place, I only saw one lift working and very few people, I was able to get an instructor for a private lesson for my daughter for just $50.00. It was really good because my daughter learned a lot on that class. We also when snowboarding in a little hill, it was a great day, we stayed at a Holiday Inn about 10 minutes from the resort.

 

The next morning (January 2nd) we drove down to Maggie Valley (about 1 hour drive) and we were so lucky that a snow storm was expected that evening. I loved Maggie Valley, it is a great little town. We has about 1 in snow that evening and the next morning all the streets were clean and easy to drive around, it was cold though, in the 20's.

 

The next say we went to Cataloochee Sky Resort, it was Saturday and the day after the snow, there was a big crowd, that is why I liked the Wolf Ridge better because the wait area was very comfy and cozy, in Cataloochee there was no place to sit in the cafeteria, but it was nice, I got my daughter in an advance class and with her good luck there were only 2 girls in the class, so she learned even more and went to the lifts, she ended up liking it a lot.

 

We also went to the Cherokee town, there was not much to do because they were out of season, I would love to go there in the summer, but it was a very nice town and I enjoyed the beautiful mountains, (we have no mountains in Miami, lol). I drove down hill for over 10 miles to get to the town, it was funny because I was driving about 20 mph and when I found a place to move out of the road, we counted 20 cars behind me, my daughter was making fun of me :-) and I can image locals getting really upset.

 

Overall it was a great experience, we spent the rest of the time in Maggie Valley and drove back to Asheville (only 30 minutes away) to return home on the 5th, for a trip planned within a week at such a busy season, i think it was a success and I am very happy we went there.

 

I never made it to Sugar Mountain and I am so glad I did not, after I left Wolfridge I was going to drive there, but it was farther away and there was a snow storm advisory, so I choose to go to Maggie Valley because it was closer and I felt it was safer to drive, I am so glad I did, the last night in Asheville we met a family at a restaurant and they told us they got about 6 inches snow in the area and had their car stock in a ditch for 3 days. 

 

Overall, it might not be the best place to go for people who ski regularly, but for amateurs who are just looking for a place with easy access, Catalloochee and Wolf Ridge are a good choice, just 30 minutes away from Asheville and most flights there connect to Charlotte.

 

I am glad I made that choice and I that you all for the inputs and your recommendations, next time we will go west of the Mississippi, but I will try to plan it ahead of time, but for now, I have a cruise booked for Eastern to the Caribbean, that is were I really like to go :-).

 

PS: Sorry for any spelling and mistakes, English is not my mother language.

post #30 of 34
sounds like a great trip - and exactly the mix of activities and amenities you wanted.

now you can go thaw out in the Caribbean!
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