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Making a bucket list of mountains to ski

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm asking for help to make a list of where I should go skiing. Wachusett is my go to mountain because of its proximity, but a couple weekends a year, I want to go elsewhere in New England. This weekend I spent two days at Attitash, and then went to Wildcat for an hour because the same ticket worked there. I'm quite comfortable on blues, but rarely go on blacks (yet). Attitash was rather icy this weekend. I was favoring bear peak, probably because of the high-speed quad (Wachusett has spoiled me), and my favorite trail there was Wandering Skis until it got too icy. Then when I went over to Wildcat, I only got to put in four runs, but they were great! The snow was much nicer, there was no one there (it was the end of the day, there was a Patriots game going on, and they don't have a lot opened this year). I absolutely loved the long easy run going down tomcat/polecat, and on another run I turned onto catnap which I found very fun because of how it curved around next to a small cliff (although it wouldn't have been fun if it was crowded).

 

Now for what I'm looking for. I want to try to avoid crowds, expensive lift tickets ($70+ is a bit much), and I want to avoid the big resorty places (this eliminates places like Waterville Valley and Killington). I don't need the nightlife, and just go back to my motel room for the evening. I'm not really interested in giant places either because of how confusing it may be, but these are also the places that might have long runs (like Killington). Okemo might be a good place to try for wandering, but it is resorty. Mountains that are too difficult (Canon?) should be excluded as well. These places should be preferably no more than 3 hours from Boston, and definitely under 4. I definitely want to go back to Wildcat as I feel I've only scratched the surface, and Mad River Glen is on my list as well (actually my very first time skiing was there, but was fairly disastrous).

 

So given all this information, what should I try?

post #2 of 25

Not sure about the price, but Bretton Woods should meet all your other criteria. 

 

Basically, the farther you get from Boston, the less crowded it'll be, and fewer crowds meas the snow stays in better shape for longer.  Perhaps try some of the more obscure hills in Maine?

post #3 of 25
If you enjoyed skiing at Wildcat, you should also try Cannon and depending on natural snow Mad River Glen and Magic. Burke has some development but isn't very resorty if you start at the mid mountain lodge. Pico may fit your criteria as well if you over look the base condos.
post #4 of 25

Okay hang on. You are giving all these guidelines, and they're contradictory. On one hand, you don't like ice, but on the other hand, you don't want to go somewhere resorty or expensive. Well, on the east coast, ice is alleviated by good grooming and good snowmaking, both of which cost a whole ton of money. That means the places that will have minimal ice are going to be the ones that cost more. Definitely more than your $70 threshold.

 

The other glaring contradiction in here is that you say you don't want anywhere too challenging, and list Cannon as being a mountain you view as overly challenging. Then you say a definite on your list is Mad River Glen, which is generally considered to be the most challenging mountain on the East Coast.

 

So I'm confused. Maybe a little more research into what it is you want, and a clearer idea will help.

post #5 of 25

I'll agree with freeski, but also offer two suggestions.  Try Jiminy Peak in western MA.  It's probably 2 hours+ from Boston.  Regular price online is $62 I believe; if you buy a frequent-skier card, it's even less.  4.5 minute lift to top; 1100 vertical, lots of grooming.  If you can, go on weekdays -- you'll ski right onto the lift all day and wear yourself out.

 

Similarly, Mt. Snow in southern VT is heavy into grooming and snowmaking under the new ownership, with a fairly fast summit lift, and lots of terrain for a blue-to-black skier.  Fanfare card for $87 gives you 50% off week-days and 15% off weekends.  

post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions so far, Pico looks pretty interesting.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

Okay hang on. You are giving all these guidelines, and they're contradictory. On one hand, you don't like ice, but on the other hand, you don't want to go somewhere resorty or expensive. Well, on the east coast, ice is alleviated by good grooming and good snowmaking, both of which cost a whole ton of money. That means the places that will have minimal ice are going to be the ones that cost more. Definitely more than your $70 threshold.

 

The other glaring contradiction in here is that you say you don't want anywhere too challenging, and list Cannon as being a mountain you view as overly challenging. Then you say a definite on your list is Mad River Glen, which is generally considered to be the most challenging mountain on the East Coast.

 

So I'm confused. Maybe a little more research into what it is you want, and a clearer idea will help.

I know some of the things I said are contradictory. When I say ice, I'm talking about the completely flat, rock hard surface you end up with after too much traffic has gone over. I have no problems with a corduroy surface that has gotten hard overnight, or the loose granular you get after some traffic over it. As long as there's something for my edge to grab onto.

 

My note about Canon (with the question mark), I was questioning whether or not it's really that hard. I have no problems with blues, but Canon has very little greens. As far as MRG, I remember what the long green trail is like, and I know I would enjoy it very much now that I know how to ski. I'm sure I would go on to some blues there too.

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
 

I know some of the things I said are contradictory. When I say ice, I'm talking about the completely flat, rock hard surface you end up with after too much traffic has gone over. I have no problems with a corduroy surface that has gotten hard overnight, or the loose granular you get after some traffic over it. As long as there's something for my edge to grab onto.

 

My note about Canon (with the question mark), I was questioning whether or not it's really that hard. I have no problems with blues, but Canon has very little greens. As far as MRG, I remember what the long green trail is like, and I know I would enjoy it very much now that I know how to ski. I'm sure I would go on to some blues there too.


Alright, let me do my best to give you some information that can help you out. In your original post, you state you are okay on blues, not so much on blacks. That is at Wachusett. At MRG, their blues would be rated as blacks or double blacks at Wachusett. The trail rating system is not absolute across all areas, it is a comparison of relative difficulty on that particular mountain. MRG grooms almost nothing, so those blues you're interested in will be completely bumped up, and beyond the ability of somebody not comfortable skiing a black at Wa-wa-wachusett. As far as Easy Way, which is the green that goes from the top of the double at MRG back to the base, it is a single winding traverse trail. Not worth paying for a lift ticket to ski that all day, honestly.

 

The point is, when you are looking at a trail map and you see black, blue, and green lines, it does not mean that those trails will be the same as what you have at Wachusett. Assuming that will get you into trouble.

 

Also, as far as ice goes, my point still stands. I know the difference between ice, frozen corduroy, and granular. The cheaper the ticket, the more likely you'll find ice. 30 year old ground guns are going to spray a higher moisture snow than brand new HKD tower guns. A 20 year old Bombardier groomer doing a single pass isn't going to lay down as good of a snow surface as a fleet of 2 year old Pisten Bullys doing multiple passes over the trails. That new equipment and extra labor costs money. That cost gets passed onto the consumer as higher prices. You makes your choices

 

The surefire way to avoid ice at a smaller area? Go later in the season, when daytime temps are above 40. You won't get ice, but you'll have to deal with slush and mashed potatoes.

post #8 of 25

Also, please don't think I'm trying to give you a hard time. I just realize your information on the subject may be limited, so I'm trying to give you as much information as possible to make the best decision. Can I ask what your opposition to destination resorts is, other than price?

post #9 of 25

cutting off lift tickets at $70 is gonna make it hard, but you might be able to find some deals on liftopia or something.

 

i'll second Walt's recommendation for bretton woods. good snow (for NH), crowds aren't bad, and there are plenty of nice intermediate trails. for something a little closer and less expensive, sunapee is under 2 hrs from boston and has decent snowmaking and grooming. there's also gunstock, which is basically the same distance and price as sunapee, but i like sunapee a little better.

 

if you can find a lift ticket deal, you should also try sunday river (normally $87/day). 3:15 from boston according to google maps, but it's a big place with lots of terrain to keep you interested (although it's a lot of horizontal and not that much vertical). not as resort-y/not as much of a zoo as killington. i know you said you don't want big places because they're confusing, but you don't have to ski the entire mountain if you don't want to. there are lots of trails at SR that i think you'd enjoy.

 

i'd hardly call this a bucket list, but it's definitely worth branching out from wachusett.

post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

Also, please don't think I'm trying to give you a hard time. I just realize your information on the subject may be limited, so I'm trying to give you as much information as possible to make the best decision.

I know.

 

I'm also well aware that the trail ratings vary from mountain to mountain. I know that a blue at Wachusett is "wimpy"  compared to other blues, but I'm comfortable on those as well, as I experienced at Attitash this past weekend.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

Can I ask what your opposition to destination resorts is, other than price?

I just feel like a resort type mountain is likely to be more crowded, and skiing next to condos constantly is just awkward. I prefer being surrounded by natural things, not man-made buildings. Attitash has some of this, but there's so little of it I didn't have too many problems with it.

post #11 of 25

Between Peak Media and Freeskiing TR's I'm drooling over Selkirks

http://www.epicski.com/t/124921/selkirk-tangiers-heli-skiing

 

You did say bucket list, right? :D

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
 

I know I would enjoy it very much now that I know how to ski.

You may have a good start (or not - we don't really know), but you have a long way to go in the knowing how to ski department.

 

Put some energy (and time, money and practice) into learning how to ski better, and you'll have more fun while your bucket list expands. You, too, can learn to lust after the Selkirk helicopters.

post #13 of 25

Simple solution...ski them all!  Every area will have it's own "flavor".  All part of the fun, especially when you're starting out. I prefer the smaller, out of the way areas, but the bigger "resort" type areas also have much to offer.  Why not start close to home, and work your way outwards? 

 

So many areas, so little time  LOL

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
 

You may have a good start (or not - we don't really know), but you have a long way to go in the knowing how to ski department.

 

Put some energy (and time, money and practice) into learning how to ski better, and you'll have more fun while your bucket list expands. You, too, can learn to lust after the Selkirk helicopters.

ok, you're right, but when I said "now that I know how to ski" I was talking relative to where I was, not calling myself an expert at all.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJskier164 View Post
So many areas, so little time  LOL

That's exactly the reason I started this thread!

post #15 of 25

I would go a little out of my way to ski Cloundont in Alabama just so I could say I skied in Alabama.

post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

I would go a little out of my way to ski Cloundont in Alabama just so I could say I skied in Alabama.

That would be quite a detour on your average eastern ski roadie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

 

... Also, as far as ice goes, my point still stands. I know the difference between ice, frozen corduroy, and granular. The cheaper the ticket, the more likely you'll find ice. 30 year old ground guns are going to spray a higher moisture snow than brand new HKD tower guns. A 20 year old Bombardier groomer doing a single pass isn't going to lay down as good of a snow surface as a fleet of 2 year old Pisten Bullys doing multiple passes over the trails. That new equipment and extra labor costs money. That cost gets passed onto the consumer as higher prices. You makes your choices

 

The surefire way to avoid ice at a smaller area? Go later in the season, when daytime temps are above 40. You won't get ice, but you'll have to deal with slush and mashed potatoes.

Very true,but it's worth seeking out exceptions. The 300' bump near my house has great, ice-free conditions all winter, thanks to tower guns, limitless free water, a long cold season, and intense use of brand-new groomers. The place charges $30 to $38 Cdn. a day, and for a learner like the OP, or me, it's good fun. There's plenty of better terrain around, but no one has better snow.

post #17 of 25
Quote:

Originally Posted by treeski7 View Post

 

i'll second Walt's recommendation for bretton woods. good snow (for NH), crowds aren't bad, and there are plenty of nice intermediate trails. for something a little closer and less expensive, sunapee is under 2 hrs from boston and has decent snowmaking and grooming. there's also gunstock, which is basically the same distance and price as sunapee, but i like sunapee a little better.

 

Would not recommend Sunapee if you want to avoid crowds (at least on weekends).  That's the only place I've ever driven up to intending to ski and just turned around and left.  I was only going to ski a half day on the way home from visiting some friends, but still.  Loon gets almost as bad.

 

I like Waterville, but the OP ruled that one out (I would not describe it as "big" or "resorty", but YMMV).  If you want some smaller hills, try Gunstock or Cranmore or Berkshire East.  But if I'm gonna go that far from Boston I usually want something bigger for my driving time.  Bretton Woods is great for an intermediate, although there are some condos near the hill...

 

If you can deal with 'resorts', I really like Sunday River and Sugarbush.  Stowe's nice too, but not cheap.

post #18 of 25

I think the OP's main point is he wants to avoid crowds yet he's not comfortable to escape into the black yet.

 

A lot of his "requirement" are his attempt to achieve what he actually want, mixed in with quite a bit of misconceptions: resort = crowd, black trail = difficulty, etc... But one of the thing I pick up is he's particularly uncomfortable at handling the icy, skied off, straight down the fall line kind of steep dark colored blues common in places like Attitash (and probably similarly Jiminy). 

 

So think for an intermediate who's sticking to greens and blues. What are the mountains that has lot of green and blue trail and not overly crowded? 

 

Sunday River is big enough there're some trails he'll enjoy. But finding them might not be as easy. And the OP correctly realize that. 

 

I think the suggestion of Bretton Woods is spot on. And I also think he might like many of the off-the-beaten-path ones such as Burke, Pico, Magic etc. While MRG is probably ill-advised, Sugarbush North might actually fit the bill quite fine. 

 

I'm not too familiar with NH resorts. Had the OP is based in New York, I would say Plattekill (or Belleayre, but not Hunter/Windham)! :)


Edited by at_nyc - 1/21/14 at 4:03pm
post #19 of 25

 you should try  gunstock,black mountain,pat's peak, kingpine  and even cranmore weekdays, these are all in new hampshire . also check out liftopia .com for deals on lift passes

post #20 of 25

Treat yourself, use vacations days that's what they are for and ski mid week. You can go anywhere in the northeast mid week and feel comfortable that you will not get run over, the grooming lasts way past noon maybe right until the end of the day. I was at Stowe today and could see my tracks under the quad from almost every run up till closing time, there was no one there, well -10F might have had a hand in that. Most places have a bit of a discount for mid week. Link up a 2 or 3 day trip with cheap lodging at motels and go explore tues -fri any week except Xmas and Feb vacation which is usually starts Presidents weekend and runs through that week. Why not have a great skiing experience you will always remember versus maybe an ok but more than likely crappy on weekends trip?

post #21 of 25
Another vote for Bretton woods.
Would add Gunstock, pats peak, ragged, crotched and cranmore(nh). Would also suggest smuggs, Bolton valley, burke and Bromley in vt.
post #22 of 25

Jay Peak if you enjoy Glades

Sugarbush is probably my favorite all around mountain, with great glades, bumps, trails, etc.

 

I always wanted to try Bretton Woods, Smugglers Notch, and Stowe though

post #23 of 25

Come to Cannon in Franconia Notch.  Spectacular scenery, 180 brand new snow guns.  No crowds.  Great ticket prices.  Very good intermediate terrain, although its reputation is as a steep mountain.  It is both.  If you want to take a lesson, 85% PSIA certified and VERY small classes.  It's a big hill with a small mountain vibe.  Friendly staff, friendly people. 

 

Surfdog

post #24 of 25

+1 for Berkshire East. There are some Berkshire East threads here that will give you a good sense of it.  Sounds like just what you're looking for.

 

You'd like Bromley too - just around 3 hours.

post #25 of 25

Honestly, it depends on your ability level.

 

My home mountain is Okemo, which is a good mountain until you get to the early Advanced skier level, at which point it really is not challenging at all.  Most mountains in Southern Vermont (save for parts of Killington, a little bit of Pico (read: Giant Killer), and Magic) are similar. 

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