Originally Posted by DubPhish4
My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to NYC for a few days in December/January, then from there we're going to take a trip up north to snowboard. I was hoping some of you from the East Coast could fill us in on some of the best options for hills. I've been boarding in the West quite a bit (Winter Park, Copper Mtn. Breckenridge, Vail), but I live in Chicago and am no Western snob (in fact those are my least favorite people). I am excited to see something new in the East. Right now, I am dabbling with Stowe, Jay, and Whiteface Mountain, but have very little background and am open to whatever suggestions you have.
We are both intermediate snowboarders. She sticks to the blues for the most part, I like blues, but hit the blacks as well. She likes to just ride the runs, I like to go through the trees (but not too tight as I am not that great).
Some background on what we're looking for:
First and foremost, GOOD AND PLENTY POWDER
A backbowl (if possible)
Glades (if possible)
Close lodging (like really close so we can have a few during/post boarding drinks)
Night skiing (if possible, one of my favorite things to do is a beer and shot then hit a run, then repeat)
Vacation-like environment in surrounding area
The more remote the better
Relatively close to NYC (appx. 5 hours or less)
Things we don't care about:
No park necessary
Slow lifts okay
Need not be all that big as we're only going for two days
Super fancy lodge/restaurants/etc.
Going point by point...
Powder- Nowhere in the East is any powder guaranteed. Stowe, Smuggs and Jay all have a better chance of powder than most. But there are a lot of skiers and a lot less acreage than out west. So when there is a storm, it will get tracked out much faster than out West. Whiteface gets very little powder. It's just in a different weather pattern.
Vertical- Whiteface does have more total vertical than Stowe or Jay. However, it can't be skied in one shot. There's no top-to-bottom lift at Whiteface, so by practical application, the actual vertical of Stowe, Smuggs, and Jay is more user friendly.
Backbowl- This is the East. No such thing. The area with the most sidecountry (out of bounds but relatively lift served) is Stowe. Smuggs and Jay have some good stuff too.
Glades and tree runs- Same thing. As has been noted already, the ability to ski trees in December/January is iffy at absolute best. Also another thing to note about Eastern tree skiing- It is much different than Western tree skiing. Those wide open aspen glades you get in Colorado? Not here. New England trees are tight, dense, and technical. On top of that is the harder denser snow, which makes those tree runs much faster than the fluffy pow runs through the trees in the Rockies. From what I gather, you may struggle finding tree runs to your liking here in the East.
Lodging- All major eastern resorts have nearby lodging. We cater to NYC and Boston.
Night skiing- Nope. Night skiing is for small local areas that are looking to squeeze as much revenue out of their acreage as possible. Oh, and if your idea is to get drunk and go riding, frankly I'd rather you not be anywhere I plan on skiing.
I'll take the last three points as a group. You want Vacation like environment... so resort like. But you want remote. But you want close to NYC. Remote and close to NYC are directly contradictory. Pick one, ditch the other. And do you want rustic remote, or resort vacation?
So based on your criteria, it sounds like you need to prioritize what you want. If your priority is snow, the further north you go the better. Jay, Smuggs, Stowe. If your priority is convenience, Southern Vermont is probably your best bet. Okemo, Stratton, Mt. Snow.