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Looking for Great East Coast Snowboarding

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

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

Decent verticle

A backbowl (if possible)

Glades (if possible)

Tree runs

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.

 

 

The snow at Stowe and Jay are what draw me to them.  The high vertical plus nightlight at Whiteface is what draws me to it.

 

 

Any input is greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DubPhish4 View Post
 

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

Decent verticle

A backbowl (if possible)

Glades (if possible)

Tree runs

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.

 

 

The snow at Stowe and Jay are what draw me to them.  The high vertical plus nightlight at Whiteface is what draws me to it.

 

 

Any input is greatly appreciated.

 

First and foremost, GOOD AND PLENTY POWDER - From your lips....

Decent verticle - Shouldn't be a problem

A backbowl (if possible) - Nope

Glades (if possible) - Iffy for Dec/Jan. Probably only if you hit a storm.

Tree runs - see above

Close lodging (like really close so we can have a few during/post boarding drinks) - Shouldn't be a problem

Night skiing (if possible, one of my favorite things to do is a beer and shot then hit a run, then repeat) - This is probably what you're going to need to give on, if you want trees and bigger vert

Vacation-like environment in surrounding area - You got money?

The more remote the better - This one...

Relatively close to NYC (appx. 5 hours or less) - ...kind of contradicts this one.

 

I would recommend:

1. Whiteface

2. Okemo

3. Killington

4. Mt Snow

 

Stowe and Jay may get the most snow, but at that time of year, especially if you're planning this in advance, it's a lot safer to go somewhere with robust snowmaking to guarantee conditions.  Then, whatever falls from the sky is fun to play in rather than required for base building.

 

If you're really insistent on night skiing, Mountain Creek in NJ, Camelback in PA, or Windham in NY.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks man.  I'm going to look into Okemo for sure.

 

Everyone keeps telling me not to go to the East Coast, just to go to Rockies.  I dunno, I kind of want to check it out, and have only been to NYC for less than 24 hours in my life.  Could be a great trip, just struggling deciding on a mountain.

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DubPhish4 View Post
 

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

Decent verticle

A backbowl (if possible)

Glades (if possible)

Tree runs

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.

 

 

The snow at Stowe and Jay are what draw me to them.  The high vertical plus nightlight at Whiteface is what draws me to it.

 

 

Any input is greatly appreciated.

 

There is no "back bowl" skiing in New England, although there certainly is plenty of slack-country skiing (i.e., ride the lifts up and go out-of-bounds and ski back in bounds).  All of that is tree skiing though, none of it is marked on any trail map, etc.

 

Night skiing in Vermont doesn't exist except at Bolton Valley.  Stowe used to have night-skiing, but they haven't done so in years.  I once asked why they stopped and the response I got was "people realized that it is damned cold here at night".

 

Tree skiing in December / January can be pretty iffy; the bigger areas (Stowe, Okemo, Killington, Mt. Snow, Stratton, Sugarbush) all have powerful snow-making systems.  By the Christmas break, they will have the majority of their blue-square terrain up-and-running.  Natural-snow trails, trees, etc. is a "wait and see" game.

 

"Close" lodging...  most areas have at least one slope-side hotel, but it is  generally very expensive.  All the areas have a decent-sized town in the immediate vicinity; Killington has Rutland which is a "big city" by Vermont standards.  There's nothing "slopeside" at Whiteface (at least not that I recall); the town of Lake Placid is about a ten-mile drive away.

 

 

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DubPhish4 View Post
 

Thanks man.  I'm going to look into Okemo for sure.

 

Everyone keeps telling me not to go to the East Coast, just to go to Rockies.  I dunno, I kind of want to check it out, and have only been to NYC for less than 24 hours in my life.  Could be a great trip, just struggling deciding on a mountain.

 

I wouldn't recommend flying East just to ski, but if you're taking a NYC trip with some skiing on the side, it'll be great.

post #6 of 16

You are talking early season and there may or may not be good coverage and tree boarding.  Problem as I see it is your timing.  You say December/January which makes me think between Christmas and New Years which is crowded and expensive.  The period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is prime tourist season in NYC as well.  Were I you and it possible to be flexible I would look at going mid or late January.  Jay Peak may be your best bet for getting powder and they have glades and trees up the wazoo for all abilities.  KIllington is a good option as well with tons of nearby lodging.  Everyone has a bar but none of the bigger northeastern areas have night skiing.

post #7 of 16

I was going to suggest Mad River Glen --- It fits a bunch of the requirements.

 

Doesn't really have night skiing or lodging real close but...

 

Then I saw the 'Snowboard' word being used.

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DubPhish4 View Post
 

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

Decent verticle

A backbowl (if possible)

Glades (if possible)

Tree runs

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.

 

 

The snow at Stowe and Jay are what draw me to them.  The high vertical plus nightlight at Whiteface is what draws me to it.

 

 

Any input is greatly appreciated.

While the vertical at Whiteface might be fun for you, not so sure about for GF.  Blues at Whiteface are pretty steep and much narrower than out west.  Add a little ice underneath from a warm day or two . . . she may not be very happy.  There is lodging close to WF in Wilmington, but the fun places are in Lake Placid.  A relatively easy short drive, even if some snow on the road.

 

Assuming going after Jan. 1, do you plan to ski midweek or on the weekend?  Will make a huge difference in terms of lift lines.

post #9 of 16

I would only say that Whiteface's nickname is "Iceface" for a good reason..  :D  It's a good, challenging hill, but both times I've been there it's been hit and miss with snow.  Full-on boilerplate covered with 1" of man-made or a dusting of natural.  It did improve..but it wasn't stellar..I think Jay will get you better snow.  No question it has the vert (if the top is open) and it's steep.  Glades, not so much.  And yeah, only town lodging really.

post #10 of 16

I've spent many Christmas / New Years trips at Jay. Not always powder but you can usually count on a decent base and a good time. I'm not sure how their snow making stacks up with the rest of the industry but they make as much as their water permits allow. You can get some real dumps there too, I recall getting a 40" storm one year. Look for a B&B in Montgomery or Troy or stay on the mountain. Lots of new lodging there now.

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DubPhish4 View Post
 

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

Decent verticle

A backbowl (if possible)

Glades (if possible)

Tree runs

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.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

 

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.

 

I largely agree with everything said here (especially the drinking and skiing comment)... except the comment that Whiteface can't be skied in one shot.  Yes its two lifts, but where are you going to find a 3000ft+ lift in the east (or most anywhere for that matter).  They're intentionally separated because the lower 1300ft vert section off Facelift is largely blue and the upper 1800ft off the Summit chair is largely black.  

 

From a full on vacation environment standpoint, i think Whiteface would work well... especially with all the Olympic venues and off-hill stuff.  Also, Gore Mt isn't far off the Northway for a 2nd mountain to ski on travel days.

 

The biggest thing to remember though, is that powder days simply don't happen in the East.  You have one chair MAX before anything that's not already groomed gets skied out.  Your only option is to head into the trees, which (as has been said) are harder than Western trees.  

 

Edit: I forgot to emphasize that the entire 3100ft+ skis as one total run... how else could have they ran the Olympic Downhill!??!!!?


Edited by JoeSchmoe - 9/3/14 at 9:14pm
post #13 of 16
Gore sucks for snowboarding. Lots of flats to navigate.
post #14 of 16

I'd also like to make the correction that bowl skiing does exist in New England -- just not lift serviced. The Presidential Range in New Hampshire has multiple bowls, with Tuckerman's being the most famous. You just have to earn your turns.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post
 

 

I largely agree with everything said here (especially the drinking and skiing comment)... except the comment that Whiteface can't be skied in one shot.  Yes its two lifts, but where are you going to find a 3000ft+ lift in the east (or most anywhere for that matter).  They're intentionally separated because the lower 1300ft vert section off Facelift is largely blue and the upper 1800ft off the Summit chair is largely black. 

 

Edit: I forgot to emphasize that the entire 3100ft+ skis as one total run... how else could have they ran the Olympic Downhill!??!!!?

 

2 lift rides generally isn't something you're going to repeatedly lap as consistent vertical, even if you can go right from the top station of one to the bottom station of the next. That was the point of my saying that other mountains ski as bigger vert than Whiteface.

post #16 of 16
I
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

2 lift rides generally isn't something you're going to repeatedly lap as consistent vertical, even if you can go right from the top station of one to the bottom station of the next. That was the point of my saying that other mountains ski as bigger vert than Whiteface.

My crew laps them. And for a change of pace you can lap the 2500ft gondola or the 2900ft Wilmington trail. I'm still itching to try Hoyt's High.
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