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Yet another East Coast family trip question. [late Feb driving from NJ]

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

We're planning on a three day trip to (probably) Vermont next year. I am thinking last weekend of Feb. We live in Northern NJ. I want to keep the drive to <4.5 hrs. I figure the conditions will be slightly less frigid then and don't want holiday wknd crowds of President's day!

 

Who is going?

Our family-

Me (level 7 skier) I love to ski

Wife (No idea of level) she hasn't skied at all the last 10 yrs. Lukewarm on skiing.

Daughter 7yrs (Has skied sporadically over the last 4 years) She'll need one day of all day, then I think she'll be prepared for more mountain. I'd love to ski with her once she's had a proper full day of instruction.

Son 4yrs (took one lesson last year) I plan to get him into another lesson before the trip, so he's re-acclimated to the gear etc. He'll need 2 days of all day camp or whatever.

 

Friends- Father and son ski - the kid will ski pretty much everything (he's 8). Dad is a level 6 - he'll ski it, too. The mom blew her knee out a few years ago and she's pretty tentative. 

 

Other friends that may come - I have no idea the levels. The dad talks a game, but he has not skied (that I know of in the last 2 yrs) talks a big game :rolleyes...

His Wife, no idea and two kids the same age as mine (pretty much) that have never skied.

 

Needs-

Skiing Fri/Sat/Maybe Half day Sunday.

<4.5 hours of zip - 07452

Really prefer slope/mtn side accommodations with kitchen/ette (one kid has crazy bad allergies)

All day ski school camp for kids.

Varied terrain. 

 

Level 6 dad is leaning towards Okemo (though he's never been), I lean a little towards Mt Snow. For purely ridiculous reasons, I've been there know it, probably want to re-live the single days.

 

What say you about 

Okemo

Mt Snow

Stratton

Bromley

 

or any other suggestions?

post #2 of 25

Okemo gets the most snow of the ones you listed.  Pretty sure it's the biggest too, but it might have the least interesting terrain, or at least tied with Stratton.

 

Mt Snow is the closest, decent variety.

 

Stratton, besides the terrain listed above, would probably the most expensive option.  But it would have the most off slope options (ie, shopping).

 

Bromley would likely be the cheapest.  Not sure what there is to do in the village, though.

 

Google Maps has Killington at barely under 4.5 hours.  That would trump all of those in every skiing category.

post #3 of 25

Stratton would be my first choice. There are deals to be had if you can book early enough. There is a ton of slopeside lodging and you can walk to some decent restaurants in the base village. I am a little further up Rt 17 from you and I get to Stratton in about 3.5 hours.

2nd choice would be Mt Snow. There seems to be a little less slope side vs Stratton or Okemo. It might be closer than Stratton, but it is pretty close to 3.5hr drive.

Bromley is an interesting choice. It is affordable, it faces south so it is warmer, but it has less terrain than the other 3.

Okemo is not worth the drive past Stratton. I find Okemo terrain to be less interesting than Stratton terrain. There is also a ton of slopeside at Okemo.

 

Any of the ski schools will be fine so that really should not matter in your decision. I have had good experiences at Stratton, but I know friends who have used the others and where happy.

 

There is really no "wrong" answer. No matter which one you pick you will have a great time.

post #4 of 25

Right -- Stratton is expensive, but there are slope side accommodations.  Experts will find the skiing dull, likely, but everyone else will be fine, even for a few days.  The village has boutiquey shopping.

 

People like Snow -- I've skied it a couple of times, but didn't enjoy it much.  Seemed cramped, with narrow trails, but again, people seem to like it.  It can be crowded. 

 

Bromley is a nice little south-facing mountain; the terrain is varied and interesting, though there's not much of it (which is why it's cheap) -- again, not an expert's paradise, and not a lot to do besides ski (definitely get boots fitted there, though -- make an appointment at GMOL).  

 

Okemo's terrain has a reputation for dullness, with which I concur, but it's larger than Snow and Bromley.  

 

You might look at the New Hampshire side -- Sunapee is a possibility at about the same distance.  There's not much for an expert, but the intermediate/advanced intermediate terrain is interesting.  Lodging will be a trick, though, and non-skiers will likely be bored.

 

Killington, though, sounds like your best bet.

post #5 of 25

I prefer Okemo to Mt Snow and it has tons of skiinskiout lodging options.  I also like the town of Ludlow for shopping and dining over Stratton area.  Killington is  more limited in on mountain lodging than Stratton or Okemo, and while it has plenty of expert stuff, the layout can be confusing to newbies and there is less of a family vibe there than all the other areas mentioned.  Not saying there aren't plenty of families, just that there is more testosterone and aggressive sliding on the hill.

post #6 of 25

The base area at Okemo gets mobbed,  really crazy in the mornings until everyone starts to disperse around the mountain.  IMO, slopeside (or even with a short bus ride) lodging options at Stratton would be best, and would have best options at the ski area base for non-skiers.  Bromley is a nice, low key area, but there is very little slopeside lodging and amenities.  And the south facing slopes that are so nice in mid-winter turn everything to mush once you get towards spring.  I don't recall how much slopeside lodging is available at Mount Snow.  But if you are considering Okemo, Killington is not that much further and has the biggest variety of options.  Just make sure everyone has their cell phone on them since the place is huge and people may get very spread out, and the parents of any kids in day-long programs need to be able to be reached in case of emergency.

post #7 of 25

Killington is very much a "love it or hate it" mountain.  Killington is spread across seven (?) different mountains meaning there are seven different base areas and a lot of connecting trails.  If you know your way around, there is great skiing to be had...  if not, you can spend a lot of time consulting the trail map trying to figure out how to get somewhere.  There isn't necessarily a lot of great intermediate cruising / groomed terrain.  Basically, there is something there for everyone to ski, but there's a question of how much "something" there is and whether or not you can find it.

 

I've spent very little time at Stratton or Bromley.

 

Okemo is known for miles and miles and miles of perfectly groomed terrain, which is not exactly true.  There are bump runs and there are gladed runs...  but chances are, if you slide up to the top of any given trail and look down, it will be groomed.  There are a few short steeper pitches around, but for the most part, the terrain is mellow.  Basically, they cater to what the vast majority of the skiing public wants -- a chance to get outside, go skiing, enjoy the winter, relax, and not scare themselves silly.  As for getting around, there are really only two base areas -- i.e., you can't get *that* lost.

 

Mt. Snow has three distinct areas to it.  One is Carinthia, which is nothing but terrain parks, from beginner parks to enormous parks.  It can be entertaining to slide over there and watch what some of these kids are capable of doing.  One is the North Face, which is home to various bump runs and a couple steeper groomed slopes as well.  And then there's the main face, which is Okemo-like in that it's mile-after-mile of groomed slopes.

 

All of these areas get very crowded on Saturdays.  They are within easy day trip distance of Boston and within weekend trip distance of NYC.  You'll have the place to yourself on Fridays.  Sundays aren't as bad as Saturdays.

 

As for the nearby towns, shopping, dining out, etc.  Okemo is in Ludlow, Mt. Snow is in West Dover.  Neither one is very big; these are a step up from "quaint Vermont village" and a step down from a "town".  Killington, and to a lesser extent Okemo are close-ish to Rutland, which is the second biggest city in Vermont.  There's nothing very charming about Rutland, but it's an option for dining, shopping, etc. if the weather sucks (which is always a possibility in New England).

post #8 of 25

I have skied all those areas pretty regularly since having kids and I think Stratton is your best bet. It isn't cheap but if you book now you at least get some discount. Stratton has great immediate trees, my kids loved them when they were younger. Actually if you like trees (and are more advanced) you will be happy there for a few days but not much more then that. Their grooming is excellent, never many icy spots which helps with tentative skiers.  We usually go up on a Friday night and ski Sat/Sun/Mon.  Saturday can be crowded but Sunday afternoon and Monday make up for it. We stay at the Longtrail (has an outdoor pool and 2 outdoor hot tubs) at the bottom of the village. Once you park your car you never get back in it till you leave. My wife usually starts late and stops early while me and the kids ski from first chair to last chair. The village (kind of fake but it works) and hotel are great for those that start late or stop early. Very easy to just say lets meet at 10 at one of the lodges.

 

I just checked the Stratton website and there is no kids under 12 ski free, I'm not sure if the other areas have that. We always buy an X2 card or the Intrawest passport. With the Intrawest passport do the math with everyone going, you can have up to like 15 people on 1 account. Check both out could be a big difference in savings.

 

Oh, if a storm hits a few days before go check out Magic for a day, best tree skiing (IMHO best skiing period) in lower Vermont. Also the best wings ever!!

 

Bromley is a nice mountain but not much to keep those happy who stop early. 

 

Mt Snow only really has 1 beginner trail, all the others intersect intermediate trails, which can be a nightmare for beginners if they aren't constantly watching for other skiers going fast.

 

Okemo is good, I just always feel like I'm skiing from lift to lift to get to the trail I want to do next. Plus I can't stand that Jackson Gore Junction every time I move between the 2 sides. 

 

Killington has the best skiing but for a family with different skill levels it can be difficult to navigate ( as Kevin said pretty spread out), very easy to get split up because of its size.


Edited by Bill9994 - 10/13/14 at 6:34am
post #9 of 25

Between Mount Snow and Okemo, Mt Snow has a few bumped up steep spots, Okemo usually has some mellow groomed in bumps.  Ludlow is a nice little town with surprisingly good dining choices.

Stratton is bigger, pricier and has shopping at outlets in Manchester.

Bromley is smaller and kid friendly.

Killington is too hectic on weekends for me.  Evenings on the access road is not really family friendly either.

If you take the NY Thruway, Stratton/Bromley is the closest, Mt Snow the farthest. By 95/91, Mt Snow is closest.

Okemo for the win, although the most advanced skiers in your group will prefer Killington or Mt Snow.

 

BK

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
 

Between Mount Snow and Okemo, Mt Snow has a few bumped up steep spots, Okemo usually has some mellow groomed in bumps.  Ludlow is a nice little town with surprisingly good dining choices.

Stratton is bigger, pricier and has shopping at outlets in Manchester.

Bromley is smaller and kid friendly.

Killington is too hectic on weekends for me.  Evenings on the access road is not really family friendly either.

If you take the NY Thruway, Stratton/Bromley is the closest, Mt Snow the farthest. By 95/91, Mt Snow is closest.

Okemo for the win, although the most advanced skiers in your group will prefer Killington or Mt Snow.

 

BK


Okemo is the farthest from the OPs location out of Stratton/Bromley/Mt Snow

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the feedback guys! I'm thinking that it's between Stratton (skied there twice) and Okemo. I know Mt Snow extensively, just not with kids. I had heard that their school was very good - underrated as to Okemo. Kinda miss Bruce Jacques at Cuzzin's! Haven't been there in a while...

 

I should point out that I also realize my ability to hit anything steep will be severely limited. This is the trip where we, hopefully, work the kinks out and become a ski family. I'm sure my slope time will be at a minimum. 


Edited by sooneron - 10/9/14 at 12:58pm
post #12 of 25

Between Stratton and Okemo, I would just go with whichever one has the best deal for on mountain lodging.  Even though I prefer Okemo I agree with the poster who mentioned crowds at their base area.  I avoid it, especially early in the day when everyone is getting going, at lunch and again at days end. This limits you skiing not at all.  If you are staying on the hill you will easily be able to avoid the base.  Lots of condos at Solitude and plenty of houses off the Sachem Trail.  From what I recall, Killington does not have a lot of on mountain lodging other than the big hotel?

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sooneron View Post

Thanks for all of the feedback guys! I'm thinking that it's between Stratton (skied there twice) and Okemo. I know Mt Snow extensively, just not with kids. I had heard that their school was very good - underrated as to Okemo. Kinda miss Bruce Jacques at Cuzzin's! Haven't been there in a while...

I should point out that I also realize my ability to hit anything steep will be severely limited. This is the trip where we, hopefully, work the kinks out and become a ski family. I'm sure my slope time will be at a minimum. 

Yeah, I read your original post and thought "cat herding without a Friskies box to shake".
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post


Yeah, I read your original post and thought "cat herding without a Friskies box to shake".

:rotflmao:

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 

From what I recall, Killington does not have a lot of on mountain lodging other than the big hotel?

There are quite a few condo's off the Great Eastern trail & even more in Sunrise village that are ski in/out. The problem is none of them are near the main base areas where you'd most likely meet with ski school. Some of the condo's located just beyond the Grand hotel are ski in when there's enough snow but require a shuttle to get to the main base areas.

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

We're planning on a three day trip to (probably) Vermont next year. I am thinking last weekend of Feb. We live in Northern NJ. I want to keep the drive to <4.5 hrs. I figure the conditions will be slightly less frigid then and don't want holiday wknd crowds of President's day!

 

Who is going?

Our family-

Me (level 7 skier) I love to ski

Wife (No idea of level) she hasn't skied at all the last 10 yrs. Lukewarm on skiing.

Daughter 7yrs (Has skied sporadically over the last 4 years) She'll need one day of all day, then I think she'll be prepared for more mountain. I'd love to ski with her once she's had a proper full day of instruction.

Son 4yrs (took one lesson last year) I plan to get him into another lesson before the trip, so he's re-acclimated to the gear etc. He'll need 2 days of all day camp or whatever.

 

Friends- Father and son ski - the kid will ski pretty much everything (he's 8). Dad is a level 6 - he'll ski it, too. The mom blew her knee out a few years ago and she's pretty tentative. 

 

Other friends that may come - I have no idea the levels. The dad talks a game, but he has not skied (that I know of in the last 2 yrs) talks a big game :rolleyes...

His Wife, no idea and two kids the same age as mine (pretty much) that have never skied.

 

Needs-

Skiing Fri/Sat/Maybe Half day Sunday.

<4.5 hours of zip - 07452

Really prefer slope/mtn side accommodations with kitchen/ette (one kid has crazy bad allergies)

All day ski school camp for kids.

Varied terrain. 

 

Level 6 dad is leaning towards Okemo (though he's never been), I lean a little towards Mt Snow. For purely ridiculous reasons, I've been there know it, probably want to re-live the single days.

 

What say you about 

Okemo

Mt Snow

Stratton

Bromley

 

or any other suggestions?

I would throw whiteface out there as a mountain, since there are a ton of hotels in the towns of lake placid, and wilmington plus cheap condos that you can rent out for a few days. it is a closer drive then some of your mountains and has a great ski school that is almost always empty on fridays non holiday and small lessons on weekends. also the town of lake placid has some of the best of off mountain activities in the east. that is just my 2 cents, plus i have been skiing there since i was a kid. 

post #17 of 25

I'm sure plans have already been set, but along with Whiteface, Gore would be a good alternative.  Much more in the way of easy cruisers for the kids and lower level skiers, a couple of real steep and bumpy runs up top for the higher level skiers.  The one section farthest to the right as you look up from the bottom is usually empty.  Nice little town nearby, and a very quick and easy drive from NNJ.

post #18 of 25

[Edit: I just noticed that the OP's question was from October.  Oh well.]

 

I'll throw one in there for Bromley.  Less to do at the base than Mt. Snow and others, but a very manageable and fun mountain, and probably less crowded than Okemo, Snow, etc.  I found all the employees there very friendly and helpful, especially to families.  They even help you get stuff out of your car when dropping off.  There is enough challenging terrain there for you, and the upside is that the kids will likely be able to go to the summit, where there are great views, out to Stratton and, on a clear day, to Gore and the Adirondacks.  I wasn't a particularly good skier when I was last there, but I recall there were steep, bumped up runs off the Blue Ribbon Quad, and a boarder cross course, which was very fun to play on.  

 

We also spent one night at the Grand Summit Hotel at Mount Snow on the way home to meet up with some friends, which was great fun.  Everyone loves the slopeside outdoor pool and hot tubs.  

 

I'd also second Whiteface and Lake Placid, but I'd be surprised if it is not considerably farther than southern Vermont from Jersey.  

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by brenster21 View Post
 

I would throw whiteface out there as a mountain, since there are a ton of hotels in the towns of lake placid, and wilmington plus cheap condos that you can rent out for a few days. it is a closer drive then some of your mountains and has a great ski school that is almost always empty on fridays non holiday and small lessons on weekends. also the town of lake placid has some of the best of off mountain activities in the east. that is just my 2 cents, plus i have been skiing there since i was a kid. 


If you have skiers who mostly stay on green or blue trails I would pass on Whiteface. There is only 1 blue trail off the gondola - Excelsior (no green trail). It is not an easy blue and you will find lots of high speed skiers on the trail. The Summit Quad has 2 blues - The Follies and Parons. Most intermediates can handle these 2 unless conditions are marginal. The Wilmington Trail off lookout Mtn is a long hard "blue" trail. It has some funky drops and lower intermediates should probably stay away unless the conditions are perfect. There are 2 blue trails off the main HSQ - Upper Valley and  Upper Boreen and the green Easy Street. Upper Valley is the drain for almost the entire mountain and has the traffic to match.

 

 Lake Placid is awesome for food, lodging, après ski, and other winter activities. The terrain for advanced skiers at Whiteface is excellent.

 

If you want a place loaded with blue trails and no crowds you can head to the already mentioned Gore. It is different from SVT , yet it does provide a much better experience for green and blue skiers when compared to Whiteface. There is also a better challenge for advance skiers vs SVT.  The lodging at Gore will be cheaper and the whole area around Gore (Village of North Creek) is less commercial than SVT and Lake Placid. Gore is also a less stressful and shorter time drive from NJ vs SVT as it is only 20 miles off the Northway (I-87).

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKS View Post

I'd also second Whiteface and Lake Placid, but I'd be surprised if it is not considerably farther than southern Vermont from Jersey.  

well, it takes me about 4 to 4 and a half hours to make it, if my memory serves lake placid is about 277 miles from my house in northern jersey. (then again i have had a lot of practice doing that drive. ) it is pretty much an extra hour to get to whiteface. (full disclosure i have been a season pass holder for 6 years and am currently an instructor). i was at bromoley last winter and it was pretty fun. 

Also sorry about posting on the old post, i had misread the date.

post #21 of 25

I'll agree with the assessments of Bromley: fun place and low key. 

post #22 of 25

i noted bromley as a good option for families and enough good skiing for beginners / intermediates however not sure as to the location for other activities.  Would like to hear some thoughts on the location for after skiing, not necessary on the slop but within short drive or walk.

post #23 of 25

Nothing at the mountain as far as I remember. The whole area is pretty low key, some restaurants etc.  If you want a lot of amenities, Stratton is a better choice.  The town of Manchester is the nearest town of any size, probably 20 minutes away.  Or Mt. Snow, there is a lot more nearby.

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJskier164 View Post

Nothing at the mountain as far as I remember. The whole area is pretty low key, some restaurants etc.  If you want a lot of amenities, Stratton is a better choice.  The town of Manchester is the nearest town of any size, probably 20 minutes away.  Or Mt. Snow, there is a lot more nearby.

I think I am narrowing my search to northern Vermont. Smugglers looks similar with somewhat more located in or around the mountain. The dated lift infrastructure is a concern for a busy holiday season, any experience here over Christmas and new year ?
post #25 of 25

I checked the other thread you posted in.  So basically you are looking for someplace not so crowded for the Christmas to New Year's time period, that might have decent snow and is good for a family?  Smuggler's Notch is actually probably a good choice.  It is somewhat out of the way compared to most other Vermont ski areas.  Which means there are not a huge number of choices to eat at but there is enough you should be able to find something  suitable.  The mountain is actually more like 2 separate ones, with the easier trails located on the lower left of the area (as you look up from the bottom) and the harder terrain higher up and to the right.  And there are some very tough trails there.  The far north location should ensure some decent conditions.

 

Another thought is Jay Peak, although that may be somewhat crowded with people from the US and Canada.  But, the area is a bit more "modernized" and can offer a lot right at the base area. 

 

Most all ski areas will be crowded during that time period, especially if there are decent skiing conditions. It's just a fact of life.  The key with any crowded time period, pretty much any weekend at a ski area within 2-3 hours of NYC, and especially on holiday weekends, is to get on the slopes early in the day, eat lunch early, then quit early. You'll be ahead of the crowds and will have had your fill of skiing by the time the conditions start to deteriorate on the slopes. And then you will also get to eat dinner before the crowds as well. Especially when you have children, waiting an hour for a table is not a pleasant experience  LOL

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Family Skiing Discussions › Yet another East Coast family trip question. [late Feb driving from NJ]