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East Coast: Best Ski / Town Combo?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey all, 

 

I'm planning a trip with some family and friends for this season (late Jan / early Feb) for roughly 7-10 days. We're all fairly advanced skiers / riders meeting up on the East Coast. I've been to a number of places but I'm hoping to get better ideas from some helpful bears here. 

 

We're looking for:

 

- Good snow

- Varied / plenty of terrain (large multi- peak mountain or proximity to multiple mountains different days)

- A nice base village or town area, where we can apres, enjoy an occasional upscale meal and possibly hit some shops when people aren't skiing


We will be renting a house / condo for between 5-7 people 

 

My search has led me to two places: Stowe, VT and North Conway, NH, both have real towns and access to multiple mountains. Price is obviously very different here.

 

Thoughts on these or other places I'm missing that I should consider? Would love some help from some EC bears!

post #2 of 17

You have nailed the two key areas in both states.

 

North Conway is in some sense the obvious and well known choice in NH with access to Wildcat, Attitash, and Cranmore.

 

You might also try and consider something along the I-93 corridor in NH. You can get yourself in a spot with quick access to Cannon, Bretton Woods, Loon, and Waterville, with outlet shopping in Tilton. The thing that would be lacking is a clear village that could feed the New England vibe you may want, and other than Cannon the challenge may not be that high.

 

Vermont may have three zones to consider.

 

You already hit on Stowe, but if you are going for over a week you may also want to look into something closer to I-89 near Waterbury. Waterbury puts you equidistant to Stowe, Bolton Valley, Mad River, and Sugarbush. There should plenty of challenge, but be aware Mad River is skiers only. Waterbury also puts you a short drive down I-89 to Burlington or Montpelier if a bigger scene or day off from skiing is needed. If you are going to just ski one place Stowe or the Sugarbush/Mad River could serve you well for a bulk of the trip.

 

Killington can handle a lot of your requirements on its own. Plenty of size, with the bonus of Pico, and the active scene on the access road. If El Nino is pushes in a lean snow year Killington is about as far south as you can go safely most of the time and still get good snowfall. Rutland has standard shopping, and the other direction on US-4 can get you into picturesque Woodstock VT. Also, last year a 4+ day ticket to Killington let you ski one day at Okemo about an hour south. It would not be more challenging, but the great grooming and bubble chairs could make for a nice change of pace.

 

If you can wait on a storm or are willing to gamble with the weather Southern VT also has the Stratton, Bromley, Magic Mtn triangle from which to choose. They are each very distinct ski areas, and Stratton does have one of the few developed resort villages in the area. The snow conditions are simply going to get leaner the further south you stay, and that could be a much bigger issue if you want access to advanced terrain in a lean year.

 

Weekend crowds will be bigger the further south you ski, and generally the bigger the resort. Having a place like Magic, Bromley, Pico, or Bolton Valley as a weekend option could be nice, and help keep lift ticket costs down by skiing midweek at the bigger places.

 

If you are really adventurous (in some sense) Quebec City with Le Massif and Mont Ste. Anne nearby could be a fun, but very different kind of trip.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 


Thanks @CentralVT08 good to know I was on the right track. Wasn't sure what the village/town was like around Killington. 

 

We've spent a good amount of time at the places in Southern VT and they are great places but again, wasn't sure there was much to do outside of skiing for 7+ days. Still a decent option though. Will look into Killington more, but right now we are still leaning toward Stowe and North Conway. 

post #4 of 17

It is my two cents, but for 7+ days I think the skiing in the Sugarbush/Stowe area will not only have more variety and potential challenge, but with the El Nino long range forecasting also be a much better bet with the snow conditions.

 

If you are willing to stay closer to Waterbury you can probably get some of your costs down. I would suggest being on the lookout for Sugarbush's 4-pack when it goes on sale, and also be aware that the Mt. Ellen side of Sugarbush is usually only $30 on Thursdays in Jan-March.

 

There are several Bears who could give you better details on where the best place would be to stay near Stowe.

post #5 of 17

Not really a village around Killington, but plenty of restaurants and shops strung along the access road and then on Rt100.   I agree with above regarding Stowe or Sugarbush or perhaps Waterbury (in-between) for the best variety of skiing.  Stowe has everything in VT beat as far as a charming village goes.  The village  of Stowe is not at the ski resort but a few miles away.

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 

 Stowe has everything in VT beat as far as a charming village goes.  

I'd be pissed if I was Woodstock and read this. 

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Unit View Post
 

Hey all, 

 

I'm planning a trip with some family and friends for this season (late Jan / early Feb) for roughly 7-10 days. We're all fairly advanced skiers / riders meeting up on the East Coast. I've been to a number of places but I'm hoping to get better ideas from some helpful bears here. 

 

We're looking for:

 

- Good snow

- Varied / plenty of terrain (large multi- peak mountain or proximity to multiple mountains different days)

- A nice base village or town area, where we can apres, enjoy an occasional upscale meal and possibly hit some shops when people aren't skiing


We will be renting a house / condo for between 5-7 people 

 

My search has led me to two places: Stowe, VT and North Conway, NH, both have real towns and access to multiple mountains. Price is obviously very different here.

 

Thoughts on these or other places I'm missing that I should consider? Would love some help from some EC bears!

As fairly advanced skiers, what kind of terrain are you hoping to spend most of your time on?  Groomers?  Bumps?  Tight trees?  Terrain parks?  Off-map skiing?  Other?

When you say "good snow," and you combine that with New England, what exactly do you have in mind?  Are "bad snow" days going to be OK with your group, or will they want to do something those days besides skiing?

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey @LiquidFeet good questions. I love to ski trees. A few of us will ski off piste as much as the conditions allow. We will take a few bump runs and ski groomers too but we'd rather be in the trees. A couple others will mostly stick to groomers but they are still very good skiers. No park rats with us. 

 

I should have said, the chance for good snow, if that makes sense. Most of us will ski every day no matter what. If its really crappy a couple people in the group will probably find other things to do. 

 

Does that make sense?

post #9 of 17

Yep.  From North Conway you have Wildcat, Attitash, Black, and Cranmore, all within 20 minutes.  Bretton Woods and Cannon are 50-75 minutes west, and Sunday River is 60 minutes east. Shawnee Peak is oh about 35 minutes southeast.  So lots of variety; the only mountain in that bunch that has any width with terrain variety is Sunday River.  Cannon and Wildcat are tall, not wide.  Attitash is two mountains connected by a bottleneck, different characters.  Bretton Woods is a lovely place but it's mostly flat.  Cranmore is small, and Black is smaller.  Some people love Black; I don't know why. Shawnee Peak is also small.  

 

You'll find interesting tree runs at Sunday River, Wildcat, and especially at Cannon.  Cannon is king for tight trees.   If Kinsman Glade is open, you'll want to do that.  Check out the trail map.  Not sure about Black.  Bretton Woods has a bunch of tree runs at all levels of difficulty to keep better skiers interested; these runs tend to be pretty short, however.  If you have people beginning to ski trees they can take in the easy glades and work up to more tight ones.  If you go there, remember I told you the groomers were flat, and be sure to have an irish coffee in the lobby of the Mt. Washington Hotel across the street afterwards.  That's worth the drive.  Shawnee Peak has a few tree runs, but it's a genuinely small mountain.  Attitash has some glades over on the Bear Peak side.  

 

So for variety, North Conway is it.  If conditions and weather permit, you might consider earning your turns over on Mt Washington.  You can hike up the Tuckerman hiking trail and ski back down the Sherburne ski trail.  However, that's usually a spring trip, so get good advice from those in the know at the Appalachian Mountain Club visitors center in Pinkham Notch before you tackle that one in Jan/Feb.

 

Others can speak for the Stowe option.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
 

I'd be pissed if I was Woodstock and read this. 

I meant as far a ski town.  What does Woodstock have , Quechee?  

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CentralVT08 View Post
 

It is my two cents, but for 7+ days I think the skiing in the Sugarbush/Stowe area will not only have more variety and potential challenge, but with the El Nino long range forecasting also be a much better bet with the snow conditions.

 

If you are willing to stay closer to Waterbury you can probably get some of your costs down. I would suggest being on the lookout for Sugarbush's 4-pack when it goes on sale, and also be aware that the Mt. Ellen side of Sugarbush is usually only $30 on Thursdays in Jan-March.

 

There are several Bears who could give you better details on where the best place would be to stay near Stowe.


I had a good time checking out Sugarbush for the first time last season.  The bonus was also skiing Mad River Glen.  The town is small, but includes a number of good restaurants and a few shops.  Close enough for day trips to Stowe if that's of interest.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 


Awesome stuff guys, all of this is really good info. Is there anything between Sugarbush and Stowe, as in places to stay, towns, etc? Just curious. Neither is too far if we want to go for a day but just wondering. 

post #13 of 17

Been to both Sugarbush and Stowe, and while both are great in their own way, they are not the same in terms of what you're describing.  Both have the terrain but the similarities end there.  Stowe is a proper lovely little New England town.  Like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  $$$$ though.  There isn't really a proper village on slope, but it's sorta close-ish.  As for Sugarbush itself, there's certainly no village there at all, and the town of Warren is quaint but very small....blink and you miss it.  Of the two, Stowe is the clear winner for what you're describing.  HOWEVER.........there's certainly no reason you can't make a daytrip to Sugarbush, it's not a far drive if you're staying in the area for a week.  The other upside of that is you can hit Mad River Glen (skiers only) if you want challenge in the trees. Ski It If You Can, and you may not want to leave if you're looking for something different.  No village at MRG though LMAO, they barely use a Snowcat, you'll be lucky to find a groomed run at MRG haha.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Unit View Post
 


Awesome stuff guys, all of this is really good info. Is there anything between Sugarbush and Stowe, as in places to stay, towns, etc? Just curious. Neither is too far if we want to go for a day but just wondering. 


There are a couple towns on I-89 that are in between.  But no advantage to stay there.  With a group sharing a house, makes more sense to stay close to one area or another.  Especially if everyone fits into one vehicle for ski days.

 

The restaurants and shopping I was thinking about near Sugarbush are in Waitsfield, not Warren.  All I found of interest in Warren was a covered bridge.  The Mad River Barn is a fun place for dinner.  Renovated in recent years that retains as much of the old charm as practical.  Was owned by the owner of the MRG.  There are free buses in the Waitsfield area to go around town and to the main Sugarbush base and the Mt. Ellen base.  Can't remember if MRG is included too.

 

If staying in Waitsfield, an hour to Stowe to the north.  An hour to Pico & Killington to the south.  Assuming good driving conditions.

post #15 of 17

Woodstock is actually quite close to Killington when the Skyeship Gondola is open down to US4, maybe 20 minute drive. You can toss in Suicide Six and Quchee for the tiny hills, 30 minutes to Pico, and about 40 m to Okemo. The Dartmouth Skiway and Mt Sunapee are all less than an hour. I lived in the Upper Valley for five years, so hence why I am familiar with the layout.

 

The Woodstock Inn gets a tremendous amount of visitors over the winter wanting luxury accommodations while skiing Killington--the Grand just is not all that grand.

 

The walkable section of the village core in Woodstock is also much larger than Stowe. And the Rockefeller Mansion National Park, and the Billings Museum add some decent variety to what you can see.

 

If you usually come up I-87 to Rutland to ski Killington Woodstock does usually seem a world away.

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 


Thanks guys, we will definitely look into Waitsfield and Woodstock as well. Mostly we will be skiing but it will be nice for the group to have things to do off hill in the evenings or when anyone else wants a break, so these are all great recs. 

 

Have a lot to think about here. The two front runners for me are still Stowe and North Conway. But we're looking into these others as well. Maybe its the dog days of summer, but all our options sound pretty great right now!

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Unit View Post
 


Awesome stuff guys, all of this is really good info. Is there anything between Sugarbush and Stowe, as in places to stay, towns, etc? Just curious. Neither is too far if we want to go for a day but just wondering. 

As mentioned earlier Waterbury. About halfway between the MRV & Stowe. Also an easy drive to Burlington.

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