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Where can I avoid the crowds in NE during winter break?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I live in the Finger Lakes area of central NY.  I ski regularly at Labrador Mountain, which is a small place south of Syracuse.  During the winter school break we often take a family ski trip to Utah.  This year we are looking at staying closer to home.  The break is the week of 2/15 - 2/19.  It has been a lot of years since I have been to Vermont, but that's one option we are considering.  I'm concerned that the more popular resorts will be mobbed during that time.

 

I'm wondering whether anyone could suggest a resort in VT (or maybe NH?) that might be off the beaten path and/or maybe smaller than some, but still bigger than what I have at home, which might not get the crowds.

 

Thanks for any suggestions and Happy Thanksgiving!

post #2 of 14

Never been, but I hear Burke VT (i.e., QBurke) is good for this.  Might be a fun time to go to Le Massif and MSA up past Quebec City.  Combining ski days with touring the city is a somewhat exotic vacation, yet not terribly far from NY.

post #3 of 14
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post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sccarnic View Post
 

I live in the Finger Lakes area of central NY.  I ski regularly at Labrador Mountain, which is a small place south of Syracuse.  During the winter school break we often take a family ski trip to Utah.  This year we are looking at staying closer to home.  The break is the week of 2/15 - 2/19.  It has been a lot of years since I have been to Vermont, but that's one option we are considering.  I'm concerned that the more popular resorts will be mobbed during that time.

 

I'm wondering whether anyone could suggest a resort in VT (or maybe NH?) that might be off the beaten path and/or maybe smaller than some, but still bigger than what I have at home, which might not get the crowds.

 

Thanks for any suggestions and Happy Thanksgiving!


When you go to Utah, where to do ski?  What kind of lodging is of interest?  Pico and Wildcat are two places that tend to be overlooked by many people.  People also talk about Magic.  Probably not worth the extra drive to NH unless your family has little tolerance for slow lifts.  The high speed quad to the summit at Wildcat can mean a lot of skiing without waiting in lift lines.

 

What about Gore in NY?  With the new quad from the base, seems like lift lines aren't that much of an issue.  Gore is actually pretty big, with separate "pods" that spread people out pretty well.  Not too many lodging options within 20 min of Gore, but plenty in Lake George if the motels in Warrenton are not of interest.

 

Stopped in recently at the Alpine Lodge after having lunch in North Creek.  Not cheap but seems pretty nice, hotel rooms plus a few rooms with kitchens.  Free shuttle to Gore on weekends, with a few neat places to eat within a couple blocks walk.

post #5 of 14

Gore is the closest mountain to you and it never really gets crowded on the hill.  The parking lots fill up early and the lodge gets super crowded, but if you get there early then none of that is an issue, the trails and lift lines are never an issue.  Lodging and dining is a bit sketchy because its in the Adirondack Park, but there are places at every price point.  But bring a hat.

post #6 of 14

Berkshire East in Charlemont, MA is an 1,100 Vertical Feet challenging and fun mountain that just doesn't get crowded.  Fairly inexpensive too.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the replies.

 

Someone asked where we stay/ski in Utah.  We mainly ski at Snowbird and Alta, with an occasional day at Solitude for something different (and smaller crowds!).  We've been to the Park City area a couple of times, but for me it's not worth the higher price tags.  For lodging we don't need anything fancy.  We typically book an inexpensive hotel room in Murray/Draper/Sandy.  As long as it's clean and has a decent continental breakfast, we're good.

 

We went to Gore a few times years ago.  I have a friend who helped us get started skiing.  His aunt had (has?) a house in North Creek and spent the winters in Florida, so we'd go together and lodging was taken care of.  The main thing I remember is being really cold.  We were there one time when the windchill was -70 at the top of the gondola.  My wife shudders whenever she hears the name mentioned, so I'm not sure that's going to make the list.

 

We do a lot of camping in the Adirondacks during the summer.  Having hiked up Whiteface, my son would like to ski it and see Lake Placid in the winter.  I have never been there to ski myself.  How does Whiteface compare to Gore for terrain, crowds (and temperatures?).  The same friend we went to Gore with always called it "Iceface" so we have steered away from there.

post #8 of 14

Go to Canada.  They do not have the same vacation week.

post #9 of 14

Gore and Whiteface are very different.  Gore being spread out and having shorter shots of vertical.  Whiteface is tall and narrow like a tilted ironing board.  Steep, long groomers is what Whiteface is known for and, to me they all ski the same.  We've all been to VT and NY when it has been ridiculously cold.  I remember one year we were in Saratoga Springs and I got up early to drive up to Whiteface to meet some friends.  It was 20 below in Saratoga and 35 below at Whiteface.  We slept in and skied at Gore later in the morning when it warmed up to -10.

 

Maineac has it right though - Canada. 

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sccarnic View Post
 

Thanks for all of the replies.

 

Someone asked where we stay/ski in Utah.  We mainly ski at Snowbird and Alta, with an occasional day at Solitude for something different (and smaller crowds!).  We've been to the Park City area a couple of times, but for me it's not worth the higher price tags.  For lodging we don't need anything fancy.  We typically book an inexpensive hotel room in Murray/Draper/Sandy.  As long as it's clean and has a decent continental breakfast, we're good.

 

We went to Gore a few times years ago.  I have a friend who helped us get started skiing.  His aunt had (has?) a house in North Creek and spent the winters in Florida, so we'd go together and lodging was taken care of.  The main thing I remember is being really cold.  We were there one time when the windchill was -70 at the top of the gondola.  My wife shudders whenever she hears the name mentioned, so I'm not sure that's going to make the list.

 

We do a lot of camping in the Adirondacks during the summer.  Having hiked up Whiteface, my son would like to ski it and see Lake Placid in the winter.  I have never been there to ski myself.  How does Whiteface compare to Gore for terrain, crowds (and temperatures?).  The same friend we went to Gore with always called it "Iceface" so we have steered away from there.


Anywhere in the northeast can have frigid and/or icy conditions in mid-Feb if you decide on a destination well in advance.  While Canada may mean fewer crowds that week, it's certainly going to be as cold or colder than upstate NY or VT/NH/ME.  I had a very good time in late Feb last season, but I was traveling solo and picked my destinations just a few days before I was driving into VT.  Ended up skiing on powder for several days.  Had a very fun day at Pico, which is a possibility for getting away from crowds.

 

Gore replaced the chairlift from the base, which can help a lot during a holiday period.

 

If you all liked the steep groomers at Solitude, then Whiteface is a good fit.  The groomers there are steep and long.  Also more complex terrain in terms of bump runs.  My impression is that Gore has more tree skiing.  I've mainly skied in upstate NY in early season before there is enough coverage of exploring off the main trails.

post #11 of 14

I'll stick to your criteria of greater than Labrador (700', 22 trails), but smaller than the others and in Vermont.   The usual suspects, where I go to hide would include Pico, Magic and Middlebury if you don't want to travel too far.  Second step might be Bolton or Burke, add another hour+ for travel.  Bolton is easy commute from Burlington, so you get a lot of day trippers.  You can also ski at night on the same day pass..  But I've never found Bolton too busy, even on the holidays.  Most people would rather go to the other nearby name brands like $teaux or Sugarbush.

 

I know you didn't ask about Maine, but the third step I would definitely include Saddleback, Maine IF it opens and and you don't mind it chilly or a long drive.  Can be nirvana if all you want to do is ski.  Great prices, place to yourself, big mountain.   Not much apres-ski.

 

I find most of the Western Township (Quebec) ski areas just north of VT to not be very challenging, though the food is outstanding, and you really do feel like you've gotten away with a different language and culture, unlike Ontario.

 

Good luck and enjoy!

 

P.S., I lived in Western NY for 10 years, learned to ski at Swain and then played at Bristol, etc., so I have some basis of comparison.   VT is my go-to playground from the Boston area now days, with one or two trips to Maine each year.

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by billskis View Post
 

I'll stick to your criteria of greater than Labrador (700', 22 trails), but smaller than the others and in Vermont.   The usual suspects, where I go to hide would include Pico, Magic and Middlebury if you don't want to travel too far.  Second step might be Bolton or Burke, add another hour+ for travel.  Bolton is easy commute from Burlington, so you get a lot of day trippers.  You can also ski at night on the same day pass..  But I've never found Bolton too busy, even on the holidays.  Most people would rather go to the other nearby name brands like $teaux or Sugarbush.

 

I know you didn't ask about Maine, but the third step I would definitely include Saddleback, Maine IF it opens and and you don't mind it chilly or a long drive.  Can be nirvana if all you want to do is ski.  Great prices, place to yourself, big mountain.   Not much apres-ski.

 

I find most of the Western Eastern Townships (Quebec) ski areas just north of VT to not be very challenging, though the food is outstanding, and you really do feel like you've gotten away with a different language and culture, unlike Ontario.

 

Good luck and enjoy!

 

P.S., I lived in Western NY for 10 years, learned to ski at Swain and then played at Bristol, etc., so I have some basis of comparison.   VT is my go-to playground from the Boston area now days, with one or two trips to Maine each year.

Fixed it for you.

 

Though I disagree with your assertion as to the challenge level of Eastern Townships ski areas.  Mt. Sutton, especially, has plenty of challenging skiing. 

 

In Vermont, Burke Mountain is a good place to avoid crowds.

post #13 of 14

I would add Killington to the list.  It can be a bit confusing to navigate, and because of that you can easily avoid the crowds if you know where you are going...there are folks on here that can give you a step-by-step plan that keeps you ahead of the crowds.  Pico, which has already been mentioned is right there, I believe Killington lift tickets are good at Pico, so you can mix it up.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by billskis View Post
 

I'll stick to your criteria of greater than Labrador (700', 22 trails), but smaller than the others and in Vermont.   The usual suspects, where I go to hide would include Pico, Magic and Middlebury if you don't want to travel too far.  Second step might be Bolton or Burke, add another hour+ for travel.  Bolton is easy commute from Burlington, so you get a lot of day trippers.  You can also ski at night on the same day pass..  But I've never found Bolton too busy, even on the holidays.  Most people would rather go to the other nearby name brands like $teaux or Sugarbush.

 

I know you didn't ask about Maine, but the third step I would definitely include Saddleback, Maine IF it opens and and you don't mind it chilly or a long drive.  Can be nirvana if all you want to do is ski.  Great prices, place to yourself, big mountain.   Not much apres-ski.

 

I find most of the Eastern Township (Quebec) ski areas just north of VT to not be very challenging, though the food is outstanding, and you really do feel like you've gotten away with a different language and culture, unlike Ontario.

 

Good luck and enjoy!

 

P.S., I lived in Western NY for 10 years, learned to ski at Swain and then played at Bristol, etc., so I have some basis of comparison.   VT is my go-to playground from the Boston area now days, with one or two trips to Maine each y

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