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VT Choice

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

My wife and I have been skiing in VT for years.  Been to Jay, Burke, Smuggs, Killington, and Okemo.

 

Lately we have been going to Okemo.  Hear me out....

 

She loves the groomers and can ski almost the whole mountain.  She will venture into the trees to explore, but doesn't really enjoy them.

 

I like trees.  Obviously it is slim picking at Okemo, but I can usually make do.  South Face has some ok runs as does Jackson Gore. We tend to avoid the middle of the mountain after about the first hour to avoid the crowds.  Getting from South Face to Jackson Gore is a bit of a pain.

 

Let me ask you this: is there a mountain that would provide more trees/variety for me, but still enable my wife to ski groomers off the same lift?

 

We like Ludlow, but the parking, crowds, and general building-up of Okemo are starting to cause us to look elsewhere.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Moderator note: moved to Resorts, Conditions & Travel

post #2 of 26

Stowe is at the top of the list of places I can think of. There are a large number of good groomers all over the mountain, and obviously trees and steeper terrain are easy to be found.

 

Okemo presents a hard challenge to beat for someone who likes to ski groomed runs.

 

You might want to check out Stratton as well. They have a good reputation for grooming, and the terrain off the Ursa chair is a step above Jackson Gore.

 

Bretton Woods in NH would be very similar to Okemo, but they advertise a much larger selection of trees and glades. But the groomed runs are a little shorter and flatter--it is an expansive version of the Solitude area at Okemo. 

 

Some might suggest Sugarbush, but I find the available groomed terrain to be quite limited. The separation of Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen also make the entire resort ski much smaller than it statistically is. The groomed runs off of the Super Bravo have too many intersections are bottlenecks that get chewed up. The Gate House is essentially a glorified learners area. But the upper mountain terrain and trees get a lot of love on various forums.

 

If you want to try the approach of nudging your wife into enjoy trees more I would suggest Stowe and Bretton Woods. Those two areas are the only ones I have had success comfortably getting into the trees on terrain that is appropriately pitched for a beginner. Any of the intermediate trees at BW could be fun, or the trees off the Toll Road near the chapel at Stowe.

post #3 of 26

Sugarbush.

post #4 of 26

Paging @ralba .  His family really likes Pico.  Not that big but could be good for a weekend trip.

post #5 of 26

Thank you @marznc for looping us in.  Pico isn't the largest mountain but, don't be fooled by what many say, is lack of terrain and ski options.  You should really consider Pico and when you come - I am sure you will not just like it but, LOVE IT. There is never any lift line (not like Okemo), the skiers are riders are all really good. And you can hit any of the glades while your wife, friends, kids and partners can hit the groomed runs and meet at the same lift with ease.  This is real New England skiing and it's a bargain when you compare it next to other places.

 

Just look for our Alba Adventures reports on the Epic Ski trip reports or Google Search us. .#albaadventures. 

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fedad View Post
 

My wife and I have been skiing in VT for years.  Been to Jay, Burke, Smuggs, Killington, and Okemo.

 

Lately we have been going to Okemo.  Hear me out....

 

She loves the groomers and can ski almost the whole mountain.  She will venture into the trees to explore, but doesn't really enjoy them.

 

I like trees.  Obviously it is slim picking at Okemo, but I can usually make do.  South Face has some ok runs as does Jackson Gore. We tend to avoid the middle of the mountain after about the first hour to avoid the crowds.  Getting from South Face to Jackson Gore is a bit of a pain.

 

Let me ask you this: is there a mountain that would provide more trees/variety for me, but still enable my wife to ski groomers off the same lift?

 

We like Ludlow, but the parking, crowds, and general building-up of Okemo are starting to cause us to look elsewhere.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Moderator note: moved to Resorts, Conditions & Travel


Where are you driving from?

post #7 of 26

As some here already know, we drive up nearly every weekend to VT to ski Pico or somewhere nearby.  So worth the trek and again, Pico is never ever really crowded. This is our latest -

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/145082/alba-adventures-season-3-ep-2-embrace-pico-vt-mlk-weekend

 

We hope you watch and get to visit this great place. 

 

T

post #8 of 26

The requirement that there be trees for you and groomers for your wife OFF THE SAME LIFT make things difficult.  Most mountains have those in different areas.  As a regular Killington and Pico skier, I can comment on those two areas.  

 

Pico is a great medium sized area.  When fully open and with fresh snow during midweek, its one of my favorite places in all of the Northeast.  Unfortunately it doesn't make snow like the major areas and you can get really bored quickly if the terrain is limited.  Lots of easy groomers off the lower quad and mostly black runs off the summit quad.  

 

Killington does meet the need for trees and groomers off the same lift.  Ramshead, Snowdon, Skye Peak, and Bear all have good mixes of both.  The obvious problem with Killington is weekend crowds.  It's a different place midweek when I ski it.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post
 

 

Killington does meet the need for trees and groomers off the same lift.  Ramshead, Snowdon, Skye Peak, and Bear all have good mixes of both.  The obvious problem with Killington is weekend crowds.  It's a different place midweek when I ski it.

True but, given the snow this week ,cool temps and having skied there last weekend - pick Pico over Killington on a weekend. We can show you around the mountain. @JimH - look forward to seeing you there this weekend.

 

Also, please see our report above and or video below - shot last weekend:

 

 

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralba View Post
 

True but, given the snow this week ,cool temps and having skied there last weekend - pick Pico over Killington on a weekend. We can show you around the mountain. @JimH - look forward to seeing you there this weekend.

 

 

Thanks for the offer, but I am a midweek skier only.  And I have been skiing Pico since the 1970s.  I think I know the place.

 

I note you posted a review of Pico here.

http://www.epicski.com/products/pico-mountain

Note my review from 2011.

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 

We are driving from just east of Rochester, NY.

 

We can get to Okemo if we leave after work.  We get there a little late, but not too bad.  It takes about 4.5 hours.  Much more than that and we will be hurting a little the next day.

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

You pretty much nailed our issue.

 

Almost any area we go to will have terrain that will serve us both.  However, we'd like to be together as much as possible, even if just on the lift.  The one benefit at Okemo is that the harder stuff is usually not top to bottom, so we can meet up on the trail.

 

The drawback is that even she is looking to expand past Okemo.  The snow quality and grooming are nice, but she wouldn't be opposed to more challenge or variety on a hill.  She likes the South Face and Jackson Gore quite a bit.

 

With the crowds, after the first hour all of those intermediate groomers become nothing more than thoroughfares, in my opinion.  They are too crowded to really ski, so even the benefit of having THOSE runs diminishes.

 

But...Okemo makes a ton of snow, so we are ensured at least some variety.  Going to Pico sounds great....unless they aren't fully open, in which case even Okemo's limited variety would be better.

 

Right now we only get to go to VT once a season.  I suppose we could be a little spontaneous and choose a mountain based on the weather.

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 

I've been to Pico before, but in the summer.  I know...boo.

 

If the weather is right, Pico is right up our alley.  I hate crowds, and while Okemo has 120 trails, we really only ski maybe 15 of them (even less once we need to cower at South Face to avoid the masses).

 

We also don't need anything fancy re: lodging.  We usually just get a motel/inn type room.  We are early risers, so even sleeping in we can be one of the first ones in the parking lot.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fedad View Post
 

We are driving from just east of Rochester, NY.

 

We can get to Okemo if we leave after work.  We get there a little late, but not too bad.  It takes about 4.5 hours.  Much more than that and we will be hurting a little the next day.


Have you ever considered Gore?  I've only skied there a couple days, so don't know it that well.  Seems like there should be a couple pods where you and the wife would be able to take different routes down and meet up fairly easily.  There are a few cute places to stay nearby in North Creek.  Or basic motels in Warrenton.

post #15 of 26

First, try Stratton. I see Okemo and Stratton to be very similar mountains. I think it's a tiny bit more challenging than Okemo, and a few more patches of trees. It's a new mountain to you so you'll enjoy it for a few times regardless. If you like it, consider it more seriously. If not, move on. 

 

Pico would be next on the list. I don't know it all that well. But I found it having more character than Okemo and Stratton. But be warned, your wife might hate it since some of its trails are narrow and twisty (my definition of "character")

(You've already been to Killington but not thrilled by it, so I can't say for sure you'll like Pico.)

 

Bretton Woods would be quite perfect! Lots and lots of groomers and lots and lots of EASY trees!!! The drive is probably similar to Jay, if you can stomach that

 

Stowe has to be on that list. You just have to try it to see for yourself!!! 

 

(Gore and Whiteface would be another pair of candidates if both Stratton and Pico felt too tame and you don't want to drive any longer than Central VT.)

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 

Gore isn't a bad idea at all.

post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 

Good ideas.  I think the next trip we will stay somewhere and try a variety of mountains.  Unless we feel like making the trek to Bretton Woods.

 

Thanks, all.

post #18 of 26

We love Gore.. Really do.. A wonderful mountain.

post #19 of 26

Gore is actually a really good suggestion for what you are looking for: groomers with more challenging tree runs off the same lift, as well as some harder blues and blacks for your wife to challenge herself on.  Stratton, not so much- similar to Okemo in pitch and nicknamed Flatton.  Problem is I don't think the glades are open yet at Gore. I find, more often than not, much better conditions in northern VT.  For me, the longer drive is worthwhile.

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fedad View Post
 

Gore isn't a bad idea at all.

Maybe not this year.  Gore has had only 12 inches of snow this year.  It will take a couple of good dumps before the glades are skiable, and the rumor is that Burnt Ridge and the Ski Bowl may not open at all.  As of today, the North chair and the High Peaks chair haven't opened this season.  (High Peaks has the best glades, and the North side is a favorite of my intermediate friends.) Rumor and Lies were open yesterday, but Lies had ungroomed swales that made it on of the hardest trails I've ever skied in the East, as hard  as anything on the Stowe or Mad River Glen maps.  Uncas was the only route from the gondola to the Summit chair, and it had ungroomed swales as well, which were obviously a problem for a lot of people who wanted to ski the blue trails at the summit, which was actually in pretty good shape.

At this point, it's hard to see much of a recovery for Gore this year.

 

BK


Edited by Bode Klammer - 1/25/16 at 7:45am
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 

Gore is actually a really good suggestion for what you are looking for: groomers with more challenging tree runs off the same lift, as well as some harder blues and blacks for your wife to challenge herself on.  Stratton, not so much- similar to Okemo in pitch and nicknamed Flatton.  Problem is I don't think the glades are open yet at Gore. I find, more often than not, much better conditions in northern VT.  For me, the longer drive is worthwhile.

Flatten Stratton refers to the grooming policy, not the pitch.  Stratton is steeper than Okemo, and has better trees.  It's a pretty good choice for a mixed ability group if you don't need anything really steep or gnarly.  

But you're right, more north is almost always more better in Vermont.

 

BK

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
 

Flatten Stratton refers to the grooming policy, not the pitch.  Stratton is steeper than Okemo, and has better trees.  It's a pretty good choice for a mixed ability group if you don't need anything really steep or gnarly.  

But you're right, more north is almost always more better in Vermont.

 

BK

Gonna have to agree to disagree with you there.  There is nothing steeper than Okemo at Stratton and it is the pitch not the grooming that has earned it its nickname. The trees may be marginally better at best.  I have not skied Stratton the past 2 seasons so if they added a lot of tree skiing I am out of the loop.  When there is enough snow it is possible to go off piste at Okemo and probably Stratton as well.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
 

Flatten Stratton refers to the grooming policy, not the pitch.  Stratton is steeper than Okemo, and has better trees.  It's a pretty good choice for a mixed ability group if you don't need anything really steep or gnarly.  

But you're right, more north is almost always more better in Vermont.

 

BK

Gonna have to agree to disagree with you there.  There is nothing steeper than Okemo at Stratton and it is the pitch not the grooming that has earned it its nickname. The trees may be marginally better at best.  I have not skied Stratton the past 2 seasons so if they added a lot of tree skiing I am out of the loop.  When there is enough snow it is possible to go off piste at Okemo and probably Stratton as well.

A quick look at their websites will show you that today Stratton has more of its steeper trails and glades open than Okemo.  For me, the tree skiing at Stratton is more interesting than anything at Okemo, but neither of those mountains are on any expert's bucket list.  

This is like an argument over whether Ancient History was more boring than Introduction to Psychology.

 

BK

post #24 of 26

lol.  Agreed.

post #25 of 26

Sugarbush will meet your criteria.  Every lift except Castlerock has at least one tree run and one groomer.  The distance might be too far - probably 5.5 or more hours. The terrain will be more challenging than Okemo.  The mountain will be less crowded on average and the snow will be more plentiful.

 

Gore could work as well and you get the added benefit of Whiteface on the same pass.  Terrain is better at both than Okemo but not sure about trees at Whiteface because it has been many years since I have skied the Face.

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

Whelp....I got excited for Sugarbush.  I made the comment to my wife, and it turns out that she already bought a 3 and easy pass to Okemo.  So...it looks like Okemo again for one more year.

 

The really disheartening thing is that there is no real snow at Okemo, so it's just blue squares everywhere.  I might go insane over 2 days.

 

Don't get me wrong...I love going to VT and almost anything will provide more challenge than my home mountain (Bristol).  But if I'm making the trip I'd like to get a little more bang for my buck, especially considering neither of us need the fancy/pampering stuff at Okemo.

 

Next year: Sugarbush for sure.

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