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New England Spring Break [college student in FL, intermediate, visiting friends in NYC] - Page 2

post #31 of 53

Killington has a very lively apres scene on the access road.

Okemo has Ludlow, a real town, which caters to the ski crowd.

Stratton has an artificial village right there at the base of the mountain, with bars and so on.

All three mountains are around a four hour drive from Brooklyn.

 

They will all provide you with what you are looking for.

Find the best financial deal and do that.

 

For the friends that are beginners, check the beginner package deals offered by the mountains for price.  

Those deals should include equipment rental, lift tickets and lessons.

Check to see if those package lift tickets are limited to beginner terrain (likely), or if the cover the entire mountain.  

If you think these friends might choose to get onto more adventurous terrain on day one, then also check to see what a lift ticket upgrade would cost.

This may involve a phone call once Thanksgiving rolls around.

Also check what a two-day equipment rental at the mountain will cost at each place.  You might want to add a helmet to that rental (usually $10 per day).

 

All of you may be able to get a student discount for your lift tickets.

Enjoy!

post #32 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post


Let's clarify a little. None of the big southern VT resorts (Mt Snow, Stratton, Okemo) have anything that would be considered actually steep. While one may be marginally steeper than the other, they are all very tame mountains. There's nothing on any of those mountains that an intermediate would be in genuine trouble on.

I don't know about that? :D

Here's a scenic and funny video of an intermediate picking his way down the mogul run Ripcord at Mt. Snow:

 

post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post


Let's clarify a little. None of the big southern VT resorts (Mt Snow, Stratton, Okemo) have anything that would be considered actually steep. While one may be marginally steeper than the other, they are all very tame mountains. There's nothing on any of those mountains that an intermediate would be in genuine trouble on.

I don't know about that? :D

Here's a scenic and funny video of an intermediate picking his way down the mogul run Ripcord at Mt. Snow:

 


Yes. Ice and bumps.

post #34 of 53
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

 

I don't know about that? :D

Here's a scenic and funny video of an intermediate picking his way down the mogul run Ripcord at Mt. Snow:

 

 

Now I know how the bumps at Mount Snow get to be rectilinear. :nono: 

post #35 of 53
Thread Starter 
I am seeing a lot of mixed reviews about the southern resorts. Let me clarify about my preferences. I do enjoy long blues, but I also really enjoy steeps and challenging terrain. I'm worried about the lack of variety. Would it be worth the extra hour to drive up to a more northern resort such as Stowe or Sugarbush? I'm sure conditions would be a little better too. Are there decent deals? I'm driving up with friends (beginners and intermediates).
post #36 of 53

What do you consider "steeps and challenging terrain"?

 

Are you talking about bumps on blue runs, bumps on black (or double black) runs, black (or double black) groomers that are steep (and inevitably icy if traffic has passed over them), old narrow groomed twisty trails preserved from out of the past, lift lines with massive bounders sticking out, surrounded by irregular bumps, ungroomed blue-black terrain covered in hard mature bumps, tight tree runs with bumps, somewhat open glades (blue or black on the trail map) with bumps, what?

 

You should know that fresh snow could happen, in which case you could find untracked snow, but with this being New England and you having only two days to ski, and with lodging pre-determined ahead of time, fresh snow is not likely for your group.  Ungroomed terrain will probably be hard bumps of the usual kind.  Groomers will be New England hard-pack, most likely, at these mountains.  The farther north you go, the more likely you may find fresher snow, but really this can't be predicted if you stay on intermediate terrain.  

 

The locals at the more northern mountains may be able to convince you otherwise about finding fresh snow, but to get descriptions of terrain you might actually venture onto from them you need to be clear about what it is you're willing to ski.


Edited by LiquidFeet - 6/26/16 at 6:51pm
post #37 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

What do you consider "steeps and challenging terrain"?

Are you talking about bumps on blue runs, bumps on black (or double black) runs, black (or double black) groomers that are steep (and inevitably icy if traffic has passed over them), old narrow groomed twisty trails preserved from out of the past, lift lines with massive bounders sticking out, surrounded by irregular bumps, ungroomed blue-black terrain covered in hard mature bumps, tight tree runs with bumps, somewhat open glades (blue or black on the trail map) with bumps, what?

You should know that fresh snow could happen, in which case you could find untracked snow, but with this being New England and you having only two days to ski, and with lodging pre-determined ahead of time, fresh snow is not likely for your group.  Ungroomed terrain will probably be hard bumps of the usual kind.  Groomers will be New England hard-pack, most likely, at these mountains.  The farther north you go, the more likely you may find fresher snow, but really this can't be predicted if you stay on intermediate terrain.  

The locals at the more northern mountains may be able to convince you otherwise about finding fresh snow, but to get descriptions of terrain you might actually venture onto from them you need to be clear about what it is you're willing to ski.

Yes to nearly all of that (not sure if I'm quite double black ready). I am mainly looking for variety. My gf and sister needs easy greens, while my buddy and I like trying a little of everything: blue cruisers, parks, and steeper blue/black terrain. Fresher snow would be great! I realize it's no guarantee, but who knows? Maybe we'll be lucky. Do you think we'd be happier up there than Okemo/Stratton/Mt. Snow area?
post #38 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaSki View Post

I am seeing a lot of mixed reviews about the southern resorts. Let me clarify about my preferences. I do enjoy long blues, but I also really enjoy steeps and challenging terrain. I'm worried about the lack of variety. Would it be worth the extra hour to drive up to a more northern resort such as Stowe or Sugarbush? I'm sure conditions would be a little better too. Are there decent deals? I'm driving up with friends (beginners and intermediates).


You've only skied the shorter blacks at Snowshoe.  Usually when people around here talk about "steeps and challenging terrain" they are talking about trails that are at least twice as long and much steeper than anything at Snowshoe.  Using the Snowshoe scale, think "triple blacks."  Have you skied the very short steep blacks at the top of Sugar?  Since you are going with beginners and intermediates, not convinced it's worth the extra driving time to head to northern VT.  Assuming that the weather is decent in southern VT during your vacation week.

 

Snowshoe has about 250 skiable acres, combining the main Basin trails, Western Territories, and Silver Creek.  In comparison, Mt Snow, Okemo, Stratton are all in the 600-700 acre range.  I don't think you have to worry about getting bored at any of them.

post #39 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


You've only skied the shorter blacks at Snowshoe.  Usually when people around here talk about "steeps and challenging terrain" they are talking about trails that are at least twice as long and much steeper than anything at Snowshoe.  Using the Snowshoe scale, think "triple blacks."  Have you skied the very short steep blacks at the top of Sugar?  Since you are going with beginners and intermediates, not convinced it's worth the extra driving time to head to northern VT.  Assuming that the weather is decent in southern VT during your vacation week.

Snowshoe has about 250 skiable acres, combining the main Basin trails, Western Territories, and Silver Creek.  In comparison, Mt Snow, Okemo, Stratton are all in the 600-700 acre range.  I don't think you have to worry about getting bored at any of them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

Let's clarify a little. None of the big southern VT resorts (Mt Snow, Stratton, Okemo) have anything that would be considered actually steep. While one may be marginally steeper than the other, they are all very tame mountains. There's nothing on any of those mountains that an intermediate would be in genuine trouble on.

Reading freeski919's post, I am wondering for I would have more fun on a mountain with more variety. I know that trail difficulty is subject to the area and the resort itself, so my wording should be taken with a grain of salt. I have skied those blacks at Sugar in spring conditions. Would those be comparable to those of northern VT resorts (minus the length)?

Another reason for traveling further north is for more reliability of conditions. Since we are trying to save money it would probably be in our interest to book a hotel early on, which would mean not having the luxury of monitoring weather closer to the trip frown.gif

Snowshoe was about a 5 1/2 hour drive and we did not mind so much. Beautiful scenery and fun driving roads with a manual tranny.
post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaSki View Post


Reading freeski919's post, I am wondering for I would have more fun on a mountain with more variety. I know that trail difficulty is subject to the area and the resort itself, so my wording should be taken with a grain of salt. I have skied those blacks at Sugar in spring conditions. Would those be comparable to those of northern VT resorts (minus the length)?

Another reason for traveling further north is for more reliability of conditions. Since we are trying to save money it would probably be in our interest to book a hotel early on, which would mean not having the luxury of monitoring weather closer to the trip frown.gif

Snowshoe was about a 5 1/2 hour drive and we did not mind so much. Beautiful scenery and fun driving roads with a manual tranny.

I won't ever discourage someone from heading further north in VT. However, I don't want you to misconstrue my previous post. Okemo, Stratton, and Mt Snow will all offer you more vertical and variety than anything you have ever skied before. When I say "genuine trouble," I'm not talking about challenging, I'm talking about truly dangerous. An intermediate can struggle through navigating most anything on those mountains. At places like Jay, Stowe, Smuggs, and Sugarbush, there are places a fresh intermediate would be in actual danger due to the terrain.

As far as snow conditions, mid March is usually peak snow depths throughout VT. This isn't NC or WV, where they're holding out to make it to mid March. Up here its still cold. If we're worried about snow cover then, that means our whole season was pretty much screwed anyways. Short version, don't worry about snow.

Finally, you mention a fun drive. Again, this isn't like where you have skied before. Down there, you only get snow at elevation, so your drive to the mountain is more or less snow and ice free. Here, it snows at all elevations. If you're a Floridian driving with New York City residents, id say minimize your driving. Driving up the length of Vermont on Route 7 or Route 100 in the snow is not fun for anyone, nevermind if you have little to no experience driving in snow.
post #41 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaSki View Post

Reading freeski919's post, I am wondering for I would have more fun on a mountain with more variety. I know that trail difficulty is subject to the area and the resort itself, so my wording should be taken with a grain of salt. I have skied those blacks at Sugar in spring conditions. Would those be comparable to those of northern VT resorts (minus the length)?

Another reason for traveling further north is for more reliability of conditions. Since we are trying to save money it would probably be in our interest to book a hotel early on, which would mean not having the luxury of monitoring weather closer to the trip frown.gif

Snowshoe was about a 5 1/2 hour drive and we did not mind so much. Beautiful scenery and fun driving roads with a manual tranny.

Have you ever driven to Snowshoe with snow on the ground?  As was mentioned, driving in snow for an hour or more is no fun.  Will you have a AWD car with snow tires?  I've driven my NC minivan around in VT on just a little bit of snow for a short period.  Not my idea of fun.

 

When are you thinking of making reservations?  A month out?  Two months out?  Certainly no reason to make a reservation before the fall.

post #42 of 53
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the clarification, freeski919! That's a good bit of useful information to help me with my decision. I am very inexperienced with the area so that helps!

I also really appreciate all your input, marznc! It's great to have a place where I can receive some personal feedback and advice. Thank you both for welcoming me to Epic Ski!

I am still definitely considering Southern Vermont if not leaning more towards it. I am just curious as to what differences I will find a little more north and if it would be worth the extra effort. I am really looking forward to gaining experience, improving my skills, and exploring a place completely new to me.
post #43 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Have you ever driven to Snowshoe with snow on the ground?  As was mentioned, driving in snow for an hour or more is no fun.  Will you have a AWD car with snow tires?  I've driven my NC minivan around in VT on just a little bit of snow for a short period.  Not my idea of fun.

When are you thinking of making reservations?  A month out?  Two months out?  Certainly no reason to make a reservation before the fall.

Not to Snowshoe but yes on snow! My friend owns an awd suv so that will most likely be our wheels. We will probably want to try reserving around the holidays, give or take a month. That will also help with lift tickets. Hopefully we can find decent deals.
post #44 of 53

After reading all your thoughts, I'm thinking Killington (aka K-Mart) might be your best bet. Yah, OK, it can be the traversing capital of the world if you don't know where you're going, but overall it's a decent sized area that can take care of most all of what you want, plus you have Pico on the other side if you get bored.

 

Regarding the areas that have been mentioned below K-Mart, Mt Snow has the best terrain, Okemo is northeast skiing's equivalent of white bread with no discernible personality and virtually every trail looking identical (ok the tree areas are good IF you can find them), and Flatton is best left for NJ dentists with little skill and too much money. If it does actually snow, there's a wonderful gem in that area known as Magic Mountain that will test you, but is the best in that area IF there's real snow. One final area in that region is Bromley, but I can't think of any good reason to go there.

 

Better than K-Marty is Sugarbush, but you'll add some time on your drive (but it's probably worth it.) Great terrain, cruisers, good lift layout, just a great place, but a bit of a hilke.

 

The Mass areas were mentioned, and they're good, but quite small in comparison to VT, and VT isn't that much further. In NY Whiteface (aka Iceface) and Gore were mentioned, and they're good areas, that can certainly deal with what you want, but coming from FL, the COLD from Lake Effect areas might be a bit much if you're not used to it.

 

Coming to that, remember, during spring break it will probably be COLD up north, so make sure that you find yourself some gear that will allow you to play outside and not just hang out in the lodge.

post #45 of 53

What snofun said.  Go to Killington.

post #46 of 53

Mid March in VT is often a tale of 2 seasons.  It can be cold and snowy mid-winter conditions up north and nice springish conditions down south.  This is not always the case but I have experienced it many times.

 

Nothing will be at al crowded mid March during the week...you can make last minute plans/reservations based on conditions.

 

I tend to agree with the Killington crowd here. About a half hour past Okemo and right on the northern edge of souther Vermont.  Plenty of terrain for everyone and enough to scare you as well.  Plus there are tons of lodging and apres ski options.  Long Trail Inn is a favorite of mine.

 

Everything Freeski919 says about Okemo is true and it is a good option with the caveat that there is nothing really expert there to test your mettle on.

 

Sugarbush or Stowe are about another hour's drive so don't count them out it ain't that far and you have plenty of driver's in the vehicle.  

post #47 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaSki View Post

I appreciate the clarification, freeski919! That's a good bit of useful information to help me with my decision. I am very inexperienced with the area so that helps!

I also really appreciate all your input, marznc! It's great to have a place where I can receive some personal feedback and advice. Thank you both for welcoming me to Epic Ski!

I am still definitely considering Southern Vermont if not leaning more towards it. I am just curious as to what differences I will find a little more north and if it would be worth the extra effort. I am really looking forward to gaining experience, improving my skills, and exploring a place completely new to me.

 

There are two significant differences between northern and southern VT. One is terrain. As mentioned before, terrain in northern VT is significantly steeper and more challenging than that of southern VT. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you will actually be able to use this terrain. An intermediate with limited experience shouldn't really be on the steep stuff of Northern VT. 

 

For example, a couple steep trails at Stowe, Goat and Lookout-

 

 

*

 

Sugarbush has very similar terrain off the Castlerock chair. Now, not everything is like that, but that it what sets the north apart from the south terrain wise. 

 

The other major difference is snowfall. Southern VT areas average between 150 and 200 inches of snowfall each year. The further south the resort, the lower the snowfall. Northern VT ski areas average around 100 inches more, with Sugarbush coming in at 250ish, and Stowe, Smuggs, and Jay all averaging over 300 inches. Northern VT also holds onto the snow better, with colder temps and less prevalent thaw cycles. 

 

Now, the initial reaction is that more snow automatically means more skiing. Well, yes and no. What the higher snowfall amounts do is allow resorts further north to rely on natural snowfall more, and less on snowmaking. If you look at how much snowmaking coverage areas have, you'll notice areas in southern VT all are really high, with 80% or more snowmaking coverage. Northern VT areas have less, because they have natural snow trails. However, the natural snow trails tend to be the ones like above. The steep, narrow trails that you won't find intermediates on anyhow. Intermediate groomed trails almost always have snowmaking, and are covered feet deep in mid March, regardless of how much snow has fallen out of the sky. 

 

As far as good deals at Sugarbush and Stowe... Sugarbush has the Quad Pack ticket deal, where you buy four tickets at a significantly discounted rate. They are only available now though, you can't wait until fall or during the season to purchase them. The tickets are entirely transferable, so you can split them between 4 friends for 1 day, or 2 friends for 2 days, or any combination. Stowe.. nope. Stowe is expensive. I know, I work there. We are the most expensive resort in the East. Any deal you find on Stowe just puts it on par with full price at most other places. 

 

You asked the question about whether or not the differences are worth the extra effort. IMHO, no, they're not. The things that set northern areas apart aren't really geared toward your group. You'll be skiing the same set of terrain at Stowe as you would be at Stratton. Just at Stratton, there isn't as much terrain beyond that skill level. 

 

I do agree with the above, Killington is also a good option. Not as far north, has tons of terrain, including some steeper stuff than the other southern VT places. Midweek should be pretty quiet. Lots of apres ski options on the Killington Rd. 

post #48 of 53
I have not been to Okemo or Stratton, but have to Mt Snow and Killington. There are only a few trails at Mt Snow where I would not feel comfortable (Ripcord for sure!), while Killington had a lot more. However, Killington is so big that you will find plenty of intermediate and advanced terrain to challenge you. If you think you will repeat this trip next year (hint: you should!), why not Mt Snow this year and Killington next year? At your stated level, I don't think you really can go wrong with these two for a two day trip. I haven't been to Mt Snow in a while, but would like to revisit it next year.
post #49 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

After reading all your thoughts, I'm thinking Killington (aka K-Mart) might be your best bet. Yah, OK, it can be the traversing capital of the world if you don't know where you're going, but overall it's a decent sized area that can take care of most all of what you want, plus you have Pico on the other side if you get bored.

Regarding the areas that have been mentioned below K-Mart, Mt Snow has the best terrain, Okemo is northeast skiing's equivalent of white bread with no discernible personality and virtually every trail looking identical (ok the tree areas are good IF you can find them), and Flatton is best left for NJ dentists with little skill and too much money. If it does actually snow, there's a wonderful gem in that area known as Magic Mountain that will test you, but is the best in that area IF there's real snow. One final area in that region is Bromley, but I can't think of any good reason to go there.

Better than K-Marty is Sugarbush, but you'll add some time on your drive (but it's probably worth it.) Great terrain, cruisers, good lift layout, just a great place, but a bit of a hilke.

The Mass areas were mentioned, and they're good, but quite small in comparison to VT, and VT isn't that much further. In NY Whiteface (aka Iceface) and Gore were mentioned, and they're good areas, that can certainly deal with what you want, but coming from FL, the COLD from Lake Effect areas might be a bit much if you're not used to it.

Coming to that, remember, during spring break it will probably be COLD up north, so make sure that you find yourself some gear that will allow you to play outside and not just hang out in the lodge.

Killington is definitely becoming more and more tempting. I like what I'm hearing about the variety, terrain, aprés ski, proximity to NY, etc. My only concern is the the odd trail layout. Is it that confusing? It seems as though the trails are short and oddly connected. Would I be able to accomplish a lot in only two days of skiing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post

I have not been to Okemo or Stratton, but have to Mt Snow and Killington. There are only a few trails at Mt Snow where I would not feel comfortable (Ripcord for sure!), while Killington had a lot more. However, Killington is so big that you will find plenty of intermediate and advanced terrain to challenge you. If you think you will repeat this trip next year (hint: you should!), why not Mt Snow this year and Killington next year? At your stated level, I don't think you really can go wrong with these two for a two day trip. I haven't been to Mt Snow in a while, but would like to revisit it next year.

Though that sounds like a fun idea, I am actually planning this as my last before heading out west for the first time! In that case, what would suggest?
post #50 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaSki View Post


Killington is definitely becoming more and more tempting. I like what I'm hearing about the variety, terrain, aprés ski, proximity to NY, etc. My only concern is the the odd trail layout. Is it that confusing? It seems as though the trails are short and oddly connected. Would I be able to accomplish a lot in only two days of skiing?
Though that sounds like a fun idea, I am actually planning this as my last before heading out west for the first time! In that case, what would suggest?

 

K-Mart for sure is your best bet from what you described you want in a reasonable distance from NYC, with terrain from mild to challenging with a lot of accommodation and apres choices.. The trail layout isn't terribly confusing and / or odd. For you, if you're on Bear Mtn, stay there for a half day, they go over and do the Killington Peak stuff (at the top of the chair, go right - no biggee). The following day maybe try Snowdon with the Bunny Buster stuff, then back to Killington Peak, and / or Bear (bear left off the chairs or gonjola)

 

In fact in south VT, the trails at K-Mart are the longest available by a WIDE margin.

 

Going west - another can of worms. Easiest to get to is SLC, and stick with the Park City or Big Cottonwood Canyon areas if your requirements are the same (but you MUST do a day at Snowbird). Best terrain for what you want - I-70 in CO. Keystone, Flail, BC, etc. BUT, it'll take a whole day to get there due to a 2.5-3 hour drive from the airport.

 

If you want toi get a head start in figuring out the best place west for you, there's a lot of threads here that deal with the subject so search the forums. For the most definative thread on the subject, and one of the best ever here, try this one - http://www.epicski.com/t/122287/does-it-make-any-sense-for-an-intermediate-new-england-groomer-skier-to-venture-somewhere-out-west

 

Where are you in FL?

post #51 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post
 

 

K-Mart for sure is your best bet from what you described you want in a reasonable distance from NYC, with terrain from mild to challenging with a lot of accommodation and apres choices.. The trail layout isn't terribly confusing and / or odd. For you, if you're on Bear Mtn, stay there for a half day, they go over and do the Killington Peak stuff (at the top of the chair, go right - no biggee). The following day maybe try Snowdon with the Bunny Buster stuff, then back to Killington Peak, and / or Bear (bear left off the chairs or gonjola)

 

In fact in south VT, the trails at K-Mart are the longest available by a WIDE margin.

 

Going west - another can of worms. Easiest to get to is SLC, and stick with the Park City or Big Cottonwood Canyon areas if your requirements are the same (but you MUST do a day at Snowbird). Best terrain for what you want - I-70 in CO. Keystone, Flail, BC, etc. BUT, it'll take a whole day to get there due to a 2.5-3 hour drive from the airport.

 

If you want toi get a head start in figuring out the best place west for you, there's a lot of threads here that deal with the subject so search the forums. For the most definative thread on the subject, and one of the best ever here, try this one - http://www.epicski.com/t/122287/does-it-make-any-sense-for-an-intermediate-new-england-groomer-skier-to-venture-somewhere-out-west

 

Where are you in FL?

 

Whoa... you can't just throw that thread at someone without a warning. ;)

 

@FloridaSki - that linked thread is one of the longest, most rambling, most up and down, whiny, entertaining, contentious threads around. AND it contains a ton of great information about going out west - but you have to wade through all the other stuff.

 

For something a little easier to look at, I took my first trip out west just two seasons ago as an intermediate skier. Now I'm a bit older than you (39) and wasn't really looking for apres or parties. But my friends and I went to Vail and had an amazing trip. Here's the report : http://www.epicski.com/t/132581/vail-2-4-2-8-first-time-out-west

post #52 of 53
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone! Since I have a while before I need to make any reservations or preparations, I will be finishing off this thread here until the trip is closer. So far, my choice is looking like Killington, but I will keep thinking it over. I really appreciate all the advice! I will definitely come back when it's time to plan a trip out west!
post #53 of 53
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the great advice! So far, I am leaning towards Killington, but I have more time to think about it. I really appreciate all the help! I'll definitely be back for my first trip out west!
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