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East Coast in December

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've been kind of loitering quietly around the forum for a while now, and am dipping my toe in with a request for advice from you east coast skiers.

I'm planning a couple of trips this coming season, one in feb/march 2004 to Whistler, and a bit of a warm up trip to the east coast this December (because flights from the UK are cheap at the moment and are not too long, and we can do some shopping in Boston on the way back [img]smile.gif[/img] ).
I've never skied on the east coast, so where would be a good place to head for? We have a bit of a mixture in our group from an almost beginner boarder, to reasonable good skiers (though as it's a warm up for the whistler trip, I'm not too bothered about finding the best, most challenging terrain - anything is better than a dry slope!! [img]smile.gif[/img] )
What are the snow conditions like early season? - I know they all claim to have the worlds best snowmaking, but what is it really like?

post #2 of 16
December, warm-up, how about Tune-Up. Check out EpicSki's Eastern Tune-Up at Stowe Dec. 13th and 14th.
post #3 of 16
Welcome to the forum!
If you're looking to ski the East coast in december, then I'd recommend the East Coast Tuneup - check in the EpicSki Academy section for info on it. You'll get to meet and ski with Oboe, and several of the other venerable members on here.
Alternatively, if you want to hear first hand about some of the people on here, send me a private message, and drive up to Peterborough to meet me for a couple of jars. (only through the week, not weekends)

post #4 of 16
Short Answer, Vermont.

After that, I'd definitely suggest the tuneup at Stowe. From there you can also ski Smugg's, Sugarbush and Jay with a little driving.

Other possibilities, Killington, Okemo, Mt. Snow. All are good places to warm up, though a bit crowded on the weekends.

If we have half the snow we had by Early Dec. last year, it'll be a sick season.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice,
will definitely try and make the tune-up if we decide to head to Stowe - I definitely need it!!
I know the snow was good early season last year, but is this exceptional? How much terrain do the resorts get open in an average year?
Another place we were considering was Sunday River, has anyone got any opinions on this?

Stuart [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #6 of 16
Sunday River is a nice place but it is sort of out of the way. If snow is not good there is nowhere else to go. You are commited to skiing one place.

I would recommend staying in Vermont around Sugarbush, Mad River. Others may be able to recommend lodging, there is a lot of nice bed and breakfast like places. From there it is an easy drive north (Jay Peak) or south (Mt. Snow, Okemo, Magic). You will have more options as far as where to ski. Last year a lot of storms stopped short of northen Vermont.
post #7 of 16
Originally posted by stuarth:
Thanks for the advice,
will definitely try and make the tune-up if we decide to head to Stowe - I definitely need it!!
I know the snow was good early season last year, but is this exceptional? How much terrain do the resorts get open in an average year?
Another place we were considering was Sunday River, has anyone got any opinions on this?

Stuart [img]smile.gif[/img]
Eug is right, Sunday is great, but it's a one trick pony, you're stuck.

Last season was an anomaly compared to most years, but I would still feel very confident about having good conditions in Northern VT by 2nd week of Dec.
post #8 of 16
Well I'll throw my 2cents in here. Going to school in VT and making the trek to the Green Mountain State several times a year, I'll share what I have learned.

I will start by saying stay north of Killington, followed by stay away from Killington. (OK.OK..permission to flame is granted) That said..I travel to the mountains on the Rt 100 corridor several times a year. The grouping of resorts in that area will easily keep you entertained for a week or longer. These resorts are Stowe, Sugarbush, Bolton Valley, Sugglers Notch, MRG (Mad River Glen)

For short (really short) synopsis of each resort:

Stowe - best and most expensive in area, any type of terrain you could possibly want in the NE

Sugarbush - limited snowmaking but great mountain(s), two mountains in one (3 when Castlerock is open), this mtn is my favorite [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

Bolton Valley - out of the way and not crowded, smallest of the group, limited terrain

Smugglers Notch- sort of tucked out of the way, kids, kids, kids...and expensive to ski and stay...did I mention kids..sorry not a big fan

MRG - cheap,no frills, step back into the 1960's..conditions determined by the grooming...challenging but fun, fun, experience like no other..(no snowboarders allowed)

I guess my point is that there are plenty of choices in that area.

For centrally locate yourself so you can access all the mountains, I would suggest Waterbury VT area. But if slope side or close to one mountain is your desire and $$$$ are no problem pick Stowe.

Fly into Burlington International Airport..(we used to joke that the only reason its called an international airport is because it has connections to Canada). Rent a car and you are 45 min to Waterbury. From Boston it is 4 hours to Waterbury.

BTW...I haven’t done this in a few years but you can get to Smugglers Notch from Stowe and vice versa.. You actually pole over a lake at the top of the mountain. A little work but you can access both mountains this way. Be it only for one run Each mountain will let you ride the lift once with the other mountains current ticket. (So you can get back up and get back to your side of the mountain)
post #9 of 16
I would echo most people's sentiments here and recommend Vermont. The Rt. 100 area has some great skiing, nice options, and is quite scenic. If lodging is an issue near the resorts, you can always stay in Burlington, a great little city in itself, and only 45 minutes from Stowe, Sugarbush, MRG, etc.. Personally I would recommend Stowe, but you can't really go wrong at any of those areas. By Mid-December the snow should be in good shape.

I'd avoid New Hampshire that time of year as snow can be iffy. Sunday River in Maine will usually have a nice amount by then, but it is sort of isolated up there.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the PM's and replies on the thread. I thinks Stowe is looking the hot (or not hopefully!) favourite.
Any good suggestions for accommodation? I presume most of the bar restaurant action is in Stowe itself?


post #11 of 16
I wouldn't count out Sunday River yet.

I skied there last Thanksgiving and it was like mid-season conditions.
post #12 of 16
Stuart, check out should find all you need to know about accomadation etc.
Several good hotels to chose from, loads of eating places to be had. Beer, no problem!! I know where they serve Stella Artois if you need a fix.
post #13 of 16
Several decent restruants and bars in the Stowe area. Check out the Shed for some nice pub food and beer (National IPA!.. I need to get back up to VT). The Matterhorn has a good bar scene as well. I can't comment on most of the food as I was a poor college student at the time I was there.
post #14 of 16
One thing to remember is that staying in a hotel at a resort in the northeast can easily be more expensive than a ski trip to Europe (even including airfare from the northeastern US). I recommend staying in an inn or bed and breakfast near the resort you like the most and renting a car at whatever airport you fly into so you can drive to other resorts if the snow is not good where you are.
Killington will probably have the most open terrain in December, but I agree with spork's post; you will be better off skiing the other resorts from a central location.

Another place to look into is Jay Peak. It's much further north than the other resorts but the skiing is great. There are many good inns around the resort. My fiance and I went there last New Years Eve with another couple and stayed at the Inn on Trout River. The inn was great, even the food was excellent. The weather can be cold up there but not that much colder than the rest of Vermont. We had great snow for December last year but the weather could have been better on our second day (it was sleeting/raining at the base).
Included below is a photo taken during that trip from the main lodge at Jay.

Good luck, I hope you have a good trip. Keep us posted on your's sure to spark some good discussion.

post #15 of 16
You shouldn't just completely rule out Sunday River. It is sort of isolated, but you can get to Sugarloaf in 2 hours, or any of the North Conway resorts (Wildcat, Attitash, Cranmore, Black, Bretton Woods) in an hour or less.

Also, if shopping is a consideration (from your original post) then North Conway is THE place to go.

Also, Sunday River does have a very powerful snowmaking system, so if it's a lean snow year (I hope not), they can be one of your best bets for good conditions.

If you do decide to come to Sunday River, let me know. I'm there pretty much every weekend and holiday, and will be happy to show you around

post #16 of 16
I think Sunday River could be a potentially good choice. Their snowmaking is the best. Period. (Do I need to put a period after period?) That's quality; and quantity is right up there too.

Killington will have more terrain open but if you want to go to a zoo, go to the National one in DC.

Northern Vermont will have more natural snow, but if it's a lean year, your sunk. They don't do half the snowmmaking.

The River really gets the guns cranking before christmas so they have plenty of runs open.

While the trail layout is hated by some because it requires traversing to get to some places, it disperses the crowds very well and there aren't any annoying intersections (like Killington). You can almost always find a place somewhere that isn't crowded. (Some places will be very crowded of course). Overall it's not as crowded as a lot of the Vermont resorts.

Sure it's only one resort, but you're not gonna be getting a huge variety of terrain going from resort to resort at that time of the year. The river has a decent variety as it spans 8 peaks (sorta) of which 5 at the very least will be open.

If apres ski is your thing you might want to hit Stowe or Killington. It's not that bad though at the River. There are some nice restaurants and some bars. Nothing to write home about, but a good time can be had.

You can be a real Maine tourist and stop at LL Bean on the way home. It's not too out of the way. New Hampshire, by the way, where North Conway is, is tax-free.
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