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Where to go next weekend (NE)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I know questions like this are really pretty dumb, and every newbie asks them, but ...

We are sick of crowds, but unfortunately, we only get a chance to go skiing on the same long weekends as everyone else, so, my question is:

Where would the avid skiers in this group recommend as a good place to go skiing in the NE this weekend, that might not have the traditional huge crowds?

I'm wondering if there just might be some small, lesser known places that tend to empty out on long weekends as the locals (and everyone else) heads to the big name resorts like Killington, Snow, Stowe, Okemo, Sunday River, Hunter, etc. We would be quite happy with a relatively modest number of intermediate to easy black trails, as long as there was good cover, low enough temps so we're not skiing on foot deep slush, and not overcrowded.

For a change of scene this year, we would be willing to experiment with somewhere new, and as part of the fun, drive almost anywhere from Snowshoe (WVa) to Elk (N central PA) to Bristol Mtn (NY) to Haystack (Vt) to Mt. Abrams (Me) as long as there was a good chance that the crowds were likely to be light.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.


PS - Its just the wife, kid and me, and we aren't looking for shopping, nightlife or anything else besides skiing, eating and sleeping.
post #2 of 15
Try Ragged in NH - they have a good amount of terrain, plus a new six pack that should be up and running. I've never been there personally, but judging from past threads there are quite a few people on this forum who speak very highly of it. Otherwise how about Smuggler's or Jay in Vermont? Not as much of a destination as Stowe or Killington, but they (and this goes double for Jay) usually have good snow.
post #3 of 15
I just came back from Sugarloaf. Even though it is a "name" resort, it is too far up north to get ridiculous crowds.

one other important point: For the most part, people SKI IN CONTROL at the Loaf, which makes it a much more enjoyable experience! Their snowmaking is pretty decent, too.

I don't know if you take lessons, but the condo or hotel packages come with free classes. Since the teachers are hit or miss, let me recommend 3 SUPERB ones.

Natalie Terry, 76 years old and still going strong. Do NOT expect to be nutured, though!

Linda, don't know her last name, but look for a tall, stunning Afro American women. Highly perceptive, and has a good eye for seeing if its your equipment that's messing up your technique.

Mike, AWESOME instructor, you probably don't want your wife to take a private lesson fromhim. He's gorgeous!

Tongue frimly in cheek.

Aside from the instructors, the loaf has some beautiful and exciting terrain!

Have Fun!
post #4 of 15
Fun, inexpensive, uncrowded, relatively challenging northeastern ski areas (that also have separate lifts and trails for beginners):

Burke Mountain, VT
Sutton, Quebec (I'm going there this weekend)
Owl's Head, Quebec
post #5 of 15
Whiteface in New York is much less crowded than New England areas, that is if you ski black trails, blues are limited there and often get icy and bumpy by noon. Le Massif in Quebec: 2500' vertical with no people on it. And it's a beautiful mountain.
post #6 of 15
Whiteface for a family outing? : If you get there on a perfect day, Whiteface can be amazing, but generally, it's too steep, too big, too icy, too cold, too foggy, and too windy for most people. And it will be crowded this weekend.

Le Massif is great, but a very long drive under any circumstances.

Give the guy some real options... sheesh.
post #7 of 15
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jamesdeluxe:
If you get there on a perfect day, Whiteface can be amazing, but generally, it's too steep, too big, too icy, too cold, too foggy, and too windy for most people.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
It could be all of these things and still it's a great mountain for many skiers (and families). And you'll meet a crowd on this weekend everywhere unless you settle for something which is not considered as a real option by everyone else
post #8 of 15
What about Pico (next to Killington) I've heard that it stays relatively un-crowded when Killington is a zoo.

New Hampshire- some places you may want to look into:
Cannon Mountain
Bretton Woods
post #9 of 15
Personnaly, Whiteface is my favorite Mtn. But it is a haul. Especially with a kid in the car. Rt 73 can be slow, slow, slow. On some days its so slow, you can watch the ice climbers go from bottom to top.

There is Gore and West Mt in NY. West is typical NE and Gore installed a gondola. You would call West rustic, if you know what I mean. Gore is pretty neat, it has a lot of crusiers on the bottom and if you get bored you can head for "Rumors". That will wake you up.

In southern VT you can go to Stratton or Bromely. Statton is crowded at the bottom but you can move to other lifts and have a real good time. Statton has great family trails, good snow making and good grooming. Bromely, is exposed to the sun and has mostly cruisers. A couple of good bump runs and a good Bar. That's high on my priorities.

There are number of smaller areas in Western Mass that may peak your interest. The lift tickets at these areas run from $24 a day to $46 a day. Not a lot of high traffic at most of the areas except for Jiminy. Has short but steep terrain and a lift that gets everybody on the trail.

Where ever you go I hope you have fun.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I've started to look up the web sites and other info for the areas that I don't already know about.

Burke looks very interesting, not well known and certainly off the beaten track, but I have a couple of questions about it.

1) Do much of their clientel come down from Canada like at Jay? If so, that's probably OK for this weekend since they don't celebrate the same holiday (I don't think???).

2) One of the guidebooks (Insider's guide to NE skiing) calls it modest or some term like that. OTOH, its web site sez it has 2000 vert, and the trail map shows a very fair number of trails (ie, consistent with what you might expect on a 2000-footer).

What are people's thoughts on this.


post #11 of 15
I think you'll like Burke! However, Burke will probably be a little more crowded than normal because of the holiday weekend. (historically it's Burke's busiest weekend)But, compared to the big names out there, the crowds won't be as bad. You'll probably have a pretty good liftline for the quad, but since it's not a high speed lift, the crowds on the trails will be very dispersed (no skier-cross like crowds!) and you should have an enjoyable time.
I've been skiing Burke for 22 years and LOVE the place, so I think I'll be able to give you a pretty good perspective.
Burke's clientelle is mostly local, and most others come from Mass and CT. Not too many Canadians. (which BTW, you may want to also consider going up to Quebec as there are lots of great places up there).
Burke is an intermediate/upper intermediate skiers paradise. Nothing too overly difficult, but if you're used to skiing at say Okemo or Stratton or Bretton Woods, I think you'll find Burke a little more challenging (I've heard many comments that Burke's blues would be black trails at other mtns). Lots of pretty steep groomers, awesome "classic" New England style trails (narrow, full of twists and turns), some good tree skiing, and a few bumps here and there.
It's vertical is a legit 2000 feet, but the bottom 450 or so is beginner terrain, which is pretty much seperated from the main mountain. It's great for the beginners as they don't have to worry about more advanced skiers wizzing by them.
Burke is definately a "local" feeling mountain-no glitz, no glamour. Just plain fun skiing.
I'd make some quick decisions regarding lodging, as I know that the St. Johnsbury area hotels are already booked for next weekend (the area is very popular for snow-mobiling as well), but check out www.skiburke.com and call them and see what they can find for you!
post #12 of 15
I skied at Burke over MLK weekend, and had a great time.

There are a few really nice "New England" style trails (East Bowl), and at 2,000 feet, it's got pretty decent vertical. For intermediate and advanced terrain, there's basically one top-to-bottom fixed quad, but I never had to wait more than three minutes at the bottom.

As far as clientele, I met many locals, but strangely enough, a sizable number of fellow NYers (!) that weekend. They also have a reciprical season pass with Jay Peak, so you might see quite a few of the glade maulers escaping the holiday hordes at Jay.

I had the place pretty much skied out after 1.5 days, but with your family in tow, you shouldn't worry about it.

Because Burke is only a few miles from Route 91, I highly recommend that you drive up to Owl's Head just over the border in Canada (on Sunday?). It's a nice ski area for a day-trip, and the view from the summit, overlooking 35 mile-long Lac Memphremagog, is stunning.

There are lots of cute bed and breakfasts that you can find through the Burke Mountain website. And there's a wonderful restaurant right in the village (can't remember its name, but its right next to the ski shop).
post #13 of 15
JamesDeluxe-the restaurant is The Rivergarden Cafe. Across the street behind Bailey's and Burke store is a more casual pub, named appropriatly, The Pub Outback.
Ditto the recommendation for Owls Head.
post #14 of 15
definately look into Burke, VT. it matches all your criteria for what you are looking for. it's probably the least crowded mountain with 2000' Vertical in N.E. the squares ski like solid upper intermediate, but the diamonds are not that much tougher. most skiers (when i went there) were locals, and they were among the friendliest locals i've ever shared a chair with. not many people from north of the border, surprisingly.

no matter where you go, you'll find larger than average crowds. i have never, and will never ski holiday weekends (for the crowds, higher prices, different people, and crowded roads, etc.).

i recommend you DEFINATELY avoid any ski area that has a lot of lodging at it's base area. resorts are guaranteed to be packed solid. if you are looking for good conditions, GO NORTH! the further away from major metropolitan areas you go, the better snow you'll find, and less crowded slopes (unless you go to a resort).

places to check out for low crowds, good snow, and solid terrain: burke, VT; Cannon, NH; Wildcat, NH; and Black, NH. cannon and wildcat offer priceless views on a clear day.

if it helps, i have trip reports and pictures of Burke, Cannon, and Wildcat on my web page: http://www.stormloader.com/theway/ski/reports.htm

places you want to avoid include any ski area owned by ASC, any big resorts like stratton, loon, waterville, stowe, mt.snow, etc. haystack or pico might be okay alternatives to their bigger ASC parents, but their snow quality probably won't be as good as more northern resorts. cheers!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 11, 2002 05:36 PM: Message edited 1 time, by riverc0il ]</font>
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Everyone (but especially vtgal, jamesdeluxe, and rivercOil), thanks loads!

I think Burke is going to be it for this (long) weekend. It sounds exactly like the type of place we are looking for. Thanks also for the advice to find lodging ASAP - I will do so immediately.

In the past, I have skied some of the other places that were recommended such as Cannon, Wildcat, Pico, etc. While these probably would have been fine, its always fun to try something new to us like Burke. I stashed away a couple of the other recommendations for future family trips, particularly, the 'Loaf, the Canadian resorts (with which I am totally unfamiliar), and Ragged.

I'll post a trip report when we get back.

Cheers & thanks one last time,


PS - Great pix, riverc0il. They really helped me picture the place.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 11, 2002 06:46 PM: Message edited 1 time, by FamilyManSkier ]</font>
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