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Can this vacation be saved (east coast)?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Any brilliant ideas for east coast areas for a week late December, for a ski trip including my non-skiing wife? She'll put on XC skis occasionally, but the kids want to go downhill with me.

We were at Jiminy Peak last year and it was fine for the skiers. But my wife's take was not much do during the days (after one day at nearby museums); very crowded, unpleasant lodges discouraged reading by the fire, etc, so she wouldn't see us all day. Not many places to go out for dinner or bring in takeout dinners, and she (rightly) disliked slaving over a hot stove while we skied until the lifts closed. Her ideas of fun - art and antiques, yoga, good food, and reading a good novel (while lying on the beach).

Yes, this is a problem. Another family with a non-skiing mom might join us, which would help. But if that doesn't pan out, then I really want to find someplace she'll like. Or dislike less actively.

Any suggestions? Trying to stay w/in 6 hrs drive from NYC.

Other factors: kids (ages 10-13) are all decent intermediates to advanced, and I like more steep and challenging runs (except bumps ...) Cost is a factor too. We enjoyed renting a condo but even that seemed expensive at Jiminy.

I'm told Okemo would be a good pick, but is it middle of nowhere? And is there going to be challenging terrain there, now that Jackson-Gore is open? Another idea is Quebec (Mont St Anne, Massif, etc.) but it's a long drive and I'm concerned about cold and conditions that time of year. Never been to either.

Thanks for any help.
post #2 of 28
Greetings! When I was a non skiing wife living in NYC, I really loved Stowe. Classic New England beauty and quaintness. There is some inexpensive lodging in the town of Stowe.
Another option is Sugarbush. The neighboring towns are also classic Vermont, unlike a certain Vermont ski town that seems to think that modeling itself after New Jersey is a good idea.
Okemo has some not too expensive lodgiing in Ludlow. Although I really like the town for its integrity and lack of pretentousness, I'm not sure that there is enough to keep her occupiied.
Good luck!
post #3 of 28
Any hope of getting her on skis? Maybe a nice friendly place which offers lessons specifically for beginning women would be a great choice. Suggestion, don't try to teach her yourself and definately don't let the kids do it, she will do better with an instructor. Find a medium size area, one that offers you and the kids enough terrain to keep you occupied, but isn't so overwhelming that your wife gives up before she tries.

If this is not a possibility find an area that offers other amenities that your wife will like, hot tub, pool, spa, fitness center, activities for non skiers, etc.

My cousins from Florida (the state) came up last winter and went to Woodstock, VT. They stayed at the Woodstock Inn. Though it is a small town, there were things for Terri to do while her husband and son skied. There were hay rides, skating, and a few other things right at the hotel. They skied at Killington and at Suicide 6 (small, but historically significant and interesting). She took part in some of the things the hotel offered and went antiquing and to a museum someplace in the area. The last day of the trip she decided to try skiing and got an excellent lesson at Suicide 6 (her choice). They plan to return this winter and may go to Stowe or Smuggs.
post #4 of 28
I'll agree with Lisamarie on Okemo. Nice town, but kind of sleepy. And the terrain on the mountain isn't going to scare anyone. Stratton might not be a bad choice, usually have good early season conditions, and not too far from Manchester Center, plenty of shops and stores. Pretty pricey around that neck of the woods, though, especially around Christmas. Sugarbush is one of my favorites, quaint with a few good restaurants and B&B's, but then again, not much to do for a non skier. Stowe is a no brainer as far as I'm concerned. Plenty of great places to stay with really good early season ski and stay packages. Lots of interesting stores to go in besides the usual outlet stores, and tons of good restaurants to choose from. It's always been one of my wife's favorite places. Typically have good early season snowfall that a lot of people don't know about, and it's rarely crowded before Christmas. And they've got some trails up there that will get your attention. It's also a fun place to be around the holidays to take in all the Christmas decorations and holiday spirit.
post #5 of 28
OH MY!!

Okemo is less than 30 minutes from Rutland VT. By way of rt 103 north. Great road even in the winter.

If she likes antiques and the arts, here are some suggestions.

Head out of Okemo--(Or from the local hotel/motel if you have a ride to the hill) get over to rt 7 and go either direction.

Rutland is no mans land, but under 2 hours north is Burlington, Oboe could fill you in on the cultural aspects of that end of the state. There is a lot up there to fill an easy day trip.

In the other direction, south on rt 7 in roughly this order are many antique shops along old rte 7 (now called rte 7A from Manchester south to Bennington)

Manchester, nice area, upscale shopping, good food, maybe 45 minute drive from the parking lot at the access road to Okemo.

Further south on 7A is Arlington, nice drive, pleasant shops along the way, picturesque small New England town, lots of shopping along the way, antiques, maple products, Christmas stores.

Further south is Bennington, main attractions are a civil war monument, lots of factory outlets--mainly shoes for some reason---and my poersonal favorite! CB Sports outlet! Quite like Filenes basement---it can produce wonderful bargains! And then again, sometimes not. You stand as good a chance of finding Ryans pants on sale as a Helly Hanson High Tech parka for 40 bucks

Even further south, but still within an easy day trip, given a good weather day, is Williamstown Mass. Home of Williams College and the world renown Clark Art Museum. Winter time entrance is free. And they have a wonderful collection. Many upscale eateries. Some very reasonable, some spendy.

Once in Williamstown, a quick jaunt to North Adams Mass is in order for the museum types. Mass. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is there and as I understand it, it is a unique exhibit.

To put some times to this agenda---

Okemo to Manchester---about 45 minutes, probably a lot less. I've been acused of being a very slow driver!

Arlington---another 15

Bennington another 30 minutes

Williamstown another 20 mimnutes.

Clark art to MOCA maybe 20 minutes including park and walk.

Add a few hours in each location to shop, eat, browse and a full day or full weekend can be filled quite easily for the non-skiing among us.

Jiminy! OH MY! She should have gone North! Not south as I presume that she did!
post #6 of 28
I absolutely cringe at suggesting this, but if she's a serious shop aholic, head to Attitash, and she can hang out at the over aabundance of outlet stores in North Conway. Watch out for traffic jams.
post #7 of 28
A second to LM's suggestion of North Conway.
Wildcat and Attitash offer only fairly good skiing, but North Conway will keep her busy in her pursuits. And harmony is really more important than extreme terrain, isn't it?

OR send her to a spa around Phoenix while you and the kids go to Jackson Hole!

Personally, I like the second idea better, but the first is probaly more realistic.
post #8 of 28
Lake Placid!
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks -- and followup questions:

First, thanks to all, good starting point for working this out. Stowe, Sugarbush and Stratton all are on the list along w/Okemo -- now I know some of the tradeoffs.

Killington seems overwhelming, but what about Pico? Also seems accessible from Woodstock area.

Any NY state recs or comments? Whiteface or Gore?

Skierteach, your "hope of getting her on skis" lead-in is the biggest question of all. Unfortunately it's like pushing rope, I don't even suggest it. If she ever takes the initiative (or kids pull her in), then you're right, it's definitely a job for a pro.

Lisamarie, anything from the former non-skier's perspective that you would suggest to interest her in this? I think I recall from your other posts (which are quite helpful BTW, to adult newbies like me) that you did not ice skate as a kid, neither did she. She does yoga regularly, has good balance and endurance, and enjoys outdoor activities (hiking, etc.). But zero-to-negative interest in skiing or anything similar (blades, windsurfing, mtnbikes ...); her take is "why would you WANT to do that?"

Skierj: excellent overview, somehow the travel sites never admit "no mans land" status. You're right about Williamstown area, a fair amt to do, but we've been lots in other seasons in addition to last yrs trip to Jiminy, so she's ready for something new.

Thanks again to all.
post #10 of 28
Whiteface and Gore are both excellent mountains. The state of New York has, over the last few years, poured lots of money into them for lift upgrades. If you can nail them with fresh snow, you'll be especially happy.

Here are three Ski Magazine articles about the Lake Placid area that should give a good overview of the area. It sounds like an ideal solution for you.
article 1
article 2
article 3
post #11 of 28
Possibly Sunday River. The snow is good early. The town of Bethel has x-country, antiques, restaurants. The resort has ammenties too. The shuttle works well enough you don't need the car much either. Just a thought.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Lisamarie, anything from the former non-skier's perspective that you would suggest to interest her in this? I think I recall from your other posts (which are quite helpful BTW, to adult newbies like me) that you did not ice skate as a kid, neither did she. She does yoga regularly, has good balance and endurance, and enjoys outdoor activities (hiking, etc.). But zero-to-negative interest in skiing or anything similar (blades, windsurfing, mtnbikes ...); her take is "why would you WANT to do that?"
HA Ha tee hee! Ok! The "Clif Notes" version! [img]smile.gif[/img]
Flashback, 1989, NYC. Engaged to a guy who loved to ski, his first wife had ni interest in it whatsoever.

The gym I work at arranges a bus trip to Killington. Fiance and I go.

Bus arrives at our upscale uppper east side gym an hour and a half late. They had to pick up the other group that was sharing the trip. A group of sanitation workers from Long Island. We were treated to a smoke/puke filled ride, complete with porno movies, even though some members had brought their kids.

Arrive at condos at about 1:00 am. We had to report any dammage to the condo immediately, otherwisw we would be charged for it.

Wake up the next morning. Go outside and say "WHAT DID THEY DO TO VERMONT!!!' How did they manage to make a ski resort look like Newark????

Ski School. This was Killington before Maggie Loring humanized ski instruction with the Perfect Turn System. Instructors are arrogant and impatient.
And to may dismay, I discover that my strength, endurance, flexibility and static balance from yoga do virtually nothing for me in the dynamic sport of skiing.
My butt hurts from falling every 5 seconds.
My ego hurts even more.

I do not ski the next day. I decide I will neve ski again.

Leap ahead, December 2000. Mark buys me snow shoes for Christmas. We go to the Trapp Lodge at Stowe. I feel like Maria Von Trapp. Snow can be beautiful in this sort of environment.
The "How do you solve the problem of Lisamarie not skiing" is temporarily resolved.
THEN>>>
My husbands kids are coming up for the holiday. Mark had spoken to someone at Sunday River's Perfect Turn program, who told him how different ski instruction is today. Mark urged me to come along with the kids, and give it one more try.
I tried it.
I thought I was gonna die from joy.
The rest, as they say, is history.

Epilogue: This once computer/ski phobic chick has 5000+ posts on a ski forum.

Go figure!
Don't give up hope for your wife! [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ June 10, 2003, 02:20 PM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by ts01:

Killington seems overwhelming, but what about Pico? Also seems accessible from Woodstock area.

Any NY state recs or comments? Whiteface or Gore?

Killington is not so overwhelming in Decemeber, and you drive right by it on your way to Pico from Woodstock. Whiteface is another good choice. There's some actual steep off piste terrain when the slides are open, and the town is nice. If you go to Gore, be sure to do a day at Hickory Hill (if it opens while you are there), but don't expect the choice of restaurants and shopping in North Creek to equal what you will find in North Hancock/Stephentown metropolitan area.

All the rest ws good advice.

John
post #14 of 28
Unlike Lisamarie,I started skiing when I was 4 or 5. I skied primarily at a local bump through elementary school and high school. A challenge was to go to a larger area and ride the chairlift to the top (or as high as I could and still find a green trail) so I could come down the easiest green trail.

I have, in the 20 years since College improved significantly and can ski almost anything (bumps still terrify me-afraid to put my knee out again)

I have a sister in law that had no interest in skiing until she was in her mid to late 40's and her kids took it up (thanks to me, my sister and brother-in-law). She is hooked now, infact, they now own a winter home in Vermont near Burke, Jay and Orford.

THERE IS HOPE!!!!!
post #15 of 28
Ok, a few factors to consider, from the perspective of a formerly ski hating wife. The more downsides in any given ski vacation, the less likely she will ever be even tempted to ski. Also, these things that are minor inconveniences for we ski addicts, can lead to severe marital distress if one party is a non skier.
The major downsides would be:

An overly long drive from New York City, basically ruling out Sunday River.

Since she likes to practice Yoga, and can guess she likes to exercise indoors in very very very warm temperatures. This, in some people, can be destructive to their cold tolerance, making 40 degrees feel like 40 below. This can rule out Canada.

Loud obnoxious areas do not sell our sport too well to non skiers. Rule out K-Mart.

So the solution would be to find an aarea where they have a spa, that gives Yoga classes.

An outrageous solution would be to come to the Academy at Snowbird. We now have an arrangement for kids classes. The Cliff Spa at Snowbird gives more Yoga classes a day than I can pronounce the name of. There's also the option of visiting Salt Lake City.

If that's too outrageous, the Top Notch Spa at Stowe is wonderful! I know this because I trained some of their staff many years ago. Its expensive to stay there, but there may be a way to get a day pass.

Someone mentioned Lake Placid. Check out their spa:
http://www.placidhealth.com/Health__...__fitness.html

There are probabaly more, but my greyhound is crying for her walk. If i think of some later, I'll post them.
post #16 of 28
ts...more $.02.
Ditto on mid-central Vermont.
Stowe & Sugarbush have great on/off_trail snow..and great tree skiing...then there's always Jay Peak for deep stuff if it's happenning, which it usually IS....and as mentioned, nice restaurants & shops & X-C [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

North Conway(NH) offers you some skiing choices as the Jackson X-C area and Attitash are ~4mi from town, Wildcat is ~6-7mi(across the road from Mt. Washington)(it's usually a little early for Tuckerman Ravine), and it's ~35+mi from Bethel, ME(SundayRiver)..which would make for a bit of a haul while on vacation. Good food, but doesn't top VT.

...You can't go wrong with Stowe/Sugarbush.

Steve
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
First, thanks; and a question re Stowe / Sugarbush - how feasible would it be to stay in Montpelier or Burlington?

Really wish we could do the Academy but we're locked in to school vacations which fall in late December and mid-Feb in NY our school district. Once we take that time if I want to stay employed then late Jan is tough.

Some of you clearly can read my wife's mind (thanks LM), and others clearly can read mine (the "there's always hope" theme). Thanks again to all -- the combined $.02 is priceless.
post #18 of 28
My girlfriend is really into Yoga, and just can't hack skiing. Its weird, she spends so much time standing around in these strange positions on one leg, you'd think she would have great balance. Not so. To save the relationship, I stopped pushing. No if she wants to come with me, she can usually find some local yoga studio.
post #19 of 28
I'm a little late reading this post, but it resonated strongly with me. I am always look for a good place to go early in December in New England. Last year, I went to Sunday River (drove there from DC). I had a good time, but my brother (who has a nonskiing spouse) did comment that Bethel would be kind of dull for the non-skier.

However, SR has a program for timid beginners called Perfect Turn. They employ a range of techniques designed to lower a beginner's natural anxiety about skiing. A program like that may be worthwhile for the non-skiing spouse.

For more on SR in December, check out the article I wrote for DCSki:

Going Further Afield: Sunday River Maine (12/12/2002)

Interestingly enough, my brother thought Stowe would be a better place to go early in the season with a non-skier. He's stayed at Topnotch (mentioned by Lisamarie) and felt it was well, "topnotch." He even managed to get his wife out on Nordic skis at the Topnotch Nordic center, and guess what folks, she loved it. The Nordic experience may convince her to give Alpine another shot or at least do more freeheel skiing. Nordic skiing even at Stowe is iffy in December but Stowe does have several excellent venues, including the world famous Trapp Family Lodge. Trapp also has a Tyrolian backcountry hut for Nordic skiers that serves excellent eats.

[ June 20, 2003, 03:29 AM: Message edited by: West Virginia Skier ]
post #20 of 28
Thanks John,

That was an excellent piece you did on Sunday River. It sure made me change my mind on when might be the right time to sample some of the east coast ski areas.

How do you think Sunday River compares to some of the Rockies ski areas that depend on snow making and early snow that time of year? (Snowbird, Copper, Loveland, Breckenridge, Keystone,WinterPark,, etc.) Would you think it worthwhile for flatlanders to switch their options toward the east during that early part of the season when your only likely options are in the 'snowmaking zones'?

[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by feal:

Its always good to get good feedback on articles. THANKS!

How do you think Sunday River compares to some of the Rockies ski areas that depend on snow making and early snow that time of year? (Snowbird, Copper, Loveland, Breckenridge, Keystone,WinterPark,, etc.)
Never been to the west in December so I don't know. What I do know is that the period that starts the week after Thanksgiving and ends the week before Christmas is a VERY cheap time to ski and travel. The slopeside condo I stayed at SR midweek (Cascade) in December was ridiculously reasonable. It wasn't the most luxurious place I have ever stayed at but it was darn convenient to the main South Ridge base area. SR focuses most of its snowmaking on middle mountains first and then moves on to other mountains on the wings of the resort. Hence, early season skiers might want to base themselves at South Ridge for convenience sake. This leads me to another point: true experts may be dissappointed with the early season at SR. The resort was working on White Heat when I was there but didn'tr open it until after I left.

I don't know where you are flying from, but I'd consider going last minute to the region (east or west offering the best conditions). Rumor has it that Jet Blue may offer flights from Dulles to Burlington this year. That fact alone might push me towards a VT resort like Smugglers for the early season rather than heading to Maine again. Funny how Southwest and Jet Blue are having such a major impact on skiing.
post #22 of 28
> ...For more on SR in December, check out the article I wrote for DCSki...

Hello John -

Good to see that you joined EpicSki a few days ago and are posting away already! Fortunately, this site draws on a much larger geographic area than DCski and so doesn't dry up completely in the summer.

For everybody's information, John is one of the best contributors we have on our local (ie, mid-Atlantic) skiing discussion group. I, for one am really pleased to see that he has decided to participate here as well.

[img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

WELCOME!!!

Tom / PM
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
> ...For more on SR in December, check out the article I wrote for DCSki...

Hello John -

Good to see that you joined EpicSki a few days ago and are posting away already! Fortunately, this site draws on a much larger geographic area than DCski and so doesn't dry up completely in the summer.
Thanks Tom. Summer is the time to think and dream about the next "epic season." This is a good forum to dream with. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #24 of 28
Regarding Quebec City area:

Hi ts01,

This might be a good alternative for your non-skiing wife as you can "leave her" in Quebec City while you go skiing with your kids. When I go skiing in this area, I drive up from Toronto (yes, it's a long drive) and stay in QC. Mont Ste. Anne is about 30 minutes east of QC and Le Massif is about another 30 minutes east along the same highway. There are accommodations near MSA and virtually nothing near Le Massif except for the auberges in the little town near the hill, but I prefer to stay in QC as there is a lot more apres things to do there.

They have a tri-area lift ticket with Stoneham (which is the smaller of the 3 hills, but the closest to QC, about 20 minutes away, you will clearly see the night skiing lights from QC). I haven't been to Stoneham, it has less vertical and fewer runs than MSA or Le Massif, so I don't bother. Even with the recent appreciation of the Canadian dollar, I would imagine it is still cheaper than places in Vermont like Stowe or Killington. The question is, what will the exchange rate be around December. I am thinking of trying some of the areas around Lake Tahoe next season, (Squaw and Heavenly) or maybe Mammoth and a stronger C$ helps me but not you !, LOL

There are some good steep runs at Le Massif and MSA. The run at MSA I remember was La Crete, the farthest west where the paragliders went off from. You can hear the sled dogs barking when you get near the bottom of the run. Theres an idea, a dog sled ride, I'll have to try it one day. The scenery is great at both MSA and le Massif with the views of the river. They put in a new high speed quad at le Massif, before things used to get backed up at the one quad chair they had. Both are long rides, similar in length to the green mountain flyer at Jay Peak. Yes, it is cold, but isn't it cold everywhere else ? The thing to watch out for is the snow, like Tremblant, the skiing around QC might not be at full capacity by late December, some years it is, some years it isn't.

When you go to Le Massif watch out you don't miss the turn off, unlike MSA, you can't see the hill from the highway. There is a sign, you turn off right and go down this road right to river/sea level, so make sure your brakes are o.k.

As for places to stay, I can usually get a good winter rate for around low 100's (Canadian) at the Loews Leconcorde, the same is probably true for other QC hotels like the Radisson and the Hilton during the winter (except maybe during carnival in February).

I don't know where to start with QC, lots of great restaurants and things to do, unlike a ski town, you're in a city. If Tremblant were 30 or 45 minutes from Montreal, I would stay in Montreal all the time.

related links:

http://www.quebecregion.com/

http://www.ville.quebec.qc.ca/accueil/index.shtml

http://www.mont-sainte-anne.com/

http://www.lemassif.com/Eng/default.html

http://www.loewshotels.com/hotels/quebec/default.asp

"Her ideas of fun - art and antiques"

http://www.mnba.qc.ca/english/accueil.htm

You're about the same distance from QC as I am

http://www.mapquest.com/direc tions/main.adp?go=1&do=nw&ct=NA&1y=US&1a=&1p=&1c=new+yor k&1s=ny&1z=&2y=US&2a=&2p=&2c=quebec&2s=qc&2z=&lr=2 &x=78&y=14

http://www.mapquest.c om/directions/main.adp?go=1&do=nw&ct=NA&1y=US&1a=&1p=&1c=toronto &1s=on&1z=&1ah=&2y=US&2a=&2p=&2c=quebec&2s=qc&2z=& 2ah=&lr=2&x=20&y=5

p.s. If you settle on Lake Placid/Whiteface, you have to try the bobsled !

[ June 20, 2003, 11:31 AM: Message edited by: allmountaincruiser ]
post #25 of 28
Ya should have married a Kelpie.
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
OK, I'll bite, what's a Kelpie? I assume that's australian for "identical to my utterly perfect wife in every respect except ski-obsessed and independently wealthy."

This is great information everyone, thanks; I'm glad I have all summer to sort it out, and hopefully many more years skiing to check out all these places.
post #27 of 28
post #28 of 28
The Australian Working Kelpie is, I believe a sheep hearding dog. In competition, they are noted to be winners in the category of obedience!
By Oz's comments, we can surmise that feminism does not go over too well in Oz! [img]tongue.gif[/img]
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