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Trip Report - Stowe - great town, K-Mart - better skiing...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Some of you will note that I posted on the dining recommendations I had asked for (search on Travelphile or good eats around Stowe), but I wanted to give more of a trip report. (computer got a NASTY virus from IM… that’s what’s kept me away so long)

Plan was to arrive in Stowe Jan 2nd, and stay through the 6th. Ended up Stowe 2-4th, Killington 5-7th. Lodging in Stowe was Golden Eagle Resort – can’t say enough good about the place. Nothing fancy, just an overall good experience. We paid $93 a night with breakfast included – and the breakfast was awesome. You got to choose from like 7 or 8 meals, or got like $8 to mix and match. We had a set meal everyday, Eggs Mansfield (their version of Eggs Bennie) was the best breakfast I’ve ever had it. Ate it 2 days. Hubby is a pancake connoisseur, and was pleased, fruit and all. Great pool/hottub/gym area, free internet/coffee in main lodge, large clean rooms - and a bargain to boot! Would stay there again in a heartbeat, wish we had splurged on the fireplace room, but we were already happy to be away… J

Arrived to 29 degrees and RAIN – isn’t that supposed to be impossible??? Last 10 miles of the drive were at 5 MPH. Some people just pulled off the road and stopped. Couldn’t even walk across the parking lots – we were thinking, and we’ll be skiing here in about 16 hours???? We had prebought 2 days of tix, so we were going no matter what the conditions. Arrived on the mountain Monday morning about 10, and were still 1st row parking – place was EMPTY. Not much open, work to get from chairs to gondola was work. Groomers had chunked up the top layer of ice, so it ws like ball bearings… My arches cramped so bad I sat on the side of the hill and took off my boots – why does that happen??? I skied twice the week before, and last year, in the same boots, and no issues – experts analysis for why this happens???

Skied about 3, 3.5 hours, then headed to the Shed, and never made it back… Tuesday, conditions not quite like being on ball bearings, but still more ice than we’re even used to in Western NY! Started thinking about where we would ski the next two days. The initial plan was 2 days at Stowe, then the last 2 btwn Jay, Sugar, or MRG… using the lobby’s free internet, Jay was down from 50+ to 26 trails, and SB/MRG were about the same as Stowe. Looked into heading to K-Mart. Called a few lodging places, prices were about the same, so we left Wednesday morning. (on our way up rt 100, we stopped at Sugar and Spice for lunch – neat place – and had grabbed one of those maps that is kind of a caricature of Killington/Rutland. Luckily I still had that in the car and could call the lodging places advertised on the side)

Got to K-Mart about 11:30, made the mistake of parking at K-1 – ugh. Even midweek, off-season – ugh. Survived it, bought ½ day pass, and the snow was better than Stowe, plus there were 79 trails open. Still icy, but manageable. After a day of skiing, decided we should find a place to stay! I had the quotes from the previous evening, one was the Inn on the Mountain – nice place, close by. For some reason I chose to forgo their $99 deal, and go to the Killington Village Inn, for like $80. I guess I was cheap b/c we had decided to stay the extra day in VT before heading back to my families in MA. I liked the ‘rustic NE charm’. Well, the rustic charm in the common areas was great – small bar, great fire/living room, however, in our room, not as charming! The staff at KVI was great, and breakfast here was great too, so no real complaints. Just expect NO frills in your room if you stay there. TV – yes, phone, no. Shower stall yes, clean yes, SMALL - yes! It was a perfect case of you get what you paid for. But again, talked with great staff on W, Th, and Friday, so if it was a deal, I’d stay again. But if only a $20 difference somewhere more modern – I’d go there!

(people felt really at home there… example - we tried to use the hot tub in its own room on the lower level twice, one afternoon, and one night, both times there was a couple, umm, errr, enjoying themselves…!)

Ate dinner that evening at the Mexican place, can’t think of the name of it, (Baja Burrito??) food was excellent, bill was astronomical. Three drinks, cup of chili, two entrees - $60+!!! Felt like we’d been had…

Skiing on Thursday, even better, but still definitely Eastern conditions. (Parked at the Skyeship lot - so much easier to get going than from K-1.) You can tell K makes a lot more snow than Stowe did. Mid day the wind picked up and they closed a few lifts. Our last ride up the gondola left us wondering if it was truly engineered to miss the support poles, cause we were SWINGING! Just after 4 we left the mountain and went to Charity’s – some people on the gondola had told us the beer/wings were excellent, and they knew what they were talking about! Wings (interesting Caribbean sauce) are free at the bar, but not in the dining room. The folks we met told me to drink a Schooner, its like 32 ounces of beer. I ordered one and the whole bar got a kick out of it, apparently it’s not THAT popular, lol. Dinner was at Pizza Jerks, good pizza, better suited to take out.

Overall, I want to put K’s hill in Stowe. Stowe was a much better town to vacation in. Killington’s ski conditions/trails open were much more enjoyable. I wanted to be more impressed with the actual mountain of Stowe – but the fog didn’t lift the 2 days we were there, so I never was wowed (not to mention that only about 1/3 of trails were open).

I think going out west last year spoiled me a bit – go east first is my advice! (and I DIDN’T want to feel that way since I live driving distance to VT) Would still like to see Jay, OKemo, and MRG. Perhaps one of those or Tremblant next year??? Email me at kgraves@monroecc.edu if you have questions!
post #2 of 11
You story brings back alot of memories. We have stayed at the Golden Eagle, it was summer but they allowed pets. The K-mart places that you stayed are all in my mind and I can picure many of them. Sugar & spice, we were jsut there a couple of weeks ago. Pizza Jerks, you are right is great as a take out place. The Caboose, is better though for "free" bar wings.

Your cramping, in hard snow, is coming from you being tense, the stress of the being part and you trying to "steer" the ski vs. letting the ski carve.

Thank you for a great review.
post #3 of 11
I was driving down the access road the day you came in, it took me about an hour and a half just to reach the Matterhorn. Worst driving I've ever experienced. Got home, and practically had to crawl to the house. Then I had to get a bunch of blankets and make a trail back to my car so I could get my daughter out of the car without killing her.

I hope you come back when we haven't been severely iced over. I think our mountain could change your mind.
post #4 of 11
Unfortunately, I think the timing of your trip to Stowe was pretty unlucky. We were there last week and while everything wasn't open, conditins were pretty good. Heard locals talking about how bad it had been when the rain came through. Stowe's a nice mountain if the conditions are decent. Some other places might be able to recover a bit faster from bad conditions. Give it another chance if you like the village.
post #5 of 11
Travelphile- You have got to go back to Stowe and try again, hopefully during a winter that doesn't suck.

Stowe is my fav NE hill. Kmart is great when not crowded (i.e. on non-holiday weekdays), and they blow a lot more snow, which benefited your situation.
post #6 of 11
I would like to respectfully disagree with your comments on Stowe. Puttting K-mart the hill at Stowe would not be good at all. Stowe has some of the best steeps and terrain in the East. It has some of those narrow steep trails for which New England used to be famous (Goat). It has a full vertical drop! Killington's vertical is way overstated.

Killington has snowmaking.

It seems to me that Killington is not even in Vt. It is a zoning disaster.

Sorry, but Stowe is historic skiing, fall-line skiing and the Capital!
post #7 of 11
It seems to me that Killington is not even in Vt. It is a zoning disaster.
Yeah, but its still a great mountain.
post #8 of 11
Not when compared to Stowe (IMO).
post #9 of 11
Is there a good time to ski Vermont?

It's either cold as heck or raining or icey or a whiteout. The weather is part of the challenge of Vermont and why people either love it or hate it.
post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by johnfmh
Is there a good time to ski Vermont?

It's either cold as heck or raining or icey or a whiteout. The weather is part of the challenge of Vermont and why people either love it or hate it.
Well, this weekend was pretty good. Front Four was finally open, there was new snow, it wasn't too cold, I could see where I was going.
post #11 of 11
When it's lean (like it's been) Killington is the only place to ski...but with a reasonable amount of snow-Sugarbush and Stowe are front and center

Killington is opening up it's new "extreme" skiing area on the old Devil's Fiddle lift this weekend...any idea if this area is going to be good???
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