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Help w/ New England places

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
We just got back from SLC a few days ago and after skiing PowMow, Snow Basin, Snowbird, etc., had a great time, and enough snow was around to please everyone.

We're considering a 1-week ski trip to New England early Feb, and plan to stay at Jiminy Peak. Hunter Mt. appears close by, but aside from this I'm not familiar with much else. I'd appreciate some advice on other ski places within 30-45 minute drive from Jiminy with decent (>1500') vertical. VT and NH are fine, and of course ice is expected, it's just that we'd like to keep the drive time as short as possible.

Too, we're familiar with skiing out West ... we take a 1-week ski trip there every year. But having just returned from there, we thought we'd shake things up a bit and give New England a try at least one time, so comparisons on skiing out West instead, while appreciated ... are not necessary. Thanks
post #2 of 28
Well first not to knock ny/ma but if i were going to head up to new england to ski i would never plan on those ski area's..Hunter is not anywhere near jiminey and jiminey is a bump compared to vt/nh/me ...why not pick a central port in vermont and hit sugarbush,mad river,stowe...good god man ...6oo miles to ski the premire party hill for nyc"hunter" if you want to ski a ny mountain how about white face...
post #3 of 28
Have to agree with bump on this one, the mountains you mentioned really are not true New England skiing. Stay in Waterbury and you can hit hit Stowe, Bolton Valley, Smuggs, Sugarbush, and MRG all within 45 minutes or so.
post #4 of 28
Mt. Snow in southern Vt. is about the only major mountain within 45 minutes of Jiminy. If you want to strectch the drive to an hour Stratton is an option. Bromley and Magic are smaller mountains near Stratton. Thats about it within a reasonable drive. All the mountains in southern Vt. seem very similar to me skiing wise, although Stratton might be worth the extra drive if you're into ritz and glitz, but they do do a good job with their snowmaking and grooming to keep the upper crust happy. Other than that, Mt. Snow is probably your best option. Good lift system, easy to get around, lots of trails to choose from, just don't expect Utah powder.
post #5 of 28
Given your western experience you would be very underwhelmed by western MA or southern Vt. Don't do it. Stowe is classic NE, and combined with Sugarbush and MRG you would have a good sampler.
post #6 of 28
I skied Jiminy (and Brodie) in college and they are (were) certainly fun little mountains. But if you're going to drive/fly all the way to New England for a major ski trip, you should seriously be heading for Northern Vermont. I would probably stay in the Waitsfield area and Ski Sugarbush, Mad River Glen (if there has been good natural snowfall), and Stowe. There are many other good mountains in VT and NH to try as well.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for the brutal and succint feedback. We had a great deal on a condo to stay at Jiminy ... now I understand why. Looks like it's time to pull the plug on this and rethink the whole trip. I would be truly p!ssed to drive all that way and the best skiing we'd expect would be something akin to Snowshoe W-Va.

drb, I really appreciate your comments here ... "underwhelmed" and especially "dont do it" ... these say it all.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ullr
Have to agree with bump on this one, the mountains you mentioned really are not true New England skiing. Stay in Waterbury and you can hit hit Stowe, Bolton Valley, Smuggs, Sugarbush, and MRG all within 45 minutes or so.
this is great advice. you'll dependably find much better snow in northern VT. just because it is the east, doesn't mean it has to be so called 'ice'.
post #9 of 28

Dorm

Jiminy is my home mountain. It's great for me because the drive is 30 min. But, you should know, Jiminy is in a "dry belt" ie. not a "snow belt". They rely on snowmaking and grooming. Everything is flattened. There are some real nice steep trails that you can fly on. The lift is a high speed six pack - the nicest lift in the East that I have found. Three hours is about as much as I can take.

Stratton is a resort and is a perfect example of what is wrong with America today. Bromley is a southern facing mountain with not much to offer. It skis better than Stratton by a long shot. The fixed quad offers nice bumps and fun skiing, but not too dificult.

Magic is the best in southern Vt but needs snow. There are two lifts, but one doesn't work. The other is slow. Great place to ski when there is snow. This is always number one on my list when it snows.
post #10 of 28
I work at Okemo. You can stay in Ludlow VT and ride the free shuttle bus to the mountain, if you stay on one of the 4 bus routes. It's the only mountain in VT with a town at the bottom of the acess road. Your also close to Killington, Pico, Stratton and Bromley.

If you want to go further north, I stay on Morrisville VT north of Stowe when I go up there. Your closer to Jay Peak then if you stay below Stowe in Waitsfield.

Are your family members looking for terrain like MRG, Stowe, Jay and Sugurbush or something more family like Okemo, Stratton ?

Okemo has the best grooming and snow making in the east. The Mullers have gotten a lot of things right, there is plunty of on mountain lodging if you like. Jackson Gore has great food and a new Wine room with dinning.
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57
I would be truly p!ssed to drive all that way and the best skiing we'd expect would be something akin to Snowshoe W-Va.
Heh, it would probably be worse than Snowshoe. I am not exactly a fan of Snowshoe (more of a captive customer living in the Mid-A), but one thing it has over all of New England ski areas is elevation, and it's quite a bit larger than small mountains like Jiminy. Jiminy's top elevation (around 2400 ft) is actually 800 ft lower than Snowshoe's base elevation, and that gives Jiminy (and most of the southern New England resorts) more of a small-hill feel rather than the big mountain feel you get in Northern VT and even at Snowshoe.

Now, if you're like me you can have fun anywhere, but if you're planning a trip, may as well do it right. So I'd say to drive another 1-2 hours north at head for Vermont. My all-time favorite is Sugarbush (south mountain).

Craig
post #12 of 28
Vermont! Vermont! Vermont! How about combining Sugarbush and Stowe for three days-then drive up to Jay for another three days. You would get a good sampling of Northern Vermont ski areas. Sugarbush and anything north are considered to be in the "snowbelt". If we get a warm spell, you are usually safe up there. Although you would love Okemo-an intermediate's heaven. Just make sure you go to Vermont!
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
For all this great advice ... thanks. Can someone provide some links for good lodging or good sites to search for lodging up 'err?
post #14 of 28
Us Northerners are not well known for our tact.

Here is a great little (and reasonable) place in Stowe: Nice accomodations, great food, interesting brothers - one doesn't say much, the other does enuf talking for them both. Not exactly classic NE but truly a gem.

http://www.trattorialafesta.com/
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobojo
Vermont! Vermont! Vermont! How about combining Sugarbush and Stowe for three days-then drive up to Jay for another three days. You would get a good sampling of Northern Vermont ski areas. Sugarbush and anything north are considered to be in the "snowbelt". If we get a warm spell, you are usually safe up there. Although you would love Okemo-an intermediate's heaven. Just make sure you go to Vermont!
I second this plan!
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57
I would be truly p!ssed to drive all that way and the best skiing we'd expect would be something akin to Snowshoe W-Va.
Although I have never been to Jiminy, I can say that northern VT is definitely better than the Shoe. I too am not a big fan of Snowshoe, but you will be very happy with Stowe, Sugarbush & MRG. If you can do make the drive to Jay Peak you check it out. It is about an hour and a half, but well worth it! Look into the Best Western in Waterbury. I think the wife & I stayed there last year for about $80 a night. Decent free breakfast, indoor pool and hot tub, quite and clean. Right off of I89.

: : :
post #17 of 28
Drb has a good plan -- I haven't stayed at Trattoria la Festa but the food is great and I bet it's a fun place to stay. If you're coming to New England you should go to Stowe, no doubt. When I win the lottery I'm buying a place there first, then I'll consider Utah and Colorado and Switzerland. There are also lots of bargains to be had in central-northern New Hampshire. Lincoln, Woodstock, Franconia Notch area has easy access to Bretton Woods (great for families, easier terrain but nice), Cannon, Attitash, all within an hour's drive. Also check vrbo.com (vacation rentals by owner) for condos to rent, we've had good luck with it.
post #18 of 28
I second the whole "pass on Jiminy" sentiment.

Hunter is a NYC mountain, basically it's passable and fine, it is what it is, but what it is is not a destination resort. Jiminy is a fine local mountian in the Berkshires, but you'd do much better in Vermont, Maine or the Adirondacks.

In VT: Stowe, Jay, Sugarbush, Mad River Glen (depending on what you are looking for), Smuggler's Notch, and yes dare I say Killington (full of wahoos but hey it's popular for a reason) are places to consider. Even Okemo or Magic (if you're looking for groomers etc) would be far superior. Sunday River and Sugarloaf are great in Maine, and I absolutely love the Loaf but man it's so far away. If you go to NY, Gore or Whiteface are both great. lake Placid hosted the Olympics, twice, so it's a very fun town. Bet you can get a cheap condo at Gore, there's nothing around there and it's an unknown mountian which overdelivers.

no matter what you do, you'll be on skis, which is better than not being on skis, but you're going to want to make the most of your trip. I'd definitely say it again, pass on the trip to Jiminy.
post #19 of 28

Travel time

Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219

Now, if you're like me you can have fun anywhere, but if you're planning a trip, may as well do it right. So I'd say to drive another 1-2 hours north at head for Vermont. My all-time favorite is Sugarbush (south mountain).

Craig
The problem is that they are staying at Jiminy. A drive to Sugarbush is 3 hours, 2 hours 45 min at best. Dump Jiminy and go stay in Stowe or Jay whatever. That's a great idea but a horse of a different color.

If you stay at Jiminy your choices are Mt Snow (easy but fun), Stratton, Bromley, Magic (not likely to have snow), Okemo (easy) or Killington (1 hr, 45 min).
post #20 of 28
I'd gotten so used to the differences of opinion on this site, I can't believe how consistent the replies have been on this. What a pleasure to read.

If I were showing visiting friends New England skiing, Stowe would be the first place I'd think of. If the snow was good, I would move Jay Peak (they have powder! - and a French Canadian flavor which is super) and Sugarbush to the top too. Killington is an absolutely fantastic place on a non-holiday weekday.

Now if you can get over to Maine for a day, try out Sunday River.

Compare how much money you could save by checking into the Extended Stay America in Sandy or Union Park, SLC - west is still best.
post #21 of 28
First of all, I'm a big Jiminy Peak fan. I think it's a great little hill and does offer a solid resort feel, considering its location in Southern NE. Despite that, I have to agree with the others here. If you're looking for a classic New England skiing experience, head to Vermont. A stay in Waterbury, Vermont was a good suggestion for access to Sugarbush/MRG and Stowe/Smuggs. Check out SkiMRV.com for direct local insight into skiing in the Mad River Valley if you'd rather stay closer to the mountain. The terrain at Sugarbush North/South and Mad River Glen should be able to keep you occupied for a week long trip. Another option might be Sugarloaf/USA in Maine. Skiing da Loaf is a very unique experience, but in early February, it'll likely be VERY cold and the snow depths will not be that of Vermont. Another option is Lake Placid/Whiteface which offers a lot of other activities besides skiing to fill your week. Best of luck.
post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearberry
I'd gotten so used to the differences of opinion on this site, I can't believe how consistent the replies have been on this. What a pleasure to read.

If I were showing visiting friends New England skiing, Stowe would be the first place I'd think of. If the snow was good, I would move Jay Peak (they have powder! - and a French Canadian flavor which is super) and Sugarbush to the top too. Killington is an absolutely fantastic place on a non-holiday weekday.

Now if you can get over to Maine for a day, try out Sunday River.

Compare how much money you could save by checking into the Extended Stay America in Sandy or Union Park, SLC - west is still best.
This is what scares me about the trip ... all you Naw-then-uuhs nodding your head in agreement. Truth is with no New England skiing experience under my belt, we're going to head back out west to more known environments. In the future I'd like to spend a long weekend there to get a better feel, and then perhaps build a family trip. Again thanks for the great comments.
post #23 of 28
Hey Dorm,

I agree with the folks above to head West for best value for the dollar - Extended Stay Sandy near SLC puts you right near Alta, the Bird, Brighton, and Solitude for what, about $45/day?

As a recent ex-New Englander, and before that an ex-New Yorker, definitely you don't want to hit Jimminy or Hunter as a destination for a trip. If you lived in or around NYC, sure, they're reasonably close. But even when I lived in NYC, I often drove the extra 2 hours or so up to Mount Snow, about the southermost of the "real" ski areas in VT.

If you want to try New England Skiing, and some of the the New England ambiance, on a future trip, you probably couldn't go wrong at Stowe. Snowflake Motel and Riverside Inn (B&B) are both pretty reasonably-priced.
Also second the idea of Maine, with either Sunday River or Sugarloaf getting a thumbs-up. Not as big a town around either place, but plenty of good skiing and more than enough apres-ski stuff unless you're a bunch of party animals. In which case you do want to go to Killington VT. :
post #24 of 28
Variety of opinion is the spice of this forum.

I hate to leave this guy thinking a little road trip from NC to New England is a total non-starter. I live in VA and have skied all over. Because I usually have family in tow I specialize in economy trips. I’m quite familiar with New England and if I’m traveling and financing a small pack of friends and family I can always beat the cost of a fly trip out West for 4-5 days of skiing. (SLC is cost competitive if traveling solo or if frequent flyer miles get you there free.)

From Raleigh you can get to Rutland or North Conway in probably 12-13 hours. Killington is a great place to spend a Monday thru Friday. Cheap motels can be found in Rutland or White River Junction. I like to approach Killington from the handy Skyeship gondola base. Lift tics are where you’ll need to get creative to get a deal at Killington. You can day trip to Sugarbush or Okemo for variety for a day. As others have said, basing in Mad River area or Stowe is great too, but further north.

Early Feb is a good time for snow in New England, but can be frigid - part of New England charm. Cold can cut down crowds nicely.
I really like North Conway, NH area. Lots of character and accommodations. Wildcat is a great New England ski hill, other nice ski areas nearby too with some great midweek lift tic deals and plenty of affordable motels.
post #25 of 28
Jamesj makes a very good point -- don't write off New England just yet. While I love skiing out west when I can, it can be a royal hassle to travel by air with a load of ski gear, and there are some fixed costs/limitations you can't work around. Plus good planning/timing is crucial. On the other hand, it's extremely appealing to me to drive 10-12 hours to New England and be able to take all my gear and set up a home base out of my car. There is a lot of flexibility there, and I can pretty much make a spontaneous trip if I see a powder week coming and my schedule is light at work. I have made such trips to Vermont, with lodging, lift tickets, gas, and food, for about $500-700 for 5 days of skiing during the week. You can spend even less if you find super cheap lodging.

Now, I grew up skiing in New England, so I might have a slight bias. But, having skied out West and having skied some of the best Vermont has to offer, I pretty much consider them equals (in different ways). What the East coast lacks in elevation and powder dumps, it makes up for in variety and in the unique character/feel of certain trails and ski areas. If you ski Mad River Glen on a day with good snow, you'll know exactly what I mean.
post #26 of 28
Now, I grew up skiing in New England, so I might have a slight bias. But, having skied out West and having skied some of the best Vermont has to offer, I pretty much consider them equals (in different ways). What the East coast lacks in elevation and powder dumps, it makes up for in variety and in the unique character/feel of certain trails and ski areas. If you ski Mad River Glen on a day with good snow, you'll know exactly what I mean.[/quote]

Wait a minute are you serious? Dont you read these boards? From the information I have gained from these boards skiing in the east is crap. Actually skiing is crap everywhere except for Utah. I trust EVERYTHING I read here thus I know that all the powder I get to ski here in Vermont is garbage. I only get to have fun when I spend a fortune to go out west and ski hardpack.
post #27 of 28
Oh come on. Yes if you live in NE (or better yet, VT) you will have some great powder days (altho never the bottomless you can get in, dare I say it, Utah). And yes, if you have to pay lots of airfare to fly west, and don't consider your time worth money, then you can ski NE for less $$. And yes NE skiing has its unique and endearing aspects that should be enjoyed (although I personally don't consider frigidity to be among them), so the OP really should venture north to sample them.

Once.
post #28 of 28
There are no guarantees. You never know what you will get when your there (East or West).

There is nothing more frustrating than being in Fernie, or Utah, Breck, or Vail for a week skiing hardpack/ice while the NE gets pounded. It's happened to me at all of those places. So you never know.
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