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Help Needed Thanksgiving Week

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I would like to take my family skiing Thanksgiving week, somewhere in the Northeast. I live in MD, and would like to ski 4 or 5 days before Thanksgiving. I am looking for some suggestions for places that might be open. I will be taking my wife, my son who is 10 and my daughter who is 8. Thanks in advance for the suggestions.
post #2 of 19
Thanksgiving is pushing it in the East,iirc.

Killington?
Tremblant?
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by River Hill View Post
I would like to take my family skiing Thanksgiving week, somewhere in the Northeast. I live in MD, and would like to ski 4 or 5 days before Thanksgiving. I am looking for some suggestions for places that might be open. I will be taking my wife, my son who is 10 and my daughter who is 8. Thanks in advance for the suggestions.
Killington and Sunday River target opening day for mid November (barring a total washout). It can be a rough time. Both usually will have blown snow on a handful of runs. Killington tends to blow a few more runs with less depth, SR goes back and forth between loading up 2-3 top to bottom runs or spreading it out over 2-3 more.

Grooming is minimal - snow is often too wet. Novice terrain may or may not be open since it is usually lowest on the mountain and hard to keep snow from turning to water, especially if it rains. Green and blue terrain is more challenging than normal - large hard swells under the guns, irregularly shaped moguls, hard snow in the morning and soft in the afternoons. If it's cold enough, a lot of skiing in snow making.

Sounds a little negative, huh? Just don't want you to leave totally disappointed and vowing never to return. It happens a lot. If everyone loves skiing and is a reasonably accomplished skier who can handle some adverse conditions, then you'll have a great time.

If by luck Mother Nature starts spreading some natural white stuff it will be a little better. Foliage change is happening much sooner this year. Night time temps were 35 degrees in Berlin, NH a week or so ago. Maybe a good sign...

I've skiied T-day in NE every year for the past 10 years. It can be done.
post #4 of 19
Smuggs' (www.smuggs.com) is scheduled to open on 11/24. It's typically an ideal place for a family trip.

Like others have pointed out for the NE, it'll be hit or miss. By this time, they usually have some coverage (mostly man-made), which is no less than anyone else in that region. Whether that is good enough skiing depending on the interest/demand of your family. We have done mid December for the past couple of years there and we got dumped on (around 20 inches) during the week both times. Tons of fun. All lifts were opened towards the end of the week, including some of the tree runs.
post #5 of 19
Thanksgiving is indeed pushing it in the northeast, though you never know.....To be safe, be sure to go somewhere with REALLY good snowmaking. Okemo is known for this, so it might be good.
post #6 of 19
Agreed on SR or K'ton. Couple years ago, skiied Cannon on Thanksgiving and it was top to botton great-not likely, though- but if you head up to Sunday River, youll have a good number of trails for most abilities, as they make a ton of snow. They do a pretty good job of moving snow too, which of course helps.
post #7 of 19
In the last 5 years, twice the Bush was open before Thanksgiving but had to close for Thanksgiving due to lack of snow. As others have said things have been very sketchy that time of year.
post #8 of 19
Maybe Sugarloaf? Otherwise, I think Sunday River has the best snow making. And I can confirm what medmarkco said about what the conditions will be like. Especially that "Novice terrain may or may not be open since it is usually lowest on the mountain and hard to keep snow from turning to water, especially if it rains. Green and blue terrain is more challenging than normal - large hard swells under the guns, irregularly shaped moguls, hard snow in the morning and soft in the afternoons. If it's cold enough, a lot of skiing in snow making." And Sunday River can take some time to learn how to get around the 8 "peaks", but there will be only a few options that early. Sugarloaf is basically just one big mountain to ski top to bottom. Much more straight-forward. And I was impressed at how they recovered during Christmas a couple of years ago. Very rainy then it turned cold and they blasted the heck out of the snow making system.

If you don't mind waiting until the last minute to book your accomodations, just wait and see what happens. That early in the season should have lots of available lodging to book at the last minute. It's risky otherwise. If you book now and there's no skiing, you'd lose your deposit, right?

Last year we we afraid to commit to a New England resort for Thanksgiving. We waited and waited, then saw Colorodo was getting hit with great early season snow... then Jet Blue had a sale... and before we knew it, we had skied 6 days at 5 resorts.
Saturday - Keystone
Sunday - Breckenridge
Monday- Vail
Tuesday - Vail
Wednesday - Beaver Creek opening day (should have gone back to Vail but wanted the cookies)
Thanksgiving Day - A Basin

But, back to New England skiing Thanksgiving week... Oh how I wish for there to be snow, snow , snow!! We will certainly try to be at the River then.
post #9 of 19
I live in Annapolis, and I have skied at Windham NY most of the past ten Thanksgivings, and I only got shut out once. It is a very easy drive up I-95 to the GSP, to the Thruway, exit for Catskill, NY, and thirty miles west. On a good night it is a 5:30 drive, although I cheat and use 301 up the Eastern shore. Do not attempt this drive on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, leave Tuesday night or earlier. Once you get there, you also have Hunter and Belleayre as alternatives.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post
I live in Annapolis, and I have skied at Windham NY most of the past ten Thanksgivings, and I only got shut out once. It is a very easy drive up I-95 to the GSP, to the Thruway, exit for Catskill, NY, and thirty miles west. On a good night it is a 5:30 drive, although I cheat and use 301 up the Eastern shore. Do not attempt this drive on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, leave Tuesday night or earlier. Once you get there, you also have Hunter and Belleayre as alternatives.
Thanksgiving for me was always a group trip to Killington with about a dozen friends. Conditions were usually thin cover, but some years we had powder conditions. Funny thing is, I always skied Hunter on the way up and back(Wednesday and Sunday), and, except when Killington had help fron natural, Hunter always had better cover. After at least 10 years of doing that, I finally talked my friends into staying at Hunter for the entire holiday about 8 years ago. I did daytrip from Hunter to Killington on Thanksgiving Friday about 4 years ago and skied 2 feet of glorious fresh pow.
post #11 of 19
That's interesting, about Hunter. I would've said Killington or Sunday River like many others. It's all about snow making capacity at that time of year. Okemo might not be bad either.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
That's interesting, about Hunter. I would've said Killington or Sunday River like many others. It's all about snow making capacity at that time of year. Okemo might not be bad either.
Killington tends to put down minimal cover, I suppose expecting natural to complete the job, then moves on to the next trail. Hunter will put down a glacier on thier mainline before moving on, making sure they have at least a few trails that will survive no matter what mother nature yields......Plus they have as much snowmaking concentrated on a fraction of the acreage...
post #13 of 19
Sunday River may be more likely to have beginner terrain open, just because of the ski demo event that they have every year over Thanksgiving. They typically hold that at South Ridge, which is all novice trails, so they usually will go all out with the snowmaking if weather permits. I only remember one year in the last ten that they had to move the demo event because of lack of snow.
post #14 of 19
Killington has been a zoo in the past on Thanksgiving. The people show up and there isn't enough open to handle the crowd.

I ski Killington in early Nov and it's been pretty good over the years for the most part. Not much is open (Glade tripple) but it's skiing. There are usually plenty of real good skiers on hand which is nice.

Smuggs would not be a good choice in November.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post
Sunday River may be more likely to have beginner terrain open... at South Ridge, which is all novice trails...
All agreed, but it is important to keep it in context with who is asking.

What will usually be open at SR without significant natural snow is:
Ecstasy (Blue) and/or Jungle Road (B)
Upper Sunday Punch (B),
maybe Sunday Punch (B)/Lower Sunday Punch (G)
maybe Monday Mourning (BLK/B)
Lazy River (B),
maybe Risky Business (B) and/or American Express (B)/ Tourist Trap (B)
and the South Ridge trails Lower Lazy River (G) and Mixing Bowl (G)/Broadway (G).

Sundance (G)/ teaching center is often too thin covered for skiing.

Tots and never-evers who need the teaching center don't ski. Intermediates who comfortably cruise Upper Sunday punch when groomed out, can't handle the 5-6 foot icy swells, ruts, and 2-3 day old moguls so they head to Lower Lazy River and Mixing Bowl/Broadway and bump those up. Same when AMEX or Risky bump up. Then happy green skiers can't negotiate the bumps on LLR and MB and go inside. Night comes, everything freezes -maybe some new snow is blown- and it's just as bad the next day. If possible, the groomers will smooth out what they can at South Ridge.

Groomers usually don't hit heavy fresh gun snow for 1-2 days, so it can get ugly for less skilled skiers. Some people get really angry when they drop $1-2G's or more for the long T-day weekend and some or all of the family isn't able to ski because of conditions. With luck it doesn't happen, but sometimes it does
post #16 of 19
At the risk of piling on...

I've had mixed results on Turkey day, and the weather will probably correlate highly with your satisfaction. If the November is cold, then the snowmakers (Killington, Okemo, SR, Stratton) will have good coverage of some trails. This might be offset by the crowds of us in the northeast who haven't been skiing in 7-8 months and descend on the hills en masse. If the month is cold and some natural mixed in, then that will spread out the skiers to more areas, and make for a better experience. If the month has variable weather, with some cold, then warm/rain, you're probably not going to have great skiing (not that that means you won't have fun).

Also note that many places in NE do not open until T-day or the day before, so that might severly limit your options.
post #17 of 19
I for one would not drop 1-2G's to ski on Thanksgiving in the east. Way too much chance of getting rained out or just plain crappy conditions. If you've got that kind of $ to spend, then see who's getting dumped on and head out west.
post #18 of 19
As others have said, Thanksgiving time frame in New England is really sketchy. The original poster claimed he wanted to spend four days or so up here skiing. There is no way that any one resort will have enough terrain open to keep you entertained for four days.

Okemo and Killington are within 30, 40 minutes of each other and have huge snowmaking systems. Assuming Mother Nature co-operates somewhat then they'll both be open by Thanksgiving.

Sunday River and Sugarloaf (both in Maine) are probably about 90 minutes apart or so (I've never driven it; I do know it was a long bike ride from one to the other !). Both SR and Sugarloaf are long drives from the Boston area. I'd shoot myself driving from Maryland to Sugarloaf.

I wouldn't commit to either Vermont or Maine -- or at all -- until you see how November weather is shaping up up here. XMAS time frame is a much safer bet.
post #19 of 19
That's why this this works so well. River Hill should now have a good idea if T-day skiing in NE is a good fit for the family. If I had a family capable of handling the conditions or just wanted to eat turkey somewhere other than home and take a shot, I'd make the trip. (Unless the genie was only granting one ski trip for the year.)

SR or K-mart... I absolutely know I'll ski (or as sure as I can be of anywhere). SR more so, but just the luck of the draw because the K was really thin a couple of times. Stowe was a bust once long ago - great fun, just no skiing. Yada yada for a couple of other tries. So for the last 10 I go where I haven't been skunked yet.

If history is any guide, K will probably "open" between Nov 6-17 and SR between Nov 10 -17. K tries to be the first. I'll take whatever I can get to buckle in and blow out some of the cobwebs. Every day 8-4...prolly not, but every day just the same even if it's one run open.

~$1,600 for plane fare before walking out the door, then the same lift/lodging/food costs on top - Nov in CO is not a sure thing either. Just might cost River Hill more $$ for the same. Time was western hills didn't have the same snow making capacity as NE - actually none. Haven't looked to see how things stack up. Maybe that just means I should make the trip to check it out. Hmmmm....

Good luck RH! Let us know how your Turkey Day goes.
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