or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › 1st time skiing Northeast - need advice
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

1st time skiing Northeast - need advice

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Good Day! We have skiid for last several years out west. This year we want to look at Vt, NH, NY...what are suggestions between Killington, Sugarbush, Smugglers, Whiteface, etc.
We are intemed skiers & love cruisers. Also want something that has a base area & charming town with shops & pubs, etc. Is it cheaper skiing east vs west? We would be flying out of Atlanta. Any recommendations on lodging, rent a car or not....
Thanks
post #2 of 29
Good skiing and a charming town -- sounds like Stowe to me. The town is a postcard New England village, and the skiing's great, too. You could fly into Burlington, VT and rent a car. It's an easy drive. Smugglers Notch is also about 45 minutes away (they close the shorter, more direct road in the winter), and you could be at Sugarbush or Mad River Glen within an hour, too.

Not sure it'd be any cheaper than out west. Depends on the deals you get.
post #3 of 29
The Mad River valley section of Vermont has a couple ski areas that are worth a look if you're going to be staying for a few days. Sugarbush, Stowe, Smuggler's Notch and Bolton Valley are all within an hour's drive of each other. The town of Stowe is what Norman Rockwell had in mind when he made his famous paintings. Montpelier (Vermont's capital "city", although it's more like a large town) is pretty central to all those places. Warren and Waitsfield are at the base of Sugarbush, and those are nice towns as well.

Killington is probably 1.5 to 2 hours away from any of those places. However, Killington doesn't have anything approaching a quaint base village. It has a six mile long access road packed with shops and bars, and the base of the mountain is the city of Rutland.
post #4 of 29
From ATL, you'll be hard pressed to ski NE cheaper than out West.
post #5 of 29
I have to agree on either Stowe or Mad River Valley area both as far as skiing and quaintish New England towns with lots of eating and shopping options. That said though, you will have to rent a car because in New England there is nothing like a Vail or Park City where the towns are right at the base of the ski areas. Also, if I had to purchase plane tickets I would fly west.
post #6 of 29
The NE is great!!!
Have a ball.
post #7 of 29
I would agree with Crank here. If you go west, you are almost guarenteed good weather and conditions. Not so here in the East. Way too much chance of getting rain, fog, brutally cold temps, and crappy conditions. Don't get me wrong, I've lived and skied in New England my whole life, it's as beautiful and scenic as the West, but I would never invest a lot of money to come and ski here. If we get bad weather here, we just pack up and go home. If you make all these reservations in advance, you're stuck with it. Unless you can wait till the last minute to book a trip to make sure that the weather and conditions will be decent, you run the risk of investing a lot of money just to get skunked. You never hear of anybody from the West planning to come to the East for a ski vacation.
post #8 of 29
We love Stowe. The village is absolutely first rate and, in my opinion, compares favorably with any place I've been. Very charming with lots of excellent dining options. The mountain also has a lot of character and when the snow is good, it's a fantastic place. But NE weather is fickle. Last January we spent a week in Stowe and had good to very good conditions the entire week. On Saturday as we were leaving, it was pouring rain and we heard conditions at all the mountains had really taken a beating for the next week or so. I simply think conditions out west are a safer bet if you're doing advanced planning. I also suspect costs would be comparable, though it would depend on where you went both in the East and in the West.
post #9 of 29
Stowe is a fine suggestion, but if you want to try the East and have low-intermediates here's another idea: go to Killington, VT for several weekdays in late February, for example the week of Feb 25, 2007. Fly into Manchester, NH, rent car and drive 100 miles to Killington. It has two gondolas and lots of long beg-int level cruisers which will be empty at that time and still have good snow cover and milder temps.
With rental car you can try numerous dining/drinking options along Killington access road. This will be more of an American ski-commuter type vacation, rather than car-free quaintness. Although, there is a lot of slopeside/near slopeside lodging once you get there, with the Sunrise Village condo area possibly being a fine base for your group.
When it's empty I think the size of Killington allows intermediates to do a kind of fun on-piste exploration almost unequaled in the East, just keep a trail map handy the first couple days. Killington also has great advanced slopes for those progressing to more challenge. Most nay saying about Killington has to do with crowds, not terrain and infrastructure.
On this route you could also try a day at Mt. Sunapee, NH coming or going from Manchester.
post #10 of 29

Whiteface

Virtually all of Vermont is top notch and you will have a fine time.

Mostly because no one else has, I'll suggest a 'commuter' trip to Whiteface/Lake Placid.

Fly into Albany, NY and rent a car and drive 110 miles north on the interstate and take a left (Exit 30). This puts you in the 'Olympic Region' of the Adirondasks. It's about 30 miles to LP or 25 to WF. There may be direct flight service into Albany via Southwest or Jet Blue.

You will have a vast array of lodging and dinning and shopping in Lake Placid and in the surrounding towns. http://www.lakeplacid.com/ The key towns besides Lake Placid (drink UBU Ale at LP brewpub) would be Saranac Lake (eat at Casa Del Sol), Wilmington (home of whiteface), and Jay (artists haven).

You can spend a great deal of money in VT as well as in Lake Placid but in NY, the lift ticket prices are notably less expensive.

The terrain at Whiteface is not as vast as the larger VT areas you mentioned, but it'll suit the intermediate family and provide lots of opportunity to expand.

Besides NY and VT, consider eastern Canada. Mt. Tremblant is north of Montreal and there are several areas outside of Quebec City. Knowing Francais helps.

...Stowe would be my first choice if money were no object. My wife gushes over the place and she has never forgotten the weekend we stayed at the Trapp family lodge (Sound of Music).

Finally, I presume you will be skiing with your family and that you will be skiing the February school break. There will be very few deals on lift tickets, save one...

If any of your kids are in 4th grade, get a kids ski free passport sponsored by the ski area association of ny. Your 4th grader can ski at any NY area for free up to three times. Most of the NY areas have not blacked out the Feb break in past years.

VT areas offer an equivalent passport for 5th graders, but the Feb break has been blacked out in the past at all areas.

Holy crap... I've gone on too long.

Welcome to the East!!! Where skiers are uniformly cool and relaxed because skiing is too much of a hassle for angry uptight city dwellers to bother.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
Stowe is a fine suggestion, but if you want to try the East and have low-intermediates here's another idea: go to Killington, VT for several weekdays in late February, for example the week of Feb 25, 2007.
Take note: late February is school-vacation time here in the northeast. All the school kids across the region have time off, so it'll be somewhat more crowded then non-vacation period weekday skiing.

I agree with previous comments about New England weather / snow conditions. They are fickle. It can be brutally cold one week, spring skiing conditions the next. Snow one day, rain the next. Don't get us wrong -- a lot of people come up here on ski vacations. Conditions aren't normally as bad as they suppossedly are (i.e., skiing here is not really akin to ice skating), but when conditions are bad, it really is bad. The snowmakers and grooming machines turn things around in a hurry, but be sure that whatever area you choose has "alternative" activities -- shopping, dining, etc. -- should you hit an abysmal weather day.
post #12 of 29
A couple added points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
Take note: late February is school-vacation time here in the northeast. All the school kids across the region have time off, so it'll be somewhat more crowded then non-vacation period weekday skiing.
No matter how bad the crowds though you can have a good time if you wake up early and hit the popular lifts (high speed squads) first thing, then play in less crowded areas or use singles lines; lunch by 11:30; then back on slopes at 12 when the masses crowd back into the lodge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
I agree with previous comments about New England weather / snow conditions. They are fickle. It can be brutally cold one week, spring skiing conditions the next. Snow one day, rain the next. ... be sure that whatever area you choose has "alternative" activities -- shopping, dining, etc. -- should you hit an abysmal weather day.
Or - - keep skiing! Some of the best skiing you'll get in the crowded east is when everyone else is huddled inside or shopping. There's no such thing as bad weather - just bad clothing. With enough options you can handle 10 below and windy to 45 and slushy. You may luck out and get something in the middle - but it's all OK.
post #13 of 29
I prefer Stowe to every resort in New England. I rent a house there each winter, and I will ski there many, many days.

I'd highly recommend going WEST.

Daily lift tickets at Stowe cost $78 during peak weekends. I think an all day tram and chair pass at Snowbird costs $64.

The east coast is expensive because of the proximity to New York, Boston, and Montreal. The crowds will be huge in comparison to out west, the hotels crappier, and the snow less reliable.

If you do decide to come east, definitely check out Stowe. I also like Lake Placid. Whiteface is maybe 10-15 minutes from town if I remember properly, and the mountain is fun. The town of Lake Placid is great with tons of stuff to do - lots of Olympic facilities are open to the public and they have lots of things like World Cup bobsled, ski jumping, and that kind of stuff.
post #14 of 29
For the best skiing in the east, fly to Quebec City and do Mont Ste Anne and Le Massif. Stay at the Chateau Frontenac, and explore old Quebec City, one of North America's best cities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chateau_Frontenac
http://www.travelandleisure.com/worl...cat=citiesusca
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post
For the best skiing in the east, fly to Quebec City and do Mont Ste Anne and Le Massif. Stay at the Chateau Frontenac, and explore old Quebec City, one of North America's best cities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chateau_Frontenac
http://www.travelandleisure.com/worl...cat=citiesusca
Second that. I stayed in QC last Feb during the school vacation week and skied Le Massif and Mont Ste Anne. Minimal to no lift lines. Beautiful conditions. Much more reasonable lift tickets; relatively inexpensive and very high quality restaurant choices. I haven't hit major northern VT resorts yet but can agree wholeheartedly MSA and Le Massif offer better skiing than southern VT and anything in NY. Whiteface is comparable but for intermediates who want cruisers, the QC options are better.
post #16 of 29
Are air tickets that much cheaper to the northeast vs. west? I have skiied Vt. Maine, NH and Quebec in my skiing years (over 2o) and would urge you to go west if you can. This will be my 4th trip to the west this year-I will not give it up ever again! There is absolutely nothing like it! However, if you do decide to come up north-I would also recomment MSA in Quebec. We stayed at the Chateau ST. Anne. Right on the slopes with two full meals per day. The evening meal is a five course French-Canadian gourmet meal that is sooo delicious. Excdllent service in all areas. You can drive a short distance to Quebec City and they have a shuttle to Le Massif (have not been there but lots of good things said about it on this board.) Everyone understands English but you get a European feel to everything. Have fun and let us know what you decide.
post #17 of 29
Do not ski the Northeast. It's not fun. Often ice, rain, rotten snow.

It really is the SAME PRICE as the WEST from Atlanta. There are tons of wealthy families in Boston, New York, Philly...who make it the same price - because they do not buy air fare. Lift tickets and lodging the same.

Go West. Do West. Go West.

When you tackle that New England BLUE ICE for the first time -- and do a death fall. Don't think I'm not warning you.

You do know how to stop on blue ice right? You have seen ice so THICK that it turns blue?

It's not that cute.

And I grew up in New England...did college there...and will never look back.
post #18 of 29
At the optimal time of year (February) the odds of severely awful conditions in the Northeast (rain, blue ice, limited terrain open) are still about 1/3. This is the reason you're getting the advice to go west if costs are comparable.

Much of the terrain is interesting and the New England towns and Quebec City are worth visiting. But the regular skiers there are driving not flying and many thus have some flexibility to avoid the bad days.
post #19 of 29
My 2c: For the closest west-like skiing, definitely Sugarloaf.

So, fly to Concord, NH, stay first 6 days in Lincoln, ski Loon, Cannon, Wildcat, Waterville. Then get up early, drive to Sunday River (1.5 hrs.), ski that 1 day, then drive to Sugarloaf (2 hrs.), hang there for 3-4 days, then back to Sunday if you liked, and back to Concorde. All ('cept for Loon and Wville) less crowded than VT, and nice small mountains (sunday and Sugar much bigger).

Enjoy!
post #20 of 29
I spent my first 31 years in NY. I learned to ski in the Northeast -- K-mart, Stowe, Stratton, Hunter, and most of all, Saddleback.

I have fond memories of Saddleback because of the number of times I went and the mellowness of the place. Kind of like what I like about Alpine Meadows now. Except that Alpine is the size of K-mart (which makes it mid-size in the West) and gets more snow in a single typical winter month than the Northeast gets all season.

I should also mention that I have horrific memories of one trip to Stowe when the weather didn't break into positive farenheit territory the entire time -- before accounting for wind chill.

I started skiing in the Alps when I was 12, which was my seventh or eighth season. We skied Saddleback again the next winter. It was a pretty good season for the Northeast, but it didn't hold a candle -- for one thing, there's no comparison between natural and manufactured snow. I haven't skied more than a weekend in the Northeast in the 25 years since.

Flying to ski the Northeast is basically silly unless you have to be there for some other reason. People go there because they can drive there. Once you're in a plane, you should be headed West to the Rockies or Sierra, maybe even to Seattle if there's someone you want to visit there or something. Or if the exchange rate ever improves, head to the Alps.
post #21 of 29
GPaul - I love Sugarloaf - been there a couple of times and I think it's probably one of the tops in NE. That said - is it really "West-like"? I know the marketing line "the only lift-served above treeline skiing in the east", but that's all of what 50, 100 vertical feet? What happens to those above treeline trails with no protection from the wind? Great place, some great skiers (CVA and all...), but in NE, I think Jay is more west-like given the volume of snow it gets.

Not sure the original poster is still lurking, but if you have to ski in the east (as others have said flying here v. out west could get you committed), then Stowe has good skiing and a nice town, the Mad River Valley has the same thing - and is more central (1 hour drive to Killington or Stowe). Killington is a big hopping place, but I'm sure midweek it would be fun. You might try North Conway, NH - plenty of shopping, and good skiing close by at Attitash and Wildcat(definitely underrated). Sunday River is good for intermediates, and Sugarloaf is a great place. Let us know a little more about you and your skiing preferences to help more.
post #22 of 29
We can drive to Vermont in half a day and still prefer to fly West. Go West...or come East when we are out there, you are bound to get tons of fresh back East when I am out West.

Smaller mountains, more people, same or more expensive lift tickets, not convenient to fly in and shuttle to most mountains. It's just not the best choice as a fly in destination ski vacation.

Fly to Utah and have a blast in the sun AND snow.
post #23 of 29

Conditions go west, quaint villages stay east

For intermediates in Vt, I think Okemo or Stratton are good choices. They have good snowmaking and groom their trails well, and the trails aren't too steep for the most part. So if you're really into Vt and want to go somewhere that'll have coverage and intermediate terrain I would suggest these two.

Stowe or the MRG valley are definitely the quaint NE village experiences. Killington is a larger resort with a strip of bars/nightlife that the others can't really match. They'll have more snow also.

The Green Mountains feel more like woods and a little more intimate I would say. The west is wide open space and little crowding (unless you're going vacation week, then you'll find gasp 5 minute lift lines! . If you come east, expect up to 15 or 20 minutes at times. There will be more crowding and runs get skied out by noon, during vacation week earlier.

I would also suggest if you really want good conditions, looking into Delta to SLC or even Colorado. I think they have a nonstop from either since Atlanta is a hub. Most things will be cheaper and the snow will be better.

You won't get the quaintness or charm of New England out there (not to start an argument but is there any real character west of the Mississippi? but it'll be better skiing.
post #24 of 29
Tumbler, "west-like" may be stretching, but I felt good with pitch and length of trails, best in the East IMHO. Also, the Loaf skis much bigger than actual acreage. Only negative is Lifts, they need to replace 2 or 3 of the slow ones with high speed quads.
post #25 of 29
For people saying Sugarloaf is the best in the East, has anyone hit the Quebec City area?
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ct55 View Post
If you come east, expect up to 15 or 20 minutes at times.
Here's an amazing little trick to avoid that, just like you'd do out west or Europe. DON'T GO TO HIGH-TRAFFIC SKI AREAS ON WEEKENDS OR HOLIDAYS. Really, is there someone pointing a gun at your head, demanding that you go to Okemo, Kmart, Mount Snow, or the other usual suspects on peak days? There are off-the-beaten-path joints all over the place.
post #27 of 29
I agree with you

To be honest I don't hit the bigger places at all if there is coverage, with the exception of Stratton because I have some family up there.

Mostly I hit the popular places during the week as you suggest, unless I have some special pass or deal
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post
For people saying Sugarloaf is the best in the East, has anyone hit the Quebec City area?
Yes, I have. I've been to Ste-Anne, Stoneham, Le Relais and Le Massif.

This depends what you like. Here is my favorite places in the East:

#1 Stowe
#1 Sugarloaf
#3 Whiteface
#4 Mad River Glen

Then there's a bunch...

Ste-Anne, Smuggs, Jay,...

Tremblant and Le Massif are probably #11 and #12.

However for your profil and for the travel experience, I would say Quebec City. A combo trip that could included Ste-Anne, Le Massif (probably the most beautiful scenery in the East) and Stoneham. All relatively close to Quebec City. Odds of getting crap conditions (ie. rain/ice) are lower in Quebec City than further south.

Stowe/Waterbury/Warren area is probably the best location for my taste. You would get classic New England skiing here. Smuggs/Stowe/MRG/Sugarbush

But this place isn't necessarily cheap.

Another good combo Northern Vermont/Southern Quebec:

Jay/Sutton/Owl's Head/Orford/Bromont with using Magog or Sutton as a base. Magog and Sutton are approx 1 hour from Montreal.

NH/Maine?

Sunday River/Wildcat and other places around can also fit your requirements.

Tremblant is a great intermediate mountain. And the Laurentians are filled with a ton of small ski areas.

Sugarloaf and Whiteface are great places, however there are pretty isolated from the other good places. Plus I don't necessarily think that they fit exactly what you're looking for.
post #29 of 29
For intermediates, and for people not ready for the outrageous cold you can get in the more northern parts, I'd probably suggest Okemo/Stratton/Mount Snow/Haystack.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › 1st time skiing Northeast - need advice