Any opinions on Bristol, they claim the highest vertical Catskills to Rockies??
I live in the Detroit area and have ridden at Bristol a couple of times each of the past two winters. (I have a relative in Buffalo I stay with for weekend snowboarding trips, so I can't comment on area lodging.) I prefer Bristol and Holiday Valley to anything in Michigan.
The vertical is definitely a plus -- probably the biggest selling point.
The blue and black runs do tend to be widish straight-down-the mountain affairs.
Like anywhere in the east, it can get crowded on weekends. There can be long lines for the high-speed quad, while the triple next to it is walk-on. (The quad services nearly all the terrain, but you have to traverse a little to get to green runs from the triple, which I would assume is the reason some people avoid it.) If it's crowded, I've done laps on the Galaxy triple lift. (Note that I am one of those people who, if they find a run they particularly like, can do it repeatedly for hours on end.) The off-ramp on one of the triples (can't remember which one) can get a little nasty.
More so that other places I've been, it seems you do find people at Bristol skiing or riding on trails above their skill level traveling faster than I think they should be.
While the celestial naming of lifts and trails gets a bit precious, I have to say the name "Hale Bop" (though I've never actually ridden on that trail -- it's just a short traverse from one lift top to another) cracks me up.
They sell pierogies (Mrs. T's, I think) in the cafeteria.