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East Coast Skiing at Xmas - driving from NY

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Newbie here. I have just booked flights 24-31 Dec Dublin - JFK and we (2 adults) are hoping to get 4 days skiing in during this time. I'm looking for some advice on resorts in driving distance from NY (the closer the better but would consider up to 5hrs drive), with some snow record this early in the season.

Anyone have any recommendations? I've been checking out websites on Whiteface/Gore, the Catskills & Belleayre, Hunter Mountain (seems to be a no-no due to crowds), Mount Snow, Okemo and Greek Peak amongst others - think I'm now more confused: than ever! Any locals that could give me a helping hand?

Also, do most mountains close for Christmas Day, or are some open? The other question I have is re: driving at Christmas - will the roads be manic or are the driving distances quoted on websites fairly accurate - would probably be travelling around 2pm on Xmas eve....

Thanks, Nuts.
post #2 of 22
Skiing is definately open on Xmas day at most resorts and is a good day to ski as the the slopes are generally pretty quiet.

As far as driving, the day before and the day after Xmas the roads will be crazy, especially near the NYC area. If your willing to drive to Whiteface(5hrs from JFK) than most of the resorts in Vermont are in that same range. If you plan on staying at or near a major resort you need to make reservations ASAP. Keep in mind you will be paying holiday rates.
post #3 of 22
Any place with snow will be open on xmas.

What kind of skiing do you want? Steeps, cruisers, bumps...? Do you need a resort? Or is a ski area OK?
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help, we were in Stowe last year and I guess we would mostly want cruisers - we skiied blues in Stowe so along that level?

Don't think I'm brave enough to try steeps just yet, and I'm not sure about bumps either!

We plan to hire a car so we don't necessarily need a resort, but would like a lively enough place so nearby town to ski area would be good.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuts View Post
Thanks for your help, we were in Stowe last year and I guess we would mostly want cruisers - we skiied blues in Stowe so along that level?

Don't think I'm brave enough to try steeps just yet, and I'm not sure about bumps either!

We plan to hire a car so we don't necessarily need a resort, but would like a lively enough place so nearby town to ski area would be good.
Given that information, I certainly recommend Stratton.
It has some of the widest and longest "cruisers" in the East.
It also has both a very lively, albeit somewhat contrived base-area "village", and there are several fun towns nearby.
I presently reside in Westchester County, New York.
Mahattan is no more than 30 minutes from me.
Stratton is no more than 2.5 hours drive.

Hem
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemingway View Post
I presently reside in Westchester County, New York.
...
Stratton is no more than 2.5 hours drive.

Hem
What radar detector are you using?

Seriously, what's your typical route to make Stratton in 2.5 hrs or less?

But I do agree Stratton a good dependable (if pricey) choice. Same with Okemo.
post #7 of 22
Hunter is a good mountain and the crowds are not any worse than any of the other major mountains near NYC. If youre an expert skier and stick to the blacks then you might in fact have no crowds at all, ski down and right back on to the lift.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post
What radar detector are you using?

Seriously, what's your typical route to make Stratton in 2.5 hrs or less?

But I do agree Stratton a good dependable (if pricey) choice. Same with Okemo.
From NYC Stratton is 3.5 to 3.75 hours. The preferable route is via the Taconic but that wont work from JFK.

Hemingway has given you the best advice. Stratton would be your bets bet for teh simpler eason that it has superior snowmaking and grooming. Snow around Xmas can be very very dicey in the east. There have been many Xmas days with rain and the smell of hay in the air in the East.

My best advice to you would be to ge right back on another plane. Look up Jet Blue an fly them straight to Salt Lake City or Denver.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuts View Post
Hi All,

Newbie here. I have just booked flights 24-31 Dec Dublin - JFK and we (2 adults) are hoping to get 4 days skiing in during this time. I'm looking for some advice on resorts in driving distance from NY (the closer the better but would consider up to 5hrs drive), with some snow record this early in the season.

Anyone have any recommendations? I've been checking out websites on Whiteface/Gore, the Catskills & Belleayre, Hunter Mountain (seems to be a no-no due to crowds), Mount Snow, Okemo and Greek Peak amongst others - think I'm now more confused: than ever! Any locals that could give me a helping hand?

Also, do most mountains close for Christmas Day, or are some open? The other question I have is re: driving at Christmas - will the roads be manic or are the driving distances quoted on websites fairly accurate - would probably be travelling around 2pm on Xmas eve....

Thanks, Nuts.
I am a northen new yorker my whole life. I will say this quickly. STAY AWAY FROM GREEK PEAK! The place is small, it is has really crappy vertical, and it just plain sucks!!!
If I were you I would be thinking Whiteface, Goremountain, or if you really want the best snow your going to get around that time of year head an hour more than you want and hit Jaypeak in nothern VT or Sugarbush.
Stay away from the crappy small resorts. Not to mention greek peak is way overpriced for it's rediculously crappy "HILL"!!!
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by connor View Post
I am a northen new yorker my whole life. I will say this quickly. STAY AWAY FROM GREEK PEAK! The place is small, it is has really crappy vertical, and it just plain sucks!!!
If I were you I would be thinking Whiteface, Goremountain, or if you really want the best snow your going to get around that time of year head an hour more than you want and hit Jaypeak in nothern VT or Sugarbush.
Stay away from the crappy small resorts. Not to mention greek peak is way overpriced for it's rediculously crappy "HILL"!!!
You don't work for Greek Peak marketing, do you?

I haven't skied Greek Peak, but I do know that Liz Starr works in the ski school there and she is the best instructor I have ever skied with, and I have skied with quite a few.
post #11 of 22
I would try Okemo first, Stratton second.

Since the season is still early, you will probably want to pick places with good snowmaking. Okemo is great for people who ski the blues. They don't really have anything crazy steep. They also have a huge snowmaking capacity.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuts View Post
Hi All,

Newbie here. I have just booked flights 24-31 Dec Dublin - JFK and we (2 adults) are hoping to get 4 days skiing in during this time. I'm looking for some advice on resorts in driving distance from NY (the closer the better but would consider up to 5hrs drive), with some snow record this early in the season.

Anyone have any recommendations? I've been checking out websites on Whiteface/Gore, the Catskills & Belleayre, Hunter Mountain (seems to be a no-no due to crowds), Mount Snow, Okemo and Greek Peak amongst others - think I'm now more confused: than ever! Any locals that could give me a helping hand?

Also, do most mountains close for Christmas Day, or are some open? The other question I have is re: driving at Christmas - will the roads be manic or are the driving distances quoted on websites fairly accurate - would probably be travelling around 2pm on Xmas eve....

Thanks, Nuts.
So far all the info given has been spot on except for maybe Stratton. I've been there twice for other reasons and had been less than impressed. The only outstanding thing about the place is their lift ticket prices, which are among the highest anywhere. I also agree with the Greek Peak bad, yet good ski school, which used to be pretty progressive. Do they still do that endless lesson thing? As previously mentioned, Ski areas are open for Christmas, and the crowds are non-existent, unless there's a good snow storm, in which case a lot of Christians will turn Atheist for the day, but not enough to make the slopes crowded. The rest of the days WILL be crowded no matter where you go.
If you're thinking of Mt Snow, might as well go to the Catskills, same lift lines and terrain, but a little closer. Windham is an intermediate mountain, Hunter is an expert's mountain. If you can handle the expert terrain, Hunter's lift lines are actually less than most areas due to their 20 year old rep for having long lift lines. And unless the weather is abnormally bad, Hunter's snowmaking rules. If driving to Vermont, Sugarbush is beautiful but a hair out of you're driving range, Okemo is a good bet for intermediate terrain and both are worth the extra drive. Both of which are closer than Stowe. To answer your last question, Christmas eve. at 2 pm might be horrible, but I think not since it's on a Sunday this year, and most people will be where they're going already.
post #13 of 22
Okemo. K ton/Mt Snow will be packed. And its about 2.5 hours away...from New Haven. You can get there in 2.5 from NYC if you have a helicopter. Remember the further north, the better (Jay and Stowe) in terms of mtn and snow
post #14 of 22
Okemo is your best bet. Not just because I work there. They have the best snow making for there size.

I have skied there over Xmas when there has been little natural snow and they have 95% of the mountain open. No other mountain can make that statement.

Your coming a long way, you need to have the best chance for early season skiing, if there's no natural snow. Anybody in there right mind would tell you, Okemo is the place to go.

If you decide on Okemo, PM me.
post #15 of 22
I vote for Gore. Medium-sized ski area. Relative easy access from NYC (about 1/2 hour off I-87). About 4 hours away from NYC (add another 15-30 minutes from JFK). Comparably reasonably priced (including cafeteria). Nice friendly people (vs. other place closer to the Big Apple). Not way overly crowded hills. Decent and good selection of blue to blue-diamond cruiser runs.

As for Greek Peak, I agree it certainly would not be my choice if I was to fly in to ski, especially for multiple days. However, does it deserve all the bashing? How is it bad bad bad when compared to other ski areas of the same size?
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuts View Post
Thanks for your help, we were in Stowe last year and I guess we would mostly want cruisers - we skiied blues in Stowe so along that level?

Don't think I'm brave enough to try steeps just yet, and I'm not sure about bumps either!

We plan to hire a car so we don't necessarily need a resort, but would like a lively enough place so nearby town to ski area would be good.
If you want good intermediate level, (blue square) crusiers go to Okemo as others have said. They will have great snow, man made, great grooming, and a very good lift system for moving you around. Try to get some on slope lodging then you don't have to drive anywhere but to get up there. I don't know about crowds there for that time of year but with the amount of terrain they usually have open and their lift system you can't go wrong. Have fun!
post #17 of 22
[quote=Sidecut;
My best advice to you would be to ge right back on another plane. Look up Jet Blue an fly them straight to Salt Lake City or Denver.[/quote]

Absolutely Nuts , head West.
post #18 of 22
Yeh, I would vote for Okemo too. Good snowmaking, good lifts, lots of the type of terrain that you are looking for. It's going to be crowded, but no more so than any other place in southern Vermont/NY. Mt Snow might be another option. Similar to Okemo, but snowmaking and grooming is not on the same level as Okemo, and the crowds will be just as bad or worse.
post #19 of 22
Just to add to your confusion, another suggestion: go to Killington and ski it on Dec 25th, ski nearby Pico on the 26th with same multiday lift ticket, ski Killington until 11am on 27th and 28th and ski Pico each afternoon. If you can work around BIG crowds Killington will likely have more terrain open than anywhere else in East at that time. The Killington access road will have many lodging, dining and apr├Ęs ski choices.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much guys for all your help & suggestions. I think I will look at Okemo, I've had a look at their resort & trail map and it seems to have a lot of the trails that would suit us.

I've been told that crowded in the US = quiet in Europe, so here's hoping!

I would love to head towards some of the bigger resorts out West, but I would prefer to do that when we have more time - maybe next year!

Also good point about Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday - I hadn't thought of that, so that should make the driving easier.

Max Capacity, thanks for the offer I will PM you later.

Cheers, Nuts
post #21 of 22
Okemo or Killington are the way to go. At that time of year it's all about snow making capacity and those are the top 2 within the drive-time range you mentioned from NYC. Yes it does get crowded then. Take Max's advice on skiing Okemo; their are ways to ski the mountain that will cut back significantly on your liftline wait time. My strategy is to start at the Jackson Gore base area and never ever ski all the way to the main base area.
post #22 of 22
Will Pico really have that much terrain open though that early in the year? Don't they usually make a lot more snow on Killington proper than on Pico? Not that any of this will matter I guess since we're gonna have such an epic snow year *knocks on wood*
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