Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA
MRG first hands downs. Its WAY tougher to ski than alta/bird.
Smugglers Notch Next slow lifts, steep terrain and great snow.
Jay Peak - lots of snow, good pitch but awkwark mountain layout, and the trees can be to thin in areas.
the best skiers I get in my lessons come out of MRG there is many reason for that.
I agree- as do many- MRG may have the highest percentage of advanced to expert skiers of any hill in the US... though this is debatable, i've only seen a few people at MRG in a snowplow (or even weak parallel turns) in my times there (i actually brought a beginner there- so one of the few is my own doing)...
it's a mountain that attracts good/great skiers, or forces OK skiers to improve FAST. that said, MRG has a good ski school, and turns little youngsters into mighty little powwarriors in short order.
that said, and not to get off topic, but comparing MRG to altabird or any western resort is kinda pointless- i've only skied MRG on 1-3ft of powder days (yes, i was there last thursday for the epic dump), and nothing at MRG was so steep as to give a chill up my spine, etc etc.
now, that could change if the place is pure ICE/variable, and then it would be a really wicked hard hill. altabird and other similar places never see eastern conditions like that (rarely, if ever). i've been out west- to winter park (not known for a lot of steeps, but some) and was on a 45 degree sketchy snow/ice rock lined chute in the cirque- watched a buddy take one hop turn and slide one thousand feet into the bottom of the bowl was WAAAAY scared- more scared than times at stowe/smuggs backcountry, Jackson Hole steeps, pretty much anywhere.
places like altabird can be confidence-boosting with great snow (as is true with MRG or anywhere that's said to be really tough but in great shape snow-wise)- as such, they are hero-snow days (as a general idea, not the specific snow-type)... MRG just has more crappy (read:eastern) snow days than does Altabird, or whatever, by a long shot. The most challenging eastern ski areas can be VERY humbling when conditions are less than ideal...
the best skiers can ski any terrain in any condition with great form and confidence- powder, corn or ice, out west or back east- and look good. you know these guys when you see 'em.
i think it's safe to say it's the cliche- east and west is apples and oranges.
back to eastern ski talk.