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Maine or VT for weekend before New Year's?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I know it's somewhat of a lose/lose since the crowds might be terrible, but if you had to make a choice between the two, would you choose Maine skiing or Vermont skiing over that weekend?

We were planning to hit Sugarloaf and Saddleback in Maine, but looking at the maps again (and realizing that we may not be good enough to really effectively ski most of the mountain), and considering that there's a chance they won't be 100% open, we are now thinking maybe Vermont is a safer bet. We're lower-to-medium intermediate skiers, so advanced terrain isn't a consideration, unless it's all that's open. We've got lodging via crashing on couches in either place, but in Vermont, we'll be based in Burlington.

Would you recommend the Sugarloaf/Saddleback weekend or Stowe/Smuggler's Notch, or something else near to there (Sugarbush, Jay Peak)? I'm guessing the crowds are going to be an issue anywhere over that weekend, so is there any logic to the idea that they'll be more spread out in VT, and less concentrated the way they'll be in Maine?


post #2 of 10
Crowds are actually pretty low the weekend before New Years. It doesn't get crowded until the 26th.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
26th of? You mean it's crowded the day after Christmas, but then it slows down?

post #4 of 10
LEt me know if you are hitting Saddleback, a good friend on mine is instructing there this season.
post #5 of 10
I just looked at the calendar, the way the holidays fall, I don't know what crowds will be like. I was picturing you coming up the 22nd and 23rd wich will be dead. Right before New Years will probably be prety busy. New Years day is always a slow one.
post #6 of 10
FYI, Saddleback's summit lift is a pretty steep t-bar. Rangeley is not a resort town, yet, but it's a really beautiful area and the ski resort is major league sizewise. Lots of snowmobilers.
post #7 of 10
i'd say right now head to burlington. the snow's been building up in northern VT, and you can find some good skiing up there come a few weeks if it keeps up (storm coming may drop a couple feet! that would open up ALOT of terrain- they're approaching a good snowpack up in VT)

if you go burlington, you can hit

smuggs- great intermediate terrain off of sterling mountain and madonna 2 lift (even madonna 1 summit has some easy blues that flank out around the steep stuff) they should be coming into good shape in a few weeks with this pattern

sugarbush would be another option, as would MRG (if it opens up) for intermediates. stowe is good too, but expensive.

another option that's good close-in to bulrington is bolton valley at 25 mins drive- Highest base of any ski area in the east (over 2,000ft) and family/intermediate friendly. and you can get morning or afternoon only lift tickets.

burlington would give you the most options, and probably safest bet of there being good snow/enough terrain being open. plus burlington is a nice place to visit, anyway.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
I think we've decided to go to Burlington, and Bolton Valley is a definite plan. We're just trying to figure what to do on the second day. Since it'll be one of our first days on skis this year, we may play it by ear and see how "successful" we feel. MRG seems like it would be awesome, but I have to admit that the "ski it if you can" motto makes me worry a bit that I can't.

post #9 of 10
actually, MRG is super-family friendly. a very popular spot for local families and young ones.

the single chairlift accesses mostly more advanced terrain, but you can pick your way down via catamount bowl to some gentler terrain. it's not super steep in many spots, but natural terrain obstacles, powder/packed powder/moguls prevail in spots. it's a GREAT skiing experience up the single, and a pilgrimage for any skier.

the sunny side double is GREAT too. advanced terrain, but with a green and some blues off to the sides with easy cruising. they groom that side of the mountain on a few routes.

their "bunny" slope, as it would appear from the base, is a short double chair accessing the practice slope run. it's not a bunny slope, but a race training slope (pretty steep, actually) unusual, but don't be deterred by looking at it from the base.

like i said, smuggs is a sure-thing for intermediates. plenty of options, and laid back. great atmosphere, friendly folks everywhere (like MRG)

smuggs and MRG are similar in so many ways- old school lifts, classic feel, and relatively undeveloped by most measures.

the old lifts are actually quite a blessing; they keep the crowds regulated on the hill for a better skiing experience (ever been to killington on a holiday weekend?) it's better to wait in a liftline for 5 or 10 minutes and have much less crowded slopes than to fly up on a high speed quad only to be dodging throngs of folks on packed, icy trails. bigger, faster lifts aren't always better- they're worse when capacity of the terrain cannot match the uphill lift capacity.

just my .02
post #10 of 10
maine, hands down. sugarloaf has tons of long sweeping intermediate terrain and the way the season is going it looks as if most of the mountain could be open by that point.

also, crowds will be cut in half in maine vs vermont. i'll always take maine skiing over vermont, mostly because sugarloaf is my fav mountain, but theres some other good reasons as well. either way it'll be fun
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Maine or VT for weekend before New Year's?