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1st Timers- NC Late Feb. OR New England President's Weekend?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am a Colorado/Utah skier (held hostage in South Carolina) looking to take my niece and nephew on their first ski outing. As South Carolinians, they have seen snow and seen my skis, but that is the extent of their experience. Due to time constraints, I have two options:
1. North Carolina, Feb. 22-24 (weekend AFTER President's Day).
2. New England (could I be more general?), The Wicked President's Weekend.
(I can fly into Albany, Manchester, Burlington, Portland, Hartford, Boston..but would like to have as little drive time as possible as this is a commando ski assault).

We will have to leave after school on Friday, either way. We will have two FULL days of skiing. I am going to give my niece and nephew a two hour private lesson to kick-off their trip. Yes, I am a ski junkie and, apparently, a pusher.

NC resorts (Beech, Sugar, App) are a 2.5 hour drive (not interested in WV, VA due to drive time). I like the convenience but fear swamp conditions the third week of February, less than optimal for creating a life-long adoration of the sport. However, if you haven't skied Colorado and Utah on powder days, you won't know that conditions are not optimal. I want to make sure my niece and nephew have some room to feel comfy during their lesson and ski time; I fear heavy NC weekend crowds (coupled with long, slow lifts) may be an impediment to their comfortable progress.

I never thought I would consider a President's Weekend trip but if I can find a hidden gem in the Northeast, I am all about it. We would fly in on Friday night and fly out Monday. I need a ski mountain nearish (under 2 hours) an airport, sweet beginner terrain to really get their ski mojo burning and some elevation to vanquish rain. I am having a feel-good about Pico, Okemo, Wildcat, Bretton Woods. Would any of these deliver lighter Holiday crowds and choice beginner joy? FEEL FREE TO THROW OUT ALL VT/NY/NH/ME IDEAS AS I AM TAKING A SOMEWHAT BLIND STAB AT THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was close to just heading to Beaver Creek but I think I may be going over-board for a first outing...but that is what Aunt's do. OK, before you nominate me for Humanitarian of the Year award, I admit I would love finding a place where I can hit some blacks during their lesson time .

I need to move fast and appreciate your brilliant Bear insight,
Your Humble Snocat

::::::
post #2 of 12
I would stay far, far away from Okemo on a holiday weekend. Same with Bretton Woods. Note that that weekend is also the start of school vacation weeks here in New England, so you get something of a double-whammy.

I'd look to the lesser-known areas. Ascutney, Burke, Bromley, and Bolton Valley (all in Vermont) come to mind as places most people have never heard of. Possibly Stowe (they have an entire mountain, Spruce Peak, devoted to beginners and lower intermediates).

Wildcat is near Cranmore. I'm not very familair with either of those mountains though.
post #3 of 12
Weatherwise, it's supposed to get colder and snowier in late Feb and March in the mid-atlantic -- sort of a back loaded winter (not out of the ordinary). I would not worry about snow condition in late Feb in NC, that may actually be some of the best snow of the season this year. Crowds/experience I cannot speak to, as I have never skied down there.

Late Feb is also usually a good time to ski at Snowshoe WV. You mentioned drive time, but I can't imagine that drive is going to take a whole lot longer than the laborious routine required to fly to New England with two kids (and possibly some ski gear) then drive to a resort up there. In my mind, the drive to WV would be a heck of a lot easier, unless you are horribly far from the mountains. The Silver Creek area at Snowshoe is a great place to bring never-evers, and they have some very good kids programs. The mountain itself is never crowded, even on holidays, and you can always ride the shuttle bus over to Snowshoe proper if you want full imersion....
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by snocat View Post
I am a Colorado/Utah skier (held hostage in South Carolina) looking to take my niece and nephew on their first ski outing. As South Carolinians, they have seen snow and seen my skis, but that is the extent of their experience. Due to time constraints, I have two options:
1. North Carolina, Feb. 22-24 (weekend AFTER President's Day).
2. New England (could I be more general?), The Wicked President's Weekend.
(I can fly into Albany, Manchester, Burlington, Portland, Hartford, Boston..but would like to have as little drive time as possible as this is a commando ski assault).

We will have to leave after school on Friday, either way. We will have two FULL days of skiing. I am going to give my niece and nephew a two hour private lesson to kick-off their trip. Yes, I am a ski junkie and, apparently, a pusher.

NC resorts (Beech, Sugar, App) are a 2.5 hour drive (not interested in WV, VA due to drive time). I like the convenience but fear swamp conditions the third week of February, less than optimal for creating a life-long adoration of the sport. However, if you haven't skied Colorado and Utah on powder days, you won't know that conditions are not optimal. I want to make sure my niece and nephew have some room to feel comfy during their lesson and ski time; I fear heavy NC weekend crowds (coupled with long, slow lifts) may be an impediment to their comfortable progress.

I never thought I would consider a President's Weekend trip but if I can find a hidden gem in the Northeast, I am all about it. We would fly in on Friday night and fly out Monday. I need a ski mountain nearish (under 2 hours) an airport, sweet beginner terrain to really get their ski mojo burning and some elevation to vanquish rain. I am having a feel-good about Pico, Okemo, Wildcat, Bretton Woods. Would any of these deliver lighter Holiday crowds and choice beginner joy? FEEL FREE TO THROW OUT ALL VT/NY/NH/ME IDEAS AS I AM TAKING A SOMEWHAT BLIND STAB AT THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was close to just heading to Beaver Creek but I think I may be going over-board for a first outing...but that is what Aunt's do. OK, before you nominate me for Humanitarian of the Year award, I admit I would love finding a place where I can hit some blacks during their lesson time .

I need to move fast and appreciate your brilliant Bear insight,
Your Humble Snocat

::::::
snocat, If you are thinking of NE then I would try to fly into either Burlington, VT. or Portland ME. Those airports would be the closet to resorts with good choices for you with a minimal amount of driving. From Burlington you can get Smugglers Notch with in 45 minutes and/ or Stowe about 1-1 1/2 hour. I would opt for Sunday River in ME coming out of Portland about 1:45 -2 hrs. Sunday River has a lot of terrain for all abilities, great on slope lodging, and lots of lifts to move people even on a holiday weekend. You might even be able to get some type of transport from Portland with out renting a car. I think it will seem reasonably priced compared to other resorts of the same size.
post #5 of 12
Most major areas in New England will be LOADED with skiers during President's week take it from one who experiences it annually


I regularly ski mid week being retired but make an annual President's week trip to NE to ski with adult children and our grandkids who live in NE and other grandkids who join us there from Manhattan


After menduring several years of LOOOONG lift lines Our game plan now is similar to what Kevin suggested ( ski lesser known areas and ski some at night to avoid crowds)
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by snocat View Post
I am having a feel-good about Pico, Okemo, Wildcat, Bretton Woods. Would any of these deliver lighter Holiday crowds and choice beginner joy? FEEL FREE TO THROW OUT ALL VT/NY/NH/ME IDEAS AS I AM TAKING A SOMEWHAT BLIND STAB AT THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Consider Attitash near North Conway, NH. The nearby town of North Conway is great for eating, apres, and lodging, since this is a real ski town, and two odd things are occurring at Attitash this year that make it a great place to be.
1. Attitash has had immensely great snow-making and grooming, due to a new owner's massive upgrades for this year. The place has had more snow than all its competition consistently all season because of this. I ski up in the area every weekend, and try to hit all the mountains, plus I have a season pass at Attitash, so I know.
2. The crowds at Attitash have been ... well, non-existent. Due to the run-down of the mountain last year by the previous owners its reputation suffered, and the sale happened so late in the season that lots of people just bought season passes elsewhere. Even on big Saturdays the place is not crowded.

So you have the best of two things at Attitash... great snow, and less crowds. Get it while it lasts. There is an on-mountain hotel, there are ski-in-out condos, and the beginner area is ample, with a painfully slow (for me) chairlifts. The beginner area is pretty isolated from everyone else, so it's a safe and large-enough area for never-evers. The rest of the mountain has super steeps (although nice and short), plus plenty of blues and greens. One side has old-fashioned New England narrow, curvy trails; the other side is newer with wider open trails. If it snows, there are glades over there as well.

I ski Wildcat every Sunday. If I were flying into New Hampshire with beginners, that would not be the mountain of my choice. It's pretty, but their snowmaking is minimal, their beginner area very small, and the wind, if it blows (which it does sometimes, furiously), removes any soft snow off all the wide trails. So you typically find lots of ice there, especially after lunch. However, if it dumps there's no place better for people who love to ski real snow.
post #7 of 12
Don't rule out the NC areas. Beginners will be happy on anything. Conditions should be OK in February.

If I was going to get on a plane, I would fly west. The drive to skiing from SL airport is less than from most of the eastern airports you mention.
post #8 of 12
I haven't skied NC either, but know rest of mid-Atlantic well. Unless there is an 8" region-wide snowfall on a Thursday night, weekend crowds typically go way down immediately after President's Day for remainder of season. Given crowd advice about NE and fact that you only have two days I guess I'd favor staying south at NC areas or possibly places like Wintergreen, VA or Snowshoe, WV, both about 6 hrs from Greenville. Also, note likely milder temps down south are good for newbies too. Prez Weekend can still be bitter cold in NE. Just my opinion, but I'd save the flying dollars for a longer duration trip to a great destination they can enjoy next year when they have more skill and appreciation.
BTW this is a great gesture and I hope you have fun wherever.
post #9 of 12
Attitash has a LOONG way to go to Overcome prior owners neglect . I disagree that never ever's would be comfortable there . Two years ago while ther slopeside for 3 days my wife a novice( skied fewer than 10 times) had a horrible experience there ON a private lesson from one of their PROs ON DAY one.

She'd skied all am with me -- with no problem --

Conditions were not that great --but this joker had her turning on an ICED up ( read that super scraped off BLUE FRIGGIN ice'd up slope) and she ended up in surgery in North Conway an hr later .

Bad experience ,even worse customer service from them -- Result = Attitash off the short list-------
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warp daddy View Post
Attitash has a LOONG way to go to Overcome prior owners neglect . I disagree that never ever's would be comfortable there . Two years ago while ther slopeside for 3 days my wife a novice( skied fewer than 10 times) had a horrible experience there ON a private lesson from one of their PROs ON DAY one.

She'd skied all am with me -- with no problem --

Conditions were not that great --but this joker had her turning on an ICED up ( read that super scraped off BLUE FRIGGIN ice'd up slope) and she ended up in surgery in North Conway an hr later .

Bad experience ,even worse customer service from them -- Result = Attitash off the short list-------
All this applies to two years ago, granted. But two years ago has NOTHING to do with what it's like now. You seriously don't know how great it's been because you haven't been there. I was there two years ago, last year, and this year, at least 20 times each year. Just trust me on this one. The new owner is doing an unbelievable job keeping the slopes soft and deep. And I am just a customer who wants this owner to keep doing this year after year, not an employee pushing the mountain.
post #11 of 12
LF i'm really glad you are satisfied and enjoy Attitash . Before my wife's incident i had a few nice runs there from the top

However no disrespect intended Attitash is still off our list of places to go as a couple --too many other good places ( especially for novices) to choose from .
sorry
post #12 of 12
I'd strongly consider the NC route. Very good places to learn and the end of February can be a great time of year to go (decent snow and usually uncrowded). Two places I'd recommend would be either Wolf Ridge (just north of Asheville) or Appalachain Ski Mtn (just south of Boone) depending on from where you are coming (I apologize if you mentioned already). I actually took skiing as a course in college (twice!) and we went up to Appalachain each week, so they're very used to teaching there and it's a friendly beginners area. Haven't been to either this season so can't vouch for the current conditions but again late February has been nice in past years. Hope this helps and y'all have a great time!
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › 1st Timers- NC Late Feb. OR New England President's Weekend?