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Is lake placid appropriate for low-intermediates?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm taking a trip next week to New England/Upstate NY for the first time (after skiing PA until now).

I'm looking for mountains that are scenic, and have good low-intermediate cruisers, preferably from the top elevation.
I'm thinking of doing something in Nortern VT (Sugarbush/Stowe/Smuggs), but since I have enough time, I thought about going to see Lake Placid in the winter, for a change.
However, the trail maps give me kind of a Taos-of-the-east impression. If I'm a low intermediate, would I have anything to do there?
post #2 of 22
Whiteface is not a hard mountain. Even the steeps there are not that hard, but too hard for an intermediate.

If you are a low-intermediate with courage, I think you could ski from the top, if conditions are good.

I have only skied there twice, but there are plenty of fast crusiers which means, if you take it slow you should be fine.
post #3 of 22
I was just there. Brought my 3 kids to the summit. They were fine. Parrons Run is a long blue that is not too hard, provided the snow is not to firm. Remember you are 1800 vertical just using the summit chair.

There are several blue runs from the gondola as well.

There are also two dedicated beginner areas.

Lake Placid is worth the trip. Very nice shops, resturants, and so on.

Have fun.
post #4 of 22
There is only one blue off of the Gondi, Excelsior, everything else is Black. Some Int. skiers take off down Approach because it is easy enough only to find out it leads to all black runs. That said, Excelsior down to the lower mountain, to the base is 2540 vert. If you go to the summit you could ski down Paron's Run or the Follies and come out to Excelisor go to the bottom and get in 3,200 feet of vert.

There are many choices off the Facelift for you that you could have fun with, but you mentioned you wanted to ski from the summits so you might not want that.

I love WF, and encourage you to try it out, but as a low-int. be careful what runs you turn onto from the summits. If the sigh says black don't ski that run.

You can often get great info from ski forums, but the only way to know if a mountain is for you is to try it for yourself.

If you go and would like a tour I'd be glad to show you around, I'm there every weekend just PM me and we'll make arrangements. If you go during the week I'd be glad to set you up with a friend of mine. Giving tours is part of his job. Have fun.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by highpeaksdrifter View Post
There is only one blue off of the Gondi, Excelsior, everything else is Black. Some Int. skiers take off down Approach because it is easy enough only to find out it leads to all black runs. That said, Excelsior down to the lower mountain, to the base is 2540 vert. If you go to the summit you could ski down Paron's Run or the Follies and come out to Excelisor go to the bottom and get in 3,200 feet of vert.
Thanks for the info!
I ski at this point for enjoyment and scenery rather than the risk and challenge, that's why I want to ski from the summit but to avoid the blacks (will have a trail map to make sure). At least I try to avoid them in unfamiliar places in less than ideal snow conditions, which is what next week looks like.

Most of my ski experience is in PA (seven springs, montage, elk), so I'm excited about trying a real mountain. We're going to VT (Stowe/Smuggs/Sugarbush or something in the area), but I've always wanted to see Placid in winter and try and ski it.

How hard are those blues relatively? I understand that on bigger mountains the blues are easily other place's double blacks? My form is not perfect so I'm somewhere between Parallels and Christies with long slow turns down the hill.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by highpeaksdrifter View Post
There is only one blue off of the Gondi, Excelsior, everything else is Black..

I guess I was thinking Lower Northway, but it's part way down Excelsior.

Those blue runs are not that hard. Excelsior has a bit of a headwall at the top the rest is fine. Sometimes skier trafic is an issue. as far as scenery it's pretty hard to beat
525x525px-LL-vbattach2904.jpg
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
When you say "headwall", do you mean the "somewhat steeper than usual but with a nice runoff to shave your speed" kind, or the "we've got a nice jump over these rocks so let's grab some air" kind?

Also, just to make sure, these blues are groomed and not moguled, right?

My home hill has this nasty habit of setting up big moguls down the middle of a blue one morning without letting anyone know in advance.
post #8 of 22
After you get off the gondola you kind of traverse down to were Parons meets Excelseior. You can see it on the trail map. The wide section. There is kind of a gathering point at the top of it, or at least most people do. Then a bit of a steep section, not a mandatory air situation, just a bit steep. I only ski at Whiteface a couple times a year, but I have seen people pile up there.

You will be fine, just peck your way down. not a huge run out, but at the bottom you have your choice of left to Lower Northway or right to continue on the twisty section of Excelseior which is very nice.

No moguls. If there is a lot of snow it may pile up a little, but is almost always groomed.
post #9 of 22
Nice pic Skiboats, but you must have taken it before this season. Here's a pic with 2 of the new trails that will be open next season from Lookout Mt. along with 60 acres of new glades. :Cell phone pic so excuse the quality.

post #10 of 22
I did. Looking forward to those new runs. Really gives some width to the place, and from what I see they are LONG.
post #11 of 22
A group of us were at WF in Feb for Pres day week. I thought most of the blues and all of the greens were very easy trails. At least easier, although longer, than blues and greens at my local 700' hill. Much more fun! What surprised me is the variation in difficulty of the advanced terrain. Some was very easy and some was not. Paron's Run off the summit is an easy way down even if hard packed. Plus, when you get off of the Summit Quad and look down Upper Skyward you may not want to ski it. Hard to imagine they raced all the way down that mountain! By all means go! Nearly 2500' vert off of the gondola alone.
post #12 of 22
Don't know if youv'e left for your trip yet, or decided on destination. But based on your desire for scenery and fun without getting over your head in terms of difficulty, Bretton Woods is an option -- albeit a bit further to drive.

You can't beat the view of Mt. Washington, there is nothing steep at BW, but if you haven't skied glades much you'll have a progression from super easy to moderate to more difficult (esp if there is ice) on a few of them. Attitash is nearby and good for a day or two -- a bit steeper than BW, not scary steep.

Probalby farther than you want to drive -- but keep it in mind for another time. You can also so a loop through south VT to NH depending on how you map it out and how much time you have.

Haven't been to Whiteface in several years, and when I was there I was a ski once or twice a year kind of skier -- and I remember strugging down from the top of the bigger mountain on an icy intermediate run.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
We're only leaving during the weekend (or tomorrow, but just for a stopover with family on the way).

I want to ski a "real" mountain (at least an East Coast) mountain for a change, and see the New England Ski Villages in the winter (well, early spring)... My wife doesn't ski so we're looking for places that are not just ski resorts.

The plan right now calls for Whiteface and for Stowe, VT, then on the way back something in South VT (Killington, Stratton, Pico, who knows what state me knees will be in). Also, maybe squeeze Smuggs if we're already in Stowe though I'm not sure if it's easy to get to one from the other (is the pass open?)

I'll try making it to whiteface there, thanks for the encouragement !

.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
I want to ski a "real" mountain (at least an East Coast) mountain for a change, and see the New England Ski Villages in the winter (well, early spring)... My wife doesn't ski so we're looking for places that are not just ski resorts.

The plan right now calls for Whiteface and for Stowe, VT, then on the way back something in South VT (Killington, Stratton, Pico, who knows what state me knees will be in). Also, maybe squeeze Smuggs if we're already in Stowe though I'm not sure if it's easy to get to one from the other (is the pass open?)
Stowe definitely fits the bill for a "real" mountain with a "real" village.

Killington and Pico are right next to each other; the only nearby town / city is Rutland which has been described as "Newark, New Jersey transplanted to Vermont". A lot of people have strongly held opinions on Killington and Pico (i.e., both good and bad), but I think everybody should ski them both as well before making up their mind about the places. Short version: they're both worth skiing, but there is no "authentic New England village" near either of them.

I haven't been to Stratton much lately; I do remember that there is a very fake village / mall at the immediate base of the mountain. I don't recall where the nearest "real" town is.

Okemo (somewhat near Killington) is in the town of Ludlow, which is about as authentic a Vermont town as you can hope to find near a ski area in southern Vermont. Somewhat built up, but it still has a good amount of character to it.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
We're only leaving during the weekend (or tomorrow, but just for a stopover with family on the way).

I want to ski a "real" mountain (at least an East Coast) mountain for a change, and see the New England Ski Villages in the winter (well, early spring)... My wife doesn't ski so we're looking for places that are not just ski resorts.

The plan right now calls for Whiteface and for Stowe, VT, then on the way back something in South VT (Killington, Stratton, Pico, who knows what state me knees will be in). Also, maybe squeeze Smuggs if we're already in Stowe though I'm not sure if it's easy to get to one from the other (is the pass open?)

I'll try making it to whiteface there, thanks for the encouragement !

.
Rt. 108 through Smuggler's Notch is closed in the winter time. Although Smuggs and Stowe are very close and could easily be linked by lifts, it's a fairly long drive around in winter. If you're at Stowe and want to try someplace else, I'd take a look at Sugarbush. Probably a 45-50 minute drive from Stowe.
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yea, I thought about Sugarbush... I figured Smuggs was better for intermediates, but I'm sure I can find something to do at the bush.

Am I missing much by not doing Smuggs? I heard that their lifts are super slow, but that from people who haven't been there in ten years.

Also, does anyone know why all the ski resorts in VT and NY seem to close really early in the day (4pm at the latest?). I know they're not lighted up for night skiing, but it stays light fairly late in March, especially now that we've switch to Daylight Savings.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
Also, does anyone know why all the ski resorts in VT and NY seem to close really early in the day (4pm at the latest?). I know they're not lighted up for night skiing, but it stays light fairly late in March, especially now that we've switch to Daylight Savings.

Stowe actually has some trails under their gondola lit up at night.

As for why they close at 4:00 PM. There are some areas (Magic, for instance) that start closing later now that they have the daylight. I think for most places it just doesn't make financial sense (i.e., the lift lines get pretty minimal after 2:00 or so), plus closing at 4:00 gives the patrol a chance to sweep the trails, gives the employees a chance to get home and have dinner at a reasonable hour, etc.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
Yea, I thought about Sugarbush... I figured Smuggs was better for intermediates, but I'm sure I can find something to do at the bush.

Am I missing much by not doing Smuggs? I heard that their lifts are super slow, but that from people who haven't been there in ten years.

Also, does anyone know why all the ski resorts in VT and NY seem to close really early in the day (4pm at the latest?). I know they're not lighted up for night skiing, but it stays light fairly late in March, especially now that we've switch to Daylight Savings.
Let me clarify that for you, while Smuggs' is good for intermediates, it's not only good for intermediates.

As for slow lifts, still true but lines are short and hills are not crowded as a result.

About closing off lifts early and having night skiing, that is true for pretty much all mid to large side ski areas (at least for the East - haven't ski the West).
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
I hate planning a trip like that when the weather looks horrible next week (e.g., rain on Wed in all of NE).

Right now I was thinking of leaving Scranton PA on Sunday, sleeping close to lake placid, skiing Whiteface in the day Monday, then drive to Burlington, spend the night, ski Tuesday, then if Wed is not too rainy stay in Stowe another day and ski it, then head south, maybe stop overnight at sugarbush, make it back to Scranton on Fri.

Am I missing a lot by picking Stowe over Smuggs? Stowe has better housing options and more stuff for nonskiers (wife), it seems.

Is there anything for a nonskier to do in lake placid? (nice coffee shops, etc.?)
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
Am I missing a lot by picking Stowe over Smuggs? Stowe has better housing options and more stuff for nonskiers (wife), it seems.
Since you put it that way, the answer is probably no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
Is there anything for a nonskier to do in lake placid? (nice coffee shops, etc.?)
Tons to do in town, especially in a day. You probably won't get as much Olympic pride anywhere else in the states. Have her take a tour in any of the Olympic attractions. IMHO, the hockey tour is not to be missed and it's indoors. If you happen to hit it right, there may be a good figure skating meet while you're there. Lots of good eateries too. Having lunch at the last HoJo restaurant is kinda neat too (not fancy just different).

Just do a google... Plenty of info there.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
Is there anything for a nonskier to do in lake placid? (nice coffee shops, etc.?)
No place has more.
http://www.lakeplacid.com/
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Right now our plan is for two days at Stowe, and then two days elsewhere (Wed-Fri), probably lake placid. My only concern is the road into and out of there if there is snow on Thursday. Are the access roads from Lake Placid to I87 plowed or treated at all? I drive a Camry without 4WD or chains... didn't think I'd need them in late Mar.
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