|The thing that blows my mind is that full service gas in Jersey is cheaper than self serve in most other places on the East Coast. This may explain the lack of outrage, but if I were a station owner I'd be pissed off.
That's just due to low (nonexistent?) state gas taxes in Jersey. NY state/NYC/Connecticut all have high ones, so if you're driving from New England to NJ, the price drop seems quite extreme.
I've never quite understood the "full-serve gas only" policy. There are a few towns in MA that do it as well, and it makes no sense.
Anyway, back to the skiing...
East Coast conditions get a bad rap a lot of the time, but the biggest issues IMO are high variability of conditions and overcrowding at resorts closer to Boston on the weekends/holidays. It doesn't help that New Englanders on a whole will whine and complain about almost anything. (But will also stubbornly claim that New England is better than anywhere else.)
When conditions are good, they can be really, really good. But they're also horrific sometimes. Cold + wind + windblown ice = bad. Sometimes very bad. And it can change overnight from one to the other. Plenty of good terrain in New England, although you won't get as much variety in a single area as you do at some of the Western mega-resorts.
I've been underwhelmed by conditions "out West" in trips to Aspen and Tahoe. About 10 days out west (split between March 07 and March 08), and ZERO fresh snow. They had nice groomed/packed powder (which was then getting slushy/icy at points due to thaw/freeze), but I could have had the same conditions almost anywhere in NH/VT in the late winter/spring. Maybe someday I'll make a big trip somewhere, actually get epic conditions, and find out what all this fuss about "fresh pow" is about.
The worst part is that people I talk to keep telling me about awesome trips to Colorado and Utah where they got a foot of powder every night they were there. I hate those people.