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Is the drive to Northern VT it worth it?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
 Hey everyone,

I'm looking to get a seasons pass this year and I need some advice.  I live in Albany, NY, but I spend a lot of weekends/free time staying in VT.  I stay with family in the Ludlow area to ski.  Last year I had a pass to Okemo, which is 15 minutes away.  This year I could get another Okemo pass, or I could get a pass for Kmart (45 minutes) or even Sugarbush (2 hours) or Stowe (2.5 hours).  I am looking to ski glades and fresh snow when available, and then steeps, groomers, and a little bit of park.

Should I drive all the way up to northern VT or is it just too far?

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 23
 How much do you like to drive? Are you skiing by yourself or with friends/family?

IMHO - you should buy an Okemo pass and then when the snow comes, go hit Magic or head up North and buy a daypass. Seems a little nuts to buy a pass that will require 4 hours of driving a day.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hmmm you're probably right.  I think I'm just going to have to move up there some day.  :)
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

 How much do you like to drive? Are you skiing by yourself or with friends/family?

IMHO - you should buy an Okemo pass and then when the snow comes, go hit Magic or head up North and buy a daypass. Seems a little nuts to buy a pass that will require 4 hours of driving a day.

Exactly. Okemo is a fun mountain for groomers but lacks in steeps and trees (Supernove IS a fun trail though). 
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by spontaneousgoat View Post

 I am looking to ski glades and fresh snow when available, and then steeps, groomers, and a little bit of park.

Should I drive all the way up to northern VT or is it just too far?
Okemo? Most anything would be an improvement over Nokemo for what you want. Even Flatton has a semblence of glades.

Do yourself a favor and get to Magic as much as possible. No, there's no park, (thankfully), but the rest of the stuff is there in spades. While I'm no real Kmart fan, as least there's some challenge and variety versus Nokemo, the white bread of the east.
post #6 of 23
How many times would you be likely to use a pass at Sugargush.  My approach is to buy a pass near by and then get discount tickets to Jay, Stowe, Mad River and Magic.  You can do the math on ski visits vs price, but it's nice to ski different areas.  If you invest in a pass you will want to get your money's worth.  Are you willing to travel all that way, on a regular basis, and not try other mountains.

Magic is offering a pretty good deal right now.  It's nearby and cheap enough to not be pressured to use it all the time.  But if you are based in Ludlow it would make sense to have a home mountain nearby.
post #7 of 23
Then again you may want to go south of Albany where all the deep pow may be.

Go to Hunter Mtn.  Hunter Mtn is too crowded and nobody ever skis there. 

Seriously if this map proves right, Plattekill will be awesome.

post #8 of 23

Only you know how much you want to drive, and how much you want to "ski around" or commit to a single hill.  If it were me, I would definitely ski around, and get some discount tix and frequent skier cards, especially if you're coming from Albany and have family in Ludlow you've got a whole lot of options and why pin yourself down.

That said, I have to repeat the suggestions to hit Magic.  It's a little place that skis BIG (1700 vert); when it's good it's GREAT; when it's not so good, it's less crowded than the neighbors so still more fun; and when it's just not skiable (i.e., totally rained out), there's always Okemo and the other snowmaking havens nearby.  Good deals now on season passes (http://www.magicmtn.com/seasonpass.php) or $120 "three-packs" (http://www.magicmtn.com/static_page.php?id=39). 

Another thing you should look into is the Vermont Travel Club discount card: http://classicskitours.net/vermontTravel.asp .  For $35 or so, significant discounts at a lot of hills within your reach (i.e.
Stowe, Sugarbush, Stratton, Okemo, Bolton Valley, Mount Snow).  Some have a few limits on dates or advance purchase etc. but it can pay for itself pretty quickly.

post #9 of 23
If you enjoy skiing at Okemo, I say stay. Its a good mountain, and its super close to you. Maybe you get a half day at work, you can hurry home grab your gear, and head out for a few runs. That would seal the deal for me. I dont get that luxury. Mt Snow which is the closest decent mountain to me, is just about 3 hours away.
post #10 of 23
Okemo is good.  I used to live in Crested Butte, whose owners also own Okemo, they do a good job.  

Question:  What satellite image do you use to predict incoming storms?   Infrared or Water Vapor?    www.goes.noaa.gov
post #11 of 23
If you live in Albany, is there a reason why you are not considering Gore, which is just up the Northway from you? Or, you just like the sound of a VT resort more? I haven't skied Okemo but I have skied Gore and Northern VT a lot. Based on what I hear, Okemo cannot be any better than Gore as far as what it has to offer that you like. Okemo should be no comparison to what are up in N VT.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post



Okemo? Most anything would be an improvement over Nokemo for what you want. Even Flatton has a semblence of glades.

Do yourself a favor and get to Magic as much as possible. No, there's no park, (thankfully), but the rest of the stuff is there in spades. While I'm no real Kmart fan, as least there's some challenge and variety versus Nokemo, the white bread of the east.
 

Shows what you know. I spent a few years working at Okemo, getting about 125 days on the mountain (and grabbing about 20-25 elsewhere throughout New England). Okemo does have tree skiing, it's just not marked. There's plenty if you know where to look. My friends and I went to the print shop and had them make us a poster scale trail map, which we started marking up with tree runs. By the end of the season, we had marked out more tree runs than there are marked trails. Somebody who complains that an area that has over 600 skiable acres and over 110 marked trails doesn't have enough to offer either isn't looking hard enough, or isn't good enough to find a challenge.

Get the Okemo pass. It's a no brainer. And the next time you're at the Loft, if you find some of my dignity there, that would be awesome. I'm pretty sure I've lost my fair share of it there.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
tahoekid - i'm only a sophmore in school so i really haven't taken enough meteorology courses to forecast storms, but the NAM/GFS numerical models have some great forecast maps
 
freeski919 - i have always wondered if okemo had some off-the-map tree skiing.  if you still ski okemo and are willing to show me around a bit that would be great 

i have never skied magic and it never even crossed my mind, but it actually looks pretty cool though.  it looks like it doesn't always have a great cover though
post #14 of 23
 All very good suggestions. I dont know if it was tounge in cheek but stay away from hunter at all costs. I learned to ski at gore, and with discounts and proximity id be biased to start there as a home base.  You will then appreciate some of the differences when you feel like traveling further. 

Im itching to try platteklill and magic if there is snow this year. 
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by spontaneousgoat View Post

tahoekid - i'm only a sophmore in school so i really haven't taken enough meteorology courses to forecast storms, but the NAM/GFS numerical models have some great forecast maps
 
freeski919 - i have always wondered if okemo had some off-the-map tree skiing.  if you still ski okemo and are willing to show me around a bit that would be great 

i have never skied magic and it never even crossed my mind, but it actually looks pretty cool though.  it looks like it doesn't always have a great cover though
Unfortunately, I'm now living down in PA.  When I get up to VT, I'm typically in Burlington visiting friends, and I ski Stowe, Sugarbush, or MRG. As far as showing you where the off piste is, I've said a little too much by admitting they exist. That map I spoke of? It came down and was hidden when flatlanders came over to our house to visit. Just keep your eyes open, you'll start finding gaps in the trees. My only other tip is that if you're willing to take the effort, you can drop off of Upper Mountain Road in a few spots, and ski the back side. Just keep in mind that once you step off UMR, you're out of bounds.
post #16 of 23
I live near Albany.  My family and I have season passes at Gore (passes are also valid at Whiteface).  It takes 1.5 hrs to get from my driveway to the Gore Mtn. parking lot. 

When I take a day off midweek to enjoy good skiing conditions, I almost always go to MRG or Sugarbush.  IMHO the 2.5 to 3 hr drive (each way) is worth it and the midweek price at MRG can't be beat.  I go to Sugarbush when the're running a special (which occurs with relative frequency late season), or when a friend provides me with comps.

Unfortunately, you've already missed the deepest discount for Sugarbush season passes.  At the very end of the ski season (in April or May), they usually offer their All/Everywhere 7 day adult pass for $999.  It's good for people with kids because with each paid adult a kid under 12 skis "free" as well.

I would LOVE to move our season passes to Sugarbush, but the rest of the family is not willing to deal with the drive. 

All that being said, I think the Sunday season pass at Okemo is a fantastic deal for those of us that live nearby. I generally prefer to ski on Sunday due to the lighter crowds (especially in the afternoon).

STE
post #17 of 23
north of kmart is where skiing starts
post #18 of 23
Your drive times are off.   From the traffic light in the center of Ludlow, you can be in the Skyeship Base parking lot on Route 4 at Killington in 22 minutes going the speed limit.   You can be in the main parking lot in 32 minutes using the Bear road to East Mountain Road route.   Sugarbush is 90 minutes.   Stowe is somewhat painful and proably is 2 1/2.

You could join a ski club over the next week or so and participate in the voucher bulk buy at the end of September.   I'm more familiar with the Connecticut Ski Council clubs.  The AE Ski Club individual membership is, I think, $30.00 and you can join online.  I've used that club to buy vouchers for house guests back when Killington participated.   You can live anywhere.   You don't ever need to attend meetings.   You join.  Send a check for your voucher tickets.  ...and use your membership card for deals offered during the season.   You can get Okemo and Sugarbush tickets for something like $53.00 or $54.00.   Killington has a deal on their web site for 4 day tickets for $50 each and they will probably sell a ski club card that's reloadable for a similar price (last year was 4 days for $199 plus 7% tax).   The Vermont ski areas also have "council awareness days" at places like Stowe.  

The Connecticut Ski Council web site is http://www.skiclub.com
The AE Ski Club is http://www.aeskiclub.com    It looks like you can buy your vouchers online this year.

Here is a copy of the council awareness days.
http://www.thegoodmenclub.com/pdf_files/2008%202009%20Awareness%20Days.pdf

The Killington page for four $50 day tickets.  The promotion runs through October 15th unless it sells out early.
http://www.killington.com/winter/plan/lift_tickets/Deal%20Grabber/index.html

You can ski around the state for a winter and not lock yourself into a season pass.   ...or you could do a blackout pass at Okemo and use vouchers or a Killington Club Card elsewhere during the holiday periods.   The problem with not having a season pass is that you end up rationalizing yourself into not skiing on a lot of days.   With a pass, you just go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spontaneousgoat View Post

 Hey everyone,

I'm looking to get a seasons pass this year and I need some advice.  I live in Albany, NY, but I spend a lot of weekends/free time staying in VT.  I stay with family in the Ludlow area to ski.  Last year I had a pass to Okemo, which is 15 minutes away.  This year I could get another Okemo pass, or I could get a pass for Kmart (45 minutes) or even Sugarbush (2 hours) or Stowe (2.5 hours).  I am looking to ski glades and fresh snow when available, and then steeps, groomers, and a little bit of park.

Should I drive all the way up to northern VT or is it just too far?

Thanks in advance
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919  I spent a few years working at Okemo, getting about 125 days on the mountain (and grabbing about 20-25 elsewhere throughout New England).

Gawd. 125 days at Slokemo.

Possibly surprisingly, I have, well, NO days scheduled there this year. The season starts at Whistler in late Dec. C'mon along and let's see if I wouldn't be good enough to find something challenging on skiing's equivalent of a pool table.
post #20 of 23
The drive north from Okemo to Sugarbush or Mad River Glen is worth it for the glades, woods and fresh snow if you are based in Ludlow.  The variety and challenge of the terrain is dramatically better than Okemo. You can get a Sugarcard at Sugarbush or Mad Card at MRG and save a few $$$ without committing to a season pass.  Just be prepared that once you start skiing the Mad River Valley you'll likely be hooked and instead of making day trips from Ludlow you will want to be based there.
post #21 of 23
I've skied all of the above mountains.  IMO the drive is worth it, for the variety and terrain.

If you're looking into CSC clubs, the Sterling Ski Club is more expensive to join than AE but has a lodge right at the base of Mount Ellen, and it's real cheap to stay there ($15/night for members last year.)  10 minutes to Lincoln Base, 10 minutes to MRG, 0 minutes to Mount Ellen:  http://sterlingskiclub.org/lodges.html
post #22 of 23
How about a pass to Magic and trips to the other places when they are running deals or at the beginning /end of the season when Magic is closed?
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post

Then again you may want to go south of Albany where all the deep pow may be.

Go to Hunter Mtn.  Hunter Mtn is too crowded and nobody ever skis there. 

Seriously if this map proves right, Plattekill will be awesome.


Wow I hope that is accurate! If so could be a great season here in PA!
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