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Vermont Home Base for three days of skiing?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Heading to Vermont in Feb (unfortunatly Pres week- I know its a crazy week but had no choice) never been before wondering what would be a good location as home base for three days of skiing?  I will have a car and was thinking of skiing Stowe, Jay, MRG, mabye Sugarbush.  Any advice on good area to stay to make driving to these as easy as possible.  Also any advice on hills outside the ones I mention and/or any hints to avoid crowds would be great.  Thanks!
post #2 of 14
There really is no easy place to stay to hit all the ski hills you have mentioned plus being a holiday week your options are probably getting less and less every day you wait to book your lodging. People doing the same itinerary your talking about will stay in either Burlington or Waterbury but your going to have alot more lodging options in Burlington. Geographically staying in Stowe is also good but again being a holiday week it's going to be hard to find a place and the prices are the highest of the season. I would check the websites for the chambers or Travelocity for Waterbury, Burlington, Stowe or Morrisville.
post #3 of 14
If you want to avoid crowds I suggest you focus on Northern VT namely Jay and Burke.  You could stay in St Johnsbury as a base and there used to be specials for lifts and lodging at the big motels.  Anorther base that is closer to Jay is Newport, VT.  Jay's target market lives in Quebec and Presidents day is another weekend to our neighbors to the North.  Burke is usually not busy but lacks Jay's steeps but has decent trees.

Another option is to skip VT and head to Quebec and hit up Sutton, Owl's Head and Bromont.
post #4 of 14
Talisman speaks the truth. 

I have used Newport as a base during Pres. week.  Some decent and cheap motels there. It's about 20-30 minutes to Jay (watch out for VT State Troopers along the route though).  Jay does get busy that week but is manageable.  However Jay is only really worthwhile with fresh, or at least semi fresh, snow.  You are so close to Canada in Newport that you could hit the  Eastern Township areas.  Burke is probably about an hour south.  Last year we stayed in a condo at Ste Anne, skied there and Le Massif, then hit Jay and Stowe on the way home to break up the drive.  Great trip - lots of driving though.  No holiday in Canada = low prices and no crowds/lift lines.

Stowe will be pretty packed.  We went to Sugarbush between Christmas and New Years and it was not too crowded but the single digit temps and wind kept most of the tourists off the hill
post #5 of 14
Stay at Hostel Tevere in Warren, VT.  Reserve now for $35 per night. Ski Mt Ellen (Sugarbush North) midweek (5 miles away) for $39 per day, 2600' vertical.  Ski MRG at least one day (10 miles away), 2037' vertical.  Then return to the one you liked best.
post #6 of 14
 I'll probably get flamed for this, but... are you guys sure that Jay is the crowd-beater place it is made out to be? I don't see how it could be. They claim 450,000 skier visits per year and Stowe wishes it could break 350,000 (been hovering around 340 the last few years). They have fewer lifts and smaller lodges, how could it be the crowd avoidance choice? Maybe Stowe is less crowded than conventional wisdom would have it?

As for this coming weekend, you might be surprised about availability on lodges. I doubt that they are all sold out.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

 I'll probably get flamed for this, but... are you guys sure that Jay is the crowd-beater place it is made out to be? I don't see how it could be. They claim 450,000 skier visits per year and Stowe wishes it could break 350,000 (been hovering around 340 the last few years). They have fewer lifts and smaller lodges, how could it be the crowd avoidance choice? Maybe Stowe is less crowded than conventional wisdom would have it?

As for this coming weekend, you might be surprised about availability on lodges. I doubt that they are all sold out.
You have a valid point.  Jay does get crowded with lift lines - especially for the tram and the Jet triple, but I have skied both areas Pres. week and Stowe was the busier of the 2.  As far as lodging/restaurants, etc goes, Stowe has a lot more to offer.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by powderhound24 View Post

Heading to Vermont in Feb (unfortunatly Pres week- I know its a crazy week but had no choice) never been before wondering what would be a good location as home base for three days of skiing?  I will have a car and was thinking of skiing Stowe, Jay, MRG, mabye Sugarbush.  Any advice on good area to stay to make driving to these as easy as possible.  Also any advice on hills outside the ones I mention and/or any hints to avoid crowds would be great.  Thanks!

Take Jay out of the mix and stay in the Mad River valley, you can hit MRG, Sugarbush real quick( 5-10 min) and get to Stowe in about 40 minutes, you could also go south to Killington in less than 1hr from that area. You said 3 days of skiing Presidents week, do you mean the weekend Sat-Mon? If you do probably every place will be crowded on Sat, Sunday not as much and Monday even less. If you are coming for 3 days during the week Mon -Fri  then all of the places will not be as crowded. Out of the places you listed Sugarbush has the best lift system in regards to number of lifts to spread out crowds and have shorter lift lines.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowbowler View Post




Take Jay out of the mix and stay in the Mad River valley, you can hit MRG, Sugarbush real quick( 5-10 min) and get to Stowe in about 40 minutes, you could also go south to Killington in less than 1hr from that area. You said 3 days of skiing Presidents week, do you mean the weekend Sat-Mon? If you do probably every place will be crowded on Sat, Sunday not as much and Monday even less. If you are coming for 3 days during the week Mon -Fri  then all of the places will not be as crowded. Out of the places you listed Sugarbush has the best lift system in regards to number of lifts to spread out crowds and have shorter lift lines.
 

Many schools are off for the week, ironicly Vermonts schools are off the following week, so keep in mind that midweek during Presidents Week can be very busy as well, at least all the resorts are hoping so. I think alot comes down to conditions. If the conditions are good then it will be busy if not maybe not so much during the week.  During the week I don't think Jay would be as busy as the others since PQ kids do not have that week off school.
post #10 of 14
How do the crowds compare at MRG and Sugarbush?  I will be going up there for a 3 day weekend after MLK.  I was thinking of hitting Sugarbush on Friday, MRG on Saturday, Sugarbush on Sunday (may focus on Mt. Ellen).  How does that sound?

BTW.  I have stayed at the Best Western in Waterbury on Holiday weekends.  It served as a pretty decent homebase to hit different mountains.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by viva Borracho View Post

How do the crowds compare at MRG and Sugarbush?  I will be going up there for a 3 day weekend after MLK.  I was thinking of hitting Sugarbush on Friday, MRG on Saturday, Sugarbush on Sunday (may focus on Mt. Ellen).  How does that sound?

 

MRG on a MLK Saturday would be a mistake usually.  Saturdays in general when conditions are good should be avoided at MRG.  Lift lines of an hour or an hour and a half are common.  Go Friday!
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by viva Borracho View Post

How do the crowds compare at MRG and Sugarbush?  I will be going up there for a 3 day weekend after MLK.  I was thinking of hitting Sugarbush on Friday, MRG on Saturday, Sugarbush on Sunday (may focus on Mt. Ellen).  How does that sound?

BTW.  I have stayed at the Best Western in Waterbury on Holiday weekends.  It served as a pretty decent homebase to hit different mountains.

 
I think the Best Western in Waterbury is an excellent choice for a Jay, Stowe and MRV intinery. I assume it's pretty pricey during a holiday  tho........$150/night?

As mentioned the throngs at MRG most are using one lift and it;s a single chair. The Bush will be busy as well but with 7 high speed quads pretty spread out they move the crowds pretty well.  Mt Ellen is never as busy as LP so if the inter-mountain lift is spinning and it should be,  you can park at Mt Ellen and ski both mountains plus the Basin. The lift is like a Disney ride, it's the longest HS quad in the world, about 2.5 miles.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the great advice....still trying to pin things down but this has been very helpful.  Thanks.
post #14 of 14
Parking at Mt Ellen sounds like a great idea - is it generally less crowded? That is, does it make sense to park there even if you plan on skiing mostly Lincoln Peak and Castle Rock? Any other suggestions for how to ski Sugarbush on a busy day?
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