Originally Posted by dustyfog Windham in my personal view is the worst place I have skiied in the North-East
. For the North-east I have only skiied places in upstate NY and SW Massachusetts, so Vermont and points north are not included in this commentary.
Did every single black and double diamond (sans too mogulled, one run only had major moguls at Windham) at Windham, and all that jazz which people like to crow about(trails wolverine, why not, wingin it, wedel etc..). Note I am a beginner to cusp-of-intermediate skier and ski calmly, under reasonable sure-footed control, and carve often enough, no snap-left-right descents, cool arc-to-arc often edge locked descents, short radius for steeps and longer radius for gentler terrain. My friends, both skiers and riders, experienced and expert thought the trails were pretty icy, and they had gotten a ton of snow, well cest la vie. Also, the parking lot, good luck waiting for the ski-bus-shuttle in the cold, i think they have one bus, that's what it looked like, faster to walk but some walk it is. I can only imagine what families have to do when they have the entire clan in tow, and the adults have to lug all the gear. One sign you can tell its a mess is they actually have "security" standing around in the cafetaria ! security! that is a telling sign as to their past experience with their clientele!
That said Windham has a terrible lift system, they are as bad/outdated/archaic/rickety as tiny hills in Mass which only a local could find, its full of skiers and boarders with zero mountain etiquette or common sense (not all of course but one too many which made an impression; funny that many folks there do NOT understand, if one is standing off to the side of the mountain, its to get out of their way, they insist on sliding into you out of control). And the base is a zoo with all kinds of crappy promotions, its not skiing, its noise. Nothing pristine or beautiful about the experience. The best thing about Windham was the drive there through some backroads in the Catskills since I missed the Windham turn when rte 23 forks left to Windham (I went straight! the drive was very pretty though, rustic, snow-filled..nice, narrow windy, snow filled roads)
Best mountain in upstate NY and SW Mass is Jiminy Peak hands down(its a fingertip into Mass from NY border jsut beyond I-90). Management takes care of that mountain, and the lifts are run well and sensibly. They actually pay attention to the skiers. base is also not a total mess but sure it can get crowded. The grooming at Jiminy is very good. Even the trailers which pick you up from the parking lots are so frequent and efficient, just the hallmark of a very well-managed mountain, and clever, they hitch horse wagons onto small trucks, you get in stand with your gear and you are at the base! Skiing Jericho, Whitetail, Whirlaway on days with the wind screaming at the top, reportedly 30mph+ the day I was there, (its in a Wind corridor, one Windmill at the top of Jiminy, another cluster of 4 or so across on another hill!) and the snow flying up over the lip makes for an interesting experience! Its steep for sure, and the top of Jericho (has to do with wind-hit angle I conjecture) is often a sheet of ice, no ifs and buts, but side-slip over it, and get over the lip and things get better fast, but manageable for intermediates since its groomed well, well for this intermediate anyway. Great place, best in upstate NY or Mass in my humble opinion.
Catamount probably is the best place to learn skiing, awesome ski school for kids and the mountain itself is often left quite untouched (read management is either trying to save money or who knows what) so conditions can get unpredictable in a hurry, the steeps are as steep as Windham/Hunter/Jiminy and there are slopes with multiple fall lines(so runaway skiers flashing across in a traverse is not an uncommon sight! full disclosure : i have been amongst those skiers scrambling for control in the past!) and piles of snow, ice, and moguls and some cruisers. Just that Jiminy's runs as Windham's, the direct steeps are longer than the Cat. Though Cat's around the mountain runs are actually as long if not longer. The key is Catamounts unpredictable terrain is perfect for learning how to ski beyond the groomed slopes and the dropoffs get steep in a hurry and except for Catapult, are short enough to train on without risking life or limb. Lifties there are the best, actually pay attention to everyone, especially kids, now that is worth its weight in gold.
Butternut is also maintained well like jiminy, while trails are longer than the Cat but the blacks are good for the ego, since any intermediate can lay down some serious wide-radius carves. Lifts not the greatest but better than Windham.
Anything but Windham. I have not been to Hunter but from all those who skied with me, their pointed observation was since I was so disgusted with Windham, I would run away from Hunter! (note I did go on the ending Saturday of the Prez day holiday week so that could have biased impression..)