I've lived in the Eastern Rockies for the last 15 years & regularly skied Fernie, Castle, Whitewater & Kicking Horse. However, for family reasons I have to move to Ottawa. Is there anything out there for a skier who can really ski (but doesn't do well on ice)?
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Eastern Skiing - I'm Depressed
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If I lived out that way, I'd be a regular at Whiteface... the icy rep is quite a bit overstated. You're probably looking at about 3 hr each way, which might seem like a lot, but try living in southern Ontario. Your other options are Tremblant or the Eastern Townships.
Welcome to Ottawa! I've been here 3 years, and have learned to love the Northern VT areas: Jay, Stowe, Smuggs, are 4 hours away and Sugarbush & Mad River are 5 (they work mostly because I can stay at my girlfriend's parent's house). There is reasonable lodging esp if you share. Haven't been to Tremblant and have only been to Whiteface once. It was pretty fun (and if the slides were open it would be great), but they don't let you ski in the woods except in marked glades and they shut stuff down early--if patrol sweeps at 2:30 they shut the trail, whereas Sugarbush just puts up a sign letting you know you are on your own. The VT areas generally are much more open to letting you do what you want.
That said, I'm getting my backcountry trip together (equipment and avy training, compass navigation etc) so I can ski the escarpment in Gatineau park. I looks like there are a lot of sweet 3-500 foot lines out there. I'd be happy to have someone to eplore with, esp if you have backcountry experience.
you cant really ski if you cant ski ice.
with that said if you dont have fun at the northern vermont your not a skier. Its some of the most interesting terrain there is, and get about 300 inches of snow a year.
Calabogie, Mont Cascades, Camp Fortune and a bunch of others -- small areas, but very accessible, and lots of options for kids' programs.
And as others have mentioned, go a bit further afield to the Laurentians, Eastern Townships & Vermont for some bigger hills. Great weekend and ski-week getaways.
Ice? You'll manage (see Ghost's post #4).
You'll still miss the big mountains, but going to the small hills is much better than not skiing at all.
I wouldn't be depressed, skiing in the east is great. I've been out west numerous times & can't say anything bad about it but I can't say anything bad about the larger eastern resorts either. Those warning you about ice obviously haven't experienced the lastest snow grooming equipment that can turn an icy hardpacked slope into velvety courdoroy. Like what was said earlier we do get our share of snow with many higher elevation resorts averaging 250" or better per season. Problem sometimes is we also get our share of rain in between snowfalls but that's where the grooming comes in, it's amazing what they can do nowdays. All the places already mentioned in northern VT. are good but I'd add a couple more that shouldn't be much further for you. Sugarbush is a great mountain & is actually two seperate ski areas for the price of one. They get as much if not more natural snow as those mentioned. I know I'll catch some flack for saying this but Killington during the week (not weekends) is probably the best area in VT. The new owners (POWDR) have been doing an outstanding job taking care of the mountain both with snowmaking & grooming. It shouldn't be that much further out of the way either. As for the comment about missing the big mountains out west 2-3 thousand feet of vertical is nothing to sneeze at both out west & in the east. All of the places mentioned in Vt. & Whiteface have that.
By the way my drive time from NYC to Killington is 5 hrs & the northern resorts a bit more. Once I'm up there I hop around to the different places & I'm up there for 3-4 days almost everyweek during the winter. I skied all the northern Vt. areas mentioned this year & have been for 40+ years. I will say this the good skiing in Vt. starts at Killington & then north.
Edited by steamboat1 - 6/23/10 at 11:12pm
You might want to trade those powder boards in for some race skis.
If you live in Ottawa, your choices are Mount St. Marie, Calabogie, and Tremblant.
Camp Fortune is good for beginners. Pakenham has lift-serviced cross-country skiing.
Isn't there a ski area near Ottawa called Edelweiss? No matter as day skiing from Ottawa pretty much sucks. IMO Vermont is a lot better than Quebec's Eastern Townships ski areas so decent skiing will mean multi-day trips.
"Vermont-A Poor Man's Colorado" is the tittle of a song written by a local entertainer named Sweet Pie way back when.
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