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New England Spring Break Trip
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Updated 26 days ago
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one month ago

Hi everyone,

My family and I are looking to take a spring break trip (in early March) to New England. We are looking to go someplace new as we have already been to Jiminy Peak, Stratton, and Attitash/Wildcat. My Dad and I like to go solely for the skiing, but my mom probably won’t ski so we want to go to an area that has some other attractions. For instance, a short trip to Manchester, VT was a good option for half of my family who didn’t want to ski when we were at Stratton. Locally, the Deep Creek area is a good example too. My dad and I were thinking of going to Sugarloaf or Sunday River, but thought those two might be too desolate. 

If you all have any thoughts about Sugarloaf vs. Sunday River or have any suggestions to go elsewhere given our situation, please feel free to chip in your opinion. I would appreciate any and all advice.

Thank you!

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago

skithealleghenies wrote:

Hi everyone,

My family and I are looking to take a spring break trip (in early March) to New England. We are looking to go someplace new as we have already been to Jiminy Peak, Stratton, and Attitash/Wildcat. My Dad and I like to go solely for the skiing, but my mom probably won’t ski so we want to go to an area that has some other attractions. For instance, a short trip to Manchester, VT was a good option for half of my family who didn’t want to ski when we were at Stratton. Locally, the Deep Creek area is a good example too. My dad and I were thinking of going to Sugarloaf or Sunday River, but thought those two might be too desolate. 

If you all have any thoughts about Sugarloaf vs. Sunday River or have any suggestions to go elsewhere given our situation, please feel free to chip in your opinion. I would appreciate any and all advice.

Thank you!

Are you going to drive or fly?  Sunday River is a good ski resort with multiple peaks.  That means it’s possible to get away from the crowd on weekends if you are a strong intermediate or better.  The town of Bethel is cute but not very big.  Sugarloaf is even more in the middle of nowhere.  Means the slopes are emptier but there is not much around for a non-skier.

If you go back to North Conway, Bretton Woods is a good mid-size resort.  What type of terrain are you looking for?

Another possibility would be Whiteface in Lake Placid.  With the option of a day trip to ski at Gore.  I have a friend who drives up to Lake Placid with her husband (from Philly) during early season  He likes Lake Placid but is very lukewarm to skiing.

one month ago

For your Mom’s sale, consider basing yourself in a non-ski town and commuting to nearby mountains.

Burlington, Vermont, with its easy access to Smuggler”s Notch, Stowe, Jay Peak, Bolton Valley, and Mad River Glen would be a good place.

Other possibilities include Hanover, NH (Killington, Sunapee, Okemeo), or Woodstock, VT. Same resorts. Middlebury, VT has a small area and relatively good access to Sugarbush, Killington, Okemo. Stowe is always good—a classic New England village with many shops, restaurants, etc. There’s also very good Nordic skiing nearby at Trapp Family Lodge.

Further afield, Mt. Tremblant outside of Montreal has many offerings for non-skiers. My brother takes his non-skiing wife there and she loves it. It’s very French.

one month ago

johnfmh wrote:

For your Mom’s sale, consider basing yourself in a non-ski town and commuting to nearby mountains.

Burlington, Vermont, with its easy access to Smuggler”s Notch, Stowe, Jay Peak, Bolton Valley, and Mad River Glen would be a good place.

Other possibilities include Hanover, NH (Killington, Sunapee, Okemeo), or Woodstock, VT. Same resorts. Middlebury, VT has a small area and relatively good access to Sugarbush, Killington, Okemo. Stowe is always good—a classic New England village with many shops, restaurants, etc. There’s also very good Nordic skiing nearby at Trapp Family Lodge.

Sugarbush was our family winter vacation for years.  My wife doesn’t ski but always enjoyed solo excursions to the small VT towns and there are many attractions (Ben&Jerrys, Trapp Lodge, Burlington, brewerys, artisans, etc) the whole family can enjoy on a non-ski day.

one month ago

Smuggler’s Notch is great. My wife no longer skis and loves all of the extra activities they have around the villlage from organized group “Wikes” to group snowshoe hikes outside and chocolate tasting and wine tasting plus crafts indoors. Also, very close to Burlington. As a bonus, they have the most snow there since 2001, the skiing is outstanding especially if you like powder and gladed runs.

one month ago

Thanks for the advice everyone! We actually all settled on Maine. We will be flying into Portland and will probably try to go to Sunday River and Sugarloaf. However, now I have another question - which resort should we spend more time at? From other blogs I’ve read it seems like people like Sugarloaf better, however you seem to get a much better value at Sunday River when you rent in that area (cheaper, more up to date places to stay).  

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago

skithealleghenies wrote:

Thanks for the advice everyone! We actually all settled on Maine. We will be flying into Portland and will probably try to go to Sunday River and Sugarloaf. However, now I have another question - which resort should we spend more time at? From other blogs I’ve read it seems like people like Sugarloaf better, however you seem to get a much better value at Sunday River when you rent in that area (cheaper, more up to date places to stay).  

How many ski days?  Were the comments about Sugarloaf from intermediates or hard chargers who are looking for steep off-piste terrain?  Sunday River has a good variety of terrain for intermediates and advanced skiers, but not that much that is a major challenge for advanced/experts.

For something completely different, you might check out Mt. Abrams on a weekend day.  Quite close to Sunday River.  It’s a small local ski area with a lot of heart.

one month ago

3 ski days total - Monday, Tuesday, and a Wednesday.

one month ago

And I believe the comments were probably from more hard core, off-piste skiers.

Denis - DCSki Supporter
29 days ago

skithealleghenies wrote:

And I believe the comments were probably from more hard core, off-piste skiers.

From a formerly hard core off piste skier, the best winter vacation towns in the north country are, Stowe, Lake Placid, and Ludlow, VT.  IMHO all 3 have every amenity for non skiers and apres-skiers.  

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
29 days ago

skithealleghenies wrote:

And I believe the comments were probably from more hard core, off-piste skiers.

I’m an older solid advanced skier, but remember being an intermediate who stay mostly on blue groomers quite well since I only starting skiing a lot in the last 10 years.  I like Sunday River quite a bit for a northeast resort.  I know several families from the Boston area who call Sunday River their home mountain.  They are all advanced skiers.  Since you plan to ski midweek, there will be more than enough terrain with very few people.  From what I’ve read about Sugarloaf, I would say Sunday River fits your family’s interests better.

28 days ago

Based off of our interests, we decided to stay at Sunday River. We may drive up to Sugarloaf for one day depending on weather/conditions. Thanks again for everyone’s input.

I read somewhere that a while ago that a lift ticket at Sunday River was also valid at Sugarloaf since they are owned by the same company. Is that true? I can’t imagine it is given this day and age.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
28 days ago

skithealleghenies wrote:

Based off of our interests, we decided to stay at Sunday River. We may drive up to Sugarloaf for one day depending on weather/conditions. Thanks again for everyone’s input.

I read somewhere that a while ago that a lift ticket at Sunday River was also valid at Sugarloaf since they are owned by the same company. Is that true? I can’t imagine it is given this day and age.

Given the distance between SR and Sugarloaf, skiing them both on the same day is pretty impractical in any case.

I did the Wildcat/Attitash combination on the same day, but they are only about 30 min apart.  Even so, I only did it because I was curious about Attitash.  It’s small enough for me to get a pretty good feel for all the lifts in a couple hours.

26 days ago

skithealleghenies wrote:

Based off of our interests, we decided to stay at Sunday River. We may drive up to Sugarloaf for one day depending on weather/conditions. Thanks again for everyone’s input.

I read somewhere that a while ago that a lift ticket at Sunday River was also valid at Sugarloaf since they are owned by the same company. Is that true? I can’t imagine it is given this day and age.

That option was available years (like in the late 90’s) ago.  Yes, they are both owned by the same company now (Boyne) but they operate independently of each other.  You can ski both (I wouldn’t do it on the same day; the drive is too far) with the Ikon Pass.  

I’m based up in Maine now and go to both regularly with the Ikon Pass.  Sugarloaf has really improved their on-slope services since being owned by Boyne.  Their Burnt Mountain cat skiing is just as comparable to anything you’d see out West (also the top of Sugarloaf is the only above tree-line skiing in the East).  It’s the largest ski resort on the east coast (thanks to the Burnt Mountain access) but it doesn’t feel like it.  I was there on Sunday with 12 inches of new snow and I did not feel crowded at all.  It was the end of February vacation up here in New England so it was a little busier than normal but since you’ll be skiing mid-week, the crowds will be fine.  

Off slope activities have improved as well.  The restaurants have really upped their game.  There’s now a bowling alley (Sugar Bowl, get it?!) in town and there’s a great museum in Kingfield honoring Maine skiing traditions.  There is a lot to do for three days for the non-skiers.  

And if you go to Sugarloaf, you’ll get to see the wind-bent tower all for yourself!  I just missed it by a day.  Kind of wish I was there yesterday.  Crazy what mother nature can do!

Shout it from a mountaintop.
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