sugarloaf@spring break
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4 users
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myrto
April 10, 2002
Member since 10/4/2001
259 posts
With spring coming late next year (april 14th) We, Mom dad 10 and 8 year old, are looking for a place for the big family Vacation on the slopes. So far Sugarloaf seems to be leading the way as far as slopeside accomodations on a mountain that we can be sure will be open that late.
If anybody has been there I would love to here about it.

Thank you

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
April 11, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I don't know how long you are planning to go skiing, but believe it or not, Europe has some interesting deals right now. Ski-Europe (www.ski-europe.com) is offering a week of skiing in Zermatt for $968. This includes air fare and hotel. Zermatt has a glacier so the ski season there generally stretches into August. Kids may get a discount. Its worth asking.

John

JimK - DCSki Columnist
April 11, 2002
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Sounds like you're thinking drive, not fly. driving to Killington is about 11 hrs from DC, Sugarloaf is more like 15 hrs. I prefer Kill terrain, but Loaf has interesting backwoods feel. Killington, because of big snowmaking capacity, is likely to have as many or more slopes open in mid April as Sugarloaf. I've thought about a late spring road trip to Mont St Anne & Le Massif in Quebec, also about 15-17 hrs drive time from DC. They may have a good percent of trails open in April. Check websites for all these places this April for an idea of what next April might be like. conditions probably couldn't be worse than whatever they have this year.
If you're going to fly there are all kinds of possiblities. In March I got a quote of about $1850 from moguls.com for family of four like yours to Banff, Canada for Easter week. Couldn't go, but they had great conditions at Easter time.
PhysicsMan
April 11, 2002
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
My daughter and I just got back from a week at Sunday River, and according to all of the locals that I talked to, SR is in MUCH, MUCH better condition than the 'loaf or K-mart.

SR had almost its entire trail system (~120 trails) open for all the time I was there. IMHO, SR has as good snowmaking as Killington, but much colder temps, especially this year. The 'loaf is perhaps a mite colder than SR, but does not have nearly as extensive snowmaking, and this is a real handicap for them.

WRT slopeside accomodations, SR is superb. There are two slopeside hotels 5 mi apart at each end of SR, and numerous slopeside condos. The hotels have units with kitchens, and the first one on the access road is particularly good for kids because of the huge pool, arcade, fireworks every Sat night, and lots of other families with kids around to play with, more frequent shuttle bus service, etc.

Just my $0.02,

Tom / PM


PS - No, I don't work for, or have any affiliation with SR or ASC.

PS#2 - Be sure your group is OK with the very heavy snow you will almost certainly encounter at that time of year. Beginner kids are usually fine in it because they are lightweight (don't sink in) and in a wedge. The same is true of high level skiers who can truly carve their turns. Intermediates who skid their turns often have great difficulty in this type of snow, and last week, I saw many exhausted people/families, give up at 10:30AM because of such conditions, and go back to the hotel and request a voucher for another day at an ASC resort next year. In the week I was there, only early mornings and one late afternoon had conditions other than irregularly cut up mashed potatoes. If you can ski it, its wonderful, but if you can't, beware.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
April 11, 2002
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Sounds like good, current, first hand scoop from PM. Because of the layout, SR might involve less poling than others in mash potato conditions. PM were you able to ski from one end of SR to the other with no breaks in snow coverage? we've had seasonably cool Mar and Apr, sounds like far northeast areas are hanging onto their bases pretty well. Normally, you'd have to expect a significant reduction in skiable terrain at any northeastern ski area remaining open into Apr. Did you drive, and how long did it take from our area to SR? tks
JimK - DCSki Columnist
April 11, 2002
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
BTW myrto, did you make it to Tremblant in March and what did you find there? I would think that would be a decent bet for late spring skiing in eastern half of continent?
PhysicsMan
April 12, 2002
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
> SR might involve less poling than others
> in mash potato conditions.

If you are talking about totally flat areas where you will come to a dead stop unless you pole or skate, I would say that Sunday River is pretty good. There are obviously some small areas like this near the tops and bottoms of lifts, but nowhere else that I can think of.

OTOH, if you are concerned about low angle run-outs and catwalks (ie, where you won't come to a complete stop, but you won't go very fast either). There are a fair number of these at SR. I'll talk about the catwalk system in the next section, but with respect to runouts, for example, most advanced skiers regard the whole main, centrally located "South Ridge" area as a run-out. However, this is their main beginner / novice area, so slow skiing by everyone in that part of the mtn is appropriate.

Normally, there are other base lodges scattered around the mtn that you can head to for a rest stop (eg, White Cap base, Barker, the Mid-mtn restaurant, etc.), but be advised that in late season, particularly, mid-week, the only ones that are likely to be open are the two hotels at the extreme ends of the resort, and the main South Ridge complex (in the middle).
-----------------------------


> PM were you able to ski from one end of SR
> to the other with no breaks in snow
> coverage?

Absolutely. When we were there, no breaks or even thin spots were visible anywhere on the main connector trails (ie, 15 ft wide, low angle catwalks - "3 mile", "Jersey", and "Roadrunner") between the two ends of the resort.

HOWEVER: Skiing from one end of the place to the other (and then back again to where you started) on their catwalk system is not something most adult skiers like to do very often. OTOH, kids, as well as some novice and low intermediate adults seem to love doing exactly this because of the novelty of skiing such a long distance under their own steam, away from everything, high up in the mtns. Different strokes ...

The top of SR is basically a long ridge with a series of peaks along it. I don't have a real topo map of the area, but the more-or-less straight road between the two ends is 5.5 mi long, so along the slightly straighter ridge top it might be "only" 4 miles. Just imagine making a zillion mini turns or holding a small wedge for 4 miles so you don't run into slow skiing groups on the catwalks or get separated from your own group.

Personally, I prefer to take their excellent shuttle bus system to whatever part of the mtn I intend to ski and stay in one general area for at least several hours at a time and not waste my time on epic traverses on catwalks.

Also, be advised that during mid-week in late season, they often have only the "essential" lifts running. You will still be able to ski completely from one end to the other on a green or low blue trail, but you may have fewer options open than in high season.
-------------------------------------

> Did you drive, and how long did it take
> from our area to SR?

Yup, we always drive, and takes 12 hrs at normal highway speeds including a few restroom and food stops (from Silver Spring).

FWIW, my non-skiing wife has relatives in southern Maine, and usually flies (shorter visits, no equipment, no need for a car when there). From the time she leaves our house to arrival at their place, much to her surprise, several times, it has taken exactly as long by air. At minimum, its 9 hours:

1 hr to get to BWI, park the car, get to the terminal;
2 hrs b4 departure;
1 hr flt to some hub (Pittsburgh or Phila);
2 hr avg layover;
1 hr flt to Manchester;
30 min to get luggage and meet the relatives;
1.5 hr drive from Manchester, NH to their home.

In the past few years, only once has this schedule gone smoothly -- invariably there is at least a 1 or 2 hour glitch, and this year, her trip by air took a full 13 hours - arghhh!!!

Gotta run... any more questions, let me know.

Tom / PM

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