Last year, I made a mid-December trip to Sunday River. Despite limited offerings in terms of terrain, I still had a great time. Even if only 15-20 percent of SR gets opened by December, it's still enough to make a lot of turns on! There were also 0 crowds and lots of speedy lifts to drag me up the mountain.
Question? What are other good bets for early season skiing in New England? I have a good lead on a condo at Smuggler's, but I am a little turned off by the all the ancient lifts at that resort. Does anyone know how good the snowmaking is there?
Also, does anyone know if Jet Blue will offer direct flights from IAD to Burlington this winter. That would be a cheap and easy way to get to Smuggs, Stowe, Sugarbush, Mad River, etc.
Killington is another idea. Haven't been there for a while, and they do boast of having the best early season in VT.
Tremblant and Okemo are my final ideas.....
Outside of the mid-Atlantic areas, I tend to avoid snow-making like the plague, so I'm not the best expert here. From my limited experience, Sunday River, Killington, Okemo, Stratton and Hunter have the best snowmaking. Sunday River probably will have the smallest crowds since it's the least accessible. Even in mid-December, you may hit some weekend crowds at the other places.
Jay Peak is probably the best bet in New England for natural snow. The Quebec resorts have surprisingly small annual snowfall amounts, but they probably can start making snow a lot earlier than Vermont. Don't know if they actually do...
If you have the vacation time and money to burn, most consistent early-season natural snow can probably be had at Grand Targhee, Wolf Creek and Utah.
Why no love for Smuggs? Have you ever skied there?
We'll probably end up at Smugglers b/c my brother knows a condo owner up there. He also has young children and likes their "familly" programs.
I've skied Stowe many times but never Smuggs. What turns me off about Smuggs is the infrastructure--mostly old, slow lifts.
Uphill Lift Capacity: 7,200 per hour
Types of Lifts: 2 Surface Lifts
6 Double Chairs
That part of VT can be quite cold in Dec and the thought of sitting on a slow double for 15 minutes does not turn me on. The coldest experience of my life was getting stuck on the Big Spruce double (other side of Sterling Mt. in Stowe) on a cold day in January. Fortunately, no fingers were lost on that ride.
Mind you, I like cold, but Stowe cold is horse of a different color...
JohnL, what are your thoughts on OKEMO?
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 07-30-2003).]
Myrto, my brother likes the idea of Tremblant b/c his wife does not ski and Tremblant has many other activities.
Snowshoe would actually be as good a bet as any for an early trip. Once the weather gets cold, they really make a supreme effort to get the whole mountain open as quickly as possible.
My problem is that my brother lives in New England and wants to go somewhere up there, including Canada. If I drive, Okemo or Killington might be the best bets, but as I said in the earlier message, my brother has a friend who owns a condo at Smuggs. Terrain at Smuggs is supposed to be great. It's main drawbacks are the slow lifts and cold.
I have skied neighboring Stowe many times and everytime I go, I thank Url for the gondola. Without it, there would be mornings that I would not have been able to ski--it's that cold.
Last year, Sunday River was pretty cold in December but their fast lifts made it bearable.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 07-31-2003).]