Tremblant in November?
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snowcone
September 30, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
We are thinking of going North for an extended weekend in mid November (19-23). Tremblant seems reasonable convenient; 2 hr flight from IAD, early season room rates not too bad, lift tickets dirt-cheap.

Is there anyone who has skied there in November who can give me some reasonable idea of snow conditions?

Thanks

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 1, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I am thinking of an early December trip North, but my philosophy is to wait and see. The December period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is traditionally dead time for the travel and ski industry. There are lots of great last minute deals out there to be had. My inclination is to drive to one of the closer VT resorts if conditions are good: Stratton, Bromley, Mt. Snow, or perhaps Killington. If not, I'll save my money. In early December, I don't need much challenge. I just want to get my feet wet and ski long blues.

I'm not sure it is worth going through the hassles of flying for a weekend trip. It's only about an 8 hour drive to Stratton by car, and that drive seems easier in many respects than dealing with the hassles of air travel for a short trip. I'm probably biased against air travel now because I just got back from a long trip from Vienna to IAD, but there are others on this list who lean in this direction. On the other hand, a short 3.5 hour air trip can get you to Denver or Salt Lake City for some serious skiing.

I think if I were planning a flying ski vacation for a weekend in November, I'd spend a few extra dollars and go to CO or UT. Otherwise, I'd drive to a Southern VT resort.

PS If you do fly and you use a sports tube for your gear, be sure to tape a key to the outside of the box and put a big key label on it. Otherwise, security will cut your lock. That happened to me once flying to Zurich last year. My skis came up the special ski ramp one by one.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 10-01-2003).]

snowcone
October 1, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
We wanted to fly to Canada because our work schedules just don't allow for the luxury of 8 hr drives to/from anywhere. We fly and then rent a 4wd. There is a convenient early evening flight (4:55 pm) that gets us into Montreal 6:20 p.m.local, car pick-up, 1.5 hr drive, should get us to Tremblant around 9 p.m. ready for bed and first tracks next morning.
We are going to Snowshoe in December (long weekend to shake the rust off with our favorite instructor). Then Tahoe in January and Park City in February so that pretty well covers out west for this season. I havent gotten March booked yet ... any suggestions? The November/Canada idea seemed interesting (early season = maybe not so cold) because it's been a pretty long, lousy summer and we can't want to get back to skiing.

snowcone
October 1, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
... and thanks for the tip on ski cases. We intend to buy a couple of Dakine Concourse semi-softs for this season. Last year we watched sadistic baggage handlers lob our ski cases/bags like logs in a Caber Toss. It was terrifying to hear that thwack and rattle as the bags hit the pickup ramp. One of our travel companions has a hard case and that seems to off a bit more protection. I am hoping that the semi-soft will offer the best of both worlds, on top of which it's got wheelies! .. no more lugging cumbersome bags.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 1, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I have a hard Sports Tube that can accommodate two pairs of skis. It protects the skis, but it is a pain to load. The skis have to be loaded into the case very precisely with rubber bands and straps for the thing to close properly. It has wheels that make it easy to move around once loaded but loading is a pain. I think the bags you purchased are a better solution. The other solution is to bring boots and rent skis. I'm going this route in February when I hopefully will make a trip to Europe.

With that in mind, you might try Europe in March. Conditions are usually good then. There's a direct Swiss flight from IAD to Zurich. It's 7 hours one-way, 8 hours the other. Once in Zurich, there's an easy rail link to many excellent resorts such as Zermatt, St. Anton, St. Moritz, and Davos. The train comes right to the airport and is accessible by elevator from the luggage claim area. Swiss used to have a deal where you could check your bag all the way to your hotel via Swiss Rail. With the new security rules, I don't think they can do this anymore with US flights but it may be worth looking into.

PhysicsMan
October 1, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Johnfmh said:

> ...I'm not sure it is worth going through the hassles of flying for a
> weekend trip. It's only about an 8 hour drive to Stratton by car,
> and that drive seems easier in many respects than dealing with the
> hassles of air travel for a short trip.

I've got to agree. I'm sure this is not news to anyone here, but it not just the hassles - the actual time spent in travel (at least to the New England resorts) is often not all that different.

When comparing flying vs driving, one should always first add in a minimum of 3.5 hours:

0.5 hours to get to your departure airport (BWI, in my case);
1.5 hours at the departure airport;
1.0 hour (min) at the arrival airport (if all goes well with luggage, car rental, etc.); and an extra
0.5 hours (on average) to acct for late departures and other all-too-common delays.

Finally, you get to add in the actual flight time (hopefully, no stops/transfers required) and the time it takes to get to drive from the airport to the hotel.

So, to use your example, a 2 hour flight to an destination airport that is 1.5 hours by car away from a ski area should really be thought about as a minimum of around 7 hours spent in transportation.

In addition, if you are cooking in, you will easily spend another several hours over the course of a ski week shopping locally, whereas you can just throw whatever you need in your car.

Other factors like cost, the fact that packing is much easier (forgiving) for a car trip, being able to bring your full ski quiver, other convenience factors, and that sightseeing and family visiting possibilities along the way almost always tip the scales for me in favor of DIY driving up to most of New England.

Just my $0.02,

Tom / PM

[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 10-01-2003).]

snowcone
October 1, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
I agree to, some extent, on the expand timeline for flying versus driving but that's not the whole problem. Driving 8 hours over unfamiliar roads in the dark is exhausting at best .. we've done it. Or you need addition time off from work in order to drive during the day. We just don't have that luxury other than long weekends at Snowshoe where leaving after work gets us there around 10 in the evening. I would rather fly and let someone else do the driving.
In the case of the late afternoon flight IAD to YUL (Montreal), its non-stop so you don't have the problem of racing for a connection or your gear taking an 'alternate' flight.

Cooking in? We only do that on longer trips of a week or more. For a long weekend we pick up some wine, noshies and breakfast stuff for in the room. We eat on the slopes at noon and either eat out or order in for evenings.

Full ski quiver? ... a double ski bag and a Dakine 60/40 solves all problems. That gives us 2 bags (with wheelies) each, plus our common backpack which contains essentials like meds, laptop, books, mp3's etc. This setup allows us to be very mobile, plus have enough gear for any weather/conditions.

Finally, we travel with enough plastic money to throw at any problem we may encounter. To date, that issue hasn't really surfaced other than the odd item left at home.

I know this probably doesn't work for many people, but I grew up on annual trips to Europe with my parents and 3 siblings using this type of travel philosophy and it worked well for us.

PhysicsMan
October 1, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Cone - I understand completely.

Everybody is different & it sounds like we are on opposite ends of the spectrum in many ways. For example, I have a pretty flexible work schedule and love driving at night. In fact, I vastly prefer it to driving during the more crowded daytime hours. I like to have lots of skis along to play with, so I usually have 3 or 4 pr of skis along for myself, 2 pr for my daughter plus her board and snowboard boots, tools, etc.

Whatever works is good.

Cheers,

Tom / PM

JohnL
October 1, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
<quote>usually have 3 or 4 pr of skis along for myself</quote>

Yikes!

<quote>2 pr for my daughter plus her board and snowboard boots</quote>

Ah yes, a member of the next generation of gear-heads.

PM, do you actually use more than one pair of skis on a single day? How do you choose what pair to use?

[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 10-01-2003).]

snowcone
October 1, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
PM -- Wow!
.. and I thought I was being over the top hauling a pair of mid-fats (for out west) along with my carvers!

Curious: what skis do you have and what do you use them for? Carvers? Rock skis?

PhysicsMan
October 2, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
If I'm driving and can pile essentially unlimited ammts of equipment into my car-top ski box, I'll often bring short and long hard snow skis, as well as short and long soft snow skis. I might also bring a pr of XC skis or a pair of rock skis if I think I'll be needing either of these on the trip.

The utility of having skis available for both hard and relatively soft snow, ie 63 mm waisted SL's vs 75 mm midfats may sound like overkill in the NE, but I can't tell you how many times they have proved their worth.

"Short" is my shorthand for a ski which is short in length, has a short sidecut radius, and low swing weight. These get used when I'm skiing slowly and/or carefully (eg, with little kids), on narrow trails, in bumps, in congested conditions, and when picking my way down very steep runs.

The "long" skis of either type typically get used when I'm Mach'ing down lower angle, wide open, uncongested groomed slopes.

Typically, when I start out skiing in the AM, I'll have a good idea what the weather and snow surface is going to be for the day. I'll know who I'll be skiing with (eg, speed demon vs a young child), and on what sort of terrain I'll mostly be skiing (eg, steep narrow trails at Wildcat vs. the wide open slopes of Mt. Snow. I'll pick a pair based on that information. I'll go back to the car and switch skis only if one of the above factors changes significantly and for an appreciable part of the day.

BTW, when a ski switching rate of once per day isn't enough for me, I've enquired about ski caddy services so that I can switch skis as needed every few hundred yards, but my question always seem to be met by strange stares. (Don't worry - Just kidding .... really).

Tom / PM

gatkinso
October 2, 2003
Member since 01/25/2002
316 posts
Slightly of topic, but not too much:

Flying commercial to Killington will save you an hour or so travel time over driving (assuming reasonable traffic.)

By the time you do the whole airport thing on both ends, fly (an hour to Albany or Manchester from BWI), rent a car, and drive 1 1/2 - 2 hours to Rutland, you are talking 6 1/2 hours (assuming no flight delays).

If your flight doesn't leave at a good time then I may just beat you to the slopes. Plus I will have spent about 1/3 what you paid to fly.

Don't know about the other resorts, but Killington can be quite icy early (they are still building up their base at that point and are blwing a very wet mix).

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