Is there anyone who has skied there in November who can give me some reasonable idea of snow conditions?
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).]
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.
> ...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).]
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.
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.
Tom / PM
<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).]
Curious: what skis do you have and what do you use them for? Carvers? Rock skis?
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
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).