Where to go in NE: Early December
6 posts
3 users
387 views
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 3, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I just got off the phone with my brother--a boston area realtor. His dead season is in December and he wants to meet to drive up sometime early in that month for a weekend of skiing in New England. Last year, we went to Sunday River and had a great time. I'm thinking this year of the following resorts:

Stratton
Killington
Okemo
Cannon
Wildcat
Waterville
Loon
Mt. Snow
Sugarbush

I've visted some of the places before but mostly in the 80s before a lot of big improvements were made. My brother won't want to ski anything greater than a blue, which is actually fine by me b/c I will be just getting my ski legs back. What I am most concerned about is snow conditions and terrain availability. My wife suggests waiting until the very last minute before making a decision, and I'm kind of leaning in her direction--this part of the season is dead and you can always get reservations last minute.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 3, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
New Hampshire has some neat terrain. I've skied Gunstock, Sunapee, Mt. Cranmore, and Waterville, but neither myself nor my brother have skied the North Conway resorts: Cannon, Wildcat, and Bretton Woods. Cannon and Wildcat apparently have some neat expert terrain; however, I doubt I'll be up for much challenge this early in the season--especially if conditions are marginal. Your thoughts on snowmaking at Cannon and Wildcat confirm my own, but I'd be curious what others think--especially those who have skied those places in the last few years.

For some reason, I'm leaning towards Okemo--I guess the thought of easy groomers and decent manmade hardpack appeals to me for a December trip.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 10-03-2003).]

JohnL
October 3, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
>> I guess the thought of easy groomers and decent manmade hardpack appeals to me for a December trip

Yeah, but if you happend to luck out with new snow and normally-closed trails are open, all warm-up and progression plans seem to be forgotten. A couple of years ago, the morning of my first day of the season was spent entirely on Castlerock in Sugarbush. (Fortunately Upper Liftline and Rumble were closed; I would have been foolish enough to try them and the results would not have been good for my longevity.)

Norsk
October 3, 2003
Member since 05/13/2003
315 posts
I've skied most of these places and generally agree with the comments. Cannon and Wildcat are miles above the rest of the NH resorts in terms of terrain challenge and variety, when open. They are indeed more reliant on natural snow. But when the snow is there, Cannon (along with Whiteface in NY) is about as close to Colorado skiing as you can get on the East Coast IMHO. Real rugged steep fall-line skiing.

Early season I'd probably try Stratton or Mt Snow. They tend to blow snow broadly early in the season b/c, like Killington, they depend on the weekend trade and that can start before Christmas. Besides, being farther south, if they want to be fully open at Christmas, they have to step on it early. Ditto for Okemo.

[This message has been edited by Norsk (edited 10-03-2003).]

JohnL
October 4, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Listen to your wife. Besides always being right, she's even more right on this one

Before Xmas in Vermont is a crap shoot, but most likely you'll be skiing 100 percent on trails with man-made snow. (I doubt New Hampshire is any different and is probably worse.) Some years resorts are scrambling to open appreciable terrain by Xmas (they don't like to make a lot of snow until the crowds arrive.) In rare years, you'll be able to ski trails which have no snow making at all.

Safe to say that Killington will probably have the most open trails.

I've never skied New Hampshire, but from their reps Cannon and Wildcat probably have the worst snowmaking of the areas you've mentioned. Jim K or PM may have some more insight.

If you're ok with standard motels, you can use the larger towns as a fail-safe backup for lodging if you book too late and happen to be shut out of close-in lodging. That would be Brattleboro (Mt. Snow, Stratton), Ludlow (Okemo), Rutland (Killington/Pico), and South Burlington (Stowe, Sugarbush, Smugg's). You should be able to find nice lodging much closer than what I've listed, even last-second.

JohnL
October 4, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
This applies to mid-season in Vermont, but if you're there for an extended stay, don't be afraid to check out some of the smaller areas. All will pretty much blow away the terrain offered by the best of the Mid-Atlantic. These areas include: Magic Mountain, Bromley, Pico, Middlebury College Snow Bowl, Bolton Valley, Ascutney, Burke Mountain.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.14 seconds