Traveling up North in January...
November 28, 2006
I also posted this on Epic to try to get some feedback from the locals. I also wanted to get some feedback from some people that have done the same thing I am wanting to do. Who better to trust that my family here at DCSki??
I finally get to get out of the WV, MD, PA area and make my first trip up North and I have some questions. First of all I would say that I am am an advanced/aspiring expert skier, so I am not looking to go to a resort for crazy expert skiing. That being said, my friends and I are wanting to go for the overall skiing experience. We plan to drive up on Monday Jan 1st and ski the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, then return home on Friday the 5th. Obviously we want to make the trip as cheap as possible. I am not partial to just Killington but I know that it is really big and has a lot to offer. Here are my questions:
1. Would we be best off just staying close to Killington (I think I found something for $100 a night that was 4 miles from the main lifts) and skiing all 3 days there? (This would also save some money on lift tickets)
2. Would it be better to stay in a central area (I found hotels in Rutland that were VERY cheap) and ski 3 different resorts?
Part of me would like to stay somewhere central and ski some different resorts, but since I have no clue about the area I didn't know if it was worth it. If I would decide to do that what 3 resorts would be the best to ski? and is Rutland a good area to stay in?? Any input would be greatly appreciated!!
Three days is not a lot of time to really ski multiple resorts in any "detail" (for lack of a better word). When I head North, I stay in Warren/Waitsfield and ski Sugarbush, MRG, and Stowe over 3-5 days. But that's because I have been there many times before and know the area and the resorts. I know which resort to head to on a given day (conditions/weather) and which trails to hit at each resort depending on the snow. I would hate to try and ski at those same resorts if I was starting from scratch! You might waste valuable time figuring everything out. So I guess I would recommend finding one resort and sticking with it. If you can get some sort of slopeside or onsite lodging, even better. Whatever you can do to minimize non-skiing overhead time (driving, shuttles, etc) will maximize skiing time.
Focusing on single resorts for the whole trip, I would consider Sugarbush, Stowe, Killington, and Mt. Snow. All have enough trails, amenities, and restaurants in the area to keep you busy for three days. Of all of them, Sugarbush would probably be my top pick -- if the natural snowfall has been good.
I concur that Mt. Snow would be a good mountain to hit. I've skied there before. Okemo is another mountain that has a lot of variety. (and check Okemo for the possibility of cheap hotels if it's the right time of the season).
As long as the group moves pretty well, you should be able to ski both of these mountains in a day (one day each, not 2 mountains in one day). I have never skied Killington so I have no idea about that one.
Good comments from 219, showing his taste for advanced terrain.
There are many good choices and price will be driven by your priority for close to slopes vs. willingness to drive a few miles.
Killington is big enough for 3 days and good at opening lots of trails quickly, which could help since you're going pretty early in season. Weekdays in early Jan is a good time though, crowds should be manageable. Temps could be cold. If you can catch a good deal at a mom and pop type motel on Rt 4 near the Skyeship Gondola base (such as Val Roc motel, quarter mile from gondi) I like using that as an uncrowded way to access the mtn with close free parking. It's not a real hotspot for après ski, but you can drive a few miles for that. Must be sure Skyeship is operating in early Jan or negates the convenience. Also, lots of cheap motels in Rutland, only about 5 miles to ski area.
Mount Snow is an hour or two closer than Killington and is good for a couple days, as are Stratton and Okemo (latter two likely more pricey). If you are willing to drive to far northern VT you might find fairly cheap slopeside lodging at Smuggler's Notch and/or Jay Peak ski areas. 3 days split between those two would be interesting.
You might also check out NH, I find it generally cheaper than VT. A lot of good NH ski areas such as Cannon, Waterville Valley, Wildcat, etc. offer real cheap weekday lift tickets or 2fer1 deals. Plenty of affordable roadside motels along I93 or near North Conway.
Yea, saw your post over at Epic, but didn't comment cause they have a ton of people over there and I seem to just feel lost in the shuffle. I would agree with the advice you have gotten from both boards so far. Stowe, Sugarbush and MRG are much better than Killington. I personally like Jay the best, but it is another hour or more north. Since your group is not a serious double black kind of crowd you may want to stay away from the Glen if there is not a lot of snow, but if you get a big dump while you are there I would go and try it. My wife is an intermediate and we hit MRG a few years ago right after a huge storm and it was tons of fun! Nice fluffy boot top pow and empty slopes can make any one feel like an expert! No matter where you go, anywhere in NE will seem like a blast compared to the Mid Atlantic. Have a great trip.......