Despite having bagged 50+ areas in North America, I haven't been to huge number of local areas. (The last three winters have been really hectic.)
Whitetail, Liberty, Roundtop, Blue Knob, Seven Springs, Snowshoe, Canaan Valley.
Tops on my list to visit:
Laurel Mtn. & Timberline
We did Laurel Mt the weekend of March 8, and we'll be at Wisp this weekend. I want to do Timberline next year,and also a trip out West.....either Utah or Montana.
In my case, oddly, a major mid-Atlantic area that I have never hit is Wisp. I've passed by it a million times, but I'm always on the way to the Canaan V area and drive right by it. I must remedy this.
The most obscure mid-Atlantic areas that I have skied in the last few years are Ski Denton and a truly tiny hill (~250' vert) about 20 mi south of Ski Denton. I think the name used to be Oregon Hill (not the one just N of Baltimore), but I can't remember its current name. Both are in north-central PA, northwest of Williamsport.
The group of areas I try to avoid because of crowds, 'tude, etc., but never quite succeed is the Poconos.
Tom / PM
[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 03-19-2003).]
Timberline: 12 visits
White Grass: 1
Sunday River, Maine: 2
Lech, Austria (Nordic): 1
St. Anton, Austria: 2
Lech-Zurs, Austria: 5
Total ski days: 23
I feel guilty for not visiting more local resorts this year, but the convenience of owning a slopeside condo at Timberline combined with the value of a season pass (purchased in May of 2002 for a mere $250) made it difficult to resist going to Timberline frequently.
Next year, I want to try Wisp and Laurel-two places I have never skied, but get consistently good reviews on DCSki. If JohnL likes Laurel, I suspect I'll enjoy it too. I also want to get back to Snowshoe, and 7 Springs-two of my favorite Mid-Atlantic resorts. Another longshot would be Blue Mountain. I skied there a couple years ago and was impressed with its expert terrain. They have added more recently, and I would love to return.
As for trips further a field, I'm planning to return to the Alps in January-a time of cheap fares and low crowds. I'll probably re-read George Koch's reports on www.tourthealps.com to figure out where to go. However, I'd like to hit two resorts in two different Alpine countries. Perhaps the bad press about France will continue and push down prices at the Trois Vallees.
I'd also like to make a shorter trip to VT. This year, I visited Sunday River based heavily on Tom/PM's reviews on the forum, and had a great early season experience. I can only imagine what the place it like when all the terrain is open. Next year, I'd love to hit Okemo or Sugarbush. My wife wants to go to Okemo but I am leaning more to the Bush. My brother, who lives in the Boston area, wants to go with me but he favors Stowe. In any event, you can see the calculus that goes into our individual decisions about where to ski. We're always balancing our desires with those of family and friends--one of the great reasons why skiing alone is so underrated.
When I was at Laurel Mt. 2 seeks ago I took a few pictures of 'Lower Wildcat' (rated double-black, I think). The camera always tends to make the steeps appear a little less steep, but if anyone is interested in seeing the jpegs, let me know....
PS: Wisp plans to stay open until April 6...
I know - you are absolutely right. Its just that when I'm passing by, I usually have a car full of people and groceries, all of whom are anxious to get settled in at our final destination (usually a friend's cabin at Timberline).
Johnfmh:> ...I visited Sunday River based heavily on Tom/PM's reviews on the forum...
Uh, oh! I better be careful what I write. In all seriousness, tho, glad you had a good time there. Depending on my work, I may try to head up there for one last fling this season.
FWIW, here's my latest recommendation (albeit in a totally different category from SR). Earlier this season, I was driving up to New England for family business, and I literally found myself on the doorstep of Bromley (VT). I couldn't resist stopping and skiing the afternoon. It isn't very big, but with the friendliness, no crowds, and old-time feel, I really liked it and could easily see going back a day or two per season. Its too bad it was about -5 F and 15-30 mph winds when I was there -- I'm sure I would have enjoyed it even more. OTOH, I wonder if that's why it wasn't crowded.
Tom / PM
From what I gather, Bromley often gets overshadowed by its big Brother down the road, Stratton. I did a quick comparison of the resorts on www.ski-guide.com and discovered that Stratton, owned by Intrawest, has about 700 feet more of vertical and a much more modern lift system (4 high speed 6s and a 12 person gondola). I suspect most Southern VT skiers gravitate to Stratton for the reasons listed above. On a crowded weekend, though, Bromley sounds like it could be a refreshing alternative for those who value empty slopes more than high speed lifts. I've never skied either mountain, so I will again trust your judgment on Bromley or perhaps try and hit both in a single trip.
I'll throw out a suggestion to you: Jiminy Peak in Hancock, MA. It only has about 1150 of vertical but it has a modernized lift system and is only 6 and half hours from DC. I enjoyed skiing this mountain as a teenager. But of course, every mountan seemed bigger when I was younger.
Even with the warm weather I still have the jone's for more skiing, and I might try Snowshoe, Vermont area, perhaps Utah. Emphasis on might... I have never been to Snowshoe mainly because it seems like such a haul from here (Annapolis). A few more hours (and more $$$?) gets you to Utah, which I have also never skied but I've heard good things about. Resort hotel costs seem high to me though.
Stratton is different from Bromley in other ways: (1) I think they are up to $72 lift tickets, whereas I paid something like $22 for the afternoon at Bromley. (2) Bromley is south facing, whereas Stratton and just about every other Vt ski hill is N-facing. This was a big consideration on the frigid day I was there. Bromley certainly isn't the largest or most exciting place around, but it had that intangible feeling that I was "home".
Another mtn in that same general area that always gets really good marks from the locals is Magic. Its definitely a step up from Bromley in size and difficulty, but also doesn't get crowded. I didn't get the chance to ski it. Bromley and Magic are on my list of places to ski on holiday weekends.
PS (in edit) - I'm pretty sure I skied Jiminy back in the late '70's, but my memory of it is awfully hazy. I'm in western Mass with some regularity, and will definitely look it over. BTW, I know what you mean about things looking bigger when one was a kid.
Yup. It sure is nice to have near-hill or on-hill lodging. When I was younger, I never did this, but it feels especially goo0ood when you get to be an old fart like me.
Tom / PM
[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 03-19-2003).]
If you go, you should try this restaurant/inn called Johnny Seesaws next door. It has excellent food and great ambiance, with a great mix of locals and out of towners.
[This message has been edited by DC_Skier (edited 03-20-2003).]
As another gray haired guy, I've visited most of the local areas over the years too. Most often to those within 3 hours of DC for day trips, less frequently to WVA, and only once long ago to Poconos (Camelback). Usually when I'm considering overnighters I head for New England or further. Never been to Elk (or others in that area-sort of beyond Poconos) , but also heard pretty good things about it and enjoyed John P's recent report on it in DCSki.
Anybody have a first hand opinion on Winterplace in WVA, never been there and know few who have. Is it on par with say, Canaan Valley ski area? Also, my old impression was always that Camelback was king of Poconos, has that changed in recent years?
One more Poconos resort to add to the list is Blue Mountain outside of Allentown. Blue has good vertical (1082 feet), and 2 long expert trails served by a high-speed quad: Challenge and Razor's edge. There's also a couple of shorter but still interesting blues: Lazy Mile and Lower Switchback. The problem with Blue has always been a lack of natural snow, and more moderate weather patterns than Western PA or WV. Robust snowmaking partially compensates for this problem, as does the occasional coastal storm. Blue is not too far from our northern burbs, and a great daytrip midweek. Alternatively, there's lots of cheap lodging in nearby Allentown. Day's Inn had a ridiculously cheap ski and stay package last time I visited.
Speaking of good eats in VT. Stowe ROCKS! I've never eaten better ski town Mexican than Miguel's--better by far than a Mexican place I once ate at in Vail and as good as some of the Mexican places I sampled in Albuquerque, NM.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 03-20-2003).]
Elk - I definitely agree with John's positive review.
Winterplace - I saw a couple of negative comments made about it (size-wise) in the past year, but haven't been there myself.
Ski Sawmill - this is the new name of the ski hill south of Ski Denton that I couldn't think of earlier in this thread. I wouldn't recommend it - truly in the fly speck size range. The only reason I found myself there was that we were meeting up with someone who lives locally (and isn't an advanced skier).
Camelback - I was there once last season. Unfortunately, this resort seems to be on the radar screens and well inside the striking radius for the "blow smoke in your face on the lift", "shout into their cell phones", "I'm the toughest-bestest skier in the Poconos" 17-30 y.o. hoards with 'tude from NYC.
Jack Frost - Last time I was there was a couple of seasons ago. It has some of the above characteristics of Camelback, but my impression is that it wasn't as bad as it seemed to be more family oriented.
Other Pocono areas - Its been at least 3 seasons since I've been at any of these. BTW, I don't count Elk as a Pocono resort.
Tom / PM
As far as local:
Liberty 2 days
Snowshoe 4 days
But the season isn't over. I want to do 20 days this year so I'll need to get a couple in locally this week.
What, me trying to be funny? ... Just reporting the facts as I see them. That's the way some of them seem to measure their prowess.
Tom / PM