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Where to go in New England? Jay Peak? Or Elsewhere?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi All,

Newby (to the forum, not skiing) here. Been looking through pages and pages of information on North East Ski Resorts in the US but everything I have found is a few years old, so was hoping for some up to date information and advice.

So, basically, we are a group of Brits, looking to do some skiing in the US for a change (usually go to Andorra, Bulgaria etc). We are looking to the North East due to the easier (and reasonably priced) flights on Norwegian from Gatwick to Boston, hence are not looking at the big resorts like Aspen.

There are 8 of us, including a couple of novices. None of us are particularly "hard-core, must do black runs (or the US equivalent) and try to kill ourselves at every possible opportunity" - we just like to be out on the mountain, cruising at decent speeds, all skiers, no boarders. Ski-in ski-out would be nice, but not essential -quite happy to have a car and drive, but don't want to spend hours and hours driving. Also happy to stay out of the resort in a population center as long as we are not doing 1 hour + driving each way!

Looking to stay for a week or so.

From the research we have done so far - we think that Jay Peak is the one to go for, or possibly Sugarloaf, or Mount Killington, or Stowe. Confused

All of the above seem suitable in terms of skiing, the problem we are having is costs vs. European resorts. Flight prices aside, Lift passes seem massively expensive (circa £90/day) and the accommodation that we can find so far is also what we would consider expensive. Are there any tips or tricks to know in terms of how to get better pricing on lift passes and accommodation? (example - a quick search on the Jay Peak site is in the region of $350/night for accommodation and lift passes), booking.com doesn't really offer any better alternatives. Ideally we would like to pay around $50-60 max for lift passes, and max $100/day each for accommodation.

Also interested in knowing about the on-piste facilities and apres-ski for each of the resorts?

All options welcome, thanks in advance Happy Be gentle! snowHead
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Welcome

Unless you purchase a multi-resort pass like the Epic Pass you'll find it almost impossible to get a lift pass for $50-60

When are you thinking of going?

Do you intend combining the ski trip with a city break (NYC, Boston)? If not, then get a flight to Denver or Salt Lake City.

Better mountains, snow, choice, weather, more chance of getting cheaper accommodation.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks for the welcome.

We are thinking mid-late Feb or possibly early March, we are reasonably flexible on dates as none of us have children/school holidays to worry about.

I have heard mention of an Epic pass in Colorado but don't know too much about it - any details please? and is such a thing available in the NE area?

We were planning to take in either NYC or Boston for a couple of days either before or after the skiing. Some of us have been stateside before, others not. This is not a deal breaker though.

We hadn't really considered going further West due to the extra flight time and perceived extra flight costs - but just had a look and it is 10hrs to Denver (can't fly to SLC from Gatwick) and £336 return versus 7.5hrs and £285 to Boston, so £51 and 2.5hrs longer, so will put this to the group. I suspect that the NE area would be preferred though.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 20-06-18 12:02; edited 1 time in total
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@YetiManMark, for the sake of £51 and 2.5 hours its a no brainer to be honest- go west
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Well it shouldn't be brutally cold in the NE at that time of the year.

And once you pass President's Day weekend (mid-Feb) the slopes get quieter.

Vail now has Stowe under their belt

Local pass is $669 for unlimited access at Stowe, Okemo and Sunapee

https://www.epicpass.com/passes/epic-local-pass.aspx
https://www.epicpass.com/info/stowe-faq.aspx


Ikon Pass is a tad pricier at $699 but includes more mountains, but there are restrictions. You'll need to check
Stratton, VT, Killington Resort, VT, Sugarbush Resort, VT, Loon Mountain, NH, Sunday River, ME & Sugarloaf, ME

https://www.ikonpass.com/en/ikon-base-pass
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Quote:
@YetiManMark, for the sake of £51 and 2.5 hours its a no brainer to be honest- go west


This. Skiing out west is far superior if you have a choice
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Thanks, so still looking at about $100/day (out West) for the passes?
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https://www.onthesnow.co.uk/united-states/skipass.html
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Well, thats a long list. Going to need some time to digest all that. I am guessing that the cheaper ones are the smaller resorts with one or two lifts and a few runs?
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Quote:
Thanks, so still looking at about $100/day (out West) for the passes?


If your only looking at 7 days skiing yes. The real value of those passes is that you get unlimited skiing over the whole season - but not much use if you are only there a week. Still works out cheaper than buying day tickets as you go though.

What is your reason for choosing America? It doesn't seem to fit your requirements too well:

Quote:
Novices

lessons in USA are usually very good (but expensive). While there is nothing wrong with America for novices you could get a similar experience in Europe for a fraction of the cost.

Quote:
we just like to be out on the mountain, cruising at decent speeds

Europe is far better for extensive piste cruising. Also far better on mountain dining/drinking. Big advantage of USA is that they control everything in bounds so lots of off piste opportunities - but I don't think this is what you are looking for?

Quote:
Ski-in ski-out would be nice

Not happening in USA unless you want to spend lots of money.

Quote:
apres-ski

Not really much apres, definitely no comparison to Europe.

It seems that Europe would fit a lot better and be a fraction of the cost.
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Go west - buy either an Ikon or Epic pass based on where you think you might like, book cars early for best prices. You can leave accon longer based on refing you plan. Go for at least 10 days or longer.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Going west is a strong argument. Better snow, bigger mountains, and resort towns and villages right at the base of the mountains in many cases. That being said, I grew up skiing in the east and still get back there every year and it certainly has its charms, particularly if you want to check out Boston or NYC, or even Montreal. Speaking of which, Montreal could be an interesting option if there's good flights. Great city, and close to Tremblant which is one of the top eastern resorts. The Canadian dollar is a bit weaker too so your money might go further there. Montreal is also a closer gateway to Jay Peak.

Just avoid Presidents Week and you'll be fine. The weekdays will be dead empty but weekends get really busy, so try to make sure your ski days are more on the weekdays. In Maine, Sunday River and Sugarloaf are good options. In VT, the Sugarbush valley could be a good base, as you could also do a day trip to Stowe and Killington. Stowe could be a good base too as from there you're 45 min to Sugarbush and a bit more to Jay.

I grew up skiing at Stratton in southern VT and still have a place there. It's really nice around there too, and you have Bromley, Okemo and Mt Snow all within 45 min.

In terms of lift tickets, it's a rip off if you just buy at the ticket window. Most resorts have big discounts if you buy way ahead online. For example at Stratton last season, the day ticket was $115. But they had some card that you buy and it gives you $$ off each day and the 4th day free so it averaged out to probably $70 a day. They also had a promo deal email at one point for $50 day tickets but there was a limited supply. And I'm sure other resorts do similar stuff, so once you pick your resort, probably best to sign up to their newsletter or any email offers etc.

For places to stay, aside from inns and hotels, consider Airbnb and HomeAway for house rentals.
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marcs44 wrote:
Going west is a strong argument. Better snow, bigger mountains, and resort towns and villages right at the base of the mountains in many cases. That being said, I grew up skiing in the east and still get back there every year and it certainly has its charms, particularly if you want to check out Boston or NYC, or even Montreal. Speaking of which, Montreal could be an interesting option if there's good flights. Great city, and close to Tremblant which is one of the top eastern resorts. The Canadian dollar is a bit weaker too so your money might go further there. Montreal is also a closer gateway to Jay Peak.

Just avoid Presidents Week and you'll be fine. The weekdays will be dead empty but weekends get really busy, so try to make sure your ski days are more on the weekdays. In Maine, Sunday River and Sugarloaf are good options. In VT, the Sugarbush valley could be a good base, as you could also do a day trip to Stowe and Killington. Stowe could be a good base too as from there you're 45 min to Sugarbush and a bit more to Jay.

I grew up skiing at Stratton in southern VT and still have a place there. It's really nice around there too, and you have Bromley, Okemo and Mt Snow all within 45 min.

In terms of lift tickets, it's a rip off if you just buy at the ticket window. Most resorts have big discounts if you buy way ahead online. For example at Stratton last season, the day ticket was $115. But they had some card that you buy and it gives you $$ off each day and the 4th day free so it averaged out to probably $70 a day. They also had a promo deal email at one point for $50 day tickets but there was a limited supply. And I'm sure other resorts do similar stuff, so once you pick your resort, probably best to sign up to their newsletter or any email offers etc.

For places to stay, aside from inns and hotels, consider Airbnb and HomeAway for house rentals.


Thanks Marcs44 - that's really helpful. Actually someone at work suggested AirBNB so had a look earlier and there are quite a few houses/chalets at <$200/night that would work out quite cheap between 6 of us, so that's definitely worth considering. Thanks for the tips on early tickets and newsletter sign-up.

Mark
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boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:
Thanks, so still looking at about $100/day (out West) for the passes?


If your only looking at 7 days skiing yes. The real value of those passes is that you get unlimited skiing over the whole season - but not much use if you are only there a week. Still works out cheaper than buying day tickets as you go though.

Understood - yes if you are there for longer than 7 days then they do look very good value. Wish we could go for longer Happy but work commitments dictate otherwise (especially if spending a couple of days on a city break as well)

Quote:

What is your reason for choosing America? It doesn't seem to fit your requirements too well:

Just something different really. There are a few in the group who have never been to the States before and would love to go. We do ski in Europe every year - between the group we have 3 apartments in Bulgaria (not as impressive as it sounds Smile )

Its something different and wanting to sample the experience on that side of the pond.
Quote:

Quote:
Novices

lessons in USA are usually very good (but expensive). While there is nothing wrong with America for novices you could get a similar experience in Europe for a fraction of the cost.

Understood - sometimes though it is worth the extra for a good instructor. Agreed we could get better value for money in Europe. Depending on exactly who comes on the trip from the wider group, although I said novices, they will have a couple of trips and some previous lessons under their belts, so they wont totally be "Bambi on ice", but I would expect a couple of lessons to be on the cards - so thanks for the warning.

Quote:

Quote:
we just like to be out on the mountain, cruising at decent speeds

Europe is far better for extensive piste cruising. Also far better on mountain dining/drinking. Big advantage of USA is that they control everything in bounds so lots of off piste opportunities - but I don't think this is what you are looking for?

Less interested in the dining on the mountain - just curious and good to know if it is there or not if we did need it. Mostly we would take a pack lunch. Shame there is not the same level of cruising available, off piste - possibly - would not be averse to a bit of this, but it is not high on the priority list

Quote:

Quote:
Ski-in ski-out would be nice

Not happening in USA unless you want to spend lots of money.

OK, that's out then Happy although everywhere we have been in Europe has not been ski-in/ski out so not a biggie, would have been nice though.

Quote:

Quote:
apres-ski

Not really much apres, definitely no comparison to Europe.

As long as there are places to eat and have a couple of beers I think we would be happy - not looking to party all night.

Quote:

It seems that Europe would fit a lot better and be a fraction of the cost.

Yes, looking at the costs so far I absolutely agree and in fairness we do go to Europe every year - we really like going to Andorra (I know some people look down on it) - lots of skiable area and pretty cheap, but we want to try the States, even if just to say that we have done it (plus the option of a visit to NYC)
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YetiManMark wrote:
Well, thats a long list. Going to need some time to digest all that. I am guessing that the cheaper ones are the smaller resorts with one or two lifts and a few runs?


Not always. But generally yes
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 Poster: A snowHead
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If you've never been to the US before make it worthwhile and go for longer and try to go places that will let you see or do things that just aren't possible in Europe. For me that isn't seeing a big busy concrete city and a ski resort with mediocre snow coverage - out west you could ski Colorado with a side trip to Moab for real cowboy country scenery (Think Westworld, John Ford movies) or combine San Francisco with skiing Tahoe and a side trip to some gold rush towns etc or Vegas & Mammoth.
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If you want different, city break, great value for money, ski-in ski-out, long runs, great views, great food

Gudauri Ski Resort and Tbilisi, Georgia

http://www.gudauri.ski/eng
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Quote:
We go to Europe every year


You go to Bulgaria and Andorra. Europe is a pretty big place France, Italy, Scandinavia all provide different experiences. So I wouldn't rule them out based on that.

I think your priorities make a big difference. If you want to visit new York/Boston with a bit of skiing on the side east coast may be sufficient. Colorado definitely has better skiing, but makes new York/Boston more difficult if you are limited by time.

If you want a mix of skiing and city Vancouver and whistler is another option (assuming you are ok with Canada). Big benefit of whistler is that you stay in the village so no car travelling to the hill each day. Perhaps the best apres in n America.
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I used to hanker after skiing in the States but it passed and I now realise it made no sense.

I have travelled a lot in the States though so it would purely be for skiing for me.

Places like Georgia or Japan would interest me more these days.

I think we're perhaps a bit blase about the skiing in Europe - quite naturally I guess seeing as that is the place most of us ski most of the time.
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And if you've only skied Andorra and Bulgaria with all due respect you need to sample more of Europe before America makes sense IMO.

Go to the US for a non-skiing holiday when you get the chance.
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boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:
We go to Europe every year


You go to Bulgaria and Andorra. Europe is a pretty big place France, Italy, Scandinavia all provide different experiences. So I wouldn't rule them out based on that.

Those were examples - we have also been to a number of other resorts in France and Italy as well as Slovenia and Spain (admittedly not Switzerland or Scandinavia though), and we are not ruling them out for future trips. This thread is about one trip, one year (2018/19 season) where we are thinking we would like to go to the States. We may still slip in a long weekend somewhere in Europe as well.

Then we will be back to Europe again next year, maybe even Georgia (as has been suggested above).

If the point is "don't go Stateside, it's rubbish, costs more and the skiing is not as good" then that's fine. Are there no redeeming features at all?

Quote:

I think your priorities make a big difference. If you want to visit new York/Boston with a bit of skiing on the side east coast may be sufficient. Colorado definitely has better skiing, but makes new York/Boston more difficult if you are limited by time.

Well, it is a ski holiday, but we are not the sorts who have to spend every waking minute on the mountain, so the opportunity to do something like a few days in NYC appeals.

Quote:

If you want a mix of skiing and city Vancouver and whistler is another option (assuming you are ok with Canada). Big benefit of whistler is that you stay in the village so no car travelling to the hill each day. Perhaps the best apres in n America.

Not averse to Canada Happy
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Layne wrote:
And if you've only skied Andorra and Bulgaria with all due respect you need to sample more of Europe before America makes sense IMO.

Go to the US for a non-skiing holiday when you get the chance.

They are not the only places, they were examples. Apologies if this was not clear.

Personally I have been to the States many times both work and pleasure (including twice so far this year LA+Hawaii in April and Miami a couple of weeks ago - neither good for skiing I know Happy, and will be going to Connecticut in August) but never anywhere where Skiing is possible.
Some of the others have also been to the States (one lived in Texas for a couple of years), some have not and would like to.
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Quote:
If the point is "don't go Stateside, it's rubbish, costs more and the skiing is not as good" then that's fine. Are there no redeeming features at all?


Skiing in North America is different to Europe. If it's better or worse depends on what you are looking for. Personally I much prefer n America, but my interests are a lot different from what you describe yours as. For me the biggest advantage is the in bounds off piste.

Quote:

Well, it is a ski holiday, but we are not the sorts who have to spend every waking minute on the mountain, so the opportunity to do something like a few days in NYC appeals.


In that case whistler may be the best option. You can get direct flights into Vancouver and bus transfer to whistler. At whistler there are a lot of non-skiing activities, lots of bars restaurants, and providing you stay in the village you can walk to the lifts. It's one of the biggest resorts in n America so offers a decent amount of piste cruising (although not in the same league as the big euro resorts). Vancouver is a nice enough city for a few days too (although no comparison to NYC).
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YetiManMark wrote:
Layne wrote:
And if you've only skied Andorra and Bulgaria with all due respect you need to sample more of Europe before America makes sense IMO.

Go to the US for a non-skiing holiday when you get the chance.

They are not the only places, they were examples. Apologies if this was not clear.

Personally I have been to the States many times both work and pleasure (including twice so far this year LA+Hawaii in April and Miami a couple of weeks ago - neither good for skiing I know Happy, and will be going to Connecticut in August) but never anywhere where Skiing is possible.
Some of the others have also been to the States (one lived in Texas for a couple of years), some have not and would like to.

All understood. As I haven't been I can't comment other than what I said already and that I've always followed these sort of threads with interest. My children certainly killed the idea aswell more recently. I think if ever go it will be when they've grown up as part of a 2-3 week tour but then again Georgia and Japan might come first. If, of course, they come at all. We all like to dream!

Good luck with the trip whatever you decide wink Very Happy snowHead
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LA in April is fine for skiing just MTFU and drive across the Mojave to Mammoth.

I really think you've got a bunch of conflicting priorities, you seem to be budget sensitive yet want to add on what will inevitably be an expensive city break, you seem to have skiing requirements which are firmly satisfied by a bigger Euro resort like anywhere in 3V(& actually a lot more diificult to satisfy in the US), you baulk at paying the lift pass prices in the US yet probably won't be taking advantage of what the US does offer over Europe etc.

I'd suggest you sit down (or Whatsapp or whatever) with your group and really bottom out priorities - if you all agree it can be a big trip going for 2 weeks then the US/Canada and a couple of locations plus city starts to make sense. If you really only want 6 days skiing go to Europe then have a separate city break to Prague or wherever at some other time.
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+1 for advice from @Dave of the Marmottes,

When I've skied in USA it has been a roughly 50/50 skiing/sightseeing trip. For example San Fran with Tahoe & Mammoth; Denver with Vail & Steamboat Springs; Salt Lake City with Park City; Boston & NY with several Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire ski areas. 2 weeks or more per trip. Times when £ strong against dollar and cheap flights available.

Although I enjoyed all the trips, the skiing, for me, never matched what's on offer in Europe. I wouldn't go to N. America primarily for skiing. If your group is determined to ski N.America then the furthest away places are best IMO, eg Colorado, Utah, Whistler, Tahoe. snowHead
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YetiManMark wrote:
... Are there no redeeming features at all?

If you're thinking of crossing the Atlantic to go to Jay Peak, probably few redeeming features other than the odd decent breakfast.

I'm not sure if you're serious with any of this, but I suppose I'll bite...
  • American and European resorts operate in a fundamentally different way. In Europe you're riding on piste or you're on your own, so there are lots of runs and lots of lifts, because that's where most people are most of the time. In the US hills tend to be smaller with fewer lifts... but you can ride anywhere - on the pistes or between them, all of which is equally safe and equally patrolled and controlled. You're going to ride the same lift more times in North America, but you aren't going to be riding the same piste to get back to the bottom each time. If you're on your own, you're not restricted to the pistes as you are in Europe, because it's safe to ride anywhere.
  • The American climate is different. In the good places (you didn't mention any), the snowfall is significant and the quality of snow is broadly a revelation to anyone used to what passes for powder in Europe.
  • America is a big place and the population isn't concentrated like Europe, so you find resort sizes and distribution is different. Many ski hills didn't really grow out of villages the same way they did in Europe, which makes things different.
  • Accommodation appears more expensive, but they don't have any teeny horrible places... I generally find North America cheaper comparing like-for-like. Cheapskate in North America can be done, but probably not through tour operators; the market doesn't work that way.

There is a fair cultural difference, so if you're used to skiing in Europe, then it may take a while to work out how things are different and how to get the best out of them.
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YetiManMark wrote:

If the point is "don't go Stateside, it's rubbish, costs more and the skiing is not as good" then that's fine. Are there no redeeming features at all?

No redeeming features at all! Absolutely none whatsoever! Toofy Grin

I'm serious. That is, for your group, with your stated priorities.

What's my qualification? I'm a transplanted Yank. I've been live in NYC and skiing in New England for more than 10 years.

The funny thing is, the last time I skied in Europe was something like 7 or 8 years ago. Despite the insanely cheap airfare to Europe by the like of Norwegian air, I've skied exclusively in the States for the past 8-9 years. Why? I like skiing here in the states! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Quote:
boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:
We go to Europe every year


You go to Bulgaria and Andorra. Europe is a pretty big place France, Italy, Scandinavia all provide different experiences. So I wouldn't rule them out based on that.

Those were examples - we have also been to a number of other resorts in France and Italy as well as Slovenia and Spain (admittedly not Switzerland or Scandinavia though), and we are not ruling them out for future trips. This thread is about one trip, one year (2018/19 season) where we are thinking we would like to go to the States. We may still slip in a long weekend somewhere in Europe as well.

Then we will be back to Europe again next year, maybe even Georgia (as has been suggested above).

You've been to many countries in Europe, but you list Andorra and Bulgaria as "example" of Europe. Is it fair that I assume you like those two more than France and Italy? Perhaps due to cost?

If so, coming across the pond to ski in the States will cost you more, mostly due to lift pass costs. That aside, Boston and NYC are not cheap.

Put bluntly, don't go to the State to look for skiing like you'll find in Europe, YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED, MASSIVELY! You want skiing like Europe? Go to Europe!


Quote:
Quote:

I think your priorities make a big difference. If you want to visit new York/Boston with a bit of skiing on the side east coast may be sufficient. Colorado definitely has better skiing, but makes new York/Boston more difficult if you are limited by time.

Well, it is a ski holiday, but we are not the sorts who have to spend every waking minute on the mountain, so the opportunity to do something like a few days in NYC appeals.

- For a city break with a bit of skiing throw in? New England will be fine.
- For the kind of skiing you're looking for alone, without breaking the bank? Absolute no. Not anywhere in the States!
- For a skiing holiday with some city touring... MAYBE, if you don't mind paying for it.
- You're ready for a 180 degree change of what skiing is about, and what a great city New York or Boston is about... ABSOLUTELY!

That, is the ONE redeeming feature of skiing in the States: it will likely put what you think skiing is about on its head!

Many snowheads cross the pond and found ski heaven in the States. But many of those tend to be competent skiers, can enjoy off-piste (or at least mentally ready to the challenge), or at least ready to pay for instruction to get into off-piste skiing.

If, after careful consideration, your group still decide to cross the pond to ski, I can help fill in some of the blanks.

(2 things jump out on me:

1. Of your dates, 3rd week of Feb is the US equivalent of half term. You want to avoid that like a plague.4
2. Take Jay Peak off your list. It's no good for anyone but the most committed off-piste skiers who don't mind eating tree barks every so often. Wink Yours truly proudly proclaim being one such! Toofy Grin )
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
try Sunday river, three hors frm boston, sensible verticle, mix of slopes, get an Ikon pass and you can ski other nearby hills too.
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Ok, so lots of responses there.... i'll try to unpick them.

Let's start with cost..... so, cheapskate and baulking at cost have been mentioned. Thanks for that.

Quote:
you seem to be budget sensitive


Quote:
you baulk at paying the lift pass prices


Quote:
Cheapskate in North America can be done


So, I have not picked my words wisely (I wasn't expecting what I said to be forensically picked apart when asking for advice)

We appreciate that going to America will cost more than nipping over to Europe. The question is how much more? Quite happy for it to be more because it is a different experience, but when it's immediately looking like twice the price, and headline figures look to be $350+ per night then yes, we would reconsider going.

My thoughts are that when I look at headline prices on European resorts, I know that I would be able to get deals and/or packages (even if that is only something like including meals on the mountain), but I don't know about opportunities for doing that in the States, so I am asking more along the lines of how to get the best deal on price, not because we want to do it on the cheap but because we don't want to pay more than needed.

There is a difference between being cost effective and being cheap/tight! You can disagree with that assessment, and that's fine. But if you pay $200 for something and someone then tells you it was available for $120 you would likely not be happy.


This question is not about should we go to the States vs should we go to Europe. Europe would win each time in terms of bang for buck and convenience. We have decided that we would like to go to the States and experience something different, the very fact of "being in the US" is a big draw for those who have not been - even if they don't fully understand what that means. Feel free to criticise that statement, but it is what it is.

As for the expense of adding a city break for a few days, that's fine and expected.



so to answer some other points that have been raised:

Quote:
You've been to many countries in Europe, but you list Andorra and Bulgaria as "example" of Europe. Is it fair

that I assume you like those two more than France and Italy? Perhaps due to cost?

Yes, I did list those as examples. It is fair to say we visit them more often - they are the two staple areas that we will do one of each year (and then generally go somewhere else as well). To elaborate on why: Bulgaria because we were stupid enough to have bought apartments there (different and long story) so are tied to it Sad, and Andorra because it is where several of us first learned to ski so have a soft spot for it. So yes, there are cost benefits - we don't need to pay for accommodation in Bulgaria and know the resort and all it's tricks inside out and Andorra is cheaper than most of the alpine resorts, yes, but that is not the only reason for going there.

For other places we have been to:
Tignes, Les Duex Alpes, Baqueira, Bled, Courchevel and Zermatt. I'm sorry that the list of other locations is not longer, it will be over the coming years.


Let's move on, back to the original topic.....

It's clear that I do not know about Skiing in the States (none of us in the group do). That's why I came on here asking for advice from people who do know about it. I thought that's what the forum was about.

Lots of comments like:
Quote:
You're ready for a 180 degree change of what skiing is about,

Quote:
don't go to the States to look for skiing like you'll find in Europe, YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED

Quote:
Many ski hills didn't really grow out of villages the same way they did in Europe, which makes things different.

Quote:
Skiing in North America is different to Europe.

Quote:
There is a fair cultural difference,

Quote:
ONE redeeming feature of skiing in the States: it will likely put what you think skiing is about on its head!

Quote:
won't be taking advantage of what the US does offer over Europe



So, assume I am thick - what does this mean in reality? @philwig 's post above was very helpful. Is this the fundamental difference (more emphasis on "safe" off-piste and lots more snow) or are there other things? and if so, please can I have some examples of what to expect that is so different?



Quote:
1. Of your dates, 3rd week of Feb is the US equivalent of half term. You want to avoid that like a plague.
2. Take Jay Peak off your list. It's no good for anyone but the most committed off-piste skiers who don't mind eating tree barks every so often. Yours truly proudly proclaim being one such!

Not a fan of crashing into trees Toofy Grin, but this is the kind of help I was hoping for, thank you.



Lastly - just to reply to this Happy:
Quote:
LA in April is fine for skiing just MTFU and drive across the Mojave to Mammoth.

Toofy Grin unfortunately, whilst manning up and doing that that would be fine for me (6 hour drive doesn't phase me at all) Happy having a non-skiing wife (yes, yes, I know, I have tried) who is expecting to be spending her holiday on Santa Monica and Waikiki beaches.....means that doing so would be very hazardous to my marriage, if not my health (or both)!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

For other places we have been to:

Tignes, Les Duex Alpes, Baqueira, Bled, Courchevel and Zermatt. I'm sorry that the list of other locations is not longer, it will be over the coming years.

Now I see the list of your European skiing history, seems your group do like to go to slightly less obvious destinations from time to time. So crossing the pond could very well be a good change again![

Of the fundamental differences...

Quote:

Is this the fundamental difference (more emphasis on "safe" off-piste and lots more snow) or are there other things? and if so, please can I have some examples of what to expect that is so different?

North American skiing is MORE of a adrenalin sport than a social event. It's still a social outing for majority of skiers. Just the balance is far over to the sporting side. Mountains are setup to cater to that.

Instead of ski domains spanning several valleys like in Europe, most US "ski area" are just one or two peaks in the wilderness completely devoted to "inbound" skiing. Yes, in the east, there're well defined "pistes". But you'll also see people zipping in and out of the forest between pistes. Out west, you'll often see big wide open "bowl" where you simply ski every which way your heart's desire!

Apres is typically off the mountain, with a few rare exceptions of a lone bar at the bottom lift. Majority of ski mountains have no slope-side lodging. So the few on mountain lodging can charge whatever they want. Hence the eye watering cost.

And that's on top of the eye watering lift pass cost. Sad
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Onto lift passes. Can open, worm everywhere...

Lift passes tend to be quite a bit more expensive compare to Europe. At least the "window rate".

The ski market in the US had undergone a fundamental change the last 10 years. To the great disadvantage of the casual social skiers. Two big ski corporation take bought up many mountains and jack up their daily rate significantly while offering dirt cheap season passes that are good for multiple mountains.

For European skiers, one of the pass that worth looking into is the epic pass (vailresort.com), which has a European component. You mention your group may nip over to Europe for a weekend in addition to the trip to the States. That may put you in good position to take advantage of that pass.

As for discounts, yes they exist. But typically only in the 10-20% range. The channels are:

1) lodging combo -- on mountain lodging almost ALWAYS come with lift pass discounts. Even off-mountain lodging in the surrounding often offers ski packages too.

2) online purchase -- typically you buy online 1 to many days in advance. Many mountains' website redirect you to some "platform" that offers a small discount. Then, there's liftopia.com, the biggest "ticket consolidator", where you can buy tickets early in the season for a substantial discount.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@YetiManMark, Sorry if you felt marked out as a cheapskate - but when a primary motivator seemed to be to go to inferior East Coast areas becasue the flight was cheaper it was a natural conclusion that price was a factor.

As for US skiing. Very few places have the sort of groomed piste mileage you can clock up in Europe. A resort with 20 lifts is by US standards huge and there are many that operate on effectively 5 to 10 lifts (if you set aside bunny lifts). The proportion of people skiing off groomers is probably a lot larger and if you go by the trail map you will find that a lot of the more difficult runs (anything above blue) may be rarely if ever groomed. It is not uncommon on a powder day for instance to only find a single run that is groomed per lift, the locals would get pretty angry any other way if that nice powder is bashed out of existence. So a common complaint for European piste skiers is "we went to XXXX but they didn't really have many pistes". To get the best out of US skiing you should be comfortable skiing off piste in a variety of conditions : powder, crud, wind affected and particularly in narrow chutes or tree breaks and through trees. And of course bumps. Do you have to do all that? No. Thousands go to places like Breckenridge and Vail and Whistler and cruise around groomers like in Europe. Is that really making the best of the terrain on offer? Not at all.

I have skied in the US a lot. I would never deliberately go to the East coast to ski. I have sacked off skiing on more than one trip when all that has been available was groomers (not least because when resorts are reliant on man made the runs that are open can be horrendously overcrowded)
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Quote:

Not a fan of crashing into trees

Me neither. Shocked

But ducking branches and jumping over roots is part of the fun Toofy Grin


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Fri 22-06-18 23:38; edited 1 time in total
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Pretty good summary by @Dave of the Marmottes, about the differences in skiing in n America Vs Europe. To get the most out of n American resorts you need to be comfortable off piste; skiing trees, bowls, chutes, steeps, bumps etc. If you go there to cruise pisted runs you will be disappointed - Europe is far better (and cheaper) for piste cruising.

From everything you say Europe makes far more sense in terms of your skiing interests. Have you considered doing a week in USA non-skiing holiday and then a week skiing in Europe? Would cost no more - quite possibly less even.

Of course if you want to ski in USA you can, but it's a bit like someone saying "I really like old buildings, history, and Italian food - where do you recommend us visiting in Dubai?"
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boarder2020 wrote:
To get the most out of n American resorts you need to be comfortable off piste; skiing trees, bowls, chutes, steeps, bumps etc. If you go there to cruise pisted runs you will be disappointed - Europe is far better (and cheaper) for piste cruising.

I disagree on the "need to be comfortable" part, especially regarding trees and chutes.

Just because many Europeans specifically cross the pond to seek those out doesn't means that's all there is in the States. Most mountains have much that aren't super gnarly. After all, there're plenty of American skiers who ski casually just like their European counterparts. In fact, they're the majority of the skiing population in the States. It's just American skiers casually goes off-piste too! Smile

Moreover, the only way to get "comfortable" with anything is to do it often (perhaps with a lesson or two). The States is the best place to do it, for the first time, and for the n'th time! (That's how American skiers got so "comfortable" zipping off the groomed piste frequently after all)

New England isn't the best destination for pure skiing. But it's not a bad combination for city break AND a good bit of skiing. Mountains that has been mentioned: Sunday River, Stowe, Okemo & Stratton all have decent amount of pistes for cruising for a few days. Though a week will be stretching it if you refuse to try some off-piste.

Catching a flight to the Rockies will give you the best of both world. Colorado has the best balance for a mixed ability group, but seriously lacks in activities for the non-skiing contingents of the group.

The 6 hour drive from LA to Mammoth is quite scenic. Same with the drive from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe. The drive out of Salt Lake City or Denver to the mountains are short so not an issue (actually, both are quite scenic). The same can't be said for the drive from NYC to Stowe Sad

Once you cross the pond, you're in a different CONTINENT. So many things will be quite different. That can either be refreshing or annoying depending on the mindset.
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@YetiManMark, just to chip in, East coast skiing is massively changeable, can be raining, can be fantastic snow, could be feckin freezing. I wouldn't cross the Atlantic to ski there. If I was in the area I'd ski a few days and go last minute depending on the weather. As others have said, it's a much smaller mountain generally. Study the Killington Piste map as that's one of the biggest in the area. They get a high count on number of runs as multiple runs off the same lift. Check the amount of actual lifts!! https://www.killington.com/the-mountain/trail-area-maps/winter-trail-guide

I *would* and have crossed the Atlantic to ski the west coast, I got a cracker of a deal to Vail and had a good time. We also went to Jacksons Hole over New Year and also had a great holiday, but included things like dog sledding in there.

Some years the USA have had much worse snow (even in the fabled Utah resorts) than Europe, some years they've had epic snow!!

The good bits for me is great customer service, good queue management and the ability so ski anywhere "in bounds". On hill eating is very poor compared to Europe. Off hill can be good if you do your research.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
kitenski wrote:
@YetiManMark, just to chip in, East coast skiing is massively changeable, can be raining, can be fantastic snow, could be feckin freezing. I wouldn't cross the Atlantic to ski there. If I was in the area I'd ski a few days and go last minute depending on the weather.

By late Feb or early March, it's rare to be freaking freezing. Though it's possible to be raining, it's more likely to be just a few drop here and there, for a couple hours at most. Also, there's usually a fair bit of snow on piste by then so decent skiing can be have "usually". Of course there can be exceptions.

Since I live here, I typically go away some place else in December and January, as the skiing in New England during those months tend to be hit or miss. But by mid-Feb, the odds are in our favor. March is quite often the best, especially the 1st half of March.

I'm not advocating crossing the pond just to ski New England. But if a city break is part of the trip, with time and money being a significant constraint, it's worth consider skiing in New England.
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Quote:


Some years the USA have had much worse snow (even in the fabled Utah resorts) than Europe, some years they've had epic snow!!



The last 9 years the lowest snow fall in a single year for Snowbird (Utah) has been 783cm, with most years being around 1000cm or more. Most European resorts would be very happy with 783cm, whereas there it was a bad year. Of course nothing is certain about weather and certainly Europe outperforming certain areas of n America this year. However, the vast majority of the time n America gets way more snow than Europe - some of the resorts *average* over 1000cm per year which is way above European resorts.

Of course Japan is a better choice than both for guaranteed deep powder
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You could give Mont Tremblant in Canada a look too - easy transfer.
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