New Englad Ski Tourby david daly on 01/10/11
I recently embarked on a dream ski trip hitting up a bunch of ski resorts all over New England and it really was an amazing vacation! Christmas is always the most expensive time to travel and I always urge clients to save their more exotic vacations for other times during the year. Christmas vacation is an ideal time to take advantage of nearby destinations and cash-in invites to visit friends and family near interesting places!
I began at Okemo in Vermont where my sister convieniently lives. For early season skiing there is no safer bet than Okemo- they have the best snowmaking force in the East and proved their superiority once again with the most open terrain on the east coast for the holidays, and some attrcative $39 midweek offers for their mobile fan base :)
Next stop was Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch, NH which is a state-owned ski resort in the northern White Mountains. Somehow, Franconia Notch seems to pick up 2 feet of snow every time a small system swings through that leaves 2 inches at the other resorts. The conditions here were excellent! Also, the scenery is astounding with distant views of Mount Washington from the base to summit Arial Tram (so cool!!). Since it is state-owned, the prices are quite reasonable at $67 for an adult weekend lift ticket (Ski Magazine voted Cannon "Best Value for the East").
My home for the nest week was at the loveley Eastern Slope Inn in North Conway, NH. I traded a september vacation week from my unit at Jackson Gore with RCI in exchange for a free week here over the holidays- score!! Cranmore Mountain is across the street and offered a very fun (and cheap- $59) ski day for a local hill. I was blessed with the enormous blizzard that swept through New England on my first day, so every resort had some fresh powder!
The Blizzard of 2010 also brought some severe winds which required me to take off a day of skiing while in North Conway. Not a big deal since there is a TON to do in this quaint mountain town. I filled up the day of "rest" with some outlet shopping, a scenic train ride, a snowmobile tour, followed by some tubing action at Cranmore. To finish up, I discovered the Flatbread Pizza Company in the hotel was perhaps the best (and affordable meal) ive ever eaten!! No wonder there were 2 hour waits for tables every night.
Finally the wind calmed down and I headed up to Wildcat Mountain in the White Mountain National Forest. BIG MISTAKE! Even with the new snow, they barely had enough terrain open to keep me occupied for 2 hours. I had to wait on line for 30 minutes to buy a lift ticket ($70!!!!) and they delayed the opening of the one and only main lift until 10am, even though the wind had stopped. By 11:30 am I was bored of the overpriced mountain and decided to head down the road to their sister ski resort- Attitash- where you can ski with the same lift ticket. BIG MISTAKE #2!! Attitash was a sheet of ice by 1pm with crowded trails and hardly any sign of the fresh snowfall. I lasted 3 runs before calling it quits.
For my final ski day in NH I headed to Bretton Woods, located directly in front of the impressive Mount Washinton white peaks. As I pulled into the parking lot, I was informed that they were out of parking due to the incredible snow storm over the holidays which left them with 34 inches of freshies!! I glanced up at the beautiful blue sky and abundent snow and knew there was zero chance of me leaving. Instead, I obediently turned out of the parking lot and went across the street to the glorious Mount Washington Hotel where I pretended I was a guest for lunch. I then, parked my car, snuck onto their free ski shuttle, and was dropped off at the lift back at Bretton Woods. Drastic Times call for drastic measures. Bretton Woods was the best ski day of the trip! Amazing snow- 100% of terrain opened and despite the crowds in the parking lot- the mountain felt empty!! I was in heaven.
My New England Ski Tour was so much fun that I didnt even mind taking 2 days off from skiing once I made it down to Dorset, VT for New Years Eve. I may be looking to repeat the adventure again next year, but then again what are the chances for a such a perfectly timed repeat blizzard of 2011?