- Ski Season 2018: Here's what's new at New England resorts
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The bitter cold temperatures helped snowmakers, but resulted in a few ski areas actually closing for a day or two because very few wanted to even go skiing in the below-zero temperatures. Now snowmakers are working to recover from this week's unwelcome thaw. Here are some of improvements and new programs people will see when they hit the slopes this year:. Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley added a new glade on Burnt mountain, and with that improvement is offering snowcat skiing and riding in that area, which opened in Crews worked during the summer to create a road for the snowcats and thinned about new acres of woods to add to the existing glades.
The area installed a new fixed grip triple chair, replacing the aging Spruce Peak Triple chair. The new lift, which feeds mostly intermediate and expert terrain, is about three minutes faster, getting people to the top of the mountain in eight minutes. Like many mountains, Sunday River also improved its snowmaking by adding 17 new technology hydrants and 8, feet of new snowmaking pipe to make the system more efficient.
The new hydrants allow snowmakers to automatically turn on guns by computer. Massachusetts has 12 ski areas across the state, with the majority located in the Berkshires. A number also offer night skiing for people who want to take a few turns after work. This year, Gov. Charlie Baker proclaimed Jan. Although that has passed, the good news is a wide variety of ski areas across the state and New England will be offering different low-cost lesson and rental packages to people who want to try snowboarding or skiing any time in January.
A view of the valley from Berkshire East Ski area. The new Thunder trail is a top-to-bottom one that winds down the east side of the mountain. It runs under the wind turbine the ski area installed a few years ago to reduce its carbon footprint, said Gabriel Porter-Henry, marketing director.
Berkshire East also added a shorter green run, named Bolt, that will connect the existing Mohawk run to the new Thunder trail, he said. Berkshire East has continued upgrading its snowmaking so it can make more snow faster with less energy. This year it improved pumps and pipes and increased water storage, he said. Skiers will also see improvements to existing terrain as workers smoothed out trouble spots on different trails to make slopes more consistent and less prone to icing or having other problems, Porter-Henry said.
A child gets some help with the rope tow at Blandford Ski Area in this past photo. The new managers are working to make improvements but have hit some snags so the area is not expected to re-open until February at the earliest. Those who have bought seasons' passes are welcome to ski at Otis Ridge or Ski Butternut at no cost until Blandford opens. The new owners are doing a lot of basic maintenance on the lifts and the snowmaking system. They have also made improvements to the rental and retail shop. It makes every mountain a little stronger. Although members of the Springfield Ski Club, which celebrated its 80 th anniversary in , were sad to sell the mountain they are seeing some benefits.
Everyone who pre-purchased a season's pass before the sale are getting money back because Butternut is charging a little less for the pass. Skiers enjoy fresh powder during a snowstorm in The sales were not formalized until Dec. The area also made some small renovations to its upper lodge and added WiFi in spots where it was not available, Bernard said. The new purchase will also give pass holders substantial discounts if they want to spend a day or two at Otis or Blandford, he said. The ski area will also continue its long-standing Thursday night special where people can ski, snowboard or tube from 3 to 9 p.
EGREMONT — Catamount improved snowmaking this year to allow it to recover quickly when the ski area receives unwelcome weather like this weekend's thaw.
Ski Season 2018: Here's what's new at New England resorts
Two new pumps have been added and some of the fleet of snowguns have been equipped with new nozzles and other replacement parts to ensure the area can make snow any time Mother Nature does not cooperate, said Rich Edwards, marketing director. The area has expanded its popular Mountain Adventures program, for children ages 7 to14, by adding freeride and freestyle lessons for kids who want to ski moguls, ride in the woods and learn how to safely hit the jumps in the terrain park. The weekly lessons pair the same instructor with the same children every week and the groups join together in the early morning so there is no waiting to hit the slopes, he said.
Under the variable pricing plan, people who reserve tickets ahead of time will see discounts of 30 to 50 percent depending on what day or days they want to come and how soon they book, said Katie Fogel, director of marketing for the mountain located in the Berkshires. The resort is offering a limited number of tickets at discounted rates for each day so people who know they are coming for a particular time should book as soon as possible to ensure they will be getting the best discount available. But even those who decide just a day or two in advance they want to ski or ride should check to see if there are discount tickets left, Fogel said.
The catch though is the tickets, available through April, are non-refundable and cannot be transferred so if the weather is bad or the skier or rider has to cancel plans the buyer is stuck with the ticket, she said. The same plan is also offered at Bromley Mountain, in Vermont, and Cranmore, in New Hampshire, which are also run by the Fairbank group. For frequent skiers or riders who are more spontaneous the value card is still offered, she said. In keeping a commitment to be environmentally-friendly, this summer Jiminy completed its program to replace all the lights used in night skiing to the brighter and more energy-efficient LED bulbs.
The resort also purchased a new groomer, which is more energy efficient, she said. A father teaches his son to ski at Otis Ridge in this past photo. Republican file. On the last day of it formalized ownership of the small ski area. This summer the new owners did a lot of work to improve the Grouse House Restaurant and Inn, said Ben Bernard, marketing assistant for Butternut and Otis. Improvements in snowmaking allowed the mountain to double the amount of water that can be carried to snowguns to 8, gallons a minute. The expansion allowed the ski area to open on Nov.
Snowmaking is at the forefront of many ski area upgrades this year in New Hampshire, continuing a trend that has been sparked by new high-tech snowguns which allow areas to make more snow faster and with less energy than before, said Karolyn Castaldo, communications and marketing manager for Ski New Hampshire. Several mountains are also implementing new RFID radio-frequency identification technology which substitutes a paper ticket for a card that automatically opens the gates to the lifts. The technology allows people who previously have purchased a card to buy online and reload their card for the day without waiting at ticket booths.
A few mountains have installed new lifts. Ski New Hampshire is also planning a special state weekend Jan. It also purchased 40 new tower snowmaking guns that are more energy efficient and should improve the quality of the snowmaking, Greg Fisher, vice president of marketing for Peak Resorts.
For the first time the resort will also have a new After Dark concert series on select weekends for the over 21 crowd.
The free shows will kick off with fireworks and then feature a variety of popular local bands such as Wanted DOA, a Bon Jovi tribute band. The program, done in partnership with Ski the Whites, will include rental equipment and lessons focused on navigating off piste terrain. Cannon, owned by the state of New Hampshire, made major electrical upgrades, built a mid-mountain snowmaking booster pump house and installed high-efficiency tower snowguns. The new pump house alone will move 50 percent more water so snowmaking on the upper mountain will be more efficient and faster.
The mountain is also holding other anniversary celebrations throughout the season.
The area also improved its snowmaking system, adding 86 new high-efficiency snowguns. It has also expanded night skiing hours to 8 p. This year it installed 11 hydrants on the Rampasture trail and upgraded snowmaking infrastructure on the West Basin area. The pass has a number of holiday blackout dates.
Pats Peak, in New Hampshire, has replaced its double chair with a new triple chair. Courtesy of Ski New Hampshire. HENNIKER, NH — The old double chair at Pats Peak has been replaced with a new triple chair which can bring 1, skiers and snowboards to the top of the mountain each hour, which is twice as many as the old chair could carry. Snowmaking already covers percent of the trails at Pats Peak. The area is also in the process of expanding and renovating the lodge to add more seating to the cafeteria area. It has added more skis and boots and snowboard boots to its rental equipment.
The mountain, which is owned by the State of New Hampshire, is managed by the Mueller family which also owns Okemo in Vermont. It is also debuting a radio frequency identification card which will replace traditional tickets. Once skiers and riders purchase the Real. Card they will be able to load it with a new lift ticket at the resort ticket booth or online before they hit the slopes. There are gently-sloped glades suitable for all skiing abilities, along with deep powder steeps jam-packed with trees.
Since opening in , Sugarloaf grown into the second largest ski area in the East, after Killington, with 1, ac of skiable terrain and the third highest vertical drop at 2, ft! Even when the natural white stuff is patchy here, ac of the ski terrain is covered by snow cannons to blast away those bald spots! That said, the base area does have a light sprinkling of decent lodging options, eateries, and drinking holes, not to mention an annual Reggae Fest.
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No wonder Vail Resorts snapped it up! Its snow record is one of the best in the East with an annual snowfall of in. You can get as high as 3, ft on the Gondola, with 2, ft of vertical drop back down to the base area, and there are a whole bunch of groomed trails offering speedy fall line routes down the mountain. Be prepared for the long lift queues though, as well as the traffic jams that occur when skiers leave the resort in the evening. Throw back a few samples, pick your favorite brew, and fill up your cooler with a few cans of exquisitely named beers like Focal Banger and Heady Topper!
Sugarbush really is an overlooked gem among its peers, with many skiers heading to nearby Killington, Stowe, or Mad River Glen over this double mountain resort. To put it simply, Sugarbush offers practically everything that those more popular ski areas boast, minus the crowds. So if you fancy schussing down a freshly groomed slope without queuing for a lift or dodging snowploughers this could be just the place for you!
Terrain: The resort is made up of two interconnected mountains, Lincoln Peak, where the majority of trails are, and Mount Ellen. That said, Sugarbush is not without its shortcomings. For lavish lodgings, look no further than Lincoln Peak Village. For these reasons and more, when it comes to the most practical ski destination in Vermont, Sugarbush is my top pick. Cross the border into Canada to find a ski resort that feels a world away, and not just because the locals speak French.
Tremblant is the Disneyland of the ski world with its colorful old Quebec-style village and cobblestone streets. Whether or not this sounds good depends on you, but the ac and 96 trails to ski here are the real deal. If tree skiing is your thing then go for some tight turns in the glades; The Edge section of the mountain on the North Side is great for this.
The in of annual snowfall here is a bit lacking compared to ski resorts of the West, but luckily they have over snow guns to cover ac of ski terrain. Go back. Pros 2, ft of uninterrupted vertical and a fast lift to lap it The best mountain views in the East Stay in the classic New England ski village of North Conway. Cons Ski area feels limited when ungroomed terrain is closed Chairlift to the summit is frequently closed when the wind picks up Basic base lodge in desperate need of updating.
Experts will find plenty to challenge them This place is all about skiing on natural snow Skiers only. Cons Trails are often not groomed and the snowmaking operation is severely limited Expect long lift lines on weekends and powder days Skiers only. Known for: Its gnarly terrain, natural beauty, and being a proud skier-owned mountain!
Pros A classic state park mountain for real skiers! Quality extreme terrain and serious racing runs on offer Dedicated beginners area is perfect for learning the basics. Known for: Genuine state park skiing with quieter slopes than Killington and Stowe. Known for: Its expert technical terrain and having hosted the Winter Olympics, twice!
Cons Inefficient trail and lift layout could leave you confused on the mountain Difficulty in skiing from summit to base makes total vertical drop misleading There are on-mountain dining options, though you could enjoy a better meal off-mountain. Known for: Enjoying the longest ski season across the entire East. Pros It is the snowiest ski resort in the East An abundance of glades to ski, with pitches from steep to gentle New base area development includes luxury lodgings and an indoor water park.
Known for: Having a wide variety of glades for the finest tree skiing anywhere in the East; has huge indoor waterpark with hot tubs! Pros Link to neighboring Burnt Mountain opens up huge backcountry-style area 2, ft of vertical puts it in the same league as many ski areas out West Lots of glades to explore, plus cat skiing. Known for: Being home to the only lift-serviced skiing above the tree line across the entire East.
The Ride and Ski Card | Lift Ticket Discounts All Season Long!
Cons Long lift queues The most expensive ski resort in the East Traffic jams are common when skiers leave the resort in the evening. Known for: Offering a delightful combination of expert ski terrain with indulgent hospitality. Known for: Not suffering from the big crowds usually found at nearby Killington and Stowe.
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Pros Diverse terrain suitable for all levels One of the most vibrant ski villages on the East Coast Excellent nightlife right next to the slopes A bilingual resort, with both English and French spoken. Cranmore Inn 2 x Adult 2-day Lift Ticket. View all ski packages for Wildcat Mountain Ski Resort.