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3 day trip 1st week of March - Bolton Valley or Sunday River

hudsonhacker

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I really only seem to post on this site when I have questions about trips with my kids. I do read a lot of the threads in this forum, but do not have time to ski that much right now.

Anyway, every spring I take my kids somewhere in New England on their March Break. Ski hills up in Quebec are insane busy that week, so we prefer heading south to go skiing. In the past we have done Jay a few times and Burke a few times. Both great trips, but we are looking for a new hill to try. Something that has ski in ski out lodging. We do not need fancy restaurants, water parks, bars, or shopping. We go to ski.

I realize it is hard to determine conditions a month out, but let's assume conditions are equal at both Bolton and Sunday River, which is better for a 3 day trip?

My son like glades, skis them well. He also enjoys just cruising with his sister and I. He is now 16 and has been on skis for 15 seasons, handles pretty much anything on skis.

My Daughter is probably a better technical skier than my son, but not as aggressive. She is 17, and has been on skis for 16 years. She can handle steep groomers no problem, but put her in tight glades and she slows way down. Wide open, low angle glades she dances through.

I am just wondering which hill would be better suited for them to experience... the difference in driving for us is about an hour and really makes little difference.

We wanted to go to Killington, then I started checking prices. Oh My God....they are giving Stowe a run for their money in that department. And yes, cost is a concern or else I would toss them on a plane and go to Jackson Hole!!!
 

KustyTheKlown

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bolton has some of the best tree skiing in vermont. but sunday river has plenty of great tree skiing as well.

bolton will be cheaper for both lifts and lodging. probably substantially so. unless you have ikon passes as quebecers/tremblant, which would make sunday river free to ski.

both are kind of dead after the ski day, but it doesnt sound like youre in this for apres or nightlife.

sunday river has a generally better lift infrastructure and more variety of terrain and lifts. they can really spread a crowd. whereas bolton is hardly ever crowded in the first place. 1/3 of bolton's terrain is relatively low elevation compared to the rest of the place, and the snow can rot faster there.

you can ski into the night at bolton, i think on the same daily lift ticket.
 

nhskier1969

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Have you looked into Sugarloaf?
Based on what you are saying about your kids, they could get bored at Sunday River. Pretty much everything is flattened out and groomed. By March Sugarloaf should be wide open. Ski in/ski out lodging and a small base village. I haven't personally been to Bolton but what I've read in the forum before it sounds like a fun mtn to hit. Lot's of glade skiing. But it may not be enough terrain to ski for 3 days.
 

KustyTheKlown

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i think there are enough trees at the river to keep them happy for 3 days. but yea loaf is way more awesome.could even maybe be closer to them depending where in QC they live, if they are more like quebec city-ish than montreal-ish
 

hudsonhacker

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I started looking at sugarloaf. Last time I was there would have been 1990. Love that hill.

Only issue I am having is finding a condo that is reasonable for three nights. Guess VRBO is NOT the way to go. A condo that starts out at $250/night ends up being $1200 for three nights, then translate that into Canadian $$$ and we are up at $1600 for 3 nights lodging. Those are Stowe level rates. VRBO math I guess. I will try and find a local company near Sugarloaf that handles condo rentals. Can usually save 30% by avoiding VRBO.
 

Smellytele

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Bolton rentals are old with paper thin walls. Although probably a lot cheaper than anything at or near Sunday River. You can really only rent at the property as there is nothing else in that area unless you go back down the hill. But with that said Bolton is fun place to ski. 2 days at Bolton is fun. Also you are within an hour of Smuggs, Stowe, Sugarbush and Mad River Glen to get a day away if you get bored there.
 

parahelia

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Sunday River has specials for Canadians: https://www.sundayriver.com/canadian-specials , including a discounted March pass for $249 ($199 juniors). There’s also some lodging specials on the page.

I love the loaf, but we bought our condo at SR once we had kids. Since we’ve switched our focus to SR, my appreciation for their woods has grown each year. There is a ton to keep you busy, both on and off map. And March is (usually) great for coverage. We ski there 30-40 days a year and are still finding new lines.

Have a great trip, wherever you go!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Smellytele

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Have you looked into Sugarloaf?
Based on what you are saying about your kids, they could get bored at Sunday River. Pretty much everything is flattened out and groomed. By March Sugarloaf should be wide open. Ski in/ski out lodging and a small base village. I haven't personally been to Bolton but what I've read in the forum before it sounds like a fun mtn to hit. Lot's of glade skiing. But it may not be enough terrain to ski for 3 days.

Also if he got bored at SR he could do a day at Black of ME if conditions are good or Mt Abram.
 

hudsonhacker

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Looking at lifts, variety of terrain, kids seem to prefer Sunday River. So, that is what it shall be. Just going to wait a few days to track some weather. I also found a good company off of these forums for booking condos at SR, reasonable rates and they have a number of options. Will try them out and let others know after my trip. Now, pray for snow. Could be my last family ski trip as my daughter is off to University next year....wow, that is depressing.
 

Tonyr

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Have you considered Sugarbush? They have some of the best terrain in the northeast and the tree skiing there is awesome. We stayed at the Warren Lodge one time which is right at the bottom of the access road and about 3 minutes to Lincoln peak. A family from the Mad River valley bought the lodge and did a really nice job renovating all of the rooms and the property. The rates are reasonable and the rooms are very clean, I would definitely recommend staying there and skiing Sugarbush if you've never been. You'd also have Mad River Glen right next door.

Tony
 

tnt1234

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Maybe a condo at Sugarbush and plan to ski Mad River if the conditions are right. If they are sub par, fall back on the snow making power of sugarbush.

You can't ski in/out, but you can't ask for an easier parking lot scene than MRG. And if it's going off, it's awesome. Super friendly. One of a kind kind of place.
 

cdskier

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Have you considered Sugarbush? They have some of the best terrain in the northeast and the tree skiing there is awesome. We stayed at the Warren Lodge one time which is right at the bottom of the access road and about 3 minutes to Lincoln peak. A family from the Mad River valley bought the lodge and did a really nice job renovating all of the rooms and the property. The rates are reasonable and the rooms are very clean, I would definitely recommend staying there and skiing Sugarbush if you've never been. You'd also have Mad River Glen right next door.

Actually the family is from NJ that bought/renovated the Warren Lodge (and also now bought and renovated the former Garrison). They did do a beautiful job on that place though and are really nice people.
 

Tonyr

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Actually the family is from NJ that bought/renovated the Warren Lodge (and also now bought and renovated the former Garrison). They did do a beautiful job on that place though and are really nice people.

Thanks for the correction! Yes they are really nice people.
 

kbroderick

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Sounds like you've already made your decision, but a few thoughts:

If you're looking for the best tree skiing between the two and have to book over a month out, especially for March, I'd bet on Bolton. If I wasn't willing to risk skiing refrozen crap because a thaw/freeze cycle hit just before I showed up, I'd book Sunday River.

If you want a modern lift infrastructure, book Sunday River. Same is true if you want/need more than two easy-access dining options (I believe BV still has two on-mountain options, but you're looking at a drive to Waterbury, Richmond, or further if you want to change things up; there are more options than that at Sunday River, plus Bethel is a lot closer and has a few more).

Odds are that both will have decent or better snow at that point in the season, but BV is more likely to have fresh snow in the woods, as they have both more snowfall (300"+) and a significantly higher base elevation (Timberline, the lower-elevation pod, is at about 1500 foot base elevation; the main base is at 2100 feet). They are far more dependent on natural snow, though, and as I mentioned above, Sunday River can recover a lot better from a thaw-freeze cycle.

When I was last a BV skier, it wasn't terribly difficult to find at least a few turns of fresh snow even a day or more after a storm. Doing so at Sunday River after 12 noon on the day of the storm usually requires a fair bit of local knowledge.

BV doesn't have the breadth of lift-served terrain, but they come closer than you'd think on perceived tree acreage, IMO. The lower skier density is a real benefit, though, and combined with the higher elevation and greater snowfall, I think it overcomes the acreage shortfall. The terrain limitations go away if you include touring and sidecountry options, and BV does now offer backcountry lessons and rentals. Also, my perception is that BV provides more opportunities to go top-to-bottom with minimal groomer time. I think it's harder to do that at Sunday River (some portion of the vertical will push you back onto the groomers).

BV doesn't have nearly as much appeal if you want to lap groomers, either. There are a lot fewer trails, and you can't get nearly the vertical in with an entirely-fixed-grip infrastructure as you can lapping one of the detaches at Sunday River. I don't know where the quality of grooming at BV stands now, but I'd bet that it's not better than Sunday River's (it may be as good as, depending on who's running the machines now; it wasn't as consistent when I was there). As noted, if the weather turns to crap, this is a solid vote in favor of Sunday River (BV skis pretty small if you're limited to groomers, the more so if you're limited to manmade-snow-covered groomers).

BV probably has more on-mountain lodging options relative to traffic levels; both places have a mix of quality in construction, including some on the cost-conscious side. I lived in a third-floor condo on the hill at BV for a couple of years, and I didn't find the noise levels intolerable often, but I also managed to get by with only turning the heat on for something like three days in the entire time I lived there. My downstairs neighbors may have had different answers on both points. Some of the newer construction at SR is relatively nice, but my family had a Fall Line condo for a while and I wouldn't put the build quality as being substantially different than what I saw at BV.
 

bdfreetuna

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I've never been to Sunday River... probably my "largest omission" in the East. It is pretty far and they never offered me a cheap ticket deal.. But anyway Bolton is awesome for tree skiing, great conditions, "short steeps" and minimal crowds.

That said I think after 2 days there you'd have everything skied that you want to ski (or are able to find). Sunday River just seems to have more terrain if you're going to be doing a 3rd day at the same location. I would also trust them based on reputation to recover as fast as possible if conditions suck.
 

louisemann

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We love SR. We go once a year and have a slope view studio that would be great if your group can share a huge studio? PM for detes. 8 minutes to Barker Mt. where we like to park. Don't miss Le Mu Eats food truck next to Steam Mill Brewery (free pop corn). The diverse terrain at SR will make everyone happy.
 

darent

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we liked the North Peak condos at SR when we took the kids, building we stayed in had a pool and good access to lifts.
 
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