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Alternatives to Hunter from Long Island w/good snow making and crowd control?

Mike521

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Hi all,

I purchased an Epic Pass for this season, mainly for day-trips to Hunter from Long Island, with some overnights at Mt Snow / Okemo, plus a trip out west.

So far the trip out west was great, but Hunter has been awful and I'm done wasting my time there. I haven't seen any other mountains so far this season, so I'm wondering what everyone else's experience has been at places such as:

Windham
Belleayre
Catamount
Butternut

How is the snow-making? Are the lift lines reasonable even on weekends?
 

PAabe

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Belleayre is great typically not super crowded, Hunter west admittedly has somewhat gnarlier terrain but that hasn't been open so 🤷‍♂️. Good trees. Frequent skier cards and passes get you access to Gore and Whiteface too which are great. If I lived in NY or NJ you bet I would have a season pass

PA areas have reliable snowmaking but the ones closest to NY and Philly get super crowded. You could check out Montage (cheap pass) or Elk they don't get as crowded and are better skiing anyway if you don't mind slow lifts.

Check out Plattekill sometime when it snows it's awesome
 

PAabe

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Windham is on Ikon (if that wasn't already on your radar) I have never skied there though

Plattekill does pass exchange with Ski Cooper and cohorts

Catamount, Berkshire East, Montage, Shawnee, Greek Peak, Mohawk are all day trip options from NY on Indy pass as well as many epic mountains in New England and out west
 

Mike521

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Thanks all, I forgot about plattekill, never went there but I'll keep it on the list of possibilities

I'm mostly wondering which of these mountains are good right now in terms of making enough snow and not having 30-minute long lift lines. I don't give Hunter (or any of them) a pass because it's crowded on weekends / holidays, or because it hasn't snowed much. Make snow, and don't sell so many tickets that the lifts can't handle the crowds. Anything else is just not giving a crap

So yea I guess the question is, which mountains give a crap? :)
 

PAabe

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Belleayre, Gore, Whiteface have been ahead of everyone in terms of snowmaking this year and really have not been crowded at all, as in you should pretty much always be able to find a ski on lift

Plattekill never ever has lines
 
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Killingtime

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Hi all,

I purchased an Epic Pass for this season, mainly for day-trips to Hunter from Long Island, with some overnights at Mt Snow / Okemo, plus a trip out west.

So far the trip out west was great, but Hunter has been awful and I'm done wasting my time there. I haven't seen any other mountains so far this season, so I'm wondering what everyone else's experience has been at places such as:

Windham
Belleayre
Catamount
Butternut

How is the snow-making? Are the lift lines reasonable even on weekends?
I'm in same situation as you coming from L.I. with an Epic Pass but I also picked up an Indy. If you get a chance, grab a day ticket to Plattekill especially if it snows. Great terrain and zero, I mean zero waiting in lift lines.. All around great vibe. It's the Catskills version of Magic without the lift problems. I'll never go back to Windham on a weekend. Ever. Catamount is fun but the snowmaking is hit or miss. I think Butternut is the better of the two and very close to each other location-wise. I can't recall waiting in long lift lines at either even on the weekend. Out of the box option, Elk in PA. Lines not bad and super fun place day trip-able from L.I.
 

Kingslug20

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Come up north..i know the drive sux but sugarbush and stowe are worth it
 

Mike521

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Thanks @PAabe and @Killingtime that's exactly the information I was hoping to find out. Looks like Plattekill and Belleayre will be up for the next few weekends.

@Killingtime yea I just got back into snowboarding over the last 2 - 3 seasons, last season I went to catamount and butternut a lot, and I agree, butternut tended to have better snow overall, and probably better lift lines if I remember correctly

@Kingslug20 yea we were thinking about Stowe for an overnight trip in February but ended up deciding on Okemo instead, I forget why..
 

SnowRock

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All the recs make sense… and for my money/time I totally endorse the extra couple hours in a car to get to sugarbush and north if you are spending a night or two. Platty is great (haven't ever been to Bellayre). I don't love Windham personally, but it is much better for families/intermediate skiers IMO

The challenge with Hunter IMO is that it is an advanced terrain mountain, with a a huge low intermediate and beginner crowd. It is always crowded, but it does seem like those issues have been amplified further with Vail/staffing challenges. That said, my approach for Hunter on the weekends follows a few rules :
1) Sunday always better than Saturday
2) Be in the lot by 7:45 and be on one of the first few chairs
3) Use F and north (and Zephyr though this year maybe that will never be an option?) to avoid the hordes.
4) Leave by lunch

Yesterday I was off by 11. Got in like 11 runs with a few on north. Not sure they bothered with F yesterday, it wasn't spinning my last ride up the flyer, but if it was I would have used that as well if it was running.
 
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slatham

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SnowRock has good advice on Hunter, but without Hunter West opened I would pass (not just because of terrain, but uphill capacity and spreading people out).

Plattekill is a great mountain especially if you like steeps and trees, and are ok with non-high speed lifts and smaller mountain. It should have great snow now after 12"+ yesterday.

Catamount is a good hill but has been behind on snowmaking thus far (see other thread on note from owner). But keep an eye out, they should make that up quickly.

I have not been to Windham, but because I'm Ikon I hope to hit it this Friday. I have heard weekends are very crowded, but at least they have all lifts spinning.

Jiminy Peak is another option, but will of course have weekend crowd issues. But being almost 100% open, and not Epic or Ikon, maybe ok?
 

tnt1234

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Heads up - belleayre limits ticket sales and they do sell out. This Sat. for example is already sold out.
 

tnt1234

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Whoop....sunday sold out too...

Anyone know how crowded bell gets when they sell out? We have tix for sunday.
 

PAabe

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They cap it really low, gondola might have longish lines but especially fixed grip lifts will probably have little to no lines

If it snows you get more passholders showing up which can increase the crowd but generally due to the caps it does not get crowded at all
 

da-bum

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All the recs make sense… and for my money/time I totally endorse the extra couple hours in a car to get to sugarbush and north if you are spending a night or two. Platty is great (haven't ever been to Bellayre). I don't love Windham personally, but it is much better for families/intermediate skiers IMO

The challenge with Hunter IMO is that it is an advanced terrain mountain, with a a huge low intermediate and beginner crowd. It is always crowded, but it does seem like those issues have been amplified further with Vail/staffing challenges. That said, my approach for Hunter on the weekends follows a few rules :
1) Sunday always better than Saturday
2) Be in the lot by 7:45 and be on one of the first few chairs
3) Use F and north (and Zephyr though this year maybe that will never be an option?) to avoid the hordes.
4) Leave by lunch

Yesterday I was off by 11. Got in like 11 runs with a few on north. Not sure they bothered with F yesterday, it wasn't spinning my last ride up the flyer, but if it was I would have used that as well if it was running.
I haven't skied Hunter on weekends in years. But when I did (on Sundays), I would do most of those things. Even much of last year, I used the Flyer until it got until it started getting crowded, then I would just stayed at the North and West, and if I do come to the main mountain, I try to ride the F. But I can't miss out on Ike or Racers the whole time I am there, so I watch the live-cams on my phone while riding up on other lifts to see if I could head to the Flyer, which is usually around lunchtime. By 2:30, it usually starts emptying out, but you got to ski the slicks or find the trail that nobody thought about skiing.

Nobody wants to have their travel time to be longer than their enjoyment time, unless their enjoyment includes lots of drinking (in the parking lot now).
 

ScottySkis

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Here is all U need😃😀🏂🎿🎿🏂🏂🎿😃
 

JimG.

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I haven't skied Hunter on weekends in years. But when I did (on Sundays), I would do most of those things. Even much of last year, I used the Flyer until it got until it started getting crowded, then I would just stayed at the North and West, and if I do come to the main mountain, I try to ride the F. But I can't miss out on Ike or Racers the whole time I am there, so I watch the live-cams on my phone while riding up on other lifts to see if I could head to the Flyer, which is usually around lunchtime. By 2:30, it usually starts emptying out, but you got to ski the slicks or find the trail that nobody thought about skiing.

Nobody wants to have their travel time to be longer than their enjoyment time, unless their enjoyment includes lots of drinking (in the parking lot now).
So drive up and stand in line then drink in the parking lot.

Epic ski experience.
 
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