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Covidian Quandry

Where to go skip-day skiing?

  • Hunter

    Votes: 3 30.0%
  • Bellyare

    Votes: 6 60.0%
  • Wyndham

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Plattekill

    Votes: 3 30.0%

  • Total voters
    10

ctenidae

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With quarantine rules and school policies (which, for the greater good, we follow (plus there's no way my son wouldn't accidently rat us out)), the only place outside of CT we can ski is NY, which leaves us with the Big 4 of Hunter/Wyndham/Plattekill/Bellyare. We're wanting to pull the kids and play hooky a few times, and make some overnight day trips - head out right after school, stay near the mountain, ski, then send the kids to school exhausted the next day.

Kids are 7 and 9, both fully lift capable and fresh off learning how to ski bumps. While a real mountain black is probably outside their abilities, they're both pretty good (one because he's a large 9, and the other because she's just a cast iron bad ass.

So the question - where to go for midweek skiing? I presume no one is particularly crowded these days, and since lodges are verbotten that's not really a consideration (liberating, really). I lean towards Hunter, because I've only been there once and I thought the terrain was great but the crowd was horrendous (company was pretty good, though). I remember Wyndham being nice (Bretton Woods-ish), probably full of good stuff the kids will enjoy. Bellyare I don't know much about. Plattekill I've been to once, right after an unexpected 8-10 inch dump and it was phenomenal, but not, as I recall, real kid friendly.

So, what's the consensus?
 

cdskier

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Plattekill is only open Friday-Sunday (with the exception of the upcoming holiday week). So that really isn't a mid-week option.

Personally out of those choices, I'd go Belleayre midweek. They have a great mix of terrain. I'd consider it more kid-friendly than Hunter, but yet they also have more variety than Windham.
 

drjeff

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Mid week crowds have often been much greater this year than one would expect, and often than in years past, especially at the mega pass areas since so many people now have may more flexible work and even kids school schedules.

Heck, even at the perfectly OK for us CT people to travel to Mount Southington in our home state, the half dozen times I've been there this year thus far for helping coach my kids highschool ski team, their afternoon session has the main parking lot filled, and as that session leaves, the evening session showing up often has even more cars.

Midweek this year, is seemingly a much different and more crowded than historical norms over what midweek used to be
 

urungus

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Technically, I believe Connecticut residents can also ski Rhode Island (Yawgoo) and New Jersey (Big Snow American Dream) without quarantining. From your list, I would say Belleayre, since Platty is closed midweek, Hunter can be a zoo, and Windham has too many Biffs and Buffys. Just curious, what is considered the most difficult trail in Connecticut ? I’ve always wanted to be able to say I skiied “Satan’s Stairway” at Ski Sundown, purely based on the name of the trail. But probably not this year due to Mass-Conn quarantine rules.
 

ctenidae

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We did night skiing at Southington a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday - it was perfectly fine form about 3 when we got there to about 6, when High School showed up. All of them. The lodge was a swarming petri dish. Pretty ugly.

I was afraid the midweek times, especially at Hunter, would be worse than usual. Too many people working from home, or not working at all. I'll take Belleayre under advisement - thanks for the thoughts, guys.

As for toughest trail in CT, you could probably make a decent case for Wildwood at Mohawk. Headwall is steep, it's where they store their moguls, and it gets fairly steep (for CT) under the lift. I don't recall anything being particularly notable at Sundown, other than bumps. And I've gone over speedbumps taller than Southington.
 

ne_skier

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I've never been to Hunter or Windham, can't really speak on their behalf. Belleayre is pretty consistent. Mostly groomers, but a few ungroomed runs here and there. Snow is pretty good most of the time (especially in the morning) and there's almost no freeze-thaw as they are north facing. Stick to 7 and Tomahawk, with Covid capacity restrictions Superchief and the Gondola are a mess. They bring you to all of the good terrain, especially if you're looking for good bump runs (Utsayantha, Yahoo, Tomahawk liftline below mid). Glades are good too, Big T Glade is pretty navigable if you're just getting into it. If it turns out to be too hard, there's a skinny cleared path that runs on the skier's right side, as the name suggests, it's a former T-Bar liftline. Also note on the Cathedral Brook trail, although the map doesn't explicitly say it, there's a ~2000 foot hike required to access the run (Measured with Google Maps, don't come after me). There are uphill bits, and you will have to clip out. Unless you're dying to try it out, find a good time to ski it, as it will take much longer than any other upper mountain runs. Also, I'd recommend not attempting it after 3 PM, as I'm willing to bet it doesn't get swept at the end of the day. If you want to bypass the hike completely, you can cut in off of Roaring Brook, however, you also miss the best part of the run. Rest isn't horrible, and whether or not the hike is worth it is subjective.

Plattekill however is much more hit-or-miss. If it just snowed or if there is fresh, natural snow on the ground, it's a great place to be. The Northface terrain will be almost entirely ungroomed. When that happens, it's a great day there, the straight shots are good but I have found the narrower trails (Pipeline) to be a bit more fun. When it's all groomed, however, it's a different story. Unlike their neighbor to the southeast, Platty is south facing, and gets a pretty bad freeze-thaw, on certain days untouched groomers can ski like concrete. Great people there however, and their covid/food & beverage setup is much better than Belleayre's.
 

ss20

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As for toughest trail in CT, you could probably make a decent case for Wildwood at Mohawk. Headwall is steep, it's where they store their moguls, and it gets fairly steep (for CT) under the lift. I don't recall anything being particularly notable at Sundown, other than bumps. And I've gone over speedbumps taller than Southington.
The top 50 feet of Wildwood is legitimately steep. But saying that it's 50 feet is a stretch. Satan's Stairwell or Gunny at Sundown are not as steep but they're moderately steep by CT standards for a good while.

While mentioning steep local trails you have the mention Fool's Delight at Thunder Ridge. It's borderline VT double diamond pitch for 100 feet. The fastest 4 turns you can get south of Hunter hahaha. Definitely the steepest trail in the region, even if it's painfully short. They haven't been grooming it recently and slowly but surely there's 4 "moguls" forming on it. Hopefully by the time March rolls around there'll be 6 moguls.
 

PAabe

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Plattekill I think actually caps their lift ticket sales low enough so that you shouldn't experience lines on a Fri/Sat/Sun if you were to go then. I think Hunter feels more like a big mountain than Belleayre but Bellayre is wide and has installed a gondola and new trails since I have been there. Bellayre should be cheaper and less crowded. I have not been to Windham - I hear it is basically all groomers which might actually be what you're looking for though. Is Gore a lot farther from you than the Catskills? I really like Gore, and it is huge.

Gore/Bellayre/Plattekill are anti-resorts, I don't know if you find that aspect nice or not.

Honestly they are all fine choices and I recommend checking them all out at some point.
 
Last edited:

tnt1234

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I think I am a minority, but I like Hunter's terrain. More sustained steeps, trails with multiple pitches, and a couple of narrower trails like Claires and Anap.

With all this snow, I bet that's skiing pretty well right now. No idea about the crowds mid week this year. How old are the kids?

BTW, Bell is skiing fantastic right now, so that's a great choice too.
 

ctenidae

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Catamount saves us about a half hour driving, but costs us 400 feet of vertical. My brother just bought a place up there, so I think we'll be in the area a lot in the future.

Belleayre seems to be an excellent choice as our next target destination. The wife and I are ditching the kids for a day trip up to Snow tomorrow. 3 hours each way, but it'll be the first ski day we've had alone in 10 years. With a forecasted high of 19, ought not to be too crowded.
 

thetrailboss

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With quarantine rules and school policies (which, for the greater good, we follow (plus there's no way my son wouldn't accidently rat us out)), the only place outside of CT we can ski is NY, which leaves us with the Big 4 of Hunter/Wyndham/Plattekill/Bellyare. We're wanting to pull the kids and play hooky a few times, and make some overnight day trips - head out right after school, stay near the mountain, ski, then send the kids to school exhausted the next day.

Kids are 7 and 9, both fully lift capable and fresh off learning how to ski bumps. While a real mountain black is probably outside their abilities, they're both pretty good (one because he's a large 9, and the other because she's just a cast iron bad ass.

So the question - where to go for midweek skiing? I presume no one is particularly crowded these days, and since lodges are verbotten that's not really a consideration (liberating, really). I lean towards Hunter, because I've only been there once and I thought the terrain was great but the crowd was horrendous (company was pretty good, though). I remember Wyndham being nice (Bretton Woods-ish), probably full of good stuff the kids will enjoy. Bellyare I don't know much about. Plattekill I've been to once, right after an unexpected 8-10 inch dump and it was phenomenal, but not, as I recall, real kid friendly.

So, what's the consensus?
ctenidae is back!
 

ctenidae

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I'm back, baby! A note to all you young ones out there - when you start to have kids, don't. They ruin your ski life for longer than you'd like.

They're great in other ways, sure, but still. Now that the two oldest can actually ski, things have taken a turn for the better.
 

catskillman

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I think I am a minority, but I like Hunter's terrain. More sustained steeps, trails with multiple pitches, and a couple of narrower trails like Claires and Anap.

With all this snow, I bet that's skiing pretty well right now. No idea about the crowds mid week this year. How old are the kids?

BTW, Bell is skiing fantastic right now, so that's a great choice too.
Claires is quite wide, with the exception of the entry
 

ctenidae

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For those of you keeping score at home, we're taking the 7 year old to Belleayre on Thursday. Very much looking forward to seeing how she does on something bigger than Mohawk.

Thanks to all for the guidance - much appreciated.
 

Ski2LiveLive2Ski

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I'm back, baby! A note to all you young ones out there - when you start to have kids, don't. They ruin your ski life for longer than you'd like.

They're great in other ways, sure, but still. Now that the two oldest can actually ski, things have taken a turn for the better.
I disagree. Started my twin girls at 6 and skiing with them has brought be so much joy. By age 10 they carried their own equipment, booted themselves up, and were able to ski well enough that I preferred skiing with them to skiing solo. At age 13 they are as good as I was at 30. Just spent 3 days skiing tress with them at Snow, Okemo and Stowe. Wonder how many years I have left til they are better than me. It is inevitable as I didn't put skis on til 14.

One of the best decisions I ever made, after deciding to become a father.
 

ctenidae

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The advice against having kids was intended to be tongue in cheek - there have been many many benefits. But they did wreck our skiing for a while.

Belleayre was nice, but a tough mountain to navigate the first time there, especially with a 7 year old who hates the flats. A few inches of new snow was nice, but it was pretty hard underneath it.
 
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