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Help me decide where to go in 2022

Dexter

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I am an experienced skier. My kids are 14 and 10, with the older one able to ski black slopes but the younger one preferring to stay on blue. So far the kids have only skied at Snowshoe in WV (older kid skis the black slopes in Western Territory confidently). I have only been to the Northeast once (Smuggs in 2003) and I wanted recommendations for next season.

We have the Ikon pass (no blackout dates) so we'd want the resorts where we can use them.

We live outside Washington DC, and would probably drive to the destination. The chief contenders that take Ikon are Stratton, Killington, and Sugarbush.

One issue is that one kid has celiac and has to eat gluten free, so I'd need a condo with a kitchen and access to grocery stores that sell GF food. For this reason, we never eat out when we're skiing and I don't care about restaurants and night life at the resort.

We'd want to go the week after Christmas (Dec 26 to Jan 2) - which of the above places usually have good snow at that time?

Was also thinking about kid's spring break (April 2 to 10) - was wondering how good the snow was in New England that late. Usually Snowshoe is closed by then.

Your thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated, TIA!
 

ne_skier

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I'm not too knowledgeable on what the supermarkets are like up at Killington or Sugarbush, I do know there is an IGA grocery store near downtown Londonderry, that's about 15 mins north of Stratton. Stratton itself is a good mountain if you're looking for fast lifts and mostly groomed runs, however, it can get pretty crowded on busy weekends and the terrain tends to wear out. Sugarbush has more terrain in general and more terrain diversity, expect to find a lot of bumped-up runs off Castlerock, Heaven's Gate, North Lynx, and North Ridge in particular. It's also generally less crowded than Stratton and people are more spread out, however, it's about 2 hours further north than Stratton (Don't expect to go faster than 35 on Route 100 unless you have really good shocks). All 3 will likely have substantial terrain open over New Year's, but Stratton and the rest of South VT gets pretty sparse come April. Sugarbush on a good year will typically stay open until late April/early May, however I'm not sure when they cut off weekday operations. Killington typically operates into late May/early June on weekends, but they cut off weekday operations in late April/early May, so you should be alright.
 

jimk

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I'm from DC area too. Have skied about 100 places around N. America and Europe over 50+ years. Short answer: maybe focus on Sugarbush.

Longer answer: Sugarbush is likely to have better snow than Stratton at that time. It's likely to be a little less crowded than Killington at that time. Do you have to be slopeside, or can condo be a few miles away? Sugarbush would work if you're ok a few miles away. There ought to be a few groceries within 5-10 miles. You didn't mention it, but Sugarloaf, ME might be worth considering if you don't mind a further drive from DC. It might have better snow and less crowds than the others. It would also probably be your best bet for April, but that timeframe can be crapshoot. Of course, late Dec can also be a crapshoot conditions-wise throughout New England.
 

x10003q

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For food - there is a Price Chopper in Manchester, VT, and Rutland, VT. They are full service, large supermarkets (part of a 131 store chain) that are fairly priced and will probably have what you need. Manchester is about 20 minutes from Stratton and Rutland is about 30 minutes from Killington and 1:20 from Sugarbush. I have stocked up at both of these Price Choppers for ski trips.

You can use your pass at Pico (unconnected part of Killington), also. Pico is a fun and usually uncrowded area.
Stratton is the shortest drive and tied with Killington for crowds. Sugarbush will be the least crowded. Killington and Sugarbush have the best terrain, but all three might have the same amount of terrain open due to the weather. All these areas have big snowmaking systems. However, the weather in the New Years time frame does not always cooperate as there can be warm temps/rain. Your kids will be happy no matter what you choose. You need to decide how many hours you want to spend driving the car.
 

Smellytele

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If you stay in the killington/ pico area you can still get in a day or 2 at Sugarbush and visa versus. Pico would be the least crowded on the week after Xmas it may have the least open.
 

Dexter

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Jimk - back in 2003, we took the train to Smuggs. Long trip but at least we weren't driving. Have you ever taken the train to the other resorts? My main concern on that front would be the ability to buy GF food if we were there without a car.
 

thetrailboss

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I am an experienced skier. My kids are 14 and 10, with the older one able to ski black slopes but the younger one preferring to stay on blue. So far the kids have only skied at Snowshoe in WV (older kid skis the black slopes in Western Territory confidently). I have only been to the Northeast once (Smuggs in 2003) and I wanted recommendations for next season.

We have the Ikon pass (no blackout dates) so we'd want the resorts where we can use them.

We live outside Washington DC, and would probably drive to the destination. The chief contenders that take Ikon are Stratton, Killington, and Sugarbush.

One issue is that one kid has celiac and has to eat gluten free, so I'd need a condo with a kitchen and access to grocery stores that sell GF food. For this reason, we never eat out when we're skiing and I don't care about restaurants and night life at the resort.

We'd want to go the week after Christmas (Dec 26 to Jan 2) - which of the above places usually have good snow at that time?

Was also thinking about kid's spring break (April 2 to 10) - was wondering how good the snow was in New England that late. Usually Snowshoe is closed by then.

Your thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated, TIA!
As to grocery stores and options, I think that all of the Vermont options you mention will have options.

As to conditions, nobody will know until right before. That said, you are talking about peak holiday season so all of those options will have snowmaking and grooming leading up to that week and, if the weather goes south, all will be working to get things reopened.

Historically, all of those options will be crowded during the holiday week. But with the shift to IKON and blackouts that may not be the case. I think it will be busy that week no doubt. Sugarbush offers Mount Ellen as a quieter option. Killington has Pico as a quieter option. Consider that.

And there is certainly nothing wrong with renting a house, say, in between Killington and Sugarbush and bouncing between both. It is not THAT far. But Hancock is not known for many housing or food options. Nor is Rochester.

As to April, go as far north as you can. Consider Jay (has the water park) or Sugarloaf, Maine.

Have fun.
 

jimk

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Jimk - back in 2003, we took the train to Smuggs. Long trip but at least we weren't driving. Have you ever taken the train to the other resorts? My main concern on that front would be the ability to buy GF food if we were there without a car.
No, have not taken train. They always seemed almost as expensive as flying and then you had to get from station to ski resort. Speaking of flying, you might check fares into Manchester, where you could shop and get a rental car.

I kind of like x10003q 's suggestion about Killington/Pico too. Closer than Sugarbush and if Killington seems too crowded, Pico would be excellent crowd beater.

 

PAabe

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I have looked into taking the Killington train before, it would almost make sense for 1 person but if you are otherwise carpooling it would be much more expensive
 

ss20

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Definitely Killington in December for xmas. They have tons more snowmaking power than Sugarbush. Save the Busch for April. April 5th at Sugarbush they could be 50% open or 100% open....usually they're still close to all-open.

Killington also has much cheaper and a larger variety of condos. Sugarbush is much more of the classic Vermont experience....small town, relatively remote, and not as built-up. Killington still has that Vermont feel but is closer, has multiple options for groceries, and has tons and tons of lodging options. And with Killington, Rutland is 20 minutes away where you can get anything you'd ever need.

December crowds are tough to judge, especially with Ikon. At some resorts the holiday periods are less busy than a typical Saturday with good conditions, as many people with cheaper passes are blacked out and a mentality of "don't ski the holidays the resorts are packed"... I find that true for President's Week and MLK weekend but in December you'll get some busy days but Christmas eve and certainly Christmas day are almost always dead.

Also for your consideration, Killington will have more groomed terrain than SB. Still plenty of ungroomed, but I'm assuming you and your kids don't have much experience with big icy northeast moguls or natural snow trails, given you've been skiing at Snowshoe. Sugarbush does roughly 40-50% grooming nightly while Killington it's more 60-75%.
 

Killingtime

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At this point in my life I've skied almost everywhere in the Northeast. Not sure if that's good or bad but anyway with the circumstances you describe Killington would be an excellent choice. Get lodging with a kitchen (book now or very soon). Rutland is close by and has full size supermarkets. There is also a smaller supermarket on the Killington access road. Even if the weather is warm or not cooperating, by Christmas Killington always manages to have a good selection of terrain open. I owned a home there for 14 years and can't recall any year where I wasn't skiing Christmas week. The only negative would be sometimes the crowds on lifts that serve more blue and green trails can be long, but that is pretty much standard for most larger resorts. I always stayed away from the K-1 after 9;30. Ramshead lift can suck after 10:00. Some of the longer runs like Great Eastern will probably not be fully open but Great Northern most certainly will. If the crowds bother you there is a free shuttle bus from the Killington base area to nearby Pico, which is a decent size in it's own right. By Northeast standards, Killington is massive. You and your kids will have a great time.
 

Dexter

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This is all great information. I am leaning towards Killington as a number of you have recommended. What do I need to know about lodging at Killington?

We don't need luxury, but I don't want to be "too far" from the base either. What's the best bang for the buck in your opinion? Do need a room with a full kitchen.
 

Hawk

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I'm from DC area too. Have skied about 100 places around N. America and Europe over 50+ years. Short answer: maybe focus on Sugarbush.

Longer answer: Sugarbush is likely to have better snow than Stratton at that time. It's likely to be a little less crowded than Killington at that time. Do you have to be slopeside, or can condo be a few miles away? Sugarbush would work if you're ok a few miles away. There ought to be a few groceries within 5-10 miles. You didn't mention it, but Sugarloaf, ME might be worth considering if you don't mind a further drive from DC. It might have better snow and less crowds than the others. It would also probably be your best bet for April, but that timeframe can be crapshoot. Of course, late Dec can also be a crapshoot conditions-wise throughout New England.
To add to Jim's Sugarbush report. Sugarbush has 2 grocerie options, Shaw's and the more local Hehuron's Market. Both have a ton of Gluten free options. I like Mehurons better. The produce is cared for better. April can be a crap shoot depending on the weather. It coud be real good with lots of open terrain or it could be just Steins, Spring Fling, Organ Grinder and a few others. Mt Ellen will be closed by then. If you choose christmas week. Book it in September, it fills up fast.
 

ss20

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This is all great information. I am leaning towards Killington as a number of you have recommended. What do I need to know about lodging at Killington?

We don't need luxury, but I don't want to be "too far" from the base either. What's the best bang for the buck in your opinion? Do need a room with a full kitchen.


Ikon pass gives you a discount at Killington-owned lodging. Their "basic" condos are ski-back-to and a 10 minute shuttle to the base area. IIRC they have full kitchens. They're very reasonably priced with the Ikon discount....maybe for a two bedroom during the holiday period $200 a night?

I also would recommend Cedarbrook condos 10 minutes from Killington. They're certainly a budget option and the crowd will probably be college students...but they're cheaper than anything you'd find on the Killington Access Road.
 

skiur

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Ikon pass gives you a discount at Killington-owned lodging. Their "basic" condos are ski-back-to and a 10 minute shuttle to the base area. IIRC they have full kitchens. They're very reasonably priced with the Ikon discount....maybe for a two bedroom during the holiday period $200 a night?

I also would recommend Cedarbrook condos 10 minutes from Killington. They're certainly a budget option and the crowd will probably be college students...but they're cheaper than anything you'd find on the Killington Access Road.


Cedarbrook is only 2 minutes from the mountain if lower skyeship is open, but give a 40% chance it will be open on Xmas week. Another good option is the woods, more expensive than cedarbrook but on the access rd and has an indoor pool.
 

mister moose

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Christmas: 8 of 10 years involve a rain/freeze event. Maybe 3 are warm loss of terrain. 2 or 3 are natural snow gifts. So the odds are going with very good & prolific snowmaking, and that isn't Sugarbush, and favors Killington. Better more relaxed vibe is definitely Sugarbush, or Pico. Early April I'd say 5 of 10 is near winter conditions with most of the mountain open. 4 of 10 are warm and sticky. The 2 in ten is cold fog.

If you go Killington, I'd be wary of paying ski in prices for Sunrise. over Christmas They don't have a solid record for opening before Jan 1. Basin condos on the shuttle loop are very convenient, and I think all have kitchens. The list is Highridge, Fall line, Wiffletree (cheapest), Trail Creek (nicest), and I'm forgetting one. Pinnacle and Mountain Green are big hotel like condos with shuttle buses and indoor pools as well. The Grand is an option, closest, more pricey. Down the road is Glazebrook, Colony Club, Woods. Lots of other condos a little further away as well.
 

Tonyr

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Killington and Sugarbush are great choices you should try them both this season, they are two of my favorites in the northeast. The terrain at Stratton is not nearly as good as the other two and it gets very crowded there. I will say that the little ski village at Stratton's base is pretty nice though. We usually stay in Manchester when skiing southern VT.

For the most convenient path to the lifts, the Killington Grand Resort is essentially ski on ski off and has condos for rooms but I'd guess that it isn't going to be cheap during Christmas/New Years time. We stayed there once over President's week, I don't remember exactly how much the cost was but I do remember thinking that I could have been at a nice place out west for a similar price, flights included. Thankfully it snowed a ton the week we were there and had a great experience but December can be hit or miss. You certainly don't want to spend a bunch of money and get sub optimal conditions. It's also going to be very crowded over that time especially in the intermediate areas. We were there Christmas weekend one year and waited a good 20 minutes or so each time to get on the popular lifts.

The Claybrook at Sugarbush is a really nice ski on ski off hotel in condo format as well but it will be much more expensive than the Killington Grand Resort. It's also harder to get a room there since it's a smaller hotel. We've stayed at the Warren Lodge too which is right at the base of the access road 3 miles from the resort and really like it there as well. You can get family rooms with kitchens at the Warren Lodge just like the Claybrook and it's way more cost effective. (Plus the owners are really nice)

Thinking about it, I would probably recommend Sugarbush during the last week of December as the crowds will be better there, then do Killington in April as they usually have the best late season conditions due to their extensive snowmaking. Also the Killington Grand Resort will be substantially cheaper in April, a condo at the Claybrook is expensive pretty much all of the time. The Warren Lodge should be fairly priced in December but I'd start looking at booking it now. In any event I hope this info is helpful, you'll love both places.
 
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cdskier

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We've stayed at the Warren Lodge too which is right at the base of the access road 3 miles from the resort and really like it there as well. You can get family rooms with kitchens at the Warren Lodge just like the Claybrook and it's way more cost effective. (Plus the owners are really nice)
Yes, the owners of Warren Lodge are another great example that NJ people can be nice too! They also own the Warren Lodge (former Garrison that they recently renovated) closer to MRG. If I'm not mistaken, there are family rooms available there as well with kitchens (although you're also a bit further from Lincoln Peak over there)
 
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