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Labrador vs Toggenburg vs Song?

p_levert

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I have never been to any of these close-to-Syracuse areas. I am looking for interesting terrain for an advanced skier: glades (on or off map), ungroomed terrain, and some steepness. Which is best for that?

BTW, please don't tell me to go to Greek Peak or Snow Ridge. I have been to both already and I imagine those areas are better than the Lab/Tog/Song trio.
 

jaytrem

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I have never been to any of these close-to-Syracuse areas. I am looking for interesting terrain for an advanced skier: glades (on or off map), ungroomed terrain, and some steepness. Which is best for that?

BTW, please don't tell me to go to Greek Peak or Snow Ridge. I have been to both already and I imagine those areas are better than the Lab/Tog/Song trio.

I went to all 3 places 2 seasons ago when I realized most Western NY places let 6 year olds ski for free. Since I have 2 6 years olds I figure it was then or never.

Song had the best steeps/bumps that I remember. The new triple wasn't done yet, so if you schlepped over you had the whole side to yourself. Not sure if they groom over there more now that the new lift is up and running. At Lab we had a powder day, but I don't think they had stuff as steep at Song. I know we enjoyed our time there. Same ticket though, so you could do both on the same day if you wanted, that's actually what we did. I don't recall many trees at any of the 3, but I think there was some. Best trees of the trip by far were Holiday Valley, so maybe hard to remember tree stuff after that. Tog was the end of our trip, fun little place, but probably the least interesting terrain. It must have been Sat/Sun skiing at those places for me, crowds were not bad at all. Don't think we even waited a minute to ride any lift. Good stuff!
 

fbhidy

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I grew up in the area and live outside of Skaneateles. Song was my 'home' mountain growing up, but I skied Lab when I worked as a teacher in a local district and got paid to chaperone the ski club at school.

Highlights of the three:
Song is the best place 'to learn to ski' as the base of the mountain is actually gradual right in front of the lodge. It also has a great long easy run (Sentimental Journey) that seemed like the longest run in the world at age 6. Some of their intermediate runs were also great, well laid out, winding through the trees style runs not found at most smaller resorts. Then (as jaytrem pointed out) there are some very good expert runs. Song has long suffered as the least well funded/managed of these three and now is owned along with Lab by the same folks and seems to finally be turning around.

Labrador has for the last 20ish years had the best snowmaking and grooming (in my opinion) and best hill management of the three. Terrain has more intermediate and advanced (though maybe not quite as difficult?) than Song.

Toggenburg is a bit smaller: has less vertical, fewer trails and lifts than the other two. That being said, I think it's the most family friendly and affordable of the three. Probably the least difficult of the three and more along the lines of Song in terms of beginner and intermediate friendly trails.

All that being said, and with your admonition not to suggest Greek Peak, it's an extra 20 minutes, but has significantly better terrain than the three above. Unfortunately they do seem to be struggling financially and that is showing with general maintenance of the property. They would still be my choice where I shopping for a season pass. Limiting the choice to exclude Greek, and specifically look at the other 3, it would probably be a toss up between Song and Lab. Hardest terrain (but very limited), then Song. Best range of intermediate to advanced terrain, then Lab.

Obviously more than an ounce or two of personal opinion. Plus I'm a tele skier now, so what the hell do I know, lol.
 

p_levert

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Thanks guys, appreciate the responses.

I have seen Song from I81 (on the way to Greek Peak) and it looks interesting. Toggenburg and Greek Peak are owned by the same people, and they are both supposed to be on the Freedom Pass for next year, so that's a plus for Tog, if it happens.

I seem to remember that Labrabor was anti-tree skiing, meaning you could get your ticket pulled for going into the trees. Any truth to this? And with Song being managed by the same people, is it true at Song as well? There's no on-map glades at either Lab or Song, definitely a negative.
 

jaytrem

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After looking at google maps, I do remember skiing the trees all the way to the skiers right at Labrador. I didn't get the feeling anybody was worried about having their ticket pulled, nor did I see any warning signs. Also remember some nice bumps under the main chair. T-bar wasn't running, but I think it did for at least a day or 2 that year.
 

Sirbannedalot

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There are plenty of glades at song and lab. I've never had an issue at either for skiing woods. At one time I came out of the woods and ski patrol asked me how it was in there.

Song has the most difficult terrain, mainly the side where the new triple is. The woods along the double black trail are nice, open and steep. There are plenty of fun runs in the woods all over the hill.

Lab has less woods and less difficult terrain. The woods to skiers right seem never ending with how deep in you can go. You will always drop into the road though. Lab always seemed to have the best snowmaking, grooming and best operation.

Toggenburg is like a field in your back yard. Wide open, not very steep and not much for woods. A couple small things or glades areas with decent pitch for a short while near the top. One side has decent pitch on the upper section but not that steep.

But, now its Greek with Togg and Lab with Song on combined passes. So I'd go with Lab and Song if I am north of there. But, go with Greek and Togg if you live south of there. I am at Greek but, if song were closer, I'd have no problem going there instead. Plus Song/lab pass comes with 2 Okemo tickets. But, Greek is on Freedom now, so you get 3 tickets each to Platty, Magic, Bolton and others.
 

ScottySkis

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But, now its Greek with Togg and Lab with Song on combined passes. So I'd go with Lab and Song if I am north of there. But, go with Greek and Togg if you live south of there. I am at Greek but, if song were closer, I'd have no problem going there instead. Plus Song/lab pass comes with 2 Okemo tickets. But, Greek is on Freedom now, so you get 3 tickets each to Platty, Magic, Bolton and others.

Platy is not on the freedom pass anymore
 

Sirbannedalot

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Platy is not on the freedom pass anymore
Yes they are. I have the official list that hasn't been put out yet from someone who is involved with getting Greek onto the Freedom Pass. He asked me not to release the list before it is put up on the site.
 

fbhidy

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You know that smallish mountains can be fun on tele.

Exactly why I ditched the alpine gear and ski Tele exclusively. After spending 10 years in the rockies in my 20s-30s I moved back home to CNY and need an outlet so I didn't try and kill myself with boredom riding what I did as a kid (I started skiing at age 4.) I started skiing tele part time before I moved out west and split my time 50-50 while I was there. Going all in when I came back was an easy choice. The latest AT gear is likely the only thing that piques my interest in fixing my heel these days. :daffy: :spread:
 

Bartekill

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I agree with the Tele comments, heels free!!!!

That said Togg has plenty of good forest skiing on decently steep pitches when there is enough snow, not that often. Forest skiing is tighter than glades. I’m told that Song has some good woods but I usually ski there late in the year when snowpack is limited. The glade at Lab is great when enough snow, get as far right as you can all the way down to the road. Greek is too far and too expensive.
 

p_levert

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So in the end, I chose Song for a day of skiing (last Saturday), mainly because they had the most runs open.

Trail map: https://www.skicny.com/song/trail-map/

When I drove up I noticed two things right away. First, the two runs on the left are actually pretty steep. And then second, WTF, the chairlift to those two steep runs was closed! I found it really strange that a lift would be closed on a Saturday in February. But this was part of a pattern, this ski area is being run on the cheap and may not be around in 5 years.

It's a pleasant place with a wide variety of runs accessible from the main group of lifts. It wasn't really that hard to traverse to the far left to ski Jupiter and Otto's. You could also do the liftline of the A chair and that was fun. There were some nice cruisers (18/19 - Chopsticks/Crossover). The green run Sentimental Journey (1) is very scenic, as you start with a view of a finger lake and then end up with an expansive view at the front of the mountain. There were even some fun trees between Ottos (3) and Mixing Bowl (8 ), although coverage was pretty thin.

So, all in all, a decent place assuming there's enough natural snow. If it's a bad snow year, I assume that only a small portion of the runs would be covered. The owner has limited resources...
 
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