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Looking for a base mountain for next year

lerops

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As much as chasing the snow is fun, it is difficult to do ski trips with the family and that actually decreases ski days. Because it takes time and energy to pack, etc. every time. We are thinking that if we adopt a base mountain and get a season long rental, we would just go there every weekend since it will be easy.

I am looking for a place for my family (myself, wife (lower intermediate) and 4 yr old daughter who started this year) that


  • Is within 4 hours of driving
  • Generally has good conditions: good snowmaking, high elevation and/or northern exposure to preserve snow, etc.
  • Preferably has a good kids' ski school, or even a season program
  • Is not super small (Don't mean huge, but not tiny either) so that it will keep everybody interested over the season
  • Preferably slopeside or ski-in/ski out, depending on affordability.

Any recommendations are much appreciated.
 

deadheadskier

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Well, if you're in Westchester; it sounds like the primary options are Mount Snow, Stratton, Okemo or Killington. I suppose Gore and Whiteface meet some of those criteria, but I don't believe either has much in the way of slope side accommodations. I would think the Catskill and Berkshire resorts would be too small.

So, I guess it boils down to which place you think your family would like best.....Mount Snow, Stratton, Okemo or Killington.
 

snoseek

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Out of those obvious four I'd personally pick Killington....Mostly because Pico offers a nice escape when things get crazy.
 

Rowsdower

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The Catskills would be closest, but the smallest. If those can satisfy then I'd make that your home mountain and make forays up to Vermont on your bigger trips. If you don't mind the extra drive then southern Vermont is in striking distance. Mount Snow and Stratton are the closest, and Okemo isn't much further on. Killington is probably the furthest and still within your range. It also has the most to offer as far as terrain.

So its really up to your preferences: lots of trips to slightly smaller local mountains, or put in more hours on the road for bigger terrain up north.
 

Smellytele

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Out of those obvious four I'd personally pick Killington....Mostly because Pico offers a nice escape when things get crazy.

This is true with a season pass that is good at both. Also on Sundays on your way home you could hit any of the other mountains, also Bromley and Magic. I guess you could hit those on the way up as well if you start up in the morning. Also Sugarbush/MRG are only an hour north of there if you wanted to go there.
 

4aprice

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My first question to you would be, "How close to a Hudson River crossing are you? If its a pain to cross the river then the Catskills are out for you and I would look into the Berkshires, maybe far southern VT. The more time on the snow (less in the car) the better for you and your daughter. A good medium sized mountain will keep you entertained for the season.

Our family did the local mountain thing here in the Pocono's for the last 10 years. In some senses its quantity over quality but we had great success with the mountain programs and both my kids are established skiers and still loving the sport today. The friendships they make/made over that time helped too. I have no regrets with the way we did it.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

HD333

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Haters gonna hate but Okemo matches a bunch of your criteria:

  • Is within 4 hours of driving - Check
  • Generally has good conditions: good snowmaking, high elevation and/or northern exposure to preserve snow, etc. - I was very impressed with Okemo's early season snowmaking, they have a had a ton open all season even during the thaws. Still has great coverage now.
  • Preferably has a good kids' ski school, or even a season program - Check, we have only done a few day lessons but have been happy, our neighbors have kids in the Hopefuls Program and they rave about it.
  • Is not super small (Don't mean huge, but not tiny either) so that it will keep everybody interested over the season - Check, as much as the haters say Okemo is boring there is plenty to keep it interesting.
  • Preferably slopeside or ski-in/ski out, depending on affordability - Check, TONS of slopeside/ski in/out condos. We moved to Okemo this season doing a seasonal rental and we have been more than happy with the mountain and the area in general. If you have any specific questions PM me.
 

mulva

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We just decided to do season passes and kids seasonal programs too. I'm waiting for 2014-15 pricing to be released for Killington before pulling the trigger but we are leaning that way. We had the same criteria except for slopeside lodging and Killington met everything and was cheaper than the other options. If pricing stays the same as 2013-14 we will take 2 Season blackout passes at $900 each, 2 kids season unlimited passes at $650 each, and 2-20 day Unleashed Program passes for the kids lessons at $1000 for the first kid and $850 for the second (15% discount for second kid). Your situation is a little different because your kid is younger. Since unleashed is for kids aged 7 - 15, you have to do the mini-stars unlimited pass which is $2200 but a 4 year old does not need a lift ticket so you save there.

Our kids have done Killington's ski school the past 2 years on long weekend trips and love it. Whiteface is another place where we were very happy with the ski school and they offer similar deals on seasonal programs. Ski school has been a great investment overall even if it is super expensive. My wife and I are able to ski wherever we want all day and the kids (6 and 9) are both skiing parallel with great control even on steeper pitches like Essex at WF and Wildfire at K. If they were following me and my wife around all day, they would not be anywhere near the level they are at now.

Good luck!

Tom
 

jrmagic

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I would agree with HD333 that Okemo my make the most sense based on your wants. It takes me about 3h 10m to Magic from Hartsdale via Taconic/22/7/11. Okemo is probably 20 minutes longer.
 
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thetrailboss

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Out of those obvious four I'd personally pick Killington....Mostly because Pico offers a nice escape when things get crazy.

Very true. Season long rental may be expensive, but you could go for a Pico unit and save some money. Also the long season at Killington makes a good ROI.
 

Smellytele

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We just decided to do season passes and kids seasonal programs too. I'm waiting for 2014-15 pricing to be released for Killington before pulling the trigger but we are leaning that way. We had the same criteria except for slopeside lodging and Killington met everything and was cheaper than the other options. If pricing stays the same as 2013-14 we will take 2 Season blackout passes at $900 each, 2 kids season unlimited passes at $650 each, and 2-20 day Unleashed Program passes for the kids lessons at $1000 for the first kid and $850 for the second (15% discount for second kid). Your situation is a little different because your kid is younger. Since unleashed is for kids aged 7 - 15, you have to do the mini-stars unlimited pass which is $2200 but a 4 year old does not need a lift ticket so you save there.

Our kids have done Killington's ski school the past 2 years on long weekend trips and love it. Whiteface is another place where we were very happy with the ski school and they offer similar deals on seasonal programs. Ski school has been a great investment overall even if it is super expensive. My wife and I are able to ski wherever we want all day and the kids (6 and 9) are both skiing parallel with great control even on steeper pitches like Essex at WF and Wildfire at K. If they were following me and my wife around all day, they would not be anywhere near the level they are at now.

Good luck!

Tom

So about 5 big ones not including lodging.
 

boston_e

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I'd echo some of the Killington / Pico thoughts. Okemo is probablly a good option too.

We have done Pico the past couple of years with the family and I will say that it has a really awesome family friendly vibe. The season won't be as long as Killington or Okemo and it is smaller than both of those, but (at least this season) the Pico pass got you a discount on a day ticket at Killington if you wanted to mix it up and also has a pretty attractive price point.
 

HD333

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So about 5 big ones not including lodging.

Throw 15-30k+ on top of that depending on the type of seasonal rental you do. You can easily surpass the high end but with security/utility deposits you would be doing very well if you found something with more then one bedroom for under 15k all said and done on one of the bigger mountains. (If anyone finds it let me know!!:dontknow:)
 

mulva

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So about 5 big ones not including lodging.

Yes, it adds up quickly to big bucks. The killer is ski school pricing. It's usually $125 - $175 per day per child (with tickets) so this proposed arrangement allows for way more skiing for the same $$$ I usually spend every season. I'm thinking lots of nights at the Best Western or Hampton Inn and collect as many rewards points as possible for "free" nights.
 

WWF-VT

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Throw 15-30k+ on top of that depending on the type of seasonal rental you do. You can easily surpass the high end but with security/utility deposits you would be doing very well if you found something with more then one bedroom for under 15k all said and done on one of the bigger mountains. (If anyone finds it let me know!!:dontknow:)

What kind of palace are you renting for $15-30K ? Granted its out of the OP's driving range, but just a few years ago I did a 2 bedroom seasonal rental at Sugarbush for $6000. Adult passes were $1K each and my kids were under 12 so their passes were free. I had both of my kids in seasonal Blazer programs and kept a season cost under $10K for a family of four.
 

ss20

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Yeah, gonna agree with Okemo here. Would've said Mount Snow 5 years ago, but now that Okemo is entering the early/late season market it's probably worth it. Okemo's trails being "boring" as many people claim is true to a certain extent. However, Stratton is even less varied and doesn't receive nearly as much hate. Okemo and Stratton have their lifts to avoid, but Okemo has more "less crowded" mid-mountain lifts than Stratton.

My picks:
Variety: Mount Snow, Okemo, Stratton
Snowmaking: Okemo, Stratton, MS
Least Crowded: Okemo, Stratton, MS
 

HD333

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What kind of palace are you renting for $15-30K ? Granted its out of the OP's driving range, but just a few years ago I did a 2 bedroom seasonal rental at Sugarbush for $6000. Adult passes were $1K each and my kids were under 12 so their passes were free. I had both of my kids in seasonal Blazer programs and kept a season cost under $10K for a family of four.
On mountain Ski In/Out access. 2 bedroom condo at Okemo runs about $15k for the season, then you add in Utilities and security deposit and your pushing $20k. Sure you get the security back but between rental and season passes we lay out just under $25k a year. Re-reading these numbers makes me want to puke and really makes a case just to buy a place but we are not ready for that type of commitment right now.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

deadheadskier

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Man, for $25K, I'd be taking trips out west during the holiday weeks and day tripping in between. That's some serious coin.
 

drjeff

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On mountain Ski In/Out access. 2 bedroom condo at Okemo runs about $15k for the season, then you add in Utilities and security deposit and your pushing $20k. Sure you get the security back but between rental and season passes we lay out just under $25k a year. Re-reading these numbers makes me want to puke and really makes a case just to buy a place but we are not ready for that type of commitment right now.



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That's why my wife and I bit the proverbial bullet and bought almost 6yrs ago. It's not like we weren't going to stop skiing all season long short of a major injury, so we figured that it made a bunch of sense to build some equitity from our annual ski lodging outlay's and also eliminate the need to constantly lug around our equipment and set up and breakdown seasonally our stuff. And even though the real estate market is still off a bit from when we bought (although one of my realtor golf buddies at Mount Snow swears he could sell my place in less than 30 days for at least 90% of what we paid for it right now) its more than had a positive return for our family in the form of both time together and also the many GREAT "VT friends" we've met!

I'd say that the list of places being considered here is a "can't go wrong" list. Just need to find which area "feels the most right" for ALL members of the family and what makes them happy! Sounds cheesy, but its more than often the key to very memorable family moments
 
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