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Looking for recommendations for a family ski holiday in April

Ohaber

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Hello everyone,
I need a little help for planning family vacation in north east USA ...
We are a family with 4 kids (2 of them are teen age) who come to 14 days.
The vacation date is in the middle of April and we would like to combine some skiing days in the New England area.
I wanted to ask...
1. Since we are interested in pre-booking hotels, do you think there will be snow conditions in mid-April?
2. Can you recommend me for good ski resorts to beginners in the Northeast US and where there is a chance for snow in April?
3. We prefer to have an apartment near one of the ski resorts or somewhere between few ski resorts... if you can recomand us we will appreciate it.
Thank you very much!
 

Smellytele

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Mid April some of the ski areas are already closed. With that said the best chance for a ski area still to be open with beginner terrain would be Killington in Vermont. Other areas that should be open at that time would include Sugarbush, Mount Snow in VT. Sunday River in Maine as well.
 

slatham

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As noted, most areas start closing in April. Some of the small/southern areas likely close April 7th, and then a bunch of others the 14th. After the 14th (based on this past winter) in VT you'd have Mt Snow, Okemo, Killington, Sugarbush (Lincoln only) and Jay. And of course this all depends on snow, which for this past winter was very good in March/April.

No need to book until mid/late March, and then only if you are looking at a high demand property and want a specific room/unit. We went to Stowe 4/1-4/5 and I didn't book until March 13th (and I am convinced I could have waited longer, though it was mid week). Very few people ski in April no matter how good it is.

Also note that once into April the beginner skiing becomes very limited. For instance the last weekend for beginners at Sugarbush and Stowe was 4/8-4/9 last year.

Again, this is not something you have to worry about until March, by which time you should have a reasonable idea of weather pattern and base depths. Though a heat wave can quickly end the Eastern season...
 

bdfreetuna

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I would pick Jay Peak just on reliability of mid-April conditions, but you might find the beginner terrain lacking.

Perhaps Sugarloaf, tends to hold on a little longer in the spring and there's usually a good % of terrain in play mid-April.

Mount Snow or Okemo would have more easy terrain open but if it's not a good season they might be 100% closed by then.

Sugarbush won't have any beginner terrain open by then. Killington probably not either. Stowe it's hard to tell but I wouldn't put money on it.
 

cdskier

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One thing not mentioned yet...even if beginner terrain is open, the conditions still may not be suitable for beginners. Snow often softens up quickly in April and often can bump up by mid to late morning. Some beginners may not like these type of conditions. Of course you could also have it be colder and snowy in April too. Usually it isn't terribly hard to find lodging in April, so I would wait until closer to that point to see how the weather and conditions look before booking anything.
 

jaytrem

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April is hard to predict. A few years back Mt Snow didn't even make it to April. I think it was same with Okemo that year. Also need to worry about places closing midweek if it's a lousy season. Killington would probably be the safest bet. Then Sugarloaf, Sugarbush, Sunday River, Jay (ownership questions), Wildcat in something close to that order. I know a lot of schools are off Easter week, that's a tough one this year with Easter being on April 22. Even the week before is cutting it close. I'm in the same boat with liking to plan early. May shoot for California if I can get free/cheap flights.
 

FBGM

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4/20 bruh. Mt Blow could have another family friendly drug festival then.
 

mister moose

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Hello everyone,
I need a little help for planning family vacation in north east USA ...
We are a family with 4 kids (2 of them are teen age) who come to 14 days.
The vacation date is in the middle of April and we would like to combine some skiing days in the New England area.
I wanted to ask...
1. Since we are interested in pre-booking hotels, do you think there will be snow conditions in mid-April?
2. Can you recommend me for good ski resorts to beginners in the Northeast US and where there is a chance for snow in April?
3. We prefer to have an apartment near one of the ski resorts or somewhere between few ski resorts... if you can recomand us we will appreciate it.
Thank you very much!

Killington goes the deepest into the Spring as a general rule, but it's more complicated than that. About 5 years ago Snowshed slope at Killington (The best beginner terrain in the Northeast) was gone before the first week of April. That was unusual, but it can happen. That particular year, Sunday River beginner terrain lasted longer as they had a cooler airmass. Other years Snowshed goes in the second week of April. It almost never lasts longer as the beginners all stop skiing by then, so they close it even if there is still snow. There is some dark green - strong beginner terrain that makes it to the 2nd or 3rd week of April, but it will feel limited. (Upper Mouse to Great Northern on Snowdon, colored blue on the trail map but is really quite easy.) The 3rd week of April you likely still have some nice blue terrain on Rime, Snowdon, and Bittersweet. After that it's more difficult blue and expert.

Things change daily in April, so a lot depends on the year, and what dates you mean by "mid April". As others have said, by mid April you will be down to a handful of areas, none of which are very close together.

If only part of your vacation will be skiing, do the skiing first.

A poster named MadPatSki, who also has a blog here:
https://madpatski.wordpress.com/author/madpatski/
keeps a log of who's open each day late season and closing dates. That might help you a little in seeing how the last few years went in April. Remember beginner terrain goes before the area closes, the flatter areas melt out faster and beginners stop coming anyway. The snow gets wetter and heavier, and is tougher for novices to slog through. Early mornings in April tend to be firm from the night's freeze, and then soften quickly in the sun.
 
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BenedictGomez

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planning family vacation in north east USA ...

The vacation date is in the middle of April and ..... we are interested in pre-booking hotels

This is pretty much a combination of the worst ski ideas ever. Dont do it.

You are statistically likely to have a relatively poor to bad experience, and in the worst case will not be skiing at all.

For April 15th to April 22nd'ish, you should get on a plane and head west. I would recomment either Utah or Colorado given they'll all be open due to a late Easter 2019 (Sunday, April 21st).

Sorry to answer your 1st post with dismal reality, but I'm from Jersey & we wield our honestly like a sword.
 

deadheadskier

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No reason to pre-book. April is last minute deal time.

Destination? Wait until March 31st to decide.

West could be better as BG suggests, but April can kick ass in Northern New England some years too. Not uncommon for Sugarloaf and Jay Peak to be near 90% open middle of April. Loaf offers the better experience for beginners. IMO, on average, Sugarloaf are probably the two best ski products in New England on 4/15.

Another thought might be to consider Tremblant or Mt St. Anne in Quebec. If the weather craps out last minute, you have a fine city in close proximity from both resorts to divert your attention to.
 

slatham

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This is pretty much a combination of the worst ski ideas ever. Dont do it.

You are statistically likely to have a relatively poor to bad experience, and in the worst case will not be skiing at all.

For April 15th to April 22nd'ish, you should get on a plane and head west. I would recomment either Utah or Colorado given they'll all be open due to a late Easter 2019 (Sunday, April 21st).

Sorry to answer your 1st post with dismal reality, but I'm from Jersey & we wield our honestly like a sword.

This is not a fool proof strategy either. Utah is low and snow goes fast. Colorado is the better bet, but many areas have forest service dictated closing dates and I do not believe they are altered based on the Easter holiday. But these closing dates will be known and advertised at the beginning of the season so you will know in advance.
 

deadheadskier

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Snowshed slope at Killington (The best beginner terrain in the Northeast)

Opinions vary, but I'm not sure I'd rate Snowshed top 5 for beginner terrain, never mind best. It's a 400 foot wide slope that's completely void of character + a cross country ski trail in Yoddler.

In no particular order I'd take all of these over Snowshed in terms of fun, interesting and dedicated beginner terrain.

Smuggs - Morse Mountain
Burke - Sherburne Express area
Cannon - Tuckerbrook area
Bretton Woods - Bethleham Express area
Sunday River - South Ridge area
Okemo - Main Base area
Mt. Abram - West side beginner area

Probably more than the above if I really think about it.
 
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slatham

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Opinions vary, but I'm not sure I'd rate Snowshed top 5 for beginner terrain, never mind best. It's a 400 foot wide slope that's completely void of character + a cross country ski trail in Yoddler.

In no particular order I'd take all of these over Snowshed in terms of fun, interesting and dedicated beginner terrain.

Smuggs - Morse Mountain
Burke - Sherburne Express area
Cannon - Tuckerbrook area
Bretton Woods - Bethleham Express area
Sunday River - South Ridge area
Okemo - Main Base area
Mt. Abram - West side beginner area

Probably more than the above if I really think about it.

Yes but how many of the above are open on say April 15?
 

mister moose

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It's been too long since I've been to Smuggs, Burke and Sunday River, to remember the novice areas in great detail. I have skied with beginners at Smuggs, and skied extensively around New England. I don't think you can name another novice slope with the following attributes:

3,500' feet long - lots of uninterrupted skiing
300 feet wide - ability to turn across the hill easily and spread traffic
Consistent novice pitch the entire way - many learning slopes have trouble spots
No advanced trails that funnel to the same lift - no steady stream of blue trail zoomers racing through towards the lift
Multiple green trails of varying ability in the same pod
A completely separate even easier learn to ski trail.

Yodeler is far from XC skiing.

Snowshed isn't designed for character. It's designed for expansive novice learning.

But there will always be difference of opinion.
 

bdfreetuna

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Opinions vary, but I'm not sure I'd rate Snowshed top 5 for beginner terrain, never mind best. It's a 400 foot wide slope that's completely void of character + a cross country ski trail in Yoddler.

In no particular order I'd take all of these over Snowshed in terms of fun, interesting and dedicated beginner terrain.

Smuggs - Morse Mountain
Burke - Sherburne Express area
Cannon - Tuckerbrook area
Bretton Woods - Bethleham Express area
Sunday River - South Ridge area
Okemo - Main Base area
Mt. Abram - West side beginner area

Probably more than the above if I really think about it.

Butternut -- entire ski area
 

bdfreetuna

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This past season Mount Snow was the clear winner in that regard -- although I consider most of their blue squares "beginner friendly", the whole mountain is very "friendly" in that aspect except a dozen trails or so. I was even skiing woods in Carinthia with good coverage on April 19 2018.

This coming season, who knows. I would just try not to be such a beginner and go to Jay Peak for April.

Jay Peak is underrated for beginner terrain anyway IMO. There are two beginner only chair lifts on 2 sides of the mountain, (Taxi and Metro) each one has a few or more trails that are really flat but offer a little variety.

You can also take the Bonaventure Quad at Jay and ski down Northway > Angel's Wiggle > Lower Milk Run / Paradise Meadows / Sweetheart.

Likewise you can ride the Jet and take Montrealer to Catwalk to meet up with the route above.

If the skiers in your party are really beginners this will be plenty enough terrain to entertain and challenge them. If they are more like aspiring intermediates they may find the spring conditions favorable enough to explore some of the other blue squares, although I would caution the blue runs off the top of the Tram have some steeper sections.

Jay Peak will also almost certainly have low angle glades you'll be passing by even on the easy trails -- most of the lower mountain glades are widely spaced and not steep. This is a big bonus for anyone with the slightest sense of adventure, beginner or not.
 
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bdfreetuna

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Already had Photoshop open so check out this masterpiece of digital art... what I've highlighted are all the ways down that are basically close enough to being green circles... no steep parts and nice easy cruisers. These would be your Jay Peak options besides the runs that are already colored in green on the map.

I don't recommend Goat Run for true beginners or Ullr's Dream -- but for intermediates or beginners not afraid to take their time down a couple steeper parts that would give you a lot more options.

Consider this a true beginners map of what's likely to be open:

j.jpg
 

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Ohaber

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Thank you all for the great comments ...
I think we will wait for March to see the snow condition and then decide accordingly.
Thanks again for all the help ... I appreciate it very much.
 
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