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Recommendations Wanted: First-Time Ski Trip (PA)

Bosco DaSkia

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The Take 3 Beginner Package allows you or someone you love to take 3 beginner ski or snowboard lessons at participating Vermont resorts for one low package price of $129.
Beginner skiers and riders can choose to redeem all three lessons at the same resort* or they can choose to visit a new resort for each lesson – it’s up to them. Each pass will include rental equipment for the day plus a group lesson with a professional instructor and a lift ticket to access limited beginner only terrain.


https://skivermont.com/take-3
 

Bosco DaSkia

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I enjoy both places, but Catamount and Berkshire East are a solid hour and a half drive apart (and neither are anywhere near Pennsylvania) ... I wouldn’t call that “right next to each other”. I guess you could stay midway between them in Pittsfield (check out Bosquet while you are there, a little shabby but dirt cheap and usually empty)

You are right. I mixed the locations of Berkshire East and Bosquet in my slow mind.......



















:blink:
 

mister moose

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The Poconos does do that. I was under the impression that virtually everywhere in America did that.
I think Metro areas are a little different. In the Hartford area, Ski Sundown only offers the first day deal at $86, after the first day it's the rack rate for anything. Sundown's packages are 5 or 6 week programs once a week in various flavors, marketed to residents and schools, not weekenders.

So 3 days of lift lessons and equipment at Sundown is $270(Restricted to Sunnyside), at Killington it's $230 (Unrestricted).
 

abc

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Which part of December?

If it’s during the Christmas period, you better book your lodging now!

But mid-december? Wait till the Wednesday before!
 

burntpancakes

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The Take 3 Beginner Package allows you or someone you love to take 3 beginner ski or snowboard lessons at participating Vermont resorts for one low package price of $129.
Beginner skiers and riders can choose to redeem all three lessons at the same resort* or they can choose to visit a new resort for each lesson – it’s up to them. Each pass will include rental equipment for the day plus a group lesson with a professional instructor and a lift ticket to access limited beginner only terrain.


https://skivermont.com/take-3

Thanks for this.

I've taken all this information in, and I was just about set on Camelback (due to the variety of activities) or Montage, but the family threw a wrench in the mix. They are now leaning towards December over January. If we decide to risk it and do December would you say all of the PA resorts are out? (i.e. Camelback, Blue, Elk, Montage.)?

If thats the case, would going upstate new york be enough? Or would I need to go all the way up to Vermont?
 

urungus

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Thanks for this.

I've taken all this information in, and I was just about set on Camelback (due to the variety of activities) or Montage, but the family threw a wrench in the mix. They are now leaning towards December over January. If we decide to risk it and do December would you say all of the PA resorts are out? (i.e. Camelback, Blue, Elk, Montage.)?

If thats the case, would going upstate new york be enough? Or would I need to go all the way up to Vermont?

Dec 1 or Dec 31 ?
 

cdskier

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Thanks for this.

I've taken all this information in, and I was just about set on Camelback (due to the variety of activities) or Montage, but the family threw a wrench in the mix. They are now leaning towards December over January. If we decide to risk it and do December would you say all of the PA resorts are out? (i.e. Camelback, Blue, Elk, Montage.)?

If thats the case, would going upstate new york be enough? Or would I need to go all the way up to Vermont?

December is just a terrible time in general to plan in advance as it is so variable. Even Vermont can have a low number of trails open in December some years (and other years they can be 100% open).

For PA, here's some information on recent opening dates to give you an example of what we're dealing with as far as December risks in the Poconos. And just because a resort was "open" doesn't tell you how much terrain they actually had available.

Camelback
11/30/2018
12/15/2017
12/15/2016
12/22/2015
11/28/2014

Elk
12/12/2018
12/13/2017
12/13/2016
01/05/2016 (apparently they didn't make December at all in the 2015/2016 season)
12/04/2014

Montage
11/23/2018
12/14/2017
12/14/2016
01/07/2016 (Another PA resort that didn't make December this season)
12/18/2014
 

Siliconebobsquarepants

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Thanks for this.

I've taken all this information in, and I was just about set on Camelback (due to the variety of activities) or Montage, but the family threw a wrench in the mix. They are now leaning towards December over January. If we decide to risk it and do December would you say all of the PA resorts are out? (i.e. Camelback, Blue, Elk, Montage.)?

If thats the case, would going upstate new york be enough? Or would I need to go all the way up to Vermont?

Elk ...maybe ? 2yrs ago I had a 2' powder day ( well more like snowed for 5 days straight ) at Elk mid December lake effect was kind but can't be planned.

If you want to ski December find a place that has solid snow making and cold that time of year ..so New England not Pa.
Killington works and for all the things on your non ski list .
 

Siliconebobsquarepants

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December is just a terrible time in general to plan in advance as it is so variable. Even Vermont can have a low number of trails open in December some years (and other years they can be 100% open).

For PA, here's some information on recent opening dates to give you an example of what we're dealing with as far as December risks in the Poconos. And just because a resort was "open" doesn't tell you how much terrain they actually had available.

Camelback
11/30/2018
12/15/2017
12/15/2016
12/22/2015
11/28/2014

Elk
12/12/2018
12/13/2017
12/13/2016
01/05/2016 (apparently they didn't make December at all in the 2015/2016 season)
12/04/2014

Montage
11/23/2018
12/14/2017
12/14/2016
01/07/2016 (Another PA resort that didn't make December this season)
12/18/2014

Nice job on the stats :thumbup:
 

Domeskier

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December is just a terrible time in general to plan in advance as it is so variable. Even Vermont can have a low number of trails open in December some years (and other years they can be 100% open).

I don't think this matters too much for beginners. With the exception of places competing to be the first to open, resorts will typically not open unless their beginner areas have snow. That being said, I definitely wouldn't recommend planning in August on skiing the Poconos before Christmas week (although they often do open before than as your stats show).
 

cdskier

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I don't think this matters too much for beginners. With the exception of places competing to be the first to open, resorts will typically not open unless their beginner areas have snow.

I completely disagree. Beginner trails are rarely the first to be targeted with snowmaking in Vermont and many resorts open before those trails are available. You often see warnings in snow reports early in December at VT ski areas stating no beginner terrain is available. Core early season trails will be covered first (some advanced and some intermediate terrain designed to cater to the majority of the early season skiers). Once enough of that is open and covered they will spread out to the beginner locations.

Sure, the goal is to always have some beginner terrain open by around mid-December at many VT areas prior to the Christmas week, but it is still weather dependent and there is definitely still risk. Is there less risk than the Poconos? Absolutely. But we shouldn't mislead people either into thinking that beginner terrain would definitely be open just because a resort is open.
 

urungus

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Yea...they definitely do some impressive things. Sugarbush has a "First timer to life timer" program for people ages 13+ who have never skied. $299 gets you 3 days of tickets, lessons, and rentals plus a free season pass if you complete the program successfully. You can add on a 4th day for another $105 and get a free pair of skis just like Killington does too.

So if I were to fake being a beginner for 3 days, I could get a season pass for $299 ?
 

Domeskier

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I completely disagree. Beginner trails are rarely the first to be targeted with snowmaking in Vermont and many resorts open before those trails are available.

Are most resorts in VT opening with one or two WRODs for the diehards? I certainly wouldn't recommend a beginner heading up to K in October hoping to ski Snowshed. Wasn't aware that the VT resorts that open later were just offering intermediate and expert options. That's certainly not how it works in the Poconos. Sure, they won't try to open all their green trails to start, but the beginner areas are definitely a priority.
 

cdskier

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Are most resorts in VT opening with one or two WRODs for the diehards? I certainly wouldn't recommend a beginner heading up to K in October hoping to ski Snowshed. Wasn't aware that the VT resorts that open later were just offering intermediate and expert options. That's certainly not how it works in the Poconos. Sure, they won't try to open all their green trails to start, but the beginner areas are definitely a priority.

I wouldn't call them WRODs at all. Sugarbush's typical progression is to open some combination of Snowball, Spring Fling, Jester, Downspout, and Organgrinder first. Then temps dictate a lot of what they hit next. If they only have temps up high, they'll do Ripcord. Otherwise they'll do some combination of Lower Downspout, Middle Jester, Lower Organgrinder, and sometimes even Steins next to get more lower mountain alternatives open and go back up to Ripcord only when temps force them off the lower mountain. At this point they'll usually start to move over to the beginner terrain off Gate House (Pushover, Easy Rider, Hot Shot, etc) to have them ready for usually around the 3rd week of December. Really the only reason Gate House would ever be done before some of the other trails I mentioned is if weather isn't cooperating at all and you're well into December with only a few trails covered.

Most VT resorts have their "normal" opening around Thanksgiving to early December. There's no major push to have beginner terrain by that point. The key with beginner terrain is having it available prior to Christmas (whereas in the Poconos this is around the time many of those resorts are just opening period, so it makes sense that they need to have beginner terrain right away).
 

mister moose

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Off the top of my head -

Thanksgiving - Killington has entire North Ridge, World Cup and usually top to bottom on K-1, 50% chance of 1 trail on Ramshead. Most other major VT areas open.
1st week of December - Killington opened Ramshead, blowing Snowshed. Okemo usually overtakes Killington in open acres about this time.
2nd week December - Snowshed open, Skye Peak open, possibly Needles.
3rd week December trying for Bear, expanding trails resort wide, Skyeship base.
4th week December Bear open

All this varies of course, the horrible year about 4 years ago saw zero expansion into Ramshead and Snowshed until after Christmas, only to lose it again. That season really didn't get going until the 1st week of January.

I'm not familiar with trail rollout at other mountains, but in general I'd say 2nd weekend in December for dependable beginner terrain in VT. (Obviously varies by season and latitude)
 

Domeskier

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I wouldn't call them WRODs at all. Sugarbush's typical progression is to open some combination of Snowball, Spring Fling, Jester, Downspout, and Organgrinder first. Then temps dictate a lot of what they hit next. If they only have temps up high, they'll do Ripcord. Otherwise they'll do some combination of Lower Downspout, Middle Jester, Lower Organgrinder, and sometimes even Steins next to get more lower mountain alternatives open and go back up to Ripcord only when temps force them off the lower mountain. At this point they'll usually start to move over to the beginner terrain off Gate House (Pushover, Easy Rider, Hot Shot, etc) to have them ready for usually around the 3rd week of December. Really the only reason Gate House would ever be done before some of the other trails I mentioned is if weather isn't cooperating at all and you're well into December with only a few trails covered.)

SB doesn't try to open the Village Quad right off the bat? That's what I have in mind as beginner terrain - basically learning areas for true beginners. If areas like that are not priorities for VT resorts, then I agree that planning a December learn-to-ski trip in VT is not a sure thing.
 

cdskier

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SB doesn't try to open the Village Quad right off the bat? That's what I have in mind as beginner terrain - basically learning areas for true beginners. If areas like that are not priorities for VT resorts, then I agree that planning a December learn-to-ski trip in VT is not a sure thing.

Nope. Village is not a priority lift/area and won't come online until Gate House as a whole opens. Thanksgiving to mid December is just Super Bravo (and/or Valley House) and Heaven's Gate for lifts. You may get one of the beginner carpets open earlier once in a while, but no guarantees.
 
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