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Road Trips as Previews for Seasonal Rental Next Season

HD333

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The wife and I hit the big 40 next year and we are considering renting a place at a bigger MT instead of using our place on Winnepasaukee as a home base for next season so we plan on making some rad trips this year to check places out.

Looking for a destination within a 3 hr drive of Metro West/Boston and a place VERY close to whatever MT we decide on.

As of now the contenders are : Conway/Bartlet Area (Wildcat/Attitash pass interests me), Okemo (she has a friend who goes there and raves about it), and Loon or Waterville Valley (Familiarity). We love Sugarbush and while it probably the best skiing of the bunch it has only an outside chance, that drive would be pushing it.

We are looking for a family friendly resort/area, that we can enjoy with our 9 year old girls who have been skiing for 6 years at this point. While skiing is why we do this family time is just as important so we want a place where we can enjoy ourselves as a family, Apres', eating out, activities (hiking/skating) on non-ski days.

Anyone have any feedback about making one of the locations above a home mountian for a year, or maybe longer? Tips on ammenities (lockers at MT, on MT Services, etc..)? Early buy pass rates?

Any tips on seasonal rentals in general? Any realitor suggestions for the areas above?

Thanks in Advance.
 

Cannonball

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We went through a really similar process over the past few years. We have property on Winnepasauke, but it's just not close enough to the Mtns to commit to building a place. Anyone want to buy 11 acres?

We've been doing seasonal rentals in Lincoln for several years, and just bought a place there this year. While we always ski Cannon and hardly ever Loon, I can still attest to amount of family stuff that Loon and Lincoln have to offer. We debated the same 3 locations for the same reasons: Lincoln, N. Conway, Sugarbush. Drive time made Lincoln the winner for us. We knew we wouldn't get to SB enough and would often deal with traffic hassles to N. Conway. Lincoln is such a quick shot that I often shoot up last minute late-night.
 

kickstand

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The wife and I hit the big 40 next year

Me, too. My wife isn't a big a skier and she already turned 40. We decided on doing our own thing for the big 40's. She went to Canyon Ranch in Lenox with a friend of hers. I just booked a long weekend at Solitude in March.

I have to put in the shameless plug for the North Conway area. We've had a place up there for 8 years now, and I rented seasonally for about 5, 6 years before that. All the resorts in the area are family friendly, maybe some a little more than others (BW, Cranmore). There's even a very inexpensive family option (Black Mt - family of 4 skis weekends for $139). For non-skiing stuff, there's free snowshoeing/hiking trails, ice skating, mountain coasters, zip lines, sleigh rides....and everyone knows about the shopping. For restaurants, there are your standard chain places (99, Appleby's), but lots of great local joints, too (www.thevalleyoriginals.com).

When we did our seasonal rentals, I believe the monthly bills were forwarded by the owner to one of the folks who signed the lease. It was then up to him to pay it. We paid the owner the seasonal lease, and we took care of the bills for the 6 months we had the place. That was water, electric, cable, maybe phone and definitely a cord of wood delivered in the fall (heat was electric). Phone you can probably get away without paying, since most use cells now. I would push not to have that included in a lease agreement.

If you decide on the North Conway area, I can give you some ideas as to where you may want to be. For a realtor, we used Badger when we bought our place. They do have a rental department, but I'm not sure how many properties they have. We had put ours in at one point, and got nothing thru them. I would also check the normal online places.

We have twins, as well, but B/G. Maybe your girls could talk my daughter into coming out for more ski lessons.... :)

Good luck...
 

drjeff

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Having done a seasonal rental for 4 winters before buying at Mount Snow a number of years ago, here's a few seasonal rental tips that my wife and I learned:

1) Pets - if you have them, and plan on bringing them with you, immediately your pool of potential rentals goes down dramatically, so be sure to specify that early on if you have them with the agent who will likely be helping you find something

2) Many seasonal rentals end up just getting rolled over from year to year, often for a good reason since they're very likely nicer properties with more ammenities/better location/etc, so the earlier you decide, the greater the pool to choose from that you'll have

3) Your kids! I'm sure that I don't have to tell you that having them happy, with a possible new "social community" in that area, can make a HUGE difference - if you've got friends/neighbors at home that rent/own at a certain area, even if it's not on your list now, consider it! I'm lucky enough with where I am at Mount Snow to have met and made friends, very often because of our kids being in the same kids programs, and other times via ski area chatrooms for that area, to have met some great friends for our entire family up there, to the point where almost every week we're up we have multiple families getting together on Saturday (and sometimes Friday) night at either someone's place or a restaurant, and that off hill time DOES make a difference!

4) Check out, if there is, a public transportation system from where you might rent to the slopes - ends up making a difference

5) You're right to inquire about mountain lockers! Especially if you're mainly just going to be at 1 area! Makes a HUGE difference not having to lug your gear to/from your place on a daily basis - also check out some of the ski shops in the area - you'll likely be using them a bunch more
 

Smellytele

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I used to do seasonal rentals in Jackson not far from Black. Was a great location 15 minutes from Wildcat and Attitash. Used to take the hour ride to SR every once and awhile.
 

HD333

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Having done a seasonal rental for 4 winters before buying at Mount Snow a number of years ago, here's a few seasonal rental tips that my wife and I learned:

1) Pets - if you have them, and plan on bringing them with you, immediately your pool of potential rentals goes down dramatically, so be sure to specify that early on if you have them with the agent who will likely be helping you find something

2) Many seasonal rentals end up just getting rolled over from year to year, often for a good reason since they're very likely nicer properties with more ammenities/better location/etc, so the earlier you decide, the greater the pool to choose from that you'll have

3) Your kids! I'm sure that I don't have to tell you that having them happy, with a possible new "social community" in that area, can make a HUGE difference - if you've got friends/neighbors at home that rent/own at a certain area, even if it's not on your list now, consider it! I'm lucky enough with where I am at Mount Snow to have met and made friends, very often because of our kids being in the same kids programs, and other times via ski area chatrooms for that area, to have met some great friends for our entire family up there, to the point where almost every week we're up we have multiple families getting together on Saturday (and sometimes Friday) night at either someone's place or a restaurant, and that off hill time DOES make a difference!

4) Check out, if there is, a public transportation system from where you might rent to the slopes - ends up making a difference

5) You're right to inquire about mountain lockers! Especially if you're mainly just going to be at 1 area! Makes a HUGE difference not having to lug your gear to/from your place on a daily basis - also check out some of the ski shops in the area - you'll likely be using them a bunch more

Forgot about the dog, he comes with us. I don't know how anyone manages without lockers, we got a second one this year for the girls.
How is MT Snow for off hill activities? Good dining options? We are the type to find one place and stick to it. Haven't been there in forever , pre-kids. May have to give it a look.
 

C-Rex

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I've stayed in the Okemo area before and it worked out pretty well. Okemo, IMO, can get boring, but it's only like 45 min from Killington/Pico as well. And you aren't too far from Mt. Snow and Stratton too.
 

drjeff

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Forgot about the dog, he comes with us. I don't know how anyone manages without lockers, we got a second one this year for the girls.
How is MT Snow for off hill activities? Good dining options? We are the type to find one place and stick to it. Haven't been there in forever , pre-kids. May have to give it a look.

Mount Snow is great for us. I never pretend that it's the most "extreme" mountain out there. It still has a bunch of great cruisers, has some steeps on the Northface. They make a ton of snow and day in and day out provide a very good snowsurface to slide downhill on. Last years installation of the Bluebird Express was a great change, one that really has more folks skiing top to bottom rather than just portions of the mountain in a warm, comfortable way unlike anything else in the East. If your kids have any interest at all in the park scene, the Carinthia side of Mount Snow is year in and year out ranked as one of the best park facilities in the country. They've got tubing and snowmobile tours right at the mountain. Cross Country skiing right across the street. An extensive free public transporatation system called the "Moover" that runs throughout the area and most of the housing communities in the region that drops you off right in the main base area. Lots of restaurants within a 10 mile radius of the mountain, and if you want to head to other areas in the general vicinity, you've got Stratton, Bromley and Magic within 45 minutes, Okemo is about an hour and Skyeship base at Killington is about an hour and 15 minutes.

For me atleast, its the great sense of community that I have when I'm up there. My kids (about to turn 7 and 9) have grown up in the ski programs there and between the skills that they've acquired and the friends that both they've made (other kids in the programs, instructors, etc) and that my wife and I have made (parents of kids in programs with my kids, instructors, administrators and staff at the mountain, local business owners, etc) it's just a great environment for us, and one that we look forward to heading too basicaly every week of the ski season and many weeks in the off season.
 

jrmagic

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You didn't mention it but could Magic be a good destination for your family? Its within your driving distance, you can get a seasonal rental slopeside for cheaper than "close" lodgings at other mountains, the family environment is great, the family is welcomed at the Apres scene and there are many great dining choices within a few miles. There is a locker room that you can ski in/out from as well. Plus if bought passes, you could do the whole family for about a grand at the early season rate. if you wanted some freedom, you could get the discount cards and then have Bromley, Strattom and Okemo closeby.
 

WWF-VT

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We live just west of Boston and my drive to Sugarbush is usually about 3 hours and 15 minutes. While it’s outside of your 3 hour window, the extra time = dramatically less crowds than a few of your other options. I’d rather spend extra time in the car than in lift lines. If you are going to commit to season passes and a lodging rental you should give more weight to “the best skiing of the bunch” because that’s why you are making the time and $$ commitment.

We rented for 5 years and on our third year of owning. There are lots of condos and/or homes available for seasonal rental in the Mad River Valley. As drjeff pointed out – a pet will limit your options. I rented off mountain in Waitsfield and was 6 miles to Mt Ellen and 4 miles to Lincoln Peak. We had a choice of driving or taking the Mad Bus. I purchased a condo and now walk onto the lifts at Mt Ellen.

The MRV is the antithesis of Conway/Bartlett. There are no chain stores, outlet shopping and traffic lights. There are a few restaurants, a bunch of shops, a movie theater, skating rink and lots of outdoor things to do. If you are like a lot of other families you’ll ski all day, eat dinner at home and be in bed early on Saturday night. Dining out is OK but gets to be expensive if you do it more than once a month. Waterbury/Stowe are not too far a trek for additional restaurants and activities.

When you are a passholder it’s tough to spend money on tickets for other ski resorts but Mad River Glen, Stowe, Bolton and Middlebury are all within an hour drive.

Kids: are you looking to ski together or considering seasonal programs? Our kids grew up in the Blazer programs and have a lot of friends from the programs.

Pass rates: Best buy is in the spring when they are at the lowest cost. One key cost advantage for Sugarbush is that kids 12 and under get a free pass when you purchase an adult pass. My kids are now teenagers and their passes this year were $299 each.


Regardless of where you choose to go, once you buy a pass and do a seasonal rental you will want to go most every weekend and school vacation time during your rental period so be ready for the commitment to the drive and time away from home.
 

C-Rex

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How far is the Loaf from you? Always a good time up there. And you'd have Sunday River and Saddleback not TOO far away if you got bored.
 

HD333

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Thanks for the input so far.

We have the wheels up every Friday and home late every Sunday from New Years -April part down, been doing it for 4-5 years at this point, just going to our own place(really a summer place that we make work in the winter). We have been pass holders at Gunstock for a few years now, passes for the entire family are around $1500 for the season which makes road trips more than doable. We have been extremely happy at Gunstock (kids in programs, friendly faces, good enough terrain) but we are kind of outgrowing it and the 1/2 hr drive from our place in NH to Gunstock is getting old so we want to get closer to a mountian, a bigger mountian to boot. I realize it may seem crazy to rent when we have somewhere available to us but the house as a home base is just too far from Loon & WV (45 minutes) to make it work every weekend so we need to figure something out.
I would love the Mad River Valley vibe closer to home. From what I remember Loon seems like a cross between the Valley and N. Conway. I am going to give Magic a look.
Anyone have some real intel on Okemo?
 

snosharkrider

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We've rented the same place in Londonderry, Vt for the last 8 years. We purchase the Stratton Value Pass which allows one to ski at Stratton, Okemo, and Mt. Sunapee. Londonderry is 20 minutes from Stratton and 35 minutes to Okemo.

I really like Okemo, have skied there since I was in high school in the late 80's, and I probably ski about 20 days a season at Okemo. It has a lot of terrain, great snowmaking and grooming, is kept up nicely and is a great family mountain. As many on this site will point out it lacks mad, hardcore expert terrain which is true but there's enough to keep it interesting especially if you like wide cruiser trails.

It can get crowded on holidays (it is Southern Vermont) but once familiar with the mountain there are ways to avoid the crowds.

There's a not much on the mountain for non-ski days but the Jackson Gore area has added some ammenities with the ice rink, indoor/outdoor pool, roller coaster, and mini-golf course in the spring. There are some evening activities for kids but I am not all that familiar with them. The town of Ludlow has a supermarket, many restaurants and some shopping. I don't think there's public transportation in town to the mountain.

I'm a big fan of Okemo.
 

HowieT2

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We live just west of Boston and my drive to Sugarbush is usually about 3 hours and 15 minutes. While it’s outside of your 3 hour window, the extra time = dramatically less crowds than a few of your other options. I’d rather spend extra time in the car than in lift lines. If you are going to commit to season passes and a lodging rental you should give more weight to “the best skiing of the bunch” because that’s why you are making the time and $$ commitment.

We rented for 5 years and on our third year of owning. There are lots of condos and/or homes available for seasonal rental in the Mad River Valley. As drjeff pointed out – a pet will limit your options. I rented off mountain in Waitsfield and was 6 miles to Mt Ellen and 4 miles to Lincoln Peak. We had a choice of driving or taking the Mad Bus. I purchased a condo and now walk onto the lifts at Mt Ellen.

The MRV is the antithesis of Conway/Bartlett. There are no chain stores, outlet shopping and traffic lights. There are a few restaurants, a bunch of shops, a movie theater, skating rink and lots of outdoor things to do. If you are like a lot of other families you’ll ski all day, eat dinner at home and be in bed early on Saturday night. Dining out is OK but gets to be expensive if you do it more than once a month. Waterbury/Stowe are not too far a trek for additional restaurants and activities.

When you are a passholder it’s tough to spend money on tickets for other ski resorts but Mad River Glen, Stowe, Bolton and Middlebury are all within an hour drive.

Kids: are you looking to ski together or considering seasonal programs? Our kids grew up in the Blazer programs and have a lot of friends from the programs.

Pass rates: Best buy is in the spring when they are at the lowest cost. One key cost advantage for Sugarbush is that kids 12 and under get a free pass when you purchase an adult pass. My kids are now teenagers and their passes this year were $299 each.


Regardless of where you choose to go, once you buy a pass and do a seasonal rental you will want to go most every weekend and school vacation time during your rental period so be ready for the commitment to the drive and time away from home.

+1
we started the seasonal rentals at sugarbush for our 40th birthdays on an experimental basis. coming from ny with a 4+ hour drive, we really didnt think we would be doing it every weekend. Well 5 seasons later and we are loathe to miss any time. We have gotten so used to the drive it seems like 'nothing and it is actually good family time. When we approach manchester (Stratton) we have another hour and half to go, but as 95% of the cars get off the exit and out of my way, we are reminded of why we put in the extra effort. for the hearty, there are little if any lift lines and uncrowded trails. and a lot more natural snow than our neighbors to the south.
While its accurate that the mrv has a limited number of restaurants, there are some really really good ones and the food in general is excellent.
if you have any questions dont hesitate to pm
 

snosharkrider

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Actually there's just me. Management has hung my picture in the main, Solitude, and Jackson Gore base areas in appreciation.
 

4aprice

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Thanks for the input so far.

We have the wheels up every Friday and home late every Sunday from New Years -April part down, been doing it for 4-5 years at this point, just going to our own place(really a summer place that we make work in the winter). We have been pass holders at Gunstock for a few years now, passes for the entire family are around $1500 for the season which makes road trips more than doable. We have been extremely happy at Gunstock (kids in programs, friendly faces, good enough terrain) but we are kind of outgrowing it and the 1/2 hr drive from our place in NH to Gunstock is getting old so we want to get closer to a mountian, a bigger mountian to boot. I realize it may seem crazy to rent when we have somewhere available to us but the house as a home base is just too far from Loon & WV (45 minutes) to make it work every weekend so we need to figure something out.
I would love the Mad River Valley vibe closer to home. From what I remember Loon seems like a cross between the Valley and N. Conway. I am going to give Magic a look.
Anyone have some real intel on Okemo?

This might surprise some but I thought Bretton Woods had some really nice looking places near the slopes. Cannon of course is an easy ride for challenge. You got the beautiful hotel and its ammenities (nice sports club, ie pool at BW).

I see your point, but to me Winni is placed so perfectly for road trips all over NNE. (Maybe I don't mind driving as much as you do) I wouldn't stick just to Gunstock though I think its a good place. Of course summer time IMO there is no better place then Winni.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

HD333

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Figured I would revive this thread rather than start a new one.

Looks like we have decided if a seasonal rental is going to happen it will be at Okemo. We stayed slope side at a friends place and the mountian met all of our needs.

I know it is early but we have started talking to agents about places up there. Sounds like our options are going to be limited due to our dog, so I think an early start is the way to go rather than waiting it out for a deal.

Anybody have any insider info on the rental market at Okemo? Any leads for renting through an owner rather than an agent/association?

If Okemo doesn't work out looks like we will be "stuck" using our place in NH as a launching pad for the season.
 

boston_e

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If Okemo does not work out, I would say that my family and I had a very good experience in the Pico/Killington area.

Pico passes are about the best deal around. Purchased early season adults are something like $350 and under 18 is $150!!! Good family friendly mountain, with enough to keep the adults satisfied as well. And if you want to mix it up one day, Killington is right nearby... but we skied almost every day at Pico.

Plus a ton of resturaunts etc in the area.
 

xwhaler

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My uncle owns a place in Proctorsville VT just outside Ludlow that we visit a half dozen times per season (this yr notwithstanding). The location is really great for giving yourself options.

Okemo: Good cruising mtn, not many trees or anything steep. If you know how to work the mtn and avoid the crowds on busy days you can be fine. I can see if being a great spot for a family that likes high speed groomers. They do a nice early season operation getting World Cup open quickly.

You have Magic within 25 mins of Ludlow, Killington 30, Pico 35, Stratton/Bromley 40 ish. Pico has is a nice season pass value that perhaps you could pair with a Sunday Okemo pass for variety.
If you wanted to head further north to chase powder Sugarbush/MRG is not a terrible road trip for a Saturday.

Ludlow has some decent restaurants. I'd personally get bored of Okemo all season but I think its really nice for early/late season ops if you mixed in some of the others nearby.
 
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