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Sugarbush Questions

beach bum

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My buddy and I are planning on taking a 4 day trip up to Vermont for the 1st time. I think we finally settled on Sugarbush for our 1st trip to VT due to terrain and proximity to Burlington Airport. We were also looking at Jays but lodging availability got real slim. I've been reading through some posts on here and I was hoping I could get some insight on a couple questions before we lock anything down. The dates we are looking at are January 9-13th. We are looking for some tree skiing, some groomers, a decent happy hour bar, not a crazy crowded resort, and hopefully some fresh snow.

1. Why haven't the posted lift ticket pricing yet? Do they usually offer some multi-day discounts and/or ski stay package that are reasonable?

2. We are planning on renting a car and the prices almost double for 4 wheel drive. Under normal winter conditions(No "Named Winter Storm" bearing down) could we make it to the mountain with a standard rental car or should we plan on just getting a 4 wheel drive.

3. Around what time do VT resorts have 100% terrain open? I know each year can be drastically different but are dates are somewhat flexible and we only picked early Jan because we are anxious for a ski trip. We're hoping by then there will be a decent base and close to 100%

Thanks for any insight and cheers to a cold and snowy winter.
 

deadheadskier

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If I were banking on 100% of terrain being open, I'd push your dates to early February. Not uncommon to get thaws around the holidays that wipe out early season base depths.
 

Huck_It_Baby

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1. If I remember last year SB was around $87 and Jay $76. Should be close to those same prices I would think.

I would recommend getting the VT Travelers card. It cost 44 dollars and gets you discounts on lift tickets, lodging, and food. If you ski 4 days it's worth the $$. Might even entice you to return to VT again this season. The ticket discounts are pretty significant.

http://www.classicskitours.net/vermontTravel.asp

2. Probably will be OK without a 4-wheel if there isn't a storm in progress. Just drive with a little common sense and take your time.

3. Early January can be questionable. Doubtful you will have 100% open. Better chance of more snow in Jay but if you have ppl in your group who aren't into tree skiing and just want groomers SB might be a better bet.


If you are flying into Burlington have you thought about Stowe or Bolton Valley?
 

Cornhead

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Welcome to the forum, are you both skiers? If so, I highly recommend hitting Mad River Glen if you're going to ski Sugarbush. They are virtually next to each other. I skied there twice last season. The first visit was pretty much a bust, it was the end of January. The next visit was awesome, end of February. They had received two feet just prior to my arrival. I stayed both times at The Golden Lion, it's right at the bottom of the Sugarbush access road on rt 100. Modest accommodations, breakfast is included, they do have a hot tub. I got a discount voucher for MRG, five or ten bucks off. I did have to ask for it. I found a discounted ticket from this forum for Sugarbush, it was through boston.com, half price, $40 mid week. I also had a pass from the Warren Miller movie, they are offering one again this year. Sugarbush is expensive without a discount, $88 last year. MRG was pretty cheap, $35 mid week, I believe.
 

beach bum

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We looked at Stowe 1st but then thought it might be to crowded. I could be completely wrong on that it just seemed like I read some reviews that said long lift lines. Looked at Smuggs also, but I liked that Sugarbush had the two mountain option with 100+trails. Never even saw Bolton Valley. Have to look it along with the Travelers Card.

Coming from Virginia hills and WV mountains I think anything is going to keep us satisfied. We both Snowboard so MRG is out.
 

Huck_It_Baby

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We looked at Stowe 1st but then thought it might be to crowded. I could be completely wrong on that it just seemed like I read some reviews that said long lift lines. Looked at Smuggs also, but I liked that Sugarbush had the two mountain option with 100+trails. Never even saw Bolton Valley. Have to look it along with the Travelers Card.

Coming from Virginia hills and WV mountains I think anything is going to keep us satisfied. We both Snowboard so MRG is out.

If you are riding mid-week I wouldn't worry too much about lift lines. Weekends you will likely have some lines at most resorts.

You will have a great time no matter where you go! SB is a great choice. It's a very cool mountain in my opinion.
 

slatham

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1) Speculating, but they are offering tickets that allow you to also ski MRG so maybe that has delayed posting ticket prices. Yes, they offer multi-day discounts, and in years past you could buy tickets offsite a various stores for even less (can't recall which one's, sorry). Also, they offer a lower priced ticket for Mt Ellen. Note that Mt Ellen is often not crowded, even on peak times. Plan your days accordingly.

2) Front wheel drive will be fine except under the most dumping of conditions, and even then this is Vermont so roads shouldn't be impassable. Just use common sense.

3) Odds are it they will not be 100% but they very well could be. It is likely that upper mountain is 100% due to elevation enhanced snows.

Plenty of glades if snow pack good. I grew up skiing Snowshoe/Liberty/Roundtop/Blue Knob.....you will be impressed with terrian.
 

snowmonster

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I didn't own a car during my first three years on skis and would make the trek to VT or NH in the cheapest rental car I could find. The plowing to the resorts is pretty reliable and you'll probably be fine with a regular rental car. Save your coin for other expenses on the mountain. February is a reliable time to be there. If it sucks in February, then it's a bad season all around.

Sugarbush is a good place to go. It's a fine mountain and will keep you interested. You can also venture further out to Stowe, BV, Smuggs or Killington. However, cross your fingers that you get dumped on a lot during your stay. I stayed at the Golden Lion several times. Good places run by an AZer. Tell him we sent you and you can get a discount.
 

noski

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I stayed both times at The Golden Lion, it's right at the bottom of the Sugarbush access road on rt 100. Modest accommodations, breakfast is included, they do have a hot tub.
The Golden Lion is among several properties in the Mad River Valley where you can book a Ski The Valley Plus Passport package. You get a ticket that is interchangeable between MRG/SB and even Ole's XC center. Each day gets you an added freebie as part of the Passport Package. This page: www.SkiTheValley.net shows you last year's add-ons. This year should be similar.
 

HowieT2

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my experience at SB is that the mtn generally gets completely open around MLK weekend. sometimes before but usually right around there. If the natural snow trails are open the woods are probably going to be skiable. That being said, best odds for good conditions are from the end of January through mid march. IMHO go later if you can wait

save money and forgo the 4wd. However, that also depends on where your staying. if you're renting a house on a dirt road up a hill, that's a different story. take the free shuttle to and from the mtn.

fwiw-the main terrain park with the bigger jumps are at mt ellen, which is also a significantly cheaper ticket.

dont hesitate to PM me if you have any further questions.
 

bdfreetuna

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I'd say you chose wisely. Sugarbush is awesome. Since you got 4 days to ski I would suggest at least 1 day on Mt. Ellen (Sugarbush North) and 1 day at Mad River Glen. Maybe do Ellen and MRG on days 2 and 3 so you can decide where you want to spend your 4th day.

All these mountains are great top tier Vermont skiing. Jay Peak is also awesome but I'd rather spend 4 days in the Mad River Valley than 4 days at Jay.

Aim for February or even March if you want to ski fully open terrain including good base depths in the woods.
 

NotEasyBeingGreen

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1. If I remember last year SB was around $87 and Jay $76. Should be close to those same prices I would think.

I would recommend getting the VT Travelers card. It cost 44 dollars and gets you discounts on lift tickets, lodging, and food. If you ski 4 days it's worth the $$. Might even entice you to return to VT again this season. The ticket discounts are pretty significant.

http://www.classicskitours.net/vermontTravel.asp

Thanks for posting that link - it looks like an excellent deal. I think I can make up the family price in one day at Stowe! I notice there's also a little discount for Sunday River and Sugarloaf.
 

riverc0il

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Early January is very variable for glades and open terrain. It is not uncommon for there to be little to no open glades in January and it is extremely rare that areas are 100% that soon. That said, January is when base depths usually start to get to where most glades can be skied in NoVT (during an average year or better). But it is extremely variable. If you want glade skiing, I'd recommend going further north such as Bolton, Stowe, Smuggs, or Jay which get more snow.

Jay is a particularly good option because they have a lot of low angle glades that can open with minimal coverage and of course they get the most natural in New England (but Jay doesn't have good groomers). The Bush is a good option though, better than NH, ME, and SoVT. But if glades is a must, then go further north for the best chance. Stowe would be a great option, not much more expensive than Bush, almost the same snow as Jay, great trees, and excellent groomers. Nearby lodging would probably be more expensive though.

You'll probably be fine without AWD unless you are "fortunate" to have a morning blizzard. If it is dumping hard in the AM, it can be difficult to get up access roads without snow tires or AWD. But it doesn't dump most morning on average. Ask if they have cars with snow tires which is better than AWD with all seasons.
 

riverc0il

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I'd say you chose wisely. Sugarbush is awesome. Since you got 4 days to ski I would suggest at least 1 day on Mt. Ellen (Sugarbush North) and 1 day at Mad River Glen. Maybe do Ellen and MRG on days 2 and 3 so you can decide where you want to spend your 4th day.
Don't count on Mad River for the second week of January. If we have a rough start, there might not be much open at MRG since they don't really have any snow making aside from the base area. Might be a good "keep in mind" option if it is good, but not a good idea to bank on it. On the flip side, they could get hammered and be 100% open since they are liberal with their ropes. But that would be luck of the draw.
 

bdfreetuna

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Yea that's why I suggested February or preferably March if you can wait.

Sugarbush South has excellent glades off the Valley House chair, not to mention Paradise and the Church and that whole area between them.

Mt. Ellen is basically lacking in glades unless there's stuff I'm not aware of but it makes up for it in being a high peak with a fairly old school vibe about the place and the terrain.

And Mad River Glen obviously has amazing woods including Paradise which is arguably the best glade in the East.

If however you show up too early / too late or terrible weather happens you could end up disappointed that all the good stuff is closed. Show up late Feb / early March and it's just a matter of how nice the snow is when you ski it.
 

beach bum

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Wow, A lot of great advice, Thanks!

So now we are looking at pushing our date back to Jan 30 - Feb 3 to give a better chance at more open terrain. Which also brings Jay back in to the mix because more lodging is available that weekend. So it's down to Sugarbush or Jay to keep it simple. Either one will be a blast for us. Being a surfer this sounds tempting after a day on the slopes....

86-degree temperatures, frozen Margaritas and big views of the local surfing community—The Drink delivers a little bit of summer all year long. Nearly a dozen beers on tap, dueling blenders, and a list of frozen concoctions designed to help you forget about any chilly winds that may blow outside

That being said, now that we've pushed our dates back plan on a double digit snowfall January 10th:snow: Thanks for all the local advice!
 

Huck_It_Baby

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86-degree temperatures, frozen Margaritas and big views of the local surfing community—The Drink delivers a little bit of summer all year long. Nearly a dozen beers on tap, dueling blenders, and a list of frozen concoctions designed to help you forget about any chilly winds that may blow outside

That being said, now that we've pushed our dates back plan on a double digit snowfall January 10th:snow: Thanks for all the local advice!


I have to say it is damn cool to rip Jay all day and hit the water park for slides and drinks after.
 

HowieT2

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Yea that's why I suggested February or preferably March if you can wait.

Sugarbush South has excellent glades off the Valley House chair, not to mention Paradise and the Church and that whole area between them.

Mt. Ellen is basically lacking in glades unless there's stuff I'm not aware of but it makes up for it in being a high peak with a fairly old school vibe about the place and the terrain.

And Mad River Glen obviously has amazing woods including Paradise which is arguably the best glade in the East.

If however you show up too early / too late or terrible weather happens you could end up disappointed that all the good stuff is closed. Show up late Feb / early March and it's just a matter of how nice the snow is when you ski it.

There are lots of great wood skiing at mt ellen. Look on the map at exterminator woods and continue north.
 
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