• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

Which areas have the best beginner ski area layout within 2 hours of Boston?

billski

Active member
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
16,207
Points
38
Location
North Reading, Mass.
Website
ski.iabsi.com
Looking for opinions, primarily from those who have learned to ski/board at a nearby area.
Which areas are the best, especially in terms of
a) uphill mode of transport (magic carpet, chair, etc.)
b) ease of getting equipment
c) layout of the terrain - easy to get to and use
d) crowds
e) isolation from fast skiers coming from above

And then, which areas to stay away from and why.

I am deliberately avoiding the quality of the lesson, as it's subjective and depends so much on the quality of the instructor.

Thanks,
Bill
 
Last edited:

Savemeasammy

New member
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
2,538
Points
0
Location
S. NH
I wouldn't normally advocate for Mt. Sunapee, but I think I can here! I have a friend who instructs there, and his wife suggested that I bring my little guy there after I lamented about the beginner setup at Pats. I would really like an area that has a natural run-out so that I can let him glide on his own and come to a stop, and she said Sunapee has such a setup. If you check out a map (although I'm sure you've been...), the beginner's area is completely isolated from the rest of the mountain. No park rats or bombers flying by on their way to the lift!


Sent from my iPad using AlpineZone mobile app
 

deadheadskier

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
27,064
Points
113
Location
Southeast NH
Sunapee is a very good set up. Cannon has a good one too with Tuckerbrook. Barnyard at Ragged is a good learning terrain set up.
 

KevinF

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2003
Messages
567
Points
16
Location
Marlborough, Massachusetts
It's not within two hours of Boston, but when Stowe has their Easy Mile chair (the one servicing the bottom part of the Toll Road) running, you have an unbeatable beginner area setup. You can find stretches of fresh corduroy down there at 3:00 in the afternoon on busy days.
 

joshua segal

Active member
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
820
Points
28
Location
Southern NH
Website
skikabbalah.com
In these days of "terrain-based teaching", the surfaces change from day-to-day and from week-to-week. But if you are looking at areas that have sections isolated from the rest of the mountain that have a reasonably long run, served by its own lift(s) that allow for easy integration with Green Circle" runs on the main mountain a few that immediately come to mind are:
- The Barnyard, Ragged, NH
- Snowshed, Killington, VT
- South Branch, Saddleback, ME
- Area served by Clipper Ship Quad, 3 Carpets and 2 Ropes, Sunapee, NH
 

jack97

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
2,513
Points
0
Nashoba's beginners section is isolated from high speed skiers and is great for tots, it has tow ropes but no carpet.

Wachusetts has a good setup over at the beginner's setup that is isolated from the rest of the mountain as well. It has a carpet and a high speed quad. The place gets just as crowded in this section as well as the other trails.


Although not considered in the OP, when a beginner is somewhat ready to try the rest of the trail but gets freaked out by crowded trails, Crotched is great, weekend are not bad and trails never seem crowded. We use to take our daughter there when she was as that stage.


btw, I second (or third) the beginner sections at Ragged and Sunapee, its a great set up.
 

joshua segal

Active member
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
820
Points
28
Location
Southern NH
Website
skikabbalah.com
Nashoba's beginners section is isolated from high speed skiers and is great for tots, it has tow ropes but no carpet.

....

I haven't been to Nashoba in a few years, but unless they made a change, if you overshot the end of the beginner area, you were in the parking lot. As an instructor, I also reject the idea that any beginner area that does not have more than just a rope tow, probably isn't up to 21st century standards. I remember many a class in the rope tow era where I spent half the time just getting people to ride the rope successfully. The Magic Carpet IMO, is the greatest innovation in ski teaching since short skis! BTW, most guest these days are mighty upset by what the rope does to theiir gloves!
 

WJenness

Active member
Joined
Oct 18, 2007
Messages
3,022
Points
38
Location
Lowell, MA
I was impressed with Gunstock's setup when I went there to ski a few weeks ago...

Magic Carpet in its own "Walled Garden" type area that is otherwise inaccessible to other skiers, and then a small quad chair that serves a couple of trails that are totally isolated from the rest of the mountain.

I can't speak to the quality of the instructors, but next year, if my other half wants to try to learn to ski again, that will be where I take her. She had a bad experience at Sunday River two years ago, and hasn't been interested in trying again.

-w
 

jack97

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
2,513
Points
0
I haven't been to Nashoba in a few years, but unless they made a change, if you overshot the end of the beginner area, you were in the parking lot.

They have a walkway between the area to the parking lot. Maintenance does a good of keeping that area clear of ice and snow so it stops any runaway rider or skier. I've seen nets every now and then but I think it more psychological than any thing else.


As an instructor, I also reject the idea that any beginner area that does not have more than just a rope tow, probably isn't up to 21st century standards. I remember many a class in the rope tow era where I spent half the time just getting people to ride the rope successfully.

haha... I learned at a T bar! Spent close to a hour trying to stay up and not clog the lines. Anyhow, it doesn't stop the place from having a booming business in that area. The place is pack for tots and after school activities. They even bus townies from Nashua for evening sessions, I was talking to a chaperon last week.

IIRC, they do have one carpet, only for the tots program, I think my daughter tried it many years ago. And my niece was telling me about it when she went with her kids.
 

VTKilarney

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Messages
5,545
Points
63
Location
VT NEK
Again, its not within two hours of Boston, but the place where I progressed the most as a learning skier was Quechee. It has a great beginner area and you never felt overwhelmed by the "mountain" even when you went to the top. And it's obviously not a crowded place. I can't stress enough how good it was as a progressing beginner to go there.
 

steamboat1

New member
Joined
Aug 15, 2011
Messages
6,613
Points
0
Location
Brooklyn,NY/Pittsford,VT.
Again, its not within two hours of Boston, but the place where I progressed the most as a learning skier was Quechee. It has a great beginner area and you never felt overwhelmed by the "mountain" even when you went to the top. And it's obviously not a crowded place. I can't stress enough how good it was as a progressing beginner to go there.
Many of the old feeder hills were great to learn at. I've only skied Queechie once but remember it was a fun little hill. My parents took us to Dutch Hill a lot so I guess that's where I learned to ski (on the J-bar slope). They told me not to go on the T-bar slope but of course I didn't listen. Wound up spraining my ankle pretty good because I couldn't do the mandatory turn at the bottom of the slope & just fell instead of hitting a tree.
 

dlague

Active member
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
8,789
Points
36
Location
CS, Colorado
Pats Peak has trails top to bottom that are good beginner trails. Ragged has the Barnyard, Gunstock has sine good beginner sections, Crotched as well. Sunapee has a whole lift served area away for everything else too!


Sent from my iPhone using AlpineZone
 

Savemeasammy

New member
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
2,538
Points
0
Location
S. NH
Pats Peak has trails top to bottom that are good beginner trails. Ragged has the Barnyard, Gunstock has sine good beginner sections, Crotched as well. Sunapee has a whole lift served area away for everything else too!


Sent from my iPhone using AlpineZone

The knock on Pats is that on the main mountain, beginners are sharing the hill with everyone else. In the valley area, they share with the park rats. And to get from the beginner magic carpet to the valley area, you need to go through the sometimes-clusterf@$&ed base area. Not particularly easy or beginner friendly. Not the end of the world though, either...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

HD333

New member
Joined
Apr 15, 2009
Messages
1,312
Points
0
Location
Central Mass/Lakes Region NH
Gunstock. They have a small beginners area Penny something or other quad with like 3 ways down the lift even loads slow. It is set apart from the rest of the mountain so now people bombing through. My kids did a seasonal program there and we were happy with them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

lerops

New member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
450
Points
0
Location
Westchester, NY
As an instructor, I also reject the idea that any beginner area that does not have more than just a rope tow, probably isn't up to 21st century standards. I remember many a class in the rope tow era where I spent half the time just getting people to ride the rope successfully. The Magic Carpet IMO, is the greatest innovation in ski teaching since short skis! BTW, most guest these days are mighty upset by what the rope does to theiir gloves!

Absolutely agreed. My daughter is 4, and she was on a carpet for a few days a few weeks ago. She progressed quite a bit. Today at Plattekill with only a handle tow, her worst day ever. There is more. I will put it in my TR.

Great mountain, just not the right place to bring a small learning child because of the lack of a surface carpet. We will be back when she is comfortable riding the lift and skiing the very nice Plattekill green trails.

How much does a carpet cost, anyways? Not sure if it is expensive or not, but probably one of the better investments for a ski area in terms of returns. I am all for the old school skiers' mountain vibe, and really liked Plattekill; but this one is like sending a telegraph instead of calling somebody.
 
Top