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Worst Ski Area Drives for Impatient People

Zand

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I thought of this while driving to and from Stratton yesterday. We all know anywhere within 30 miles of Brattleboro is hippie haven, and Route 30 must have the most hippies in 40 year old Subarus going 20 mph under the speed limit per capita. Stratton is slightly closer to the highway than Killington, but it just feels like forever between the slow drivers, lack of passing zones (which aren't necessary in VT with the double yellow laws but Route 30 is too curvy to even try in most spots), and the fact that there's like 7 small villages on the way through. At least on 103/100, most people maintain speed and you only have to slow down for Chester, Ludlow, and Plymouth so that hour from the highway doesn't feel so bad.

I feel bad for people that approach Killington from the east, as the only thing worse than Route 30 is Route 4. Otherwise, I can't really think of any other areas in VT that are that bad. Rt 9 to Mt Snow is nice, lots of truck lanes and no towns to slow down for other than Wilmington which is actually a real town unlike Harmonyville, West Townshend and whatever else is plopped down on Rt 30. Sugarbush only has Moretown, Stowe only has... Stowe, and Burke only has Lyndonville. The drive to Jay from 91 is fun and rarely has traffic. Getting to Smuggs sucks but I discovered that going around the backside of Mansfield via Richmond is easier than going through Morrisville.

Elsewhere in New England, obviously Cannon is by far the easiest from the highway. Loon is pretty close too. Waterville isn't far from 93 but 49 is the second biggest speed trap after Route 4 in Bridgewater/Woodstock. Never tried driving to Wildcat from the south but have heard horror stories about Route 16 on some weekends. Sunday River and Sugarloaf are a long haul from 95 but lots of passing zones going to both since Maine is a bit flatter. In NY, Gore and Whiteface seemed to take forever to get to but not much traffic to get stuck behind. Plattekill was also a long way but most of the ride was 55+.

Obviously, out west has even bigger challenges. While some places like Loveland and Copper are like Cannon, you have the A-Basins and Winter Parks that require getting over a 12,000+ foot pass. And that's after getting down that giant CF that is I-70 west of Denver. The canyon roads to the Cottonwood ski areas are friendly on dry weekdays, but can take hours on snowy days or weekends.


What are some of your favorite/least favorite drives to ski areas?
 

tumbler

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Friday afternoon traffic getting out of the Boston suburbs stuck in traffic. I'll take the slow roads in VT over sitting on 128 or 495 or 93 or Rt 3.
 

drjeff

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The Friday afternoon Northbound and Sunday afternoon (or Holiday weekend Monday afternoons) Southbound on I-91 in the "Northampton curves" as I refer to them seem to regularly require a good dose of patience!!

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machski

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I93 from the Hooksett Tolls all the way through Concord has become painful especially Friday afternoon/evening and South on Sunday afternoon/evenings or last day of long weekends. I know widening 93 to three lanes through Concord is on the NHDOT plan, but once 93 widening in Londonderry is done, I think the state is going to wish they got to Concord earlier. We go this way to SR now living along the Merrimack now. Miss my old route from our old house. Sure, had to deal with 16 til I hit 113 but was a lot better than 93 in Concord in that area of 16.

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Smellytele

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Right where I want to be
Yes that stretch of 93 is horrible and is worse on summer fridays and last day of the weekend. southbound can be backed up to Tilton even up to exit 23


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bdfreetuna

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Killington is the drive with the highest likelihood of getting stuck behind slow drivers.

Smuggs is the mountain that's the biggest PITA to get to overall. Whiteface is up there too. Hmm, forgot about Sugarloaf and Saddleback..

Zand, I had no clue about that double yellow Vermont passing law until now. I will be taking advantage of that for sure!
 

ss20

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The VT double-yellow rule...God's gift to skiers.

Getting on 91N from 84E is the worst. I have to clear that by 6:30am if I'm trying to get to VT midweek for a day trip or it turns to crap fast.
 

cdskier

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Zand, I had no clue about that double yellow Vermont passing law until now. I will be taking advantage of that for sure!

Yea. Pretty much as long as there isn't a sign around that specifically says "No passing zone", then you're good to go if it looks safe to do so in VT.
 

BenedictGomez

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The VT double-yellow rule...God's gift to skiers.

I lived in Vermont for 6 years & have been to Vermont 1000 times since then, am married to a Vermonter, and I did not know this.

I am going to shoot my wife.
 

jimk

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Friday traffic heading west out of the Wash DC area (the direction of all our local ski destinations) is terrible and only getting worse all the time. Only a massive switch to telecommuting will save us! Once you get about 60 miles out of town it's not bad. Blue Knob ski area in southwestern PA has all the lodge facilities and parking at the 3000' summit. The last few miles of driving up the mtn can be a bear in snowy conditions.

I've been spending a lot of wintertime in the SLC suburbs in recent years. As you mention, the road up LCC is a real traffic nightmare now on snowy days, esp on weekend powder mornings. They've always had to deal with avi closures and snowplows, but the increase in traffic makes it real dicey getting up there for people like me that commute to ski and aren't staying on a vacation up in the canyon.

I wonder how much the skier visits have increased at Alta/Bird in the last ten years? A good snow year is almost as much a curse as a blessing because not only are there more tourists, but the locals ski much more often too. Still, for the time being I'll deal with it. I have family there and I enjoy the great skiing.
 

Zand

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Zand, I had no clue about that double yellow Vermont passing law until now. I will be taking advantage of that for sure!

Its about the only state it would work in. If MA had that law there'd be 4 thousand head on collisions every day.
 

Zand

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I lived in Vermont for 6 years & have been to Vermont 1000 times since then, am married to a Vermonter, and I did not know this.

I am going to shoot my wife.

I first learned of it here over 10 years ago. But then when I went to college at LSC it was pretty common knowledge amongst everyone there. Mainly because NEK roads mostly have no one on them so you can do it more up there.
 

kingslug

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The drive from ct to stowe on a friday night sux for about 2 hours..as in getting out of ct..then it ok. Sometimes we leave early saturday but that messes up my 730 start.
Going from stowe to K is a slow boat.
As far as Alta/ Bird..that drive became a nightmare..so now we base out of PC and hit them on a weekday.
Jackson is a breeze..Grand Targhy on the other hand can be a suicide run if its snowing.
 

ironhippy

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I can't imagine the drives some of you guys do.

My local hill is about 25 - 45 minutes away (depending on the weather) from me.
There is no way I'd ski if I had to spend more than 3 hours a day driving.

Heck, based on some of your drives, the Chic Chocs are a day trip for me, they're only 6 hours away!
Mount Saint Anne/Le Massif are about the same distance away as well.
 

Zand

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When I was in high school I regularly drove 3 hours one way to Killington and back...that was my day trip limit although I day tripped Sugarbush once (in the spring). I find myself getting rooms more often now which allows 2 days of skiing and makes the ride easier. Occasionally still day trip as far as Killington but usually not more than two hours one way.
 

machski

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I first learned of it here over 10 years ago. But then when I went to college at LSC it was pretty common knowledge amongst everyone there. Mainly because NEK roads mostly have no one on them so you can do it more up there.
There is one catch with the double yellow pass in Vermont. Legally, you can pass but at a speed that DOES NOT EXCEED the posted speed limit. The original idea of the law was to pass slow moving farm equipment traveling the roads. Figured I'd caution you all as you can get pulled over and ticketed if you pass in double yellow and are over the speed limit by any amount.

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Zand

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There is one catch with the double yellow pass in Vermont. Legally, you can pass but at a speed that DOES NOT EXCEED the posted speed limit. The original idea of the law was to pass slow moving farm equipment traveling the roads. Figured I'd caution you all as you can get pulled over and ticketed if you pass in double yellow and are over the speed limit by any amount.

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Isnt it technically the same for any legal passing area in any state though?
 

urungus

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There is one catch with the double yellow pass in Vermont. Legally, you can pass but at a speed that DOES NOT EXCEED the posted speed limit. The original idea of the law was to pass slow moving farm equipment traveling the roads. Figured I'd caution you all as you can get pulled over and ticketed if you pass in double yellow and are over the speed limit by any amount.

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Hmm you seem to be implying that you allowed to exceed the speed limit if you pass someone when there is a broken yellow line ? Surely you can get ticketed in any situation if you exceed the speed limit ?
 
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