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SnoNews

The latest news, deals, and events from ski resorts throughout North America.

Wachusett Nearing 100 Percent Open Thanks To Recent Cold Temps

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Wachusett's guns are blazing. (Wachusett)

With ideal snowmaking temperatures Wednesday and Thursday, Wachusett Mountain has jumped to more than 70 percent of its terrain now open and plans to be close to 100 percent by Monday.

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Insider’s Guide To Jiminy Peak

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Spectacular Berkshire views. (Jiminy Peak/Facebook)

An idyllic trip to the Berkshires should include a stop at Jiminy Peak, a resort known for its renewable-energy initiatives to make skiing and riding a sustainable activity. Without a long drive to more northern areas, Jiminy offers the full resort experience, including a new Winter Mountain Adventrue Park, with a fire pit for evening s’mores, and the mountain Coaster and Soaring Eagle rides.

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Jiminy Peak Wind Turbine Turns 10; Resort Now Focuses On Reducing Carbon Footprint

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Cruising by the Zephyr on a winter day. (Jiminy Peak)

In 2007, when Massachusetts' Jiminy Peak installed a $4 million 1.5 megawatt (MW) wind turbine on the western flank of its mountain, many thought the 70-year-old resort was taking a huge financial risk.  

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At Jiminy Peak, Cranmore and Bromley, Green Is The Color Of Savings

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Cooling off at Bromley. (Bromley/Facebook)

Over the next few months green is the color of travel savings at Jiminy Peak, Cranmore, and Bromley. Visitors can save some hard-earned green on summer package deals.

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Buy Next Year’s Northeast Season Pass, Ski Now For Free

Buy Next Year’s Northeast Season Pass, Ski Now For Free

Ski now with your next year's season pass at Loon Mountain. (Loon/Facebook)

With Winter Storm Stella bringing March snow across the Northeast, skiers and riders aren’t ready to put away those boards just yet. Many resorts are now offering 2017-18 season passes at their lowest prices, and each of these resorts are also throwing in free lift access for the rest of the season.

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The Whiplash Winter At Wachusett

The Whiplash Winter At Wachusett

Wachusett smiles. (Wachusett)

New England skiers “endured” a few days of nearly 70 degrees during the last week of February with what is now being called the “Winter Whiplash.” The whiplash effect refers to the weather changing in short periods from unseasonably warm to freezing cold with major snowstorms followed by unseasonably warm weather.


New Englanders experienced the whiplash late February/early March with a snowstorm of nearly two feet in some places followed by an extreme warm up that featured summer days for scantily clad runners and crowded lunch tables in front of city restaurants. This weather was then followed by a drop to below-zero temperatures for a two day period.

I celebrated the end of the whiplash week with a visit to Massachusett's Wachusett Mountain  on a sunny Monday. Wachusett’s president Jeff Crowley commented that the previous week they had warm weather and a hellacious rainstorm followed by the deep freeze and “just last Thursday, the ski trails were ice and dirt.” That statement described only three days prior to my visit and Crowley credited last summer’s snowmaking system expansion at Wachusett for the amazing turnaround.

Wachusett snowmaking

Crowley pointed to the new Pump House #2 responsible for covering the trails with snow quickly, more efficiently, and less costly. With the new snowmaking system, the pumping capacity was increased from 4,000 to 8,000 gallons per minute meaning that snowmaking crews can cover two trails overnight with a foot of snow. And a few cold days over the weekend were just what the doctor ordered to give Wachusett’s two dozen trails a complete makeover.

Skiing in the sunshine on a Monday, March 6 was what skiing is about and the machine-made snow consistency was excellent at Wachusett. There was no snow off the trails, and ice on uncovered areas exemplifying the whiplash devastation, but on the trails there was no ice or dirt and plenty of pliable and turnable snow across the slopes.

Wachusett Mountain has 26 trails and 8 lifts on about 110 acres in the Wachusett Mountain State Reservation. The unique snow train with the MBTA departs from Boston’s North Station at 8:35 a.m. and arrives at the Wachusett Station at 10:11 a.m. for $11.50 one way. A free shuttle gets you to the ski area in 10 minutes from the station and this transportation system runs Saturday and Sunday through March 12. The mountain also has a partnership with Uber, which provides an option to and from the Wachusett Station and from the Worcester metro area with a $25 Get to the Slopes offer.

Dialogue in chairlift conversation centered on the glorious day, the snow conditions, and the transformation of the skiing given the recent weather. The front parking lot at Wachusett was overflowing by late morning. Many of the repeated chairlift comments were about taking the day off of work to enjoy skiing at Wachusett and these skiers “playing hooky” got the great day they expected at the mountain.

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Okemo's Got A Deal For Northeast States

Okemo's Got A Deal For Northeast States

Okemo puts skiers and riders in a savings “state” of mind. (Okemo)

Everyone likes to get a good deal on skiing and snowboarding, and Vermont's Okemo Mountain Resort is offering substantial savings for residents of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania when they visit on specific midweek days this winter.


Okemo’s Wonderful Wednesday and Sunday Solutions lift-access deals have been so well received by Vermont and New Hampshire residents, Okemo has extended similar state-specific offers for the residents of some other neighboring northeastern states as well.

Vermont and New Hampshire residents who can show proof of full-time residency can continue to take advantage of special lift access pricing on Sundays (excluding Feb. 19) and Wednesdays (excluding Feb. 22). They can ski or ride from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday mornings for $39. Young adults and seniors pay $36, and juniors and super seniors pay $32. Sunday afternoon lift access, from 12:30 to 4 p.m., is $34 for all ages. Lift access on Wonderful Wednesdays is just $45 for all ages and the half-day rate (starting at 12:30 p.m.) is $34 for all ages.

Okemo Superpipe

Full-time residents of New York and Pennsylvania who visit Okemo on Tuesdays for the remainder of the season (excluding Feb. 21), can purchase a full day’s lift access for just $59.

Full-time residents of Connecticut and New Jersey who visit Okemo on Wednesdays for the remainder of the season (excluding Feb. 22), can purchase a full day’s lift access for $59.

Full-time residents of Massachusetts and Rhode Island who visit Okemo on Thursdays for the remainder of the season (excluding Feb. 23), can purchase a full day’s lift access for $59.

This special price is valid for all ages. Proof of residency in the form of a valid driver’s license must be presented at the time of purchase. Minors must be accompanied by an adult with proof of residency.

Okemo also offers lift access discounts for full-time college students, active members of the military and as part of ski-and-stay lodging packages. 

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Wachusett Makes More Snow Than Ever Before

Wachusett Makes More Snow Than Ever Before

Wachusett's snowmakers have been hard at work this season. (Wachusett/Facebook)

The ski season is not even half over and Massachusetts’s Wachusett Mountain has already made more snow this winter than ever before in an entire season. 

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New Transportation Options Get You To Wachusett, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

New Transportation Options Get You To Wachusett, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

Bay Area-based company Chariot will provide free transit services within Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows neighborhoods

Getting to the slopes in Massachusetts and California this season just got easier with new programs at Wachusett and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows that utilize ride-hailing apps to get you to the snow without having to drive your car.


Wachusett Mountain and Uber have teamed up to improve transportation options to and from the Central Massachusetts ski resort.

Wachusett MBTA stop

A new Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Commuter Rail station recently opened, just 10 minutes from the mountain, with a shuttle running on weekends. Skiers and snowboarders can take the commuter rail from Boston’s North Station to Fitchburg on weekends throughout ski season.

In addition to servicing the new Wachusett Train Station, Uber is a viable transportation option for skiers and riders in the greater Worcester area traveling to the mountain.

To encourage guests to take advantage of the new partnership with Wachusett, Uber is offering riders a $25 “Get to the Slopes” credit on their first ride when the sign up using the code SKIWAWA.

Wachusett General Manager David Crowley said, “We are excited to partner with Uber to grow transportation options, providing an affordable and convenient way to access the mountain if they don’t have a car or choose to leave the keys at home. This partnership improves on-demand transportation options, allowing Wachusett visitors to travel to and from the train on their own schedule.”

California’s Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will offer a pilot intra-valley transit program in partnership with the app-based transportation provider Chariot, Dec. 23 through Jan. 4.

The trial program is offered as a transportation option for guests and residents in the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows neighborhoods, while also removing cars from roads and parking areas.

Chariot’s mobile app will allow people to book rides for both on-demand and fixed-route services within the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows neighborhoods, using new 14-passenger Ford Transit vehicles equipped with ski and snowboard racks.

Chariot’s shuttles will pick up passengers along fixed 15-20 minute routes between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., and from 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. In the middle of the day, Chariot will provide custom resort-to-doorstep rides within the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows neighborhoods, in addition to fixed routes.

Resort-to-doorstep rides can be booked via Chariot’s mobile app.



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Value and Deals At Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo

Value and Deals At Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo

From across the region to more distant destinations, mountain resorts showcase their winter season specials at the Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo. (Martha Wilson)

Hearty New Englanders know one thing for sure: winter will come again. It’s this optimism that brings us back year after year to the slopes we love, and to the party that starts the season, the Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo.  This year’s Expo, the 35th edition, will take place Nov. 10-13 at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center.


 

“There’s an eternal optimism being in the ski business, and that extends to our consumers,” Expo producer Bernie Weichsel told SnoCountry.com. Skiers and snowboarders may not have gotten their “fix” of winter last year, but like any sports fan, there is a “wait’ll next year” optimism that has winter lovers ready to surge to the slopes this season.

“One of the plusses that is aligning this year after such a bad year last year is that if you are thinking at all about getting skis, snowboards, boots, bindings, or any ski accessories, this is the place to do it,” Weichsel told us.

Whiteface booth Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo

Metro Boston retailer Country Ski & Sport has moved into the forefront with a huge pop-up store inside the Expo hall. 

There will also be incentives from resorts to get you back on the slopes. Attendees will find many Expo-only deals and giveaways along with a chance to speak with resort reps and learn about how to make the most of your time in the mountains.

Stratton booth Boston.com Ski& Snowboard Expo

In addition to great deals on gear and passes, the Expo also features numerous chances to experience a bit of winter fun right at the Expo.

Children-centric activities include kids’ learn-to-ski/snowboard arenas, games and entertainment.

Flippenout, Boston’s own extreme trampoline show, takes center stage at this year’s Expo. Performances are scheduled throughout Expo’s four-day run, presented by the NFL and Killington Resort.

The new Mountain Activity Center will incorporate the popular Slackers Slackline Demo and Competition arena, and energetic fun and games for youngsters of all ages.



In honor of the Veterans’ Day holiday, on Friday, Nov. 11, the Expo has expanded hours, with doors opening at 10 a.m.

Hours are 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m  to 8 on Saturday and 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets cost $15 for adults; 12 and under are free. Get a $3 coupon here.

 SnoCountry booth Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo

 


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