The second Nor’easter in less than a week has delivered the best conditions of the season to resorts through the northeast with some resorts reporting more than three feet of snow.
Plenty of room for gear on the ski train coach, now running Wednesday nights, too. (Wachusett)
Massachusett’s Wachusett is even more accessible than ever this winter thanks to expanded cooperative programs this season with travel partners the MBTA Commuter Rail, ZIPCar and Uber.
New trail Thunder cruises under the mountain coaster. (Berkshire East/Facebook)
Now with the most terrain in Massachusetts, Berkshire East cut two new trails last summer that bring sweeping views of the Berkshires, accessible for even the resort’s newest skiers and riders.
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.
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.
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.
Cooling off at Bromley. (Bromley/Facebook)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.