Bundle up as SnoCountry heads north into some of the coldest climes in America -- northern Vermont and New Hampshire -- to continue its Road Trip series for skiers and riders with an Indy Pass.
The Indy Pass is good for two free days at each mountain, plus 25% off the daily rate for a third day. Focusing on independently owned mountains, the Indy Pass is accepted at 59 resorts across U.S. and Canada -- including the following five.
>Our trip begins Suicide Six. A historic town hill, 'Six is basically a wide expert slope "The Face" of 650 vertical feet with a tangle of easier trails off either side. Plenty of steep drops and moguls. One chair to the top and one for the green/blue area. On the backside is where the first rope tow in the U.S. went up in 1934. Open Wednesday-Sunday, modest services.
Next, hop on I-89 north for the 70-mile drive to Bolton Valley. Just a hop from Burlington, the 168-acre area boasts a fairly even terrain mix, 1,625-foot vert, and an unpretentious option to nearby Stowe and Sugarbush. Lower mountain prime for novices and park'ers, while an array of blues and blacks web off of Vista and Wilderness peaks. For some solitude, head over to Timberline Peak and its cozy trails for all levels. Night skiing five days a week, and a large nordic center nearby.
Take Waterbury exit off I-89 and 60 miles of winding road gets to Jay Peak -- just five miles from the Canadian border. Known for brutal cold, fluffy powder, and Vermont's only tram, Jay Peak covers 600 acres with 2,153-ft vert. Plenty of easy stuff below. Wander around the top half to find top-flight black pitches and speedy blue groomers. Tons of trees for powder days, and plenty of housing below the base area.
A couple of hours southeast on I-93, you cross into New Hampshire and the White Mountains to hit up Cannon Mountain. Historically, it has the first U.S. racing trail (Taft Slalom), first tram (1938), and first World Cup race in the U.S. (1967, won by Jean-Claude Killy). Not much for novices, except at Timberbrook Family Area. Off the exposed 4,080-ft summit tumble 200-acres of blues and blacks for more than 2,000 of verticle. Neighbor Mittersill adds another 100 acres of blacks -- where Bode Miller cut his racing teeth. Located in a state park, meaning a short drive to lodging.
The final stop to the tour is Black Mountain, a throwback southeast of New England's highest, Mt. Washington (6,288). With 1,000 feet of verticle two main fixed-grip chairs on 143 acres, Black packs in a ton of nooks and crannies, and secret stashes. Narrow chutes open into meadows, groomers suddenly branch out, sudden headwalls, gorges, glades crop up.Tickets top at $62, ski free after 2 p.m. if buy next day's ticket. Mid-mountain snack shack a fav.