Santa delivered an early Christmas present of more than three feet of snow on slopes throughout New England over the past week. And as a stocking-stuffer, cold temperatures wrapped up with all that new snow, allowing for round-the-clock snowmaking.
It's a festive Christmas at Grand Targhee. (Grand Targhee)
If celebrating a white Christmas is on your wish list this year, planning to spend the day with loved ones on the slopes is just what Santa ordered. Finish the day with a festive meal where everyone can relax and enjoy each other’s company and you’ve got a family tradition in the making. Follow up an uncrowded day skiing and riding with a feast at one of these mountain resorts.
Crystal Mountain in Washington opened Wednesday. (Crystal Mountain/Facebook)
A powerful weather system delivers heavy snow across the West through Friday, then leads to lake effect snow during the weekend for the East.
November cold allows Sugarloaf to open early. (Sugarloaf/Facebook)
In a flurry of openings, Northeast skiers and riders had their pick of 11 resorts to choose from this past weekend, thanks to a cold snap that set the snow guns blazing from Pennsylvania to Maine.
Sunrise on Mt. Mansfield from Sterling Pond. (Sunrise Mountain Guides)
Backcountry and sidecountry ski touring are all the rage now, but heading out of bounds without some experience can be at best a frustrating undertaking and at worst a dangerous one. SnoCountry.com has found the prefect combo of ski hotels that not only offer the comforts of a destination resort, but guide service to bring your adventure goals to reality.
Guided family hikes take in Presidential Range views at Bretton Woods. (Bretton Woods)
New Hampshire’s mountainous playgrounds plan to celebrate with family-friendly events across the state Labor Day weekend.
Family golf at Stowe. (Stowe)
The kids might be going back to school soon, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy some great deals at the greens and fairways of the golf courses across Northeast ski resorts.
Sometimes you luck out with an Easter snowstorm. (Bretton Woods)
April snow will still be in abundance at many resorts across the country, so hop out for some spring runs with the Easter Bunny this Easter.
Sugar makers throughout Vermont will open the doors of their sugarhouses, inviting visitors in to experience and enjoy this remarkable time of year when pure Vermont maple syrup is made. (VMSMA)
We all know about the great non-ski things we can do on snow at ski areas — snowshoe, tube, fat bike, snowmobile. But there are also wonderful off-the-snow experiences that showcase local flavor and history for a memorable trip or vacation in the mountains.
When visiting New Hampshire’s Cannon and Bretton Woods, we visited Peckett’s Hill where the first ski school was. Seeing the historic site marker and the gentle meadow made me appreciate ski history more.
Ditto for the visit to the historical museum in Crested Butte. Seeing the miners’ 14-foot “long boards” up close was mindboggling, fostering an appreciation for how rudimentary ski equipment once was.
Here are some suggestions for après action or a day off so you can make some special memories.
Maple Madness to Micro Brews
Maple sugaring season is upon the Northeast so it’s a great time to visit a sugarhouse.
The entire state of Vermont features open houses March 25-26. See the process as well as sample sugar-on-snow and more — from candy-making to pancake breakfasts to the Whitingham Festival near Mount Snow, it’s educational and tasty fun.
The Woodstock Inn and Resort features a Sugar Season Escape through May 18. There’s a spa at the inn, sugarhouses nearby, shopping in historic Woodstock, and skiing at Suicide Six. Plus you can visit Gilbert’s Hill Historic Site where the first U.S. rope tow was installed and the Billings Farm and Museum.
The Maple Taste Around at Suicide Six April 2 (6-8p.m.) features chefs’ maple specialties.
In addition to their sugaring operation, the Adams Farm near Mount Snow offers a fantastic way to entertain and educate the kids — don’t miss all the new baby animals.
You can tour craft breweries from Maine to Utah for another chance to learn, taste and have fun. Would you believe a Shot Ski 404 skis, 1942 feet and 1086 humans long?! The Wasatch Brewery in Park City set the Shot-Ski World’s Record.
Beer festivals abound in summer but Okemo offers Hops on the Snow April 1, showcasing seasonal Vermont craft brews.
Mineral Springs to Museums
Hot water is great for achy limbs and tired bodies so soaking in the world’s largest hot springs pool makes the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort a great day or overnight destination. Located between Vail and Aspen/Snowmass and near Sunlight, you can also stay at the 107-room lodge with numerous amenities.
Check out Idaho’s hot springs as well. You can take a snowmobile excursion to the Burgdorf Hot Springs, soak, and return to Brundage for a truly unique day.
Thrill seekers can enjoy a history lesson as they sit in a quad chair that gives a life-like ride and sail over Mount Superior in Little Cottonwood Canyon at Park City’s Alf Engen Museum. It’s just one of the museum’s four virtual rides on the quad chair Executive Director Connie Nelson said, referring to another virtual thrill of ski jumping.
Exhibits at the Colorado Snowsports Museum in Vail include a history of snowboards, 10th Mountain Division, Vail Dream, competitors, bindings, timeline, etcetetera.
Other major U.S. ski museums include: U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum in Ishpeming, Michigan; New England Ski Museum at Cannon. N.H.: Lake Placid Olympic Museum, N.Y.; Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, Stowe; and the Western Skisport Museum, California.
Pats Peak cookies are an obligatory part of a trip to the mountain. (Pats Peak)
With all the powder and corduroy you’ll be hitting on your next ski trip, refueling with some fine confections are in order. SnoCountry.com has tirelessly researched across the country to find these not-to-miss mountain treats.
The ultra-relaxing, body-balancing Signature Massage at Mirror Lake Inn will warm, ease, and relax sore, tense muscles. (Mirror Lake Inn)
A massage at the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid left me so relaxed that I survived an Olympic bobsled run later that day.
Smart Stowe kids know where to find the deals. (Stowe)
If you haven’t already, now is the time to plan your Presidents week getaway to the mountains. Many families have the week off from school, and resorts are ready with many kid-friendly deals and activities to keep everyone smiling.
Stunning views of the Presidential Range dominate the Bretton Woods landscape. (Bretton Woods)
New Hampshire’s largest ski resort, Bretton Woods, often finds itself the lucky recipient of extra snowfall thanks to its location across the valley from the Northeast’s highest peak, Mt. Washington. Bretton Woods is part of the luxurious Omni Mount Washington Resort, and whether you visit for a day or a week, this winter wonderland is sure to please those looking for a mountain retreat.
After a nice shot of snow to the higher mountain tops out west over the past week, a change in weather pattern will bring colder air and (some) snow to the northeast in this week’s SnoCast.
Tahoe’s Freakers Ball will have DJs, gogo dancers, laser lights, plus $10,000 in cash and prizes costume contest. (MontBleu Resort Casino Spa/Facebook)
While the snow starts to fall on the high ground – and the snow guns get fired up – there’s still a couple of non-winter celebrations to enjoy at mountain resorts, including favorite Halloween.
A number of resorts across the nation put up the haunted houses, game booths and scary rides in October to get the nerves on edge for the big night, Oct. 30.
Here’s SnoCountry’s list of a few hair-raising, scream-filled events at ski and snowboard resorts:
Lake Tahoe. The 38th annual Freaker's Ball, Lake Tahoe’s largest, oldest and most extravagant Halloween party, brings the wild with a four-ring costume circus under one room on Saturday, Oct. 29, at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa.
Nashoba Valley. The popular Witch’s Woods is open Thursdays through Sundays through Halloween at the eastern Massachusetts mountain. Admission ticket gets a ride on Haunted Hayride, entry into three haunted houses, and unlimited time in the Jack O’Lantern Jamboree and Horrorwood Chamber of Chills.
Cranmore. The Ghoullog has been going on in the Artist Falls Lodge for 10 years. Four “haunts” challenge with “chases through dark woods,” plus nighttime rides on a swing, zipline and Mountain Coaster. Runs weekend evenings through Nov. 5.
Bretton Woods. On Halloween weekend, the northern New Hampshire resort opens its Wicked Woods center for Halloween activities. Scheduled are costume parties for both young and old, game booths and annual Trunk or Treat Family Celebration.
Mammoth. Bring scooters, skateboards, roller blades or roller skates for an evening on Oct. 28 at Mammoth RecZone in Mammoth Lakes. Plenty of carnival games to play while circling the rink.
Copper Mountain. The Colorado resort combines Halloween scary fun with a fundraiser for a local infant with a brain tumor. Entrance fees donated to family – plus cover candy, games and freaky fun.
Free rides all the time at Bretton Woods (Bretton Woods/Facebook)
A ride up a ski lift in the offseason both gives a different perspective on a favorite mountain and gets the juices flowing for the upcoming skiing and snowboarding season.
Park City is a popular Utah destination with a huge range of vacation properties.
You’ve fallen in love with the skiing and riding lifestyle, so is now the time to invest in a mountain home to call your own?
Prices have continued to climb since the 2008 recession’s precipitous drop, but since most mountain vacation properties have not reached 2006-07 peak prices, good values can still be had.
Eastern Inventory Driving Price
Buyers wanting to get into a vacation home for the ski season should get prequalified if going for a second home mortgage, advises Michelle Penner, managing broker of Peabody and Smith’s Bretton Woods office in New Hampshire.
Bretton Woods’ inventory is limited and prices have been climbing, although not yet back to peak levels. There are good values with condominiums and homes ranging from $225,000 to $950,000, Penner told SnoCountry.com.
Crawford said condo prices are starting to increase but there are still very good values. Prices for two-bedroom condos range from $70,000 to $200,000 depending on location, amenities, and the homeowners association. Three- and four-bedroom units range from $100,000 to $715,000.
At neighboring Pico, slopeside condos range from under $50,000 for a one-bedroom/one-bath unit to $109,000 for a two-bedroom unit. (A Killington season pass includes skiing at Pico.)
Western Properties, Pricy and Affordable
At famous western destinations like Aspen, Jackson Hole, Vail and Park City, prices have gone up faster and properties costing millions are common at the resorts while nearby towns offer more affordable options.
Park City is a popular destination with people from Salt Lake City and nationwide, investing in vacation properties because it’s convenient — half hour from the airport — and within an hour’s drive of 11 resorts and minutes to three, Realtor Quinn Eichner of Summit Sothebys International Realty told us.
Prices have seen a “good recovery” and depend on the property size, age, amenities and neighborhood, with some at or near 2007’s peak prices, Eichner said.
Slopeside at the Canyons, prices start in the $700s for a condo hotel unit while estate-sized residences go for $5-$18 million. Smaller (600 sq.ft.), older units can be found in the $200s and hotel rooms in the low $100s as well as fractional ownership units starting at $110,000.
More affordable pricing can be found in Midway, a Swiss-themed mountain town 20 minutes away where condos range from $199,000 (two bedroom/two bath) to $300,000 for large units.
Other more affordable towns include Sandy with a median home price of $249,998 and Huntsville at $169,950.
Getting in on ‘Ground Floor’
Pre-sales are common for new projects, and when a property turns out to be very popular, owners can do well with re-sales as well as rentals.
Brett Newton, real estate sales manager for New Hampshire’s Kearsarge Brook at Cranmore, reports the new base-area condo village breaks ground Sept. 27 with a first phase of 18 upscale units ($395,000 to $599,000). There’s a good selection available for fall 2017 occupancy.
Refundable deposits of $1,200 for Century Club reservations are being taken for those interested in condos in the soon-to-be renovated Hampshire and Dix Houses at the historic New Hampshire Balsams Resort. Single hotel room and suite 100-day fractional ownerships will sell for $100,000 to $280,000 and include a 10-year season ski pass and golf.
The Stowe Rocks climbing center is fun for every age. (Stowe Mountain Resort)
In the snow covered months, some of us may have the inclination to huck a few cliffs along the edges our favorite mountains. Come summer, it's time to approach those mountains from a different angle, with climbing ropes and harnesses. Whether it's with guide up the rock face of a local route or auto-belayed on a man-made wall, climbing offers adventure and summer fun in the mountains.
Spend a day horseback riding through some of the most beautiful landscapes Wyoming has to offer.(Jackson Hole Central Reservations)
Our wheels often take us on adrenaline-fueled trips through the forests, but sometimes it’s worth it to explore new terrain on a different mode of transportation, one that allows us to slow down and appreciate mountain wildflowers and stunning vistas. Let an experienced guide at a mountain resort share with you the opportunity to see a favorite mountain resort by horseback.
Vermont's Stowe Mountain Resort is one of the premier ski destinations in the region. (Stowe Photo)
From coast to coast, skiers have access to almost unlimited options throughout the United States for indulging their snowy ambitions. While the states of the mountainous West often grab the winter tourism headlines, the East Coast offers a unique skiing experience of its own.