The 11th annual Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, going on now, has a new twist. Resorts across the U.S. are gearing up for a special celebration Friday, Jan. 11 – the first National Learn to Ski or Snowboard Day.
“Wow, that’s inspiring but I don’t think my knees will last that long!” exclaimed a thirty-something dude on the chairlift.
I had shared that I had just photographed members of the 70+ Ski Club racing, including some in their eighties and nineties.
As Wachusett Mountain welcomed its first snow skiers and ‘boarders of the season this weekend, the central Massachusetts ski area closed out a successful summer and fall season introducing thousands of kids to the sport on its customized portable ski deck.
It’s a snow lover’s dream this week across the Northeast as several resorts will start turning lifts for the season, thanks to the combined forces of Mother Nature’s snowmaking temperatures and natural snowfall.
The Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo is happening now, and it’s a great chance to find show-only deals on tickets, lodging and winter gear. SnoCountry.com is here at the Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center Nov. 8-11, and the palpable excitement for the season is in the air as we look forward to a winter on snow.
The Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo returns to the Boston Seaport World Trade Center Nov. 8-11, showcasing New England’s coolest winter scenes. The annual winter sports extravaganza is the best way to prepare to hit the slopes fully armed with the latest information and the best pre-season pricing and Expo-only savings on lift tickets and season passes, vacation specials ski and snowboard gear.
As baby boomers were building families in the 1970s and 1980s, ski resorts were putting steel and concrete in the ground, expanding both lifts and terrain. The skiers and riders of today are benefiting from those infrastructure improvements. Lifts are faster, ticket-checking is RFID-enabled to speed up lines, and snowmaking and grooming have never been better or more energy-efficient.
Now the focus is on affordability and on-hill experiences.
While we’re waiting anxiously for the snow to fly, resorts across the Northeast are celebrating fall foliage season with fun, food, music and stunning views of the mountains. Here are SnoCountry.com’s top picks for Oktoberfests this year.
Sunny spring tele turns at Cranmore. (Cranmore/Facebook)
Nothing like a consecutive string of nor'easters to put a smile on the faces of Northeast skiers and riders. Due to above average snowfall this season, resorts across the region have announced extended ski seasons.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Central Massachusetts Ski Area Launches X2 Snowmaking Project. (Wachusett Mountain)
Massachusetts' Wachusett Mountain will welcome the skiing and riding season with a powerful new snowmaking system.The X2 Snowmaking Project includes construction of a new snowmaking pump house and installation of new computer-controlled technology on the mountain’s signature “Ralph’s Run” trail.