Want to ski or snowboard like those seen in the video above from Park City, Utah?
Well … you get get a start by taking advantage of an offer that doesn’t come around often: a free, learn to ski or snowboard lesson!
Yup.. Free. Gratis. Complimentary.
And, the offer also includes equipment and a ticket for the beginner lift.
It happens this Saturday at Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall in our own state of Connecticut.
Here are the details:
“Mohawk Mountain and Sharon Hospital would like you to come out on Saturday, December 22, 2012 for FIRST EXPERIENCE DAY! We will provide first-time skiers and/or snowboarders (age 5 and up) with everything you need for your first time… FOR FREE! Participants will receive a custom-fit rental equipment package (skiing or snowboarding), a lesson from our world-renowned Learning Center at Mohawk Mountain, and a lift ticket valid on our beginner lifts. As you can imagine, the response to this offer is incredible, so we suggest you arrive early. We will be ticketing and fitting for equipment until 3pm, after this time regular package pricing will apply. Please make sure to dress appropriately as weather conditions can be severe (recommended outerwear includes, warm gloves, a hat, a warm jacket along with ski pants and tall socks).
“Are you under age 18, and planning on coming to FIRST EXPERIENCE DAY? If you will not be accompanied by a parent or guardian, you will need to provide us with a completed RENTAL AGREEMENT FORM. Click here download our rental agreement form. A completed form will be required to use the rental equipment included in the package.”
If you can’t get to Mohawk on Saturday, there’s other opportunities in January.
Ski New Hampshire’s “free week” is January 12 – 18, 2013. The offer is a free lift, lesson, rental package for first-timers at participating resorts. There also is a bounce back offer for those who register. The offer is $10 off for a return lesson and $20 off for a return package. The offer is good for the entire 2012-13 season and there are some restrictions. Check the SkiNH Web site for details.
Ski Vermont’s $29 Learn To packages are available at ski and snowboard areas throughout the state during January, non-holidays. It includes lesson, equipment rental, and lift ticket. Children and adults can sign up for programs at participating resorts on the Ski Vermont Web site.
Some natural snow fell in northern New England Monday, with up to 15 inches at Saddleback in Maine. In New Hampshire 10 inches of fresh snow is reported at Attitash and Cranmore. Northern Vermont areas like Sugarbush, Stowe, Burke and Jay got about half a foot.
While the snow is welcome, we still need lots more so mountains can be in good shape before the holiday crowds.
Keep your fingers crossed and continue to pray for snow.
Also, ignore those snow reports from the west to keep from getting jealous.
Looking to get in some skiing and snowboarding this Thanksgiving weekend?
Well, you’re in luck because this is one of the strongest early seasons in years. That’s because after nearly two weeks of snowmaking, many major ski areas have their lifts turning.
Enjoying some sweet turns at Stowe, Vermont earlier this week.
Unlike previous years, this Thanksgiving weekend will have some serious top-to-bottom runs that makes it feel like winter. In fact, the outlook for the next few days calls for continued cold temperatures and even the chance of some light snow (let us pray).
If you’re a beginner skier or snowboarder, I’d wait a week since most of the terrain open is for advanced or intermediate snow sliders.
So here’s a rundown of what’s open … and how much it will cost you.
The small Woodbury ski area is the only state area open. Owner Rod Taylor has been making snow for weeks and has been able to lay down a good base on its main slopes. Not much terrain, but it’s close to home and enough for a couple of hours to play on. Go for the $39, four-hour, flex ticket.
Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall plans to open next Saturday, Dec. 1. And there’s a good shot Ski Sundown in New Hartford will do the same.
Jiminy Peak in northwestern Massachusetts is a good pick this weekend. It plans to reopen Friday Jiminy expects to have several top-to-bottom runs open; check out its snow report late Thursday.
Here’s a sweet offer from Jiminy … a $35 eight-hour ticket on Sunday. It’s an e-coupon deal that means you have to go to Jiminy’s web site, fill out the coupon and print it out 24 hours in advance. Details here.
Just a few miles over the Connecticut border, both Catamount and Butternut plan to open next Saturday, Dec. 1.
Lots of options in the Green Mountain State. For the latest conditions and info, visit the snow-loving Ski Vermont site.
Mount Snow opens Thanksgiving. Its report: “We anticipate having Nitro Express, Canyon Express and Discovery Shuttle spinning at 8:00 a.m. with last chair going up at 4:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Next week, if conditions permit we will move to our normal midweek hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Open terrain will be Canyon and Launch Pad on the Main Face; Mineshaft and The Gulch on Carinthia. We will also have Long John coming from the top of the Nitro Express into the Main Base Area with no ski access back to Carinthia.” Snow will charge $49 for adult lift tickets. Full report here.
Snow adds: “Conditions will be variable with some thin spots, water bars and narrow pathways, so please be aware of those and ski and ride with caution. Beginner terrain will be on Launch Pad and the rest of the open terrain is for advanced skiers and riders only. It is always our goal to open with top-to-bottom skiing and riding for all ability levels, but in the spirit of kicking off this winter season we had to work with what the weather gave us. With the temperature inversions our snowmakers experienced over the last week or so, snowmaking efforts were far more productive at lower elevations than they were up top. All we really need is a stretch of good, cold air up top to make snow in key areas and we will have skiing and riding from the summit. Until then, we will offer skiing and riding from the top of Nitro Express and Canyon Express – down.”
That’s about 3/4 of the mountain, but not from the summit. Strange, but true.
Stratton opened today with 17 trails. Two lifts are open with Ursa Express spinning for upper mountain terrain. Open trails include Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Polar Bear and Frank’s Fall line and four lower mountain trails. Adult lift tickets are $59.
“The snow surface doesn’t get much better – these are practically midwinter conditions in mid-November,” said Mike Quinn, Stratton’s Vice President of Operations, fresh off his first run. “Our snowmakers and groomers have put in hundreds of hours of work to make opening day a success, and they nailed it.”
A snowboarder rides the North American trail at Stratton on opening day today.
Okemo has 14 trails and four lifts ready. Signature trails like World Cup, Arrow and Sapphire are waiting for you. Ticket prices today will be $55 for Adults, $48 for Young Adults and Seniors, and $37 for Juniors and Super Seniors. Half day tickets are $41, $36, and $28, respectively.
Here’s a nice offer at Okemo: The first 1,000 people who make a donation of at least $50, on Friday through Sunday will receive one complimentary one-day adult lift ticket, valid for redemption Monday through Friday, non holiday, during the 2012-13 winter season. The regular price of a midweek adult lift ticket is $80.
Killington. The Beast has been increasing trail counts daily. This week it opened trails on Skye Peak including the sweet blue Bittersweet, I like the way Killington is reporting trail counts this year; it reports 22 trails open “that ski more like ten runs.” Tickets cost $59 for adults (19-64), $50 for seniors (65+) and $45 for youth (7-18).
Sugarbush. Seven trails open. Super Bravo Express Quad spins from 9 AM until 4 PM and Heaven’s Gate Triple is open at 9 AM with last chair at 3:45 PM. Sugarbush Parks crew have 4 park features set up on Allyn’s Traverse. Check out its first of the season “Weekly Rumble” report:
Stowe: There’s top-to-bottom skiing and snowboarding on Mount Mansfield this weekend with 15 trails open and four lifts turning. Stowe plans to have beginner trails open at Spruce Peak starting Friday. Stowe is charging $64 for adult lift tickets.
Jay Peak: Plans to open Friday with four trails on Stateside. . Since Jay’s a long haul from the flatlands of Connecticut, I’d hold off unitl Jay gets pounded by heavy snow.
The big areas including Loon, Bretton Woods and Waterville are already open with a few top-to-bottom runs. This weekend, Cranmore, Mount Sunapee, Ragged and Cranmore will also be open.
Unless you plan to be in the Granite State visiting family and friends this holiday weekend, I’d wait a couple of weeks. In the meantime, check out Ski New Hampshire for some great deals on ticket deals and lodging options. A thumbs up for their great ticket deals page.
AND STILL MORE …
In New York, areas open or scheduled to open this week include Whiteface, Belleayre and Gore.
In Maine, Sunday River and Sugarloaf are open for the season.
But … I think I’ll wait since The Loaf was reporting conditions today were “hard pack -variable.”
Still a little early for us Connecticut Yankees to head there.
Here’s another Vermont ski area in the starting gate: Stratton will kick off its season at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Here’s the official announcement:
Snowmaking at the base on Sunday, Nov. 18.
“We anticipate opening intermediate to advanced trails on the Upper Mountain, including Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, North American and Polar Bear. It’s too soon to tell if the Lower Mountain will be open, but our snowmakers’ priority is to get the mountain open top to bottom when Mother Nature delivers the temperatures. Parks Crew is dropping features in the base area and stockpiling snow for the Village Rail Jam on Saturday.
“Snowmakers are still hard at work layering the Upper and Lower Mountain with snow when and where they can. Another round of snowmaking over Saturday night added depth on the Upper Mountain and snowmakers continued to “connect the dots” from top to bottom.
“Meanwhile, those in the business of shaping that snow – our groomers – are busy pushing snow piles and smoothing trails. After two more nights, they will have made a pristine canvas for our first tracks.”
No word on what Stratton will be charging for lift tickets.
Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont is one of the areas offering discounted tickets to Connecticut Ski Council members this winter. Photo courtesy Yukon Kornelius/Okemo Mountain Resort.
The preliminary list of dates for ski areas offering discounted lift tickets is out.
And again,it’s absolutely the BEST DEAL going!
We’re talking about more than 50 percent off tickets at such prime Vermont areas as Stratton, Okemo, Sugarbush and Killington, many of them on weekends.
How cheap? How about $34 ticket for Mount Snow on Sunday, Dec. 16? Or 44 bucks at Okemo on Sunday, Jan. 6? Or $43 at Killington on Sunday, Feb. 10? A steal when you consider the walk-up-to the-window price can be in high $80s-range. Ouch!
And many of the discount days are arranged so you can plan an affordable ski trip around these dates. Ski one cheap area one or two days; move ontoa nearby resort for its discounted day.
All you have to do is have a Connecticut Ski Council membership card, be at the designated ski resort … on the designated day … at the designated ticket window … and get you cheap ticket. Yes, it’s that easy.
So easy, I’m always amazed at people griping about the high cost of lift tickets when they can, with some planning and flexibility, save hundreds of bucks this winter.
The list is brought to you by the good folks of the Connecticut Ski Council, a group of clubs through the Nutmeg State made up of people like you who have a good time on, and off the slopes.
All you have to do to reap the benefits of these cheap lift tickets is join a ski club. It’s not a huge investment; dues can be as low $30.
That will not only give you the coveted membership card (that you need to show at the ticket window), but options for day bus trips, ski vacations, business/equipment discounts and the chance to meet some great people who love sliding down a mountain as much as you do.
But you need to take some time to find the best club for you. THE site for learning all about that is the Connecticut Ski Council’s website that provides direct link to individual clubs.
Many clubs allow you to simply download a membership form, send in a check and bang, you’re in. No required meeting attendance or baking cookies. Involvement in a club is up to you.
So drum roll please, click on Awarenessdaysbelow to see the list of discounted tickets. After reading it, there’s a good chance you’ll be signing up soon to be a ski club member.
Who’s still skiing and snowboarding in New England? Mostly those with season passes, locals, college kids looking for some fun on spring break or strong-legged baby boomers who have second homes in Ski Country.
But for most of us the season is over. The end came earlier than normal when the snow stopped falling and temperatures soared into the 60s, then 70s and likely today, the 80s.
The scene near the summit of Mount Snow in Vermont. No wonder they are planning to end its season on Sunday.
I expect this weekend will be the last for many ski areas this season. By mid-April, all lifts should stop turning everywhere.
Mount Snow in southern Vermont has already decided to pack it in on Sunday. “As you can imagine, snow does not react well to temperatures in the 60′s and 70′s, and that’s exactly what Mother Nature threw our way this week,” Snow posted this morning.
Okemo in Vermont also announced today that its final day of the season will also be Sunday.
“As the warm weather is making the days enjoyable, it is also melting away the snow that our snowmakers worked so hard to make all season. While we gave a gallant fight, the warming sun has been too much – so get on up here and enjoy your last turns while you can,” Okemo posted on Facebook today.
While there is still some good skiing and snowboarding, usually in the early morning and on high-elevation trails, conditions … for most people … are difficult.
Like many areas, Okemo is encouraging people to bring the sunscreen and “work on your goggle tan.”
The southern Vermont area gets the prize for the best take on the day: ”The best part of spring is the music you can hear in the air, as the sun rises each morning, and the days get longer, the birds return and their songs fill the world with joy.”
But what about the snow conditions at the areas still open???
Finishing a run down Superstar at Killington on Wednesday. Killington's average snowfall is 250 inches. This year it received only 130 inches.
Read Stratton in Vermont’s “snow report” for today:
“Our terrain is challenging, bumpy and absurdly fun these days, and spring conditions mean that bare spots, puddles and other unmarked hazards exist on open terrain. There is fun to be had out there, so bring your rock skis or boards and be ready to hop, skip, and walk to get to that spectacular soft spring snow.”
“Conditions are rapidly changing each day and some walking is required to get to the hidden gems of soft snow.”
“The good news: today has the potential to be the warmest day of the year thus far, which means T-shirts and sunglasses are skiing and riding essentials. The not-so-good news: that sun is quickly melting the snow pack, causing the rest of our days to be numbered. Solution: The beach will be there for the rest of the summer, so you might as well get your last turns of the season in, before you have to wait until next year.”
Vermont still has lots of trails open, but the number is dropping daily.
Even the mighty Beast of the East, Killington, sees its days are numbered. Today, it has a mere 14 trails open.
On its Facebook page this afternoon, Killington posted: “We lost more snow than we expected last night and have closed the K-1 Gondola and Snowdon Triple.”
It makes me sad to read this report:
“Walking is required to ski or ride Outer Limits and there is no beginner terrain available. Additionally spring conditions exist, they can change rapidly and create unpredictable surfaces, so please pay close attention when you’re out on the trails and check back often for updates.
“We will be spinning the Bear Mountain Quad and Superstar Express Quad. Please note the unseasonably warm temperatures this week have caused our snow pack to melt faster than we hoped and although we’re skiing and riding down two peaks, they are both isolated. So, if you’re interested in skiing or riding on the isle of Bear Mountain and you want to return to K-1, simply hop on a shuttle – they’ll be going back and forth from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.”
In New Hampshire about 10 areas remain open with about a quarter of their trails open.
Personally, I think spring skiing is overrated. I’ll take a cold day with some powder or packed powder over a warm and slushy one with spring crud. I’d rather be cruising than getting grabbed by some slushy puddle.
Add the unadvertised fact: Many ski areas do not groom many trails so they can preserve the snow for the larger weekend crowds. Groomed trails lose their snow quicker.
Today if you want to go skiing and snowboarding in the East, you have to make a long drive. And with the high cost of gas, you have to ask yourself: Is it worth it?
Mount Snow GM Kelly Pawlak writes on her blog: "Thank you for all the snowdances, prayers and for all that had faith in winter. She has arrived and graced us with over 17” of snow."
Finally. We’re skiing and snowboarding on “pow pow” today!!!
And just when we were starting to think winter wasn’t going to return to New England.
This weekend is probably the best one, condition wise, this season. But as we all know with skiing in New England, there’s always something. This time it’s bitter cold temperatures.
The National Weather Service says wind chills in northwest and southern Vermont could hit minus 19 degrees. Actually, that sounds worse than it really is. Just take precautions and no exposed skin. On Sunday in Ski Country, it will be sunny and cold with temps in the upper single numbers. MLK Day on Monday looks sweet with partly sunny skies and temps in the 20s.
Just look at these snowfall totals from the past two days.
In Vermont: Jay, the winner with 23 inches … Stowe 18 inches … Mount Snow 17 inches … Sugarbush 16 inches … Killington 14 inches. Stratton … 11 inches.
In New Hampshire … Wildcat 13 inches … Waterville and Loon 10 inches … Mount Sunapee and Gunstock 8 inches.
Maine didn’t get slammed as much as Vermont; Saddleback got 9 inches, Sunday River got 6 inches and Shawnee Peak around 10 inches.
Massachusetts did nicely with 14 inches at Berkshire East … 7 at Jiminy Peak … Catamount and Butternut with 4 inches.
New York areas got a few inches, but not the Big Dump. Whiteface, Windham and Hunter picked up around 6 inches.
And Connecticut? Zilch.
That’s why ski areas in the Banana Belt of New England have snowmaking.
Areas that have massive snowmaking arsenals like Okemo, Mount Snow, Stratton and Killington in Vermont lead pack with open terrain. But if you look at Magic Mountain in central Vermont, there’s only five of 40 trails open despite the 7 inches it received Thursday. Why? You guessed it, an antiquated snowmaking system that has hurt this area for years.
Stratton opened five more trails today including Upper and Lower Liftline and Lower Kidderbrook, and Solstice Way ; Bolton in northern Vermont dropped the rope on seven more trails.
And something many have been waiting for … Outer Limits at Killington is now open. I’ll wait.
Mad River Glen in Vermont is absolutely giddy this morning.
Its report: “Finally it is GAME ON here at MRG and after what has been an interminable wait we are going to FINALLY re-open the main mountain today. We picked up 4-6″ of snow in part 1 of the storm and we are expecting another 6″ (the Single Chair Weather Blog says maybe as much as a foot) in part 2 which is expected to start later this morning and continue into the evening. It could be one of those amazing days when conditions just keep getting better and better, but be aware that temps are expected to fall precipitously throughout the day.”
In Massachusetts, Jiminy got just three inches, but that combined with their snowmaking will open up 85 percent of its trails this weekend.
Butternut in Great Barrington got 5 inches at the summit, allowing it to open all 22 of its trails, one of only three resorts in the East to achieve that. Catamount now has 25 of its 33 trails open.
Despite the rain, Connecticut areas will be in good shape this weekend.
Ski Sundown has all of its trails open. Mohawk has 13 of 25 open; Mount Southington 9 of 14; and Woodbury 10 of 15 trails. If you want to go skiing or snowboarding today here’s a $15 off coupon for Southington.
It’s the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekened, meaning resorts will be charging higher holiday rates. But don’t expect large crowds this weekend because of the combination of very cold temperatures (in the single digits Sunday) and the football playoffs.
Hopefully the Snow Gods, and the meteorologists, aren’t playing any games with us this time.
But … there’s significant snow in the forecast for upper New England Thursday into Friday. I’m trying not to get too excited, but it’s possible that more than a foot of snow could fall in the higher elevations, maybe more.
Sunrise at Stowe, Vermont this morning.
It’s one of those situations where you got to keep checking the forecasts and see if this dream forecast becomes a reality. And that means the complete forecast, not just the snow totals. For example, the NWS’s mountain forecast for Thursday calls for summits to be “in and out of the clouds” with southeast winds between 35 to 50 mph. And we all know how wind can ruin a day and put lifts of hold.
But if you really want to get teased, read Josh Fox Single Chair Weather Blog from Mad River Glen in Vermont where he says “it’s possible” this storm could drop between 10 and 20 inches.
In southern New England it’s also possible that ski areas can pick up a few inches of fresh snow before it changes to sleet and dreaded rain.
Overall, it looks likely this could set the stage f0r an excellent MLK weekend.
Since this could be the first big dump of the season, there could be a run on moderately priced lodging this weekend; like the chain hotels popular with skiers and snowboarders on a budget.
Naturally, skiing and snowboarding midweek is always better, both in terms of ticket deals and crowds, especially since the college kids will be heading back to school next week.
And here’s a nice incentive:
Mount Snow in southern Vermont is offering FREE midweek lodging next week. The offer, based on double occupancy, costs $75 per person, per day. You can stay between Monday and Thursday next week. But you have to book by 5 p.m. Friday. Details here.
By the way there’s interesting reading about how Mount Snow has survived this poor winter on GM Kelly Pawlak’s blog. She notes that Snow’s December temperatures average 8 degrees above normal with a series of “rain events.”