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Mt Washington Valley (East Coast USA)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I 'm looking into going here and skiing a number of resorts in February 2005.

Is this area snow sure at that time of the year?

Two of the group are beginners, would this area be suitable and quality of instruction OK?

Any other advice?

Thanks in advance

AW
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Feb is probably the month with the most certain snow in the Mt. Washington valley. I would say that there is at least a 90% probability that you won't have major problems with the snow quantity. There can be an occasional heavy rain which can wash away some cover, but essentially all ski hills in this area have very good snowmaking and grooming, and can recover quickly.

By some chance, if your luck is singularly bad and should snow cover be thin when you arrive, try Wildcat. It's base is located considerably higher than the other Mt. Washington Valley ski areas. It's not particularly known as a "beginner's" mountain, but it does just fine teaching never-evers.

You may want to try Sunday River while you are in the area. It is only about 45 min away from Wildcat. It is much larger (horizontally) than the Mt. Washington V. resorts, and has huge ammts of terrain for early stage skiers to explore. It is considered an international destination resort, whereas some of the other mountains in that area are better considered local resorts. For example, there is no lodging right at the base of Wildcat.

HTH,

Tom / PM
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
AW, one thing PM does not mention is the insane traffic jam North Conway can become when the Bostonites flood in over the weekend. Unless you favor the area near Loon Mtn, it is probably better to stay in Intervale or Glen or even further north.

On holiday weekends, it can be significantly faster to XC ski back into town than to drive that road.
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Good point. I didn't want to scare the poor guy off. Very Happy

BTW, you probably should post your questions on the NELSAP forum ( http://www.snowjournal.com/nelsapforum.html ). There are lots of friendly folks on that forum who live right in the Mt. Washington V area, and they will undoubtedly give you a lot of very specific suggestions and comments.

While I am thinking of it, one important thing that I forgot to mention is that you and your friends should bring appropriate cold weather clothing. It can get bitterly cold and windy on NH ski hills that time of year.

Tom / PM
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'd say February, especially late Feb. to early March are probably the most snowsure times of the year in NE. Of course there's no absolutely sure thing, even Utah doesn't always have great snow. On the upsdide, most of the areas have near 100% snowmaking coverage so in February, most pistes will be in good shape -- finding lots of fresh powder would be chancier. Don't know what you know about the area. There are several small (by European standards) areas in the Vicinity and you'll need a car. Physicsman is right about the NELSAP forum, I'd also point you towards www.alpinezone.com -- lots of folks who live and/or ski in NE participate on these forums and can answer questions.

Bretton Woods doesn't get mentioned much but they've expanded dramatically over the last few years and claim to be the largest area in NH. For beginners through intermediates it's very good. For complete beginners there is a separate learning area served by it's own lift. There are easy trails off virtually every lift so novices have access to almost the whole mountain. There's lots of easy intermediate terrain to which novices can progress without getting in over their head. Lots of snowmaking and excellent grooming. There's not much for advanced skiers looking for a challenge unless they have good snow and you're into glade skiing -- I'd say the groomed blacks are really just solid intermediate. With the exception of Wildcat, BW arguably has the most scenic views of any NH area. Apart from the mountain and a few restaraunt there's not much going on -- pretty sleeply little place. If you want to spend big bucks you could stay at the Mt. Washington hotel. Hard core skiers looking for a thrill would be happier at Cannon an/or Wildcat. Cannon offers quite a bit of challenging terrain and is overall a good bit steeper than BW. The blacks at BW would be marked intermediate at Cannon. The've expanded their terrain to develop an area better suited to beginners/novices though I've not skied there. Never been to Wildcat but by reputation it has terrain more similar to Cannon than BW -- though there is a trail marked green from the very top. Cannon and Wildcat both offer more vertical (over 2,000 ft) than BW (about 1500 ft). Wildcat looks at the Tuckerman's Bowl side of Mt. Washington and everyone raves about the views (BW is on the other side). Loon, Waterville Valley, Cranmore, and Black are also relatively close. Loon and Waterville Valley tend to get very busy on weekends/holidays. Sunday River in Maine would also be within relatively easy driving distance.

Think you'd probably find the ski schools pretty good -- especially for beginners/novices, at any of these areas. I assume you'll have a car -- you'll need a car.
Cheers.
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Physicsman, comprex, RISkier - thanks for all the advice Very Happy , very informative. Just received a White Mountain brochure which offers flights from Glasgow. Bit more research, then try to cut a deal with the travel agent.

Thanks again,

AW
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Guys as you are all here in one thread, any advice for areas are Syracuse - i.e. upstate New York, may be there for about 6 months till Feb. Have boarded the small hills in the poconnos before, just wondered what to expect up there and when the season usually starts?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Dan, my apologies for not responding sooner to your other thread.

overview here Syracuse is, of course, at the intersection of I-81 and I-90.

The conditions are horribly weather-dependent, but starting about mid-December, be ready for ice and hope for lake effect snow. Bring plenty of warmies and be very careful driving.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Dan -

I didn't see your other thread, so I'm glad you re-posted your question here.

I went through both undergraduate and graduate school (ie, 9 years of my life) in Ithaca, NY, which is about 50 mi south of Syracuse, so I have some familiarity with the conditions in that region. I still have family up there, so I get to revisit my old haunts 2 or 3 times per year.

Late summer and fall is absolutely gorgeous in upstate NY. The problem is that fall ends in early October, and from then on, for the rest of the winter, you may not see the sun for a week at a time. Often the overcast is accompanied by perpetual drizzle and/or light fluries, which we fondly termed, "Ithacation".

A typical Jan forecast might be: "Over the next several days, daytime temperatures will be in the upper-20s with nighttime temperatures in the low 20s. There will be a 70% chance of Ithacation mixed with periods of locally heavy but short duration lake effect snow. A cold front is expected to pass next Wednesday, following which you can expect 12 to 18 hours of clear cold weather, but the expected 20-30 mph NW winds will (as usual) cause blowing snow and regions of near zero visibility in more open rural areas. Have a nice weekend!"

If it helps soften this news a bit, I don't remember ice on the roads being a particular problem (at least compared with other weather created difficulties). Also, if you will be located right in downtown Syracuse, the heat island effect and shielding effect of the large buildings helps out considerably. The road crews are very experienced clearing and salting the roads. Coupled with a population who is used to driving in the snow, the effect of such weather on traffic is much less than one might expect.

IMHO, the best nearby ski hills for you will be Bristol Mtn (Canandaigua, NY) and Greek Peak (Cortland, NY). Both have about 1000' vert. Both have very active race teams. Bristol is more modern, Greek Peak has "charm". Wink Bristol has better snowmaking and grooming, but for some perverse reason, I usuall prefer Greek Peak (at least in small doses). FWIW, there are closer ski areas to Syracuse (Labrador and Toggenberg (sp?) come to mind), but they are quite small. If you are willing to drive a bit, a little-known gem is Ski Plattekill. Once you get beyond that distance, you might as well head up to Whiteface or the VT resorts.

In my experience, ice on the ski runs is actually much less of a problem in western NYS than it is in the Poconos, probably because there are fewer freeze-thaw cycles and less skier traffic.

If there are any other aspects of the area that you are interested in, don't hesitate to ask.

Cheers,

Tom / PM
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
PS - In the previous post, I forgot to mention that the season usually begins in early December.

Tom / PM
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comprex, Physicsman, thanks guys! I'll have a ponder over the info and get back to you, thanks!!! snowHead

I went to Ithaca last time i was out, a very college orientated city/town but it had a nice feel about the place, we then went to the finger lakes and the large waterfall, beautiful!!

One quick one - Whiteface or VT resorts????????? are these bigger places then, what sort of time from Syracuse? Last time we were out in the USA i'd think nothing of driving 1200Km in the weekend (New Brunswick, NJ upto toronto and around lake Ontario) - the americans thought we were mad Shocked but we had to get out of the hotel!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Dan - Coincidentally , there has been a lot of recent discussion our our local ski forums about the Whiteface vs VT question, so probably your best bet is to skim over the following threads.

http://www.dcski.com/ubbthreads22/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=8418&page=1&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=31&fpart=1#8418

http://www.dcski.com/ubbthreads22/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=8428&page=1&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=31&fpart=1#8428

http://www.snowjournal.com/page.php?cid=topic4914

HTH,

Tom / PM

PS - Your driving habits sound like mine. Many years ago, on one of my first trips to GB, I spent one week at Cambridge and was scheduled to spend the next week at Oxford. The weekend between, I decided to drive from one to the other by heading up the east coast of England, across Scotland to Skye, and back down through the Lake District. When I mentioned my little outing to my colleagues on Monday, I'm sure they thought of me as another car-crazy Yank. Smile
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Physicsman, Thanks for the links! If you'd said Killington i'd have know what you were talking about - why have you referred to it as VT? Also a few of my mates are looking to come out, will i get a much better price on accomodation if booking while out there or doing it from the UK - any decent web sites you know of? or juicy contacts?

Today it was basically confirmed i'll be there from Sept till end of Feb next year, so when is the earliest date i can bring my board out there? Also from that discussion board i'm not concerned about vertical stats but where is best to go if i'm boarding - not into parks, just cruising with off-piste within site of the pistes.

Also don't supposed you know about (field) hockey up there? Played in New York last time i was out there but New York is a bit far to drive to for a game!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
ps any volunteers to show me around? snowHead
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