Whether you’re working during the day or just looking for a way to get out with the family, twilight skiing and riding offers a chance to hit the slopes, often with great deals and special offerings. Enjoy the newly groomed corduroy in the late afternoon, and don’t forget your clear lenses for your goggles to enjoy an evening under the stars.
From efficient snowmaking to recycle stations to wind and solar generation, ski and snowboard resorts know that their survival depends upon reducing the effects of climate change.
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.
Wachusett smiles. (Wachusett)
New England skiers “endured” a few days of nearly 70 degrees during the last week of February with what is now being called the “Winter Whiplash.” The whiplash effect refers to the weather changing in short periods from unseasonably warm to freezing cold with major snowstorms followed by unseasonably warm weather.
New Englanders experienced the whiplash late February/early March with a snowstorm of nearly two feet in some places followed by an extreme warm up that featured summer days for scantily clad runners and crowded lunch tables in front of city restaurants. This weather was then followed by a drop to below-zero temperatures for a two day period.
I celebrated the end of the whiplash week with a visit to Massachusett's Wachusett Mountain on a sunny Monday. Wachusett’s president Jeff Crowley commented that the previous week they had warm weather and a hellacious rainstorm followed by the deep freeze and “just last Thursday, the ski trails were ice and dirt.” That statement described only three days prior to my visit and Crowley credited last summer’s snowmaking system expansion at Wachusett for the amazing turnaround.
Crowley pointed to the new Pump House #2 responsible for covering the trails with snow quickly, more efficiently, and less costly. With the new snowmaking system, the pumping capacity was increased from 4,000 to 8,000 gallons per minute meaning that snowmaking crews can cover two trails overnight with a foot of snow. And a few cold days over the weekend were just what the doctor ordered to give Wachusett’s two dozen trails a complete makeover.
Skiing in the sunshine on a Monday, March 6 was what skiing is about and the machine-made snow consistency was excellent at Wachusett. There was no snow off the trails, and ice on uncovered areas exemplifying the whiplash devastation, but on the trails there was no ice or dirt and plenty of pliable and turnable snow across the slopes.
Wachusett Mountain has 26 trails and 8 lifts on about 110 acres in the Wachusett Mountain State Reservation. The unique snow train with the MBTA departs from Boston’s North Station at 8:35 a.m. and arrives at the Wachusett Station at 10:11 a.m. for $11.50 one way. A free shuttle gets you to the ski area in 10 minutes from the station and this transportation system runs Saturday and Sunday through March 12. The mountain also has a partnership with Uber, which provides an option to and from the Wachusett Station and from the Worcester metro area with a $25 Get to the Slopes offer.
Dialogue in chairlift conversation centered on the glorious day, the snow conditions, and the transformation of the skiing given the recent weather. The front parking lot at Wachusett was overflowing by late morning. Many of the repeated chairlift comments were about taking the day off of work to enjoy skiing at Wachusett and these skiers “playing hooky” got the great day they expected at the mountain.