10 superlatives and the nearby slopes they bring to mind
New England’s alpine superlatives are usually defined as biggest, snowiest, or steepest, but here are 10 other ways of defining our region’s best skiing and snowboarding experiences.
BANG FOR THE BUCK: Saddleback, Maine
For big mountain skiing at a small mountain price ($50 adult weekend/holiday), slide over to Saddleback, with 2,000 feet of vertical laced with sinewy, old New England-style trails and accented by the pick-your-poison-level Casablanca Glades. Don’t tell too many others, but the powder here lasts days longer than at its more well known neighbors. 866-918-2225, www.saddlebackmaine.com
SEA AND SKI: Camden Snow Bowl, Maine
Camden is where the mountains meet the sea, and the Snowbowl is where the skiers see the sea. Trails with names like Mussel Ridge, Windjammer, Spinnaker, and Northeaster ebb and flow down the 850-foot vertical, offering glimpses of island-salted Penobscot Bay. Augment the skiing with a run down the toboggan chute, a whirl down the tubing park, or a glide across Hosmer Pond, then chowder at Cappy’s. 207-236-3438, www.camdensnowbowl.com
CRUISE CONTROL: Okemo, Vt.
No matter what your ability level, if your definition of heaven is meticulously groomed trails, Okemo has you covered. Sure, there are a few moguled steeps and a handful of glades, but more than anything else, Okemo provides the corduroy that lets confirmed cruisers simply point tips downhill and let ’em run. 802-228-1600, www.okemo.com
FEATURE CREATURE: Carinthia, Mount Snow, Vt.
For free skiers and riders and terrain park junkies, this is the promised land, a separate-but-equal, mega-feature-filled mountain playground with a super pipe, a mini pipe, tree skiing, all-natural terrain, and 12 parks with rails, cliff drops, tree stalls, bonks, and jibs. If you don’t speak the lingo, stick with the groomers on Mount Snow’s other faces. 802-464-3333, www.carinthiaparks.com
SEE AND BE SEEN: Stowe, Vt. When you want to preen and show, Stowe’s the place. Strut your expert skills on the notorious Front Four or display your designer labels fireside in the Stowe Mountain Lodge lounge. 800-253-4754, www.stowe.com
TIME TRAVEL: Mad River Glen, Vt.
So-retro-it’s-chic Mad River has three double chairs, one single chair, little snowmaking, and 115 acres of classic New England gnarly terrain. Ski it if you can, but don’t even think about snowboarding; it’s banned. 802-496-3551, www.madriverglen.com
BURN THE MIDNIGHT OIL: Crotched Mountain, N.H.
When you have a hankering to ski or ride at 2 a.m., slide over to Crotched, which leaves the lights on until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights in January and February. A bonfire and a concert series keep even the most sleepy-eyed entertained. 603-588-3668, www.crotchedmountain.com
CROWD PLEASER: Mount Washington Valley, N.H.
Start with four alpine areas: Cranmore, a family-sized gem in the heart of North Conway; Attitash, a double-mountain in Bartlett; Black, a weather-protected peak in Jackson; and Wildcat, the valley’s big kahuna in Pinkham Notch. Now add the Jackson Ski Touring Center, a world-class Nordic center; Glen Trails, at the base of Mount Washington; and a handful of other touring centers. Finish off with plentiful shopping and restaurants and even a downtown skating rink. Who’s bored now? 877-948-6867, www.mtwashingtonvalley.org
CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE: Sugarloaf, Maine
After a morning experiencing a slice of paradise in Sugarloaf’s legendary Snowfields, head into the equally legendary Bag & Kettle, in the base village. Critics have proclaimed the Bagburger the best in skidom and called its coronary-alert cheeseburger soup “mouthwatering.’’ 207-237-2000, www.sugarloaf.com
BEST TRAIN-IN ’ RUNS: Wachusett, Mass.
Avoid driving hassles and earn points for eco sensitivity by taking Wachusett’s ski train, departing Boston’s North Station on Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 12 through March 28. 978-464-2300, www.wachusett.com
Hilary Nangle can be reached at www.hilarynangle.com.