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The Ski Guru Blog

Presidents Day, Valentine's Day & Feb School Vacation

The beginning of February marks the half waypoint of the ski season. The first half of 08/09 was remarkable here in New England. It has certainly provided many memories for folks to cherish during the long hot summer months. If Mother Nature and Old Man Winter cooperate, and the finish is on par with the start, this could go down as one of the best ski seasons New England has seen in decades.

In the middle of the month - with schools on February vacation, Presidents Day (2/16) and Saint Valentine’s Day (2/14) - there will be plenty going on up in the North Country. This is the last Holiday period of the season for the mountains. The resorts and areas are operating with extraordinary conditions. Most everything in the region is 100% open and snow surfaces are Real Packed Powder.

The stock market may be in Bear mode, but the ski areas are fully throttled and running with the Bulls.

This blog entry is littered with deals and events. Maybe one catches your fancy and inspires you to get out on the slopes. Please note that the events are much more prevalent than the deals, as previous mentioned it is Holiday period.

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Weather Warning: A lot can happen two weeks out. The weather pattern looks active. Not sure what will come to us, but let’s pray for more snow!

Unpredictable future weather forecasting aside, you should really pony up and go skiing. Many folks have been holding back this season. From my own experiences lift lines have been virtually nonexistent with the exception of last weekend – Discuss. Maybe the frigid temperatures kept folks at bay indoors. I cannot make mush sense of it because the snow is out there for the turning.

First the deals – and some of these are screaming!

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Resort: Sugarloaf
Town: Carrabassett Valley, ME
Report Card: Grades

The Loaf has a ton of events slated for the week. Many of them are family specific. Check out the website for details. The deal the big mountain up in Maine has set up offers fantastic savings that start with packages as low as $89 per person, per night. These include a lift ticket, lodging and a lesson. That is a steal…

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Resort: Jiminy Peak
Town: Hancock, MA
Report Card: Grades

The resort out in the Berkshires has a good family package for the holiday week. This lodging special is based around a family of four staying in a two-bedroom vacation home.

Beginning Friday, February 13 and running until Sunday, February 22nd these two bedroom homes are priced at $629 per night. That includes 2 adult & 2 junior lift tickets per night. The lift tickets also include free night skiing and riding! The number sounds large at first, but when you figure in the four lift tickets to go with the accommodations, it is a good deal. Give the Massachusetts mountain a whirl this season.

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Resort: Sunday River
Town: Bethel, ME
Report Card: Grades

Sunday River is owned by the same company as Sugarloaf and Loon (Boyne Resorts). Thus, it makes sense that they have a similar deals in place. Doing their part to help out in these bad economic times the River is rolling with "Winter Stimulus Packages” and the S.G. likes them.

The price point is a little higher, but starting as low as $99 will gets you on the lift and making Perfect Turns. Again, the rates are based per person, per night. It includes lodging, an adult Perfect Turn ski/ride lesson, and lift ticket. According to Sunday River this is equates to a 20% savings over ski and stay packages offered at the same time last year.

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Resort: Stratton
Town: Bondville, VT
Report Card: Grades

For February vacation week (2/13 – 2/19) Stratton is offering up deep discounts. Lodging packages for The Inn at Stratton Mountain are starting at $109/night midweek and $159/night weekends. Hit this LINK for additional details. You need to act fast – to take advantage of said rate book by February, 6th.

The runs groomed to perfection are waiting for you to carve early every morning. The Stratton Village night life may be your biggest problem!


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Second, a sampling of the many events!

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Resort: Killington
Town: Killington, VT
Report Card: Grades

Undoubtedly, Killington will have a million and one things in motion. Here is an event that can actually put some money back in your pocket.

The now annual (7th year) Presidents Rail Jam will take place on February 15 with a purse of $1,000 and prizes to boot. The event is open to skiers and riders. Registration is limited to 100 competitors and costs $20 online. The online registration period ends Friday 2/12 at 11:59 pm EST. If there are still open spots walks ups will be taken the day of the event for $25 at the Bear Mountain Base Lodge. A lift ticket is also required.


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Resort: Okemo
Town: Ludlow, VT
Report Card: Grades

Okemo is stepping up to the plate with some Valentine Day love for snow enthusiasts. They have a range of events in store for the week. These include a scavenger hunt, an opportunity for the single folks to meet, and romantic dinners for the more serious couples.

Okemo is really pushing their new properties and the culinary services those offer. Try sitting down for a candle light dinner at the Colman Brook Tavern in Jackson Gore. Alternatively, for the hopeless romantics there is singles lunch at Epic (slopeside restaurant) in the Solitude (going to leave this one alone) base area.


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Resort: Cranmore Mountain
Town: North Conway, NH
Report Card: Grades

This small family mountain is nestled right in the center of North Conway, NH. Therefore, you can find a ton to do off the slopes. However, on them the folks at Cranmore love to have fun.

This season they have put together an event they call Cranapalooza! It is billed as "A Festival" and boasts fireworks at 7:30 pm on multiple nights (Feb 14, 18, and 21st).

When show begins skiers and riders can take in the sights on sounds while making their runs. Neat idea! They also have Snow Tubing, which is a great time for people of all ages and the Fun Zone for children will be operating all week long. Check the website for pricing and additional details.


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Resort: Mount Sunapee
Town: Newbury, NH
Report Card: Grades

Mount Sunapee is the largest area that is under a two-hour drive from Boston. They recently have launched a new website and one of the features added is an online reservations tool. Hit the resort link above and it will be very visible in th left column. The area has been working with lodges in their proximity to put together some great weekend ski and stay packages (not sure how many will be valid during the holiday period). It is worth a look.

For V-Day there will be an on mountain “Heart Hunt” ~ think scavenger. Fireworks are going to be launched into the skies from the Eggbeater trail at 6:30 pm. Grab a seat to watch at Goosefeathers Pub and enjoy yourself.

On Feb 17 the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge will be there. It is a free NASTAR style race and anyone can participate.


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Third - some final thoughts


If you are still starved for more, I recommend visiting your favorite mountains website or trying one of these following three resources.

Ski Maine
Ski New Hampshire
Ski Vermont


That is all for now folks. Kind of a bummer that Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year. That kept many mountains from offering their usual “Kiss You Sweetheart” lift ticket deals. Those in the past have typically involved 2 for 1 lift tickets with a smooch at the window.

Anyhow, if other noteworthy news/deals or events (and I do expect to see more) for the holiday festivities hits my radar I will be sure to let you know in another blog entry.

Think Snow, Ski Safe and Have Fun!

~ S.G.


More from this blog on: Deals & Events