Jump to content
MarzNC

Independent Ski Areas/Resorts in the Northeast

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, MarzNC said:

Being part of a cooperative multi-resort pass does not make a ski area/resort less independent to me.  Alta is clearly independent as a business but has been part of the MCP since the start and the SLC SuperPass for even longer.  Snowbird is also independent even though the owner is also the owner of Powdr.  Just as Aspen Ski Co. is independent even though the Crown family that owns ASC is a major partner in Alterra.  Telluride will be part of the Epic Pass for 2017-18 but hasn't been bought by Vail . . . yet.

1

This is apparent in the operations, but I wonder if these multi-mountain pass groups collude to raise day ticket prices. Also just be clear ASC=American Ski Company, the original conglomerate. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Benski said:

This is apparent in the operations, but I wonder if these multi-mountain pass groups collude to raise day ticket prices. Also just be clear ASC=American Ski Company, the original conglomerate. 

ASC is commonly used to refer to Aspen. It also means American Ski Co. Context pretty clear here.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, MarzNC said:

Perhaps Bretton Woods is more "old school" than "independent."  While Sugarbush is clearly independent but not old school.  Does that make sense?  Note that "old school" does not necessarily mean that all the lifts are fixed grip, although that's often the case.

Being part of a cooperative multi-resort pass does not make a ski area/resort less independent to me.  Alta is clearly independent as a business but has been part of the MCP since the start and the SLC SuperPass for even longer.  Snowbird is also independent even though the owner is also the owner of Powdr.  Just as Aspen Ski Co. is independent even though the Crown family that owns ASC is a major partner in Alterra.  Telluride will be part of the Epic Pass for 2017-18 but hasn't been bought by Vail . . . yet.

Bretton Woods and Old School to me do not belong in the same sentence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Smellytele said:

Bretton Woods and Old School to me do not belong in the same sentence.

Are Attitash and BW in the same category?  Thinking just about the slopes, never mind the Mt. Washington Hotel or the fact that Attitash is a Peaks resort.

Do you consider Wildcat "old school"?  I'm thinking of spending some time sampling a few more ski areas/resorts in New England mid-Dec and early March next season before picking up my daughter near Boston for her school vacations.  That's the main reason I'm curious about NH skiing right now.  Thinking about where to book lodging in Dec between VT or NH or ME.

I lean towards "independent" ski resorts but also appreciate what large resorts with deep pockets have to offer.  I've enjoyed skiing at Wachusett and Jiminy Peak midweek the last couple seasons.  My favorite destination out west remains Alta even after spending 1-week ski vacations at quite a few MCP destinations in recent years.  In NH, I skied a day at Sunapee, Loon, and Wildcat during early season a few years ago, and a day at Tenney when they re-opened in March.  Would enjoy going back to any one of them.

Edited by MarzNC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old school for me means a few different things. A mountain doesn't necessarily have to hit all of them, but definitely some.

Random smattering would be:

- Trail layout - more of a classic NE feel without tons of wide boulevards

- Base lodge area style/feel - not tons of restaurants fancy shops, etc (Wildcat lodge)

- Lack of grooming

I would say BW definitely does not fit this bill. The only thing you could argue for is the base area does not feel super resorty, as others have indicated.

I personally would put Attitash and Waterville in the same category and that is a bit different than BW. BW is a bit more upscale, though in large part due to the hotel.

Wildcat is definitely old school. Cannon too.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Jully said:

Old school for me means a few different things. A mountain doesn't necessarily have to hit all of them, but definitely some.

Random smattering would be:

- Trail layout - more of a classic NE feel without tons of wide boulevards

- Base lodge area style/feel - not tons of restaurants fancy shops, etc (Wildcat lodge)

- Lack of grooming

I like that list.  How the base lodge is set up is definitely a key factor.  If there is a "village" then unlikely to be old school.

Have also noticed that it makes a difference what type of other businesses are within a few miles of the entrance to a ski area/resort.  You can tell from the first sight of the Stratton sign on the turn off to head up the mountain that the place won't be old school.  The contrast to the entrance to Magic is very clear.  There seemed to be 2-3 ski shops near Stratton plus plenty of other small shops that clearly cater to tourists.  Not sure I remember any small businesses within a mile of the entrance off the highway to the road to Magic.  Same for Suicide Six.  I stopped by all three on the same day, so the contrasts were obvious.

Another direct comparison is between Jiminy Peak and Berkshire East, which are only about an hour apart.  Jiminy is a well run 4-season resort.  Berkshire East is clearly old school.  Based on what I saw at Catamount a few weeks ago, it will stay old school even after the new owners--who own BEast) spend some money fixing stuff up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Smellytele said:

No NH ski area has a fake village. closest thing to it would be Waterville but it isn't right at the mtn.

Should they ever complete the gondola, it'll be interesting how the town changes. Its currently quite lackluster, but also doesn't feel fake to me either.

Attitash also has the "village" but that's really just the restaurant and condos. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never know what will turn up . . . I was looking for more info about Wilmot, one of the midwest ski areas bought by Vail Resorts in 2016 and that led to Wilmot, NH, and that led to Arrowhead.  Adding Arrowhead to my list of independent ski areas in NH.

Turns out that some Arrowhead has been open with a couple surface lifts for almost 15 years based on a core group of volunteers and the non-profit Arrowhead Recreation Club.  The upper trails are maintained but are hike-only.  There is snowmaking for skiing/boarding and tubing.  It's a father-son management team with Chuck Allen as Director and his son, Spencer, as Ops Manager.  According to a local news article in mid-March 2018, the 2017-18 season ended in early March mostly due to lack of volunteers.

https://www.eagletimes.com/news/arrowhead-ends-season-will-seek-volunteers/article_b5b50cb4-26c8-11e8-b786-83e777ca0944.html 

 

Quote

 

. . . Despite the challenges Arrowhead still generated enough revenue to cover its $30,000 operating budget with room to spare. Almost half of its expenses, $13,000, goes to the facility’s insurance coverage and the rest toward utilities, diesel fuel, equipment repair and food for concessions.

Arrowhead Director Chuck Allen, who is Spencer’s father,  said that two years ago, Arrowhead had about 80 total volunteers. This season the number hovered between 25 and 30 — though those numbers can be deceiving because some volunteers include people who only worked one or two shifts the entire season. . . .

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/21/2018 at 9:35 PM, Smellytele said:

No NH ski area has a fake village. closest thing to it would be Waterville but it isn't right at the mtn.

 

On 6/21/2018 at 10:07 PM, Jully said:

Should they ever complete the gondola, it'll be interesting how the town changes. Its currently quite lackluster, but also doesn't feel fake to me either.

I'm reading a book about the architecture at U.S. ski resorts from the 1930s thru the 1990s.  Researched and written by a professor of architecture who skis with her family.  Just happened to read about Waterville Valley last night. The author interviewed the founder of WV and read articles about the early development in architectural journals.  The founder had a clear plan to build a "village" that would be sustainable for year round residents as well as being the base for a 4-season resort.  So even though it didn't end up nearly as big as his vision, the Town Center probably fits the description of "faux village" because without the development of the resort, it wouldn't have existed at all.

Jiminy Peak Resort doesn't have many resort buildings at the base.  But the current buildings were clearly designed together and no one would mistake it for any sort of real town.  Even though with the resort lodging and the Wyndham timeshare resort that is slopeside, the area covered is probably bigger than the nearest village of Hancock.

Now I'm curious to at least walk around Waterville Valley.  Before when I saw "WV" in NMS posts, I would have to think twice because for someone who skis in the southeast, that means West Virginia. ?

Edited by MarzNC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a chance to stop by the base of a few places in NH in October while enjoying fall colors.  Now I have a better feel for Abenaki in Wolfboro, Gunstock, Ragged, and Crotched.  I didn't realize that Gunstock was a WPA project originally.

Have an early season ticket for Bretton Woods so planning to check out whatever slopes are open on Dec. 14 before I head to Sunday River for the weekend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/21/2018 at 7:03 PM, MarzNC said:

I like that list.  How the base lodge is set up is definitely a key factor.  If there is a "village" then unlikely to be old school.

Smuggs is an exception to this rule.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, BumpOut said:

Smuggs is an exception to this rule.  

What would you consider the "village" at Smuggs?  For me, it's more than slope side lodging.  Smuggs certainly is "old school."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/14/2018 at 8:05 PM, MarzNC said:

What would you consider the "village" at Smuggs?  For me, it's more than slope side lodging.  Smuggs certainly is "old school."

This:

EAB44175-C5BB-49E9-BCA4-3069C544F627.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/11/2018 at 12:49 PM, JimK said:

Thanks for the inputs.  I am trying to put pen to paper to describe some of this.  Obviously, the word "independent" is very nebulous.  We are living in interesting times 🙂

A friend an I tried to tackle the task of identifying Indie ski areas around the US, particularly ones worth visiting from afar.  His West summary:  https://www.pugski.com/threads/indie-resorts-who’s-left-part-1-west.11823/

My East summary:  https://www.pugski.com/threads/indie-resorts-who’s-left-part-2-east.11954/

Defining what constitutes an independent ski area these days is pretty tricky!  :134_spy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Mobile Apps available!

Please try our mobile apps for iOS and Android

×