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Max Pass Thread - 2017 / 2018

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Been a couple of weeks since I've done a weekly update, but here we go:

MA:
Wachusett - 105 acres, 19 trails, 19 groomed, 4 lifts, 1" new snow (Past 24 hours) Upper Balance Rock and Ropers Road sound close in the Snow Report

NH:
Loon - 280 acres, 44 trails, 37 groomed, 21 miles, 8 lifts, 1" new snow (Past 24 hours) - Two gladed areas are now open (Mike's Way and Lower Walking Boss Woods), all three peaks (North, Loon, South) are rocking, should be a good Christmas week at Loon.

Sunapee - 128 acres, 31 trails, 29 groomed, 7 lifts, 1" new snow (Past 24 hours) - Snowmaking continuing on South Peak, and Upper / Lower Flying Goose.

VT:

Killington - 458 acres, 99 trails, 60 groomed, 40 miles, 16 lifts, 3" new snow (Past 24 hours) - The push is on down to Skyeship and Sunrise. Snow report says both should open this weekend. Killington seems to have just about everything you could want: Groomed, ungroomed, trees, bumps, parks, etc. Interested to see what happens with this storm there.

Pico - 232 acres, 43 trails, 6 groomed, 15 miles, 3 lifts, 3" new snow (Past 24 hours) - Pico has a real nice offering right now, they opened with a lot of terrain, and the snow report says that more is expected over the weekend, but doesn't say what. Anyone looking for a less crowded experience this weekend or next week would do well to consider Pico.

Okemo - 462 acres, 84 trails, 74 groomed, 13 lifts, 1-2" new snow (Past 24 hours) - Okemo keeps up their strong push of snow making and terrain expansion, and they are actually offering more acres than Killington right now (just barely), and the current push is snowmaking on Black Out and Tuckered Out.

Stratton - 345 acres, 66 trails, 9 lifts, 1" new snow (Past 24 hours) - Since I visited Stratton on 12/12 (still need to post a trip report), they have expanded to both the Snow Bowl and the Sun Bowl (today for Sunbowl), and look like they're set up well to spread the crowds out on this upcoming vacation week. When I was there on 12/12, there were a couple glades that were being skied (but not by me), but they don't mark them as open or closed, so it's tough to tell what the base is in there. The website only lists the base as 18", so it might be a little bony in the woods still, but the trails were in great shape when I was there, and I can only assume they're even better now.

ME:

Sunday River - 270 acres, 51 trails, 48 groomed, 8 lifts - Their website is acting up at the moment. More later

Sugarloaf - 196 acres, 40 trails, 25 groomed, 17 miles, 7 lifts - Sugarloaf's lack of snowmaking power / budget is showing. Despite being in a geographical spot where snowmaking conditions should be as good or better than all the other resorts, they just don't have the firepower and/or the budget to push terrain expansion like the others. The only New England Max Pass Resorts with less acres open than Sugarloaf right now are Wachusett and Mount Sunapee. They also haven't gotten the natural they'd need to keep up. Thus far, they've received 27" of natural snow on the year, compared to Killington's  41" to date. However, they also don't get the crowds, and will likely get less icing from this storm than most everywhere else, so it should still be a good holiday week up at The 'Loaf.

The weather pattern is very interesting right now, and hopefully, that'll mean good things for all the places listed above.

I am currently ski-plan-less and it is making me twitchy. I have to figure out where to go soon. Possibly a Wachusett night next week might be in my future.

-w

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4 hours ago, LItoCOtoBOS said:

Heading up to Vermont Friday and Saturday. Anyone going to be up that way?

 

Thinking of going up tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday.  Maybe Saturday also, probably taking Sunday off and then back up North on Monday for the 1st.  Not sure how I feel about 3 day-trip days in a row though, so we'll see.

Last year we did Stratton on the 31st and the place was a mad-house.  So, I think we'll take off New Year's Eve and head back to Killington again this year for New Year's Day.  Last year it was pretty empty until almost noon because most people are up celebrating the night before (NYE).

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4 minutes ago, Jcb890 said:

Thinking of going up tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday.  Maybe Saturday also, probably taking Sunday off and then back up North on Monday for the 1st.  Not sure how I feel about 3 day-trip days in a row though, so we'll see.

Last year we did Stratton on the 31st and the place was a mad-house.  So, I think we'll take off New Year's Eve and head back to Killington again this year for New Year's Day.  Last year it was pretty empty until almost noon because most people are up celebrating the night before (NYE).

New years day is one of the best days to ski IMO. I've never encountered any crowds despite skiing at big holiday ski week places (Loon, Sunday River). Bonus points if it is cold like it will be this year.

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6 hours ago, Jully said:

New years day is one of the best days to ski IMO. I've never encountered any crowds despite skiing at big holiday ski week places (Loon, Sunday River). Bonus points if it is cold like it will be this year.

I agree with you in principle. But I am always too hung over. My club hosts the New Years Eve party so I am up until 3am.

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Made it up to Loon today for a daytrip.

Details here: 

Don't know when my next day out will be, but I'll be watching the weather and storm reports tomorrow, and will post my usual update sometime tomorrow afternoon with as much info as I can gather.

-w

 

 

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OK, here is where we stand heading into the weekend:

MA:
Wachusett - 25 trails, 23 groomed, 112 acres, 6 lifts, 16.5" new snow - 100% open. Wachusett got the most snow out of any of the New England Max pass resorts from this last storm. They'll groom it all out by tomorrow, but should keep things nice there.

NH:
Loon - 60 trails, 40 groomed, 362 acres, 26 miles, 8 lifts, 9-13" new snow - Only thing not listed as open is the Undercut glade on South Peak. When I was there on Wednesday, it didn't look like it would take much to open, so I would expect that to be added to the roster soon. (As of 9:15, North Peak lift is listed as on wind hold, limiting access to Sunset, Upper Flume, Upper Walking Boss, and Upper Walking Boss woods.)
Sunapee - 65 trails, 47 groomed, 229 acres, 18 miles, 11" new snow - The snow report says that they will be 100% open this weekend. Lift Line will open tomorrow, and is the only thing currently closed.

VT:
Killington - 149 trails, 69 groomed, 1472 acres, 63 miles, 9 lifts*, 12" new snow - *some more lifts are on hold due to wind and exposure. Over 90% open, just a few trails here and there are currently listed as closed. By far the most open terrain of all the New England Max Pass options by any metric (Trails, acres or miles).
Pico - 57 trails, 18 groomed, 328 acres, 20 miles, 5 lifts, 12" new snow  - Pico remains wide open.
Okemo - 120 trails, 83 groomed, 664 acres, 14 lifts, 5-7" new snow - Okemo only has one trail (Triplesec) listed as closed at this time. Okemo and Stratton got significantly less snow from this storm than the rest of the New England Max Pass resorts. I wouldn't be surprised if that keeps crowds down there this weekend. (Though the cold should do quite a nice job of that on its own.)
Stratton - 81 trails, 62 groomed, 564 acres, 9 lifts, 7" new snow - Stratton probably has the most terrain listed as closed of any of the VT Max Pass resorts at this time. I wonder why that is?

ME:
Sunday River - 105 trails, 65 groomed, 710 acres, 44 miles, 11 lifts, 12-13" new snow - The Maine resorts made out well from this storm, and I don't think it will be long before the remaining glades and trails open up at the River.
Sugarloaf - 109 trails, 52 groomed, 535 acres, 47 miles, 9 lifts, 12" new snow - Sugarloaf has caught up nicely in open terrain, and I expect they will continue to expand.

 

This weekend is going to be COLD out there, especially Saturday... But temps should moderate to more seasonable / reasonable next week. I'm going to try to take at least one day off and head for the hills, we'll see how things shake out.

If you get out at all this weekend, post a trip report and link it here. I may shoot up to Wachusett for a bit on Sunday, but I'll probably sit out this weekend.

-w
 

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Found a good deal if you or a friend need a new helmet: 

If you're in the market for a new helmet, this could be a good deal for you:
 
"January is National Safety Awareness month and Pico Sports is celebrating. Purchase a helmet from now through January 21 at Pico Sports, Killington Sports or killingtonsports.com and get a FREE Killington lift ticket to use anytime between January 22 and the end of the season. Stop into Pico Sports for more info, and check out the new Pico logo gear while you're there."
 
 
Nice way to get a non-max pass holder on the hill at Killington with you.
Edited by WJenness

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Went to Windham Saturday and Sunday. I was pleasantly surprised with the to conditions. The terrain is nothing special, but it's still fun nonetheless. It worked out for me as I was meeting up with people from NJ so its a nice halfway mountain. Run of the weekend was the buttery soft moguls Wicked that were baking in the sun.

Biggest con was the lift lines at the main base quad, but other than that, I am a fan of Windham. 

 

Edited by LItoCOtoBOS
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So I guess we should talk about the IKON pass...

Depending on the price, I could be converted.

I won't miss Wawa or Sunapee in the East (for those w/ kids it would be tough). Losing Okemo is not a disaster (can get basically the same experience at Stratton). I've never made it to Whiteface/Gore so I may have to make a February excursion out there before the end of this season, or maybe I just head to Kicking Horse.

Adding UT and Aspen mountains is inticing

So many variables up in the air right now...Anyone down for a farewell tour of all the mtns not on the IKON pass?

 

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5 hours ago, LItoCOtoBOS said:

So I guess we should talk about the IKON pass...

Depending on the price, I could be converted.

I won't miss Wawa or Sunapee in the East (for those w/ kids it would be tough). Losing Okemo is not a disaster (can get basically the same experience at Stratton). I've never made it to Whiteface/Gore so I may have to make a February excursion out there before the end of this season, or maybe I just head to Kicking Horse.

Adding UT and Aspen mountains is inticing

So many variables up in the air right now...Anyone down for a farewell tour of all the mtns not on the IKON pass?

 

Worth the drive to Lake Placid at some point.  If you can go when wind hold for the gondola isn't an issue.  Top to bottom run from the summit is a lot of vert.

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Yeah, interested to see pricing / day structure, but I am fearing this may push me back towards the New England Pass or being a free agent next year...

If the 5 days / mountain thing stays the same or is similar, losing my quick hitter options of WaWa and Sunapee sucks.

Okemo, I'm disappointed to lose, but doesn't make or break the pass for me.

I'm honestly more annoyed with losing Pico over Okemo. Such a good mid-winter busy weekend option.

Without Pico, Mid-winter weekends become a lot tougher to avoid a crowd.

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If Sugarbush is added to the pass, I will probably grab that and then a Bronze Wachusett pass for nights. It will suck not having a short Sunday afternoon option like Sunapee, but having Sugarbush on a pass with K, SL, and SR is too good to pass up. Those 4 make up my dream NE pass combo more or less.

I had a Ragged pass last season and I really liked that as a quick day trip option too, but I don't see them cooperating with any of these large passes.

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Big Sky was pretty awesome last week on the MAX Pass.

IKON is interesting, I'm waiting to complain until I hear the details - price and # of days makes a huge difference.

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So I am an optimist and I don't think the pricing will be outrageous. I've seen complaints elsewhere that the prices will be astronomical. I predict the cost will be around $800 for an East Coast centric pass. However, I think we can expect a stiff rise in window ticket costs at IKON mountains as a means to offset the cost for a lower "season" pass.

Why do I feel this way. Because that's what happened with the Epic pass.

"But it was surprising in 2008 when Vail Resorts offered its unlimited Epic Pass for around $600, a discount of close to $1,200 off the previous years’ season passes to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. That pass has fueled spectacular growth for Vail Resorts’ stock." - Denver Post  https://www.denverpost.com/2018/01/25/alterra-mountain-co-ikon-pass/

Even though the Stratton Season pass is $1,600, I can see Stratton being unlimited for about $800 under the IKON pass along with the other Alterra owned mountains. That would mimic the $1,200 discount that Vail offered when it started the epic pass.

My prediction for us east coasters...$800 unlimited at Stratton, Snowshoe, Tremblant, and Blue. There will be limited & restricted days at the Powder & Boyne resorts (ex. 5 days/mtn & no holidays). There will only be limited number of days for access to western mountains (ex. 5 days/mtn only).

This encourage people to travel west on holidays, while not giving away the farm for the partnered resorts. Let's remember, real estate and lodging is where the big money is. 

Additionally, if I was Alterra and the IKON pass, I would look for a competitive advantage over the Epic pass. One way to differentiate is to offer some sort of age/millennial/family discounts. People talk about how not enough people are getting into skiing. By reducing the barrier to entry for millennials/families, Alterra would be making a gamble that they will love it and pay higher prices as they age.  Stratton already does this with their Strattitude pass.

...Or the blood sucking capitalist can bleed us dry for all over we're worth until we have nothing to our names except a shitty rust bucket 2002 Subaru which we live in down by the river...who knows

 

Edited by LItoCOtoBOS

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1 minute ago, LItoCOtoBOS said:

My prediction for us east coasters...$800 unlimited at Stratton, Snowshoe, Tremblant, and Blue. There will be limited & restricted days at the Powder & Boyne resorts (ex. 5 days/mtn & no holidays). There will only be limited number of days for access to western mountains (ex. 5 days/mtn only)

Man, if that is the pass, then I will likely not be buying that. I'm really hoping for an add on style pass to one of the Boyne mountains (or the NE silver pass). These aren't necessarily mutually exclusive though.

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1 minute ago, Jully said:

Man, if that is the pass, then I will likely not be buying that. I'm really hoping for an add on style pass to one of the Boyne mountains (or the NE silver pass). These aren't necessarily mutually exclusive though.

That would be nice! it certainly would help stem the flow of some of the MAX passers back to the Peak Pass

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So I am an optimist and I don't think the pricing will be outrageous. I've seen complaints elsewhere that the prices will be astronomical. I predict the cost will be around $800 for an East Coast centric pass. However, I think we can expect a stiff rise in window ticket costs at IKON mountains as a means to offset the cost for a lower "season" pass.
Why do I feel this way. Because that's what happened with the Epic pass.
"But it was surprising in 2008 when Vail Resorts offered its unlimited Epic Pass for around $600, a discount of close to $1,200 off the previous years’ season passes to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. That pass has fueled spectacular growth for Vail Resorts’ stock." - Denver Post  https://www.denverpost.com/2018/01/25/alterra-mountain-co-ikon-pass/
Even though the Stratton Season pass is $1,600, I can see Stratton being unlimited for about $800 under the IKON pass along with the other Alterra owned mountains. That would mimic the $1,200 discount that Vail offered when it started the epic pass.
My prediction for us east coasters...$800 unlimited at Stratton, Snowshoe, Tremblant, and Blue. There will be limited & restricted days at the Powder & Boyne resorts (ex. 5 days/mtn & no holidays). There will only be limited number of days for access to western mountains (ex. 5 days/mtn only).
This encourage people to travel west on holidays, while not giving away the farm for the partnered resorts. Let's remember, real estate and lodging is where the big money is. 
Additionally, if I was Alterra and the IKON pass, I would look for a competitive advantage over the Epic pass. One way to differentiate is to offer some sort of age/millennial/family discounts. People talk about how not enough people are getting into skiing. By reducing the barrier to entry for millennials/families, Alterra would be making a gamble that they will love it and pay higher prices as they age.  Stratton already does this with their Strattitude pass.
...Or the blood sucking capitalist can bleed us dry for all over we're worth until we have nothing to our names except a shitty rust bucket 2002 Subaru which we live in down by the river...who knows
 
Strapon is $1600 for an unlimited pass?? Holy Shit!! I wouldn't pay half of your speculated price. Had my absolute worst skiing experience at Stratton and it had nothing at all to do with the mountain and everything to do with the entitled self-absorbed arrogant POS clientele that frequent the place on the weekends. It's too bad the Max is going away in it's current form, I was actually thinking about a Wawa weekender with an add-on for next season but looks as though that will not exist.

Sent from my [device_name] using http://Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app

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15 hours ago, LItoCOtoBOS said:

My prediction for us east coasters...$800 unlimited at Stratton, Snowshoe, Tremblant, and Blue. There will be limited & restricted days at the Powder & Boyne resorts (ex. 5 days/mtn & no holidays). There will only be limited number of days for access to western mountains (ex. 5 days/mtn only).

The standalone MAX Pass for 2017-18 was about $600 for 5 days at each location.  Was an even better deal as an Add-On to a season pass in terms of the effort required to make it worth the money on a per day used basis.  Especially if wanted to make a trip to Big Sky or Crested Butte.  Big Sky is part of Ikon.  Not clear yet what happens to Crested Butte.

As I remember, the local pass for the Midwest hills owned by Vail was about $400 for 2017-18.  Maybe another $100-200 for the Epic 4-day or Epic 7-day that covers one trip out west to a Vail resort.  Or $800 for the unlimited Epic Pass.  Needed to buy before November, well before the weather for the early season was known.  For 2018-19, the Epic Pass adds in a few days at Telluride, presumably without much increase in cost.

In 2017-18 the MCP provided 2 days at each location for around $400 (depending on when purchased) plus 50% discount on additional days.  Early birds who bought before the end of June got a bonus day at one pre-designated location.  That meant for the first time it was possible to cover a full week around SLC (Alta, Snowbird, Snowbasin).  Premium season pass holders at MCP resorts get 50% discounts at the other MCP locations.

Stowe season pass holders were happy that their price for 2017-18 went from about $2000 per adult to $800 for the first ever full Epic Pass to include Stowe.  Cali4nia Pass holders (Mammoth, June, Big Bear, Snow Summit) are holding their breath.  I think the lowest price was about $600.  Still available in Jan 2018 for $1200.

There was a "ridiculous" pass for Snowshoe for a very limited time that was $199.  For folks in DC/Baltimore, Richmond, Raleigh, or Atlanta who don't mind making the drive to Snowshoe, the Ikon Pass is going to be good.  Better than the MAX Pass.

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12 hours ago, Infinite Dreams said:

It's too bad the Max is going away in it's current form, I was actually thinking about a Wawa weekender with an add-on for next season but looks as though that will not exist.

Sent from my [device_name] using http://Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app
 

Agreed. I was thinking a Wachusett Silver (or whatever the cheapest add on eligible pass with night skiing is) and Max for next year until the Ikon came out. This year I combined Peaks with Max with the intention that Crotched night skiing would be better than Wachusett and I've regretted it for the most part. Crotched was slow to open, slow to expand trails, and will close earlier than Wachusett too. I've skied at Wachusett at night more times than I have Crotched thus far, burning my Max days.

 

However, I may be going Peaks and a MCP next year if the Ikon pricing is much higher than the Max was this year. Buying a standalone Wachusett pass seems silly to me.

Edited by Jully

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18 minutes ago, Infinite Dreams said:

At this point I hope the peak pass remains affordable because I really do not know what I will do if it isn't.

Sent from my [device_name] using http://Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app
 

I am in the same boat. Just started thinking about next year. I am getting my monies worth from the Peaks Pass but the wife hasn't up to this point. My 2 sons who have one have as well.

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