Family ski vacation guide with the best ski resorts for family skiing

Month: November 2014

Giving Thanks for Early Season Snow

Across the country, skiers are enjoying excellent early season skiing conditions.  Over 135 ski resorts have opened for pre-Thanksgiving skiing and riding.  Grand Targhee Wyoming  and Wolf Creek in Colorado have almost 50 percent of their terrain open and base depths of up to 3 feet. In New England, 18 ski resorts were open the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, with sunshine and good snow. The weather forecast for Wednesday before Thanksgiving is up to a foot of snow in New England, setting up ski resorts well for Black Friday covered in white.

okemo-summit-sign1Ski conditions around New England are ahead of last season. Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont leads the pack with 170 acres of skiing, while Sunday River Resort in Maine is skiing on 139 acres. Loon and Killington are just behind with 113 and 85 acres, respectively.

I suggest you skip the Mall on Black Friday and head for the hills. Work off that turkey coma with ski turns. Next weekend, Sunday River will host Demo Days, where you can sample the latest skis and snowboards for just $10. Okemo celebrates Orange instead of Black as they launch their new $6.9 million six-pack Sunburst Express lift from mid-mountain to the summit–the only six-passenger chair in North America of its kind, with an orange acrylic bubble cover and heated seats.

Be thankful for this early season start, and get our and carve some turns after your turkey.

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Heather Burke, 2016 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

Going To The Snow Show – Ski Show

I love après ski, seeing fellow downhill friends, talking gear and where we plan to ski this year. Then there is pre-ski, gathering with ski fanatics in November before ski season really gets going!

boston-ski-show-glen-plakeThe annual Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center opens Thursday November 13 at 3pm and runs Thursday and Friday 3-10pm, Saturday 10am to 8pm, and ends Sunday, November 16 10am to 6pm. I will be Boston’s pre après ski show to schmooze and party along with hundreds of skiers and snowboarders, amid music, ski gear, ski resort reps, and swag.

Walking through the show, seeing ski resort booths, Greg and I plot our future ski trips and fill our swag bags with ski resort trail maps that help with our ski trip planning. This season our sights are set on Idaho, Canada, the Italian Dolomites, and Jay Peak and Stowe Vermont closer to home.

At the Boston Ski Expo, I always hope to bump into US Ski Team members and the latest stars from Warren Miller’s No Turning Back movie, Seth Wescott, Heather Paul, Mikaela Shiffrin, Teg Ligety, Bode Miller, and past ski film moguls Dan and John Egan, Glen Plake and his beautiful model wife and SKEA ambassador Kimberly Plake.

If you are looking for deals on new ski gear, The East Coast Alpine sale is huge. Another big alpine attraction is the new Vertical Runway Fashion Show, combining my two favorites: skiing and fashion. This new ski fashion runway show will feature trends from Burton, Volkl, RIDE, Eider, Smith Optics, Powder Room, Ripzone, and Mountain Hardwear. This ski fashion show is produced by my friend, the super stylish Kathy Benharris. Her Vertical Runway Fashion Show takes stage Thursday and Friday at 4, 6, and 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 12, 2, and 4pm, plus 6 on Saturday night.

So I will see at the Ski Show, and see on the slopes soon!

For more on Family Ski Vacation planning and Luxury Ski Resort reviews

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Heather Burke, 2016 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

Skiing in all 3 New England states

1ski-wildcatNovember 9 and the skiing is fine. Bretton Woods and Wildcat both opened for their first day of skiing today,  both are free for their inaugural ski day – at Bretton Woods you need to donate non-perishable food. Wildcat has top to bottom skiing in Lynx serviced by the high speed quad, Bretton Woods is opening the Range Quad from 12-4 with limited skiing.

In Maine, Sunday River is open with top to bottom skiing on 19 acres, and Sugarloaf joined in and opened for its first day of the season with skiing on the Superquad to Upper Kinds Landing to Tote Road..

In Vermont, Killington has been open for a week, since Monday, with 13 acres of skiing and riding off the K1 Gondola, and the North Ridge Triple, still downloading at the end of the day.

Enjoy those early season turns, and we will see you at this week’s Boston Ski Show!

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Heather Burke, 2016 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

Where are you skiing?


okemo-skiing-sceneThis November weekend may bring more snow to New England ski mountains. Its a Bye week for the  Pats so a great time to get out and make first tracks at Killington or Sunday River, the only two ski resorts in New England currently open. Keep in mind the limited terrain is upper mountain with downloading, for advanced and experts skiers and snowboarders only. Stay tuned as many ski resorts have made snow already and would love to open with a little white help from Ma Nature.

At Sunday River skiers can load the Locke Mountain Triple 8:00AM – 4:00PM.  Sunday River’s snowmakers are gunning for top to bottom skiing as soon as possible.

At Killington, Upper Great Northern opens so no more walking down to the Northridge area, but you do need to use the Peak Walkway to get back to the K-1 and download. Open trails at the Big K are  Reason, Rime and Great Northern and the Reason Terrain Park is open with four features. The K-1 Express Gondola and North Ridge Triple run 9:00AM – 3:30PM with gondi downloading  until 4:00.

Sugar Mountain North Carolina is open too, first in the East. Next week is more winter-like weather and the kick off of the Boston Ski Show.  Out west in the Rockies here are the early season ski resorts open, Boreal and Mount Rose in California, plus Loveland , Keystone , Copper and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado ski country are open .

So think snow, and I’ll see you at the snow show!

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Heather Burke, 2016 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips


Sunday River opens for skiing hours ahead of Killington

snowmaking_sunday-riverIn the annual alpine battle of first ski resort to open Sunday River beat out Killington by two hours. Technically both Sunday River and Killington opened for skiing and riding November 3, 2014, but the River opened at 9 to the public, The Beast of the East opened at 11 to season pass holders only.

Sunday River opens with free skiing for Halloween costume skiers and riders on the Lock Moutnain Triple on T2. Killington offers skiing to season pass holders only on the K1 gondola, opening November 4 to the public. This season pass reward program at Killingon is rather brilliant, the Beast of the East rolled this out in 2012 as an exclusive ski  pass perk.

killington-early-seasonThis season’s openings are behind the previous season. Killington opened first October 24, 2013, a day ahead of Sunday River. The two snowmaking super powers tied in 2012.

But take note as Sunday River and Killington were not the first to open in the East. Sugar Mountain in North Carolina received 8 inches of fresh snow on their high elevation 5,300’ summit, and opened for skiing November 2, their second earliest opening, the earliest was Halloween 2012 following the snowstorm of Hurricane Sandy

Ski resorts across New England are making snow as temperatures permit, including Sugarloaf, Okemo, Stowe, Sugarbush, Wildcat. Our first snowflakes Sunday November 2 brought six inches to New stowe-gondolaPatriots stadium, and prompted a snow bowl win for the Pats over the Denver Boncos – a good open for football and ski season.

There’s been early season snow in California and Colorado. In the Rockies, Arapahoe Basin opened October 17, and Loveland opened November 1.

November 13 is the Boston Ski Show, a kick off to New England skiing. See you there and see you on the slopes.

Heather Burke, Editor of Family Ski Trips and Luxury Ski Trips

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