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

Month: February 2015

Record Snow Season at New England Ski Resorts

According to our snow reporter friends at Snow Country, New England ski resorts are smashing snow totals for the year and its  February, saving the oft snowiest months of March and April still to come! Yes, it’s been cold, but that has brought consistent snow and powder days that New Englanders often have to head to the top western ski mountains to find.

blizzard-heatherAt Maine’s Sunday River, the season-to-date total is 147 inches, with an average season total of 167. “It’s still February. I think we’ll surpass our seasonal average since March is typically one of the snowiest months of the season,” said Sunday River’s Sarah Devlin.

Although skier traffic has remained steady with previous seasons, Devlin believes “people who were overwhelmed by the snow in their backyards seem to have been balanced out by people who came skiing because of all that snow, or by people who choose to extend their stays to avoid driving in the snow.”

Devlin added, “As for snow quality, it’s been great to see these super cold temps accompanying all the snowfall. The snow has been dry and has remained light and powdery for the most part. Even if wind does scour a trail, it seems to get a snow refresher pretty quickly.”

The statewide average in Vermont as of this week is around 185 inches so far this season “and we still have what is often the snowiest month to come, March,” Ski Vermont’s Sarah Wojcik told us. “Looking at end of season snowfall totals, we’ve already surpassed some of the low snow years and are on track to do very well with totals if we keep getting more snow.”

okemo-narrows3Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont is creeping up on the 10-foot mark for seasonal snowfall so far, with over four feet of snow falling in February alone. Their annual average is around 16 feet and tracking on par with most other years.

Okemo’s Bonnie MacPherson is optimistic that all the snow in southern New England this year will make for enthusiastic skiers and riders come spring. “The backyard effect is certainly in play this year and it’s something we always hope for. The last think the ski industry wants to see is people down-country golfing and biking when the skiing is so good in Vermont.”

MacPherson added, “There’s also a lot of buzz going around about Okemo’s new six-passenger bubble chair lift. And if there was ever a year to introduce a lift with wind screens and heated seats … well, this was it!”

At Vermont’s Smugglers’ Notch, snow total season-to-date is 211 inches, putting them well ahead of the 205 inches they average by the end of February. “Mother Nature is delivering snow consistently, and Smugglers’ does typically get some nice snowfall in March,” Smugg’s Karen Boushie told us. “Our visitors have been raving about conditions on the mountain and that’s creating good buzz for the remainder of the season.”

Mount Sunapee in southwest New Hampshire has received 104 inches so far this season, which includes 70 inches since Jan. 24. With an average of about 105 inches a year, they have all but broken the season-end average by the third week in February.

Bottom line, this is the season to Ski The East

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Heather Burke, 2015 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

Long Term Effects of Skiing

Every product and activity these days comes with a roster of warnings, legal speak and long term effect that should scare you away. From the plastic bag to pharmaceutical ads, kids toys to hot coffee cups – life can be “hazardous to your health.” So downhill skiing should have a disclosure too. There’s the liability language on the back of your lift ticket, but that doesn’t sufficiently  spell out all the risks, and rewards, inherent in alpine skiing.

Skiers Warnings:

Skiing is addictive, you might find yourself using excuses to go skiing instead of going to work – like “powder flu”.

Skiing is expensive – the best things in life (despite cutesy Hallmark cards and spiritual sayings) are not free, and skiing is no exception. Lift tickets, equipment, lesson and lodging – they all cost money.

1ski-folriaSkiing will bring you to new places, new heights, with previously not experienced exhilaration. There is no better view than from up 4,000 -10,000′ vertically from sea level on a mountain.

Skiing is weather variant- it can be since the very nature of the sport includes snow and freezing temperatures. You can encounter rain, sleet, hail, fog  -and every snow surface imaginable.

Sticking your tongue to metal chairlift bars could be hazardous to your mouth – knucklehead. Sticking your lift ticket to your jacket’s front zipper so that it flaps in your face is an equally rookie move.

Skiing does not defy gravity, it embraces it. And yes, you can get hurt skiing, or in the bath tub, the stairs, the highway…

best-ski-powderSkiing is not a genetic predisposition, but it is contagious.

Skiing is a skill – this is not a sport you discover and do with finesse overnight. If the best things in life are not free, they also are not easy – skiing takes time to master, lessons and physical fitness help immensely.

Skiing will change your life. New adventures, new friendships, new quad strength and buns of steel…

You can’t après ski until you ski, even if it is just one run and done.

See our Tips on Learning to Ski, How to Pack for Skiing, Where to take your Family Skiing in New England and The Best Family Ski Resorts out West, Canada and Europe’s Best Ski Resorts for family vacation.

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Heather Burke, 2015 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips


New England’s got the Snow!

whitefish-inspirationOn a recent chairlift ride out west, the skier next to me said I had East Coast skis. “Proud to ski The East,” I replied. I had come to northern Montana and Idaho for deep western snow – but no. I told him all the deep snow was in my driveway in Maine this year.  What’s funny about western skiers is they can’t fathom we ever ski  powder in the East. They think we “ski on ice all the time.” That’s why Bode Miller is so fast and edgy, well – he was fast until his spectacular crash at Vail’s World Cup last week…bummer Bode.

In my four decades of skiing in New England ( I remember rear-entry boots, one piece suits and 200-centimeter straight skis), I can think of several winters when the snow in the East outweighs that of the West. 1978, 1996, 2005 come to mind. 2015 ranks!

Sunday River has received 57′ in the last two weeks, Sugarloaf got two feet in a week! Sugarbush, Stowe and Smugglers Notch in the very white Green Mountains of Vermont are boasting over 60-inches of base depth snow. Even Blue Hill, Jiminy Peak and Wachusett in Massachusetts have over 50-inches of snow.

sugarbush-jester-2014New England won the 2015 Superbowl and now we are winning the Snow Bowl! We are up to the Weather Channel’s snow storm Marcus (on the two-year anniversary of Nemo) in New England. We’re only at letter M in the snow storm alphabet – halfway with more snow than we typically receive in an entire winter season! In addition to all this snow, the East has had continued cold,  and more snow in the forecast, which means no thawing or melting or reduction in our massive snow banks!

Compare our copious snow and cold  to our Western Rockies ski resorts experiencing record warm. It was 50-degrees and sunny at Vail Beaver Creek’s World Cup this weekend. 65-degree in Salt Lake City. Some Colorado and Utah ski resorts are 100% open – Aspen, Deer Valley, and Vail but the majority are not. Heavenly and Squaw Valley in California are only 30% open.

dowtown-whitefishLast week at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana I skied in 48-degrees with spring skiing on 100% of their amazing terrain at 48 Latitude by the Canadian border. But its not Global Warming based on the big piles of snow in my Maine driveway!

This is the year to ski here in New England. Here are our Favorite New England Ski Resorts and the Best Luxury Ski Resorts in The East for fine lodging, dining and the best après ski …you should go enjoy the snow!

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Heather Burke, 2015 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

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