Proximity to Boston, Great beginner terrain
not enough for the expert, terrain park
I visited Wachusett on New Years Day 2011. The high that day was 56 degrees, so the snow was soft corn. The lower half of the mountain is the real beginner's realm. Indian Summer and Sundowner are perfect beginner cruisers, and the only gripe I have about the area is that the lift serving this area, the Monadnock Triple Chair, is as slow as molasses. The mid-mountain area contains some really great cruisers, such as Ralph's Run, Lower Conifer and Hitchcock. One note though is that there is absolutely no tree-skiing here, which is to be expected, I didn't even see anyone ducking through trees between trails, which speaks to the skill level of many who ski here. The terrain parks here are abysmal. The Look Mom park requires a separate fee and watching of some type of video, and the Frannie's Folly park is way too short. The upper area contains some pretty steep trails, comparable to steeps seen at Bretton Woods (or Flatten Woods, as it's known to some). Since there are only three trails from the top, all three become easily clogged with beginners looking to ski their first "black". That being said, Wachusett has a reputation for crowds akin to a herd of animals idling at the bottom of the mountain. For some reason, given the date, liftlines were not long at all, and 3-5 minutes at most. Although this is not a destination "resort", the nightlife is excellent, with plenty of shows and other festivites at the mountain, all while night skiing occurs. One more problem I have is that even with perfect snow conditions, such as on the day I went, only 17 trails were open. I've always wanted to ski Roper's Road or the Balance Rocks, but none were open, though I looked over the ropes and saw pristine conditions on these trails. Overall, Wachusett is perfect for families and beginners, and can be looked at as a gateway mountain to bigger and better resorts further north.