Jay has all the tools but just does not work. Stayed there 2/19-21 and went for the tree skiing – it is the best in New England: for all levels they have steep, mild, chutes, thinned or insane (duck) and/or a combination. It does stay true to their word of boundary to boundary skiing (and it’s easy to go beyond – even by accident/on purpose). AND the boundary was marked with signs (not ropes) as in 'please dont' wink wink. There were very few not here and those were only suggestions (and usually ignored). Indeed snow guns were more like flags to skis around than avoided.
It really does have its own weather. Reminded me of Sugarloaf, there was little snow only miles from the mountain but upon entering the ‘valley’ it went from grassy fields, overcast and calm to buried guard rails, low visibly, flurries and strong winds (I got wind burn).
The access roads off Rte 91 were basically flat and straight with many passing zones. We stayed at the new Tram House and it was very nice. The lift landings were logically placed for the terrain (as in not much hiking). The cutbacks were skiable not a hiking trip but beware of skiers ‘coming out’ of the woods at any moment. They appear to groom all the trails each night so no moguls. The terrain parks had limited features but some good jumps. There is not much going around off the base. I found the Jet chair had lighter winds more ‘sun’ and better snow than the other parts. A bonus is the terrain blue and black meaning few chair stops. The people were very friendly with lots of 20 somethings and many offered their secrets.
So what does not work?
Problem 1 – strong winds (which occur often) knock out the tram (and did all 3 days) so the top is not accessible. Cannon has a tram but when it goes down there are a combination of chairs to access all the terrain.
Problem 2 – those same winds rocked the high speed quad. They aren’t kidding calling it the Flyer. They placed this chair on the exposed ridge giving you the full force of the winds. Forget about the sway (wow) and the brain freeze - I thought more than once my skis would blow off. So avoiding that chair cut the terrain even more.
Problem 3 – while the lift lines were short (under 10 even on Saturday) it was chaos. If the roped section was 20 feet long they should have been 40. It is a free for all getting to the roped section, except for the Jet chair: the ropes were long enough and had only one side to enter.
Problem 4 – and this is an industry problem: they reported 4 to 6 inches of new snow for Sunday. It was more like 2 as my skis never disappeared all morning. AND while the primary surface condition was packed power there was a ton of frozen granular. Oddly the trees had little icing and by far had the best snow.
Would I go back – absolutely: all the problems still do not crush the awesome tree skiing. Trail skiers maybe better off at Stowe, Loon or Mt Sunapee