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5 Ways to Avoid Presidents Ski Crowds

A spin down the Goat under the tram's watchful eye.

A spin down the Goat under the tram's watchful eye.

Copyright: Jay Peak Resort

Tired of packed parking lots and long lift lines? Looking for ways to avoid the Presidents Day ski crowds in the East? Here are five tactics to try out:

1. Head North of the Border

For those who slept through 7th grade history, Canada has a prime minister rather than a president. The country does not celebrate the U.S. holiday. If you can hit the resorts on Presidents Day and after, you’ll reap the benefits of midweek skiing while most Canadians are back at work. Heading to Canadian resorts to ski for the holiday will give you an extra bonus, too, with the exchange rate favoring U.S. travelers going north of the border.

Quebec has the deepest snowpack. Massif du Sud and Le Massif have more than 6 feet of snow. But location might dictate the destination. If so, Owl’s Head and Mont Sutton are just a hop over the border.

2. Go Night Skiing or Riding

Most ski areas pack out during the day with long lift lines on Presidents weekend. But once the sun goes down, the lines lessen, too. Eat an early dinner, and spend the evening on the slopes enjoying the night sky. With shorter lift lines, you can rack up more vertical.

Ski the Massachusetts Berkshires at night at Jiminy Peak. In late afternoon, when day crowds peel off for après at John Harvard’s Brewery or Christiansen’s Tavern, you can lap the slopes until 10 p.m. Night skiing operates at Jiminy every day, including the Presidents Day holiday.

3. Hit One of the Smaller Resorts

Skip the big boys, and go for one of the smaller ski resorts for Presidents week.

Jay Peak may only have 9 lifts instead of the 20-plus lifts at the larger ski resorts in New England, but its 2,153 vertical feet has a reputation for skiing like a bigger mountain. Ullr’s Dream run stretches 3 miles long, and plentiful glades challenge tree skiers and riders.

4. Ski Off-the-Beaten Path Resorts

Resorts located adjacent to major thoroughfares and nearest to cities tend to lure out the once-a-year skiers and riders for Presidents weekend. Opt to drive a little further afield in order to leave the hoards behind.

Plenty of ski resorts tuck off the beaten path in the East. Mount Snow in Vermont is one of the larger ones with 20 lifts and 1,700 vertical. For park fans, Mount Snow has 10 terrain parks plus a superpipe. Despite its backwoods location, it sits within a few-hour to one-day drive from major metropolitan cities.

Skiers go retro 80s-style at Beech Mountain  - © Beech Mountain Resort

Skiers go retro 80s-style at Beech Mountain

Copyright: Beech Mountain Resort

5. Ski the Weekend After Presidents Day

On a non-holiday weekend, crowds will be smaller. That yields more skier acreage per person. Plus, there’s two reasons to go right after Presidents Day: all the retail shops put ski and snowboard gear on sale after the holiday, and the spring party season begins.

Don those neon, one-piece retro ski outfits at Beech Mountain in North Carolina, Feb. 18-21, 2016. The weekend celebrates the eye-popping attire that once ruled ski resorts with 80s music, game competitions and look-alike contests. 


Under the tram at Jay Peak - © Jay Peak Resort
retro at Beech Mountain - © Beech Mountain Resort

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