Best of the East Coast
This story originally ran in the October 2008 issue of Freeskier (V11.1).
MOUNTAIN CREEK, NEW JERSEY
TICKET PRICE: $62
VERTICAL DROP: 1,040â€™
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 65â€
SKIABLE ACRES: 156
What else are you going to do in Jersey but jib? And where else would you go but Mountain Creek, the New Jersey resort that has taken the entire south peak of its mountain and turned it into one big park. With six different zones and two chairlifts that access everything from step downs to c-rails to a one-hit-wonder butter box, itâ€™s hard to bore of South Peak.
But once you are done shredding from sunup past sundown, the base offers plenty of socializing. Grovers is a coffee shop by day and a bar by night. Kink offers food and plenty of dancing and South Square serves up cafe
food hot and fast.
TICKET PRICE: $79
VERTICAL DROP: 3,050â€™
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 250â€
SKIABLE ACRES: 1,001
Celebrating its 50th winter this season, Killington is set to make â€˜08-â€™09 the best one yet. Burton is sponsoring an all- new, organic terrain park â€” all tree, rock and natural features â€” called the Stash, pulling Killington onto the park and pipe resorts map. Currently there are only three in the world: one at Northstar, the Remarkables in New Zealand and Avoriaz in France. Adding to Killingtonâ€™s park dedica- tion, the mountain is upgrading its pipe from 16 to 22 feet. Get ready to boost! To access all these great new features, Killington is replacing the Skye Peak Quad with the new Skye Peak Express that cuts chair ride time down to ï¬ve minutes from 14.
Photo: Jay Michelfelder
LOON MOUNTAIN, NEW HAMPSHIRE
TICKET PRICE: $59
VERTICAL DROP: 2,100â€™
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 121â€
SKIABLE ACRES: 324
A quick jaunt down I-93 from Plymouth State, Loon boasts one of the biggest and best park scenes in the East. The college crews convene in the giant LMP terrain park, which consists of a plethora of features, mostly hand-built in the
garage by the dedicated park staff. The main park winds down one run, allowing you to hit up everything you want in one lap, starting with a rail yard up top, medium jumps in the middle, and BD features at the bottom.
Hardcore locals are notorious for building secret hideouts, trails and features both in and out of bounds. I wonâ€™t spoil their beans, but wander around the mountain and marvel at the impressive local-crafted architecture.
MOUNT SNOW, VERMONT
TICKET PRICE: $72
VERTICAL DROP: 1,700â€™
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 160â€
SKIABLE ACRES: 590
Site of the fourth Winter X Games, it is only ï¬tting that Mount Snow is devoting more and more of its terrain to park and pipe. With an 18-foot superpipe and numerous terrain parks for differing skill levels, the tremendously talented Mount Snow park staff will be working hard to please you. The mountain has also won a contract to host one of the inaugural AST Winter Dew Tour stops, meaning that things will be looking their best this year. And the mountains location just off I-91 makes Mount Snow Vermontâ€™s closest major resort to cities like Boston, Hartford and Albany, making it easy to get to.
STRATTON MOUNTAIN, VERMONT
TICKET PRICE: $66
VERTICAL DROP: 2,003â€™
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 150â€
SKIABLE ACRES: 600
Stratton is best known in the East for its terrain parks, made famous by the VT Open in skiing and the US Open of snowboarding. Although now defunct, the VT Open brought skiers from all over the country to compete on a world-class slope- style course. This season, get ready for Saturday-night am contests under the lights in Tyrolienne, the beginner/intermediate park.
The highest level park, named Power Park, requires a park pass, so if you think youâ€™re pretty dope, make sure you get your pass before trying to hit the park.
Stratton also has some great tree skiing, especially on Test Pilot, a run cut in a sustainable manner, by only cutting under-growth and removing dead trees. Look for it to be new and improved this season.
TICKET PRICE: $84
VERTICAL DROP: 2,160â€™
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 265â€
SKIABLE ACRES: 485
Take a poll of where people think the best place to ski in the East is and
inevitably Stowe comes up time and time again. There are many reasons
to visit. Itâ€™s close to Burlington â€” one of the most fun cities out there â€” the
environment is beautiful, the parties are bountiful and the terrain is great.
Speaking of terrain, Goat, Starr, Liftline and National comprise the
â€œFront Four,â€ some of the steepest in- bounds runs in the East. Beyond that,
Stowe has some of the gnarliest and easiest accessed backcountry. A quick hike from the top of the gondola up The Chin and youâ€™re perched atop Mount Mansï¬eld, Vermontâ€™s highest peak with some of the sickest backcountry laid out in front of you.
JAY PEAK, VERMONT
TICKET PRICE: $65
VERTICAL DROP: 2,153â€™
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 355â€
SKIABLE ACRES: 385
Jay Peak is all about bringing powder skiing to the East. It doesnâ€™t have the
gnarly terrain of say, Tuckerman Ravine, nor does it have the terrain park
of Loon Mountain, but it did receive 581 inches of snow a couple years
ago, and averages 355 on normal years.
When the snow comes, head up the tram and drop in on any of the ridge
runs, but get there fast â€˜cause the pow doesnâ€™t stick around for long. Once itâ€™s
tracked, send â€˜er in the trees. â€œBetween the two edges of the resort, you can pretty much point your tips between any two trees and end up in a range of fun, challenging glades,â€ commented one local. If youâ€™re looking for an adventure, a quick traverse into The Dip always holds some freshies, but donâ€™t miss the Corona Highway return traverse or youâ€™ll be hitch hiking back to the resort until sunset.
Photo: Justin Cash
SUNDAY RIVER, MAINE
TICKET PRICE: $72
VERTICAL DROP: 2,340
ANNUAL SNOW FALL: 155â€
SKIABLE ACRES: 668
This three-mile wide giant is home to one of the most powerful snowmaking systems on Earth.
On the park side of things, the Heat Harvest superpark introduces some of the best up-and-coming riders from the East, so you donâ€™t have to go out West to get noticed. And we canâ€™t forget that last year, Sunday River created one of the biggest quarter pipes ever constructed, setting the stage for Simon Dumont to break the world record. If park isnâ€™t your bag, check out the plentiful tree skiing â€” in bounds and out. When the snow hits, head over to White Cap and rip down Shockwave. Or, when itâ€™s open, Northern Exposure has enough bumps, rocks and drops to put a shit-eating grin on
TUCKERMAN RAVINE, NEW HAMPSHIRE
TICKET PRICE: $0
VERTICAL DROP: 1,200â€™
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 252â€
SKIABLE ACRES: N/A
Tuckerman Ravine is the cheapest place to ski in the East. The only catch is
that youâ€™ve gotta walk yourself up to the top. But the 1,200-vertical-foot hike is
worth it, as Tuckâ€™s offers up the gnarliest terrain East of the Mississippi. Itâ€™s also one of the only places in the East that is extreme enough to warrant its own avalanche center, and employs a team of highly trained patrollers. Itâ€™s more reminiscent of a Western Canadian peak than the average East Coast hill.
The scene here is another reason it is so appealing, especially in the spring. Hordes of die-hard skiers and snowboarders ï¬‚ock to Tuckâ€™s every year, setting up basecamps with BBQs, kegs, you name it. Itâ€™s a wonderful encapsulation of the skiing life- style, and something that every East Coast skier needs to experience at least once.