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Old 11-29-2012, 09:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
MikeIn248
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Southeastern Michigan
Posts: 78
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I ride Sugarbush, in a manner of speaking. I consider it my go-to mountain in the east. But I live 12+ hours away, near Detroit, Michigan. (I have relatives in Vermont and sometimes have a place to stay near the mountain.)

Last year I never made it there because there was so little snow when I had the time to travel, but usually I make a trip there once or twice a season. This year I'll be there for 5 days between Christmas and New Year's with my 6-year-old son. He's switching from skis to board this year and I'll put him in full-day lessons a couple of those days.

I think the two best things about Sugarbush are the lack of crowds and the variety of terrain.

Crowds -- midweek, when it's not a holiday week, it's seriously uncrowded. Even the busy weeks (like Christmas-New Year's) I would venture are less crowded than other east coast resorts of its caliber. And if you know the mountain well, there are ways to avoid what crowds there are.

Terrain -- you can find a bit of everything, if you take the time to learn the mountain. Good stuff at all levels. Groomed stuff, moguled stuff. Trees. There are whole expert sections of the mountain I haven't even been on yet (Castlerock trails, for example). I'm a middle-aged guy who took up snowboarding in my mid 30s and am a very cautious rider, so I haven't done the double-black stuff there and even still find many of the black diamonds challenging.

I don't really do park stuff so I can't speak much from personal experience, but I have heard people say the parks are a bit weak compared to many of its competitors. They stopped doing a half-pipe a few years back. There are plenty of snowboarders there, but my impression is that a lot of them are of "ride everywhere" category and not "stick to the park." The main park is on the second, separate mountain, Mt. Ellen ("North"). Speaking of Mt. Ellen, it's a great hill on its own. Whenever I'm at Sugarbush for a few days, I usually do a couple Mt. Ellen only days. (You can get separate, cheaper tickets for Mt. Ellen only.)

There's a great ticket deal going on right now -- 4 tickets for $200, good any time throughout the season. Look carefully at the conditions though regarding how they're issued. There's also a discount card called SugarDirect, that can make sense if you go there for 10 or so days. (Their season passes are very expensive.)

It's widely believed that their snowmaking is inferior to some of the other Vermont biggies (Stowe, Killington). Depending on what forums you're on, you'll hear a lot of people complain about how late/slow they open compared to the others.

The owner/general manager of Sugarbush hangs out a couple places on the internet, which I think is pretty cool.

If you have specific questions, I'd be happy to try to answer or point you in the right direction.
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