A couple of my friends and I started planning our first trip for this season. So far we are planning for the 1st weekend of December (12/3 – 12/4), the thing is we don't know where to go. Most of us live in Newport, RI. Last year we went to Washusett (5 times), Bretton Woods and Mount Snow. My concern is the availability of snow during that date. We know for sure that we will find snow in NH, last year for the same weekend we went to Bretton Woods, but we had to drive 5 hours in the morning and 5 more hours to get back home, all in the same day. We could consider lodging this year but since some of the people interested have never gone snowboarding (first timers). So a one day trip would be better for them.
Any recommendations? Preferably in the MA and NH area.
Hey, that's my hometown! Ok, Middletown actually, though I live just outside Worcester, MA now. While Wachusett should be open by then, it probably won't be for all the trails. On the other hand, it usually isn't crowded in the early season either. Since you've been there plenty I won't say much more about that. I ride Wachusett a couple nights a week since I have a season pass there (and it's 30 minutes from my house), but I hit Vermont on the weekends when I can. I don't have any experience with NH places yet (at least not for winter sports), so my advice on those is just based on what I've heard from friends and my experience driving in and around the White Mountains.
I see SBE beat me to it, I was also going to suggest Okemo.
Even coming from Newport, you can follow the same route I usually take (see Google Maps
) that turns to scenic back roads as you get into northern MA, but there usually isn't much traffic and the travel time is usually quicker than estimated, even without speeding. I would estimate it would be about a 3.5 hour (4 tops) drive from Newport. You'd also be nowhere near Boston for the traffic consideration. Also, as far as snow, it should be quite decent by then. It isn't too far from Killington, which is often the first to open in the East. I would imagine most of the places in VT and NH should be decent by then though.
For shorter drives in NH, look at Gunstock or Mount Sunapee, or drive a little further up 93 and hit up the slightly larger places like Loon, Waterville Valley, and Cannon. I've heard good things about Loon, especially for the terrain park, and Cannon in general.
Also, I know some people don't care for the site, but I find OnTheSnow
convenient for helping locate places, though I wouldn't pay too much attention to the reviews there.
Anyhow, have fun with your trip and if you're at Wachusett again sometime, hit me up for some runs!