East Coast Beast Coast
East Coast Beast Coast
With the next winter right around the corner, it’s hard to believe that we are still wearing masks and social distancing, a concept that was originally so strange… yet so familiar…
Picture this… the line for the chairlift at a ski mountain. Though it always seems dreadfully long as you slide up to the sea of colorful coats, you quickly realize everyone is covered with their goggles and fleece neck gaiters and separated by the length of their skis! It is for this reason I hope that ski season can proceed as “normal” – minus the chaos that is the lodge for lunch!
Never been skiing or snowboarding, and thinking this might be the year to try it out? Here are a few of my favorite mountains on the east coast. (I would’ve ranked them by best clam chowder bread bowl, or whether or not they have a Waffle Cabin, but this will have to do)
#7: Belleayre, NY
Belleayre was one of the first “big” mountains I ever skied, considering I started at Mountain Creek in Vernon, NJ. Located in the Catskill mountain range in NY, Belleayre has 5 ski lifts and 20km of skiable terrain in the form of 50+ trails, parks and glades. The lodge was also cozy and family friendly. As a newer skier or snowboarder, this would be a great mountain to explore to make you really feel like you’ve covered a lot of ground!
#6: Windham/Hunter, NY
I grouped these two together because they are honestly interchangeable to me – I’m not great at memorizing trail maps, so I have to check the paper map the old-fashioned way to plan my routes! However, the cool thing about Windham is that all of the trail names start with W! Other than that, these two mountains, also in the Catskills, are great for day trips because they are close enough to get to (less than two hours away!)
#5: Whiteface, NY
Whiteface, aka “ice face” is a pretty steep mountain and has a narrower layout (more vertical distance) with 31 km of skiable terrain and 10 chair lifts. Though this mountain has the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies, there are trails for skiers of all levels! With that being said, my favorite part of this place is the surrounding town. Located in Lake Placid, Whiteface was the location of the Winter Olympics in 1980, and has plenty of local attractions, both Olympic related and not.
#4: Gore Mountain, NY
Gore Mountain is another family friendly mountain with a wide variety of trails! Up in the Adirondacks (and about 3.5 hours away), this mountain would be fun for a weekend trip – with 58km of skiable terrain and 12 chair lifts – for people who want to spend most of their time on the slopes. Keep in mind, this mountain has more intermediate/difficult terrain!
#3: Stratton/ Okemo/ Mount Snow, VT
Honestly, Vermont probably has the best skiing on the east coast (that I have experienced… see the short list of the east coast mountains I have yet to try below). But again, I’ve grouped these mountains together because I’ve only been to each of them once, but they obviously left a lasting impression! Because the mountains in Vermont are much larger, these ski resorts have an impressive number of trails spanning a wide distance! Most of these mountains also have cute little downtown winter village neighborhoods which are fun to explore if you’re more into the après ski vibe.
#2: Sugarbush, VT
Sugarbush was one of the first big BIG mountains I skied with my family, and it was on that trip I realized no mountain in NJ or NY would ever truly compare! With 85km of skiable terrain and 13 lifts, this mountain has primarily intermediate level trails which makes it great for trips with family and friends with *some* experience! But also, I went as a small child and still had a great time!
#1: Killington, VT
The big sha-bang, my all time favorite! Perhaps this is because my first big college weekend ski trip was to Killington, but nonetheless, the mountain is awesome! Even bigger than Sugarbush, Killington has 116km of skiable terrain and 19 lifts, covering 6 different peaks, and is therefore fittingly known as “The Beast of the East”! FYI it’s a great idea to have walkie-talkies for big mountains like this. Though I stayed in a college-student-budget motel, the time spent at the mountain was absolutely amazing, both on and off the slopes!
Mountains I want to try:
#1: Sunday River, ME
#2: Sugarloaf, ME
#3: Stowe, VT
If anyone has recommendations or disputes, feel free to share! Otherwise, happy shredding!
-Alexandria Farrell, Columbia '22