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Mid-Atlantic/SE skiing (PA, NJ, DC, MD, VA, WV, NC) for 2019-20

#21
Turns out the Indy Pass couldn't wait until Sept. 1 to start selling. Already available as of Aug. 27. $199 until 12/1/19, then goes up $20. Blue Knob, Canaan Valley, Bryce, Massanutten, Cataloochee on the list. The Indy Pass provides 2 days at each, subject to blackout dates at Cat (not valid weekends or holidays Dec. 26-31, 2019, Jan. 20, Feb. 17, 2020). Also a third day ticket at least 10% off. Worth reading the FAQ on the website.

https://www.indyskipass.com
I’m trying to understand the appeal of this pass. At two days a piece, it’s not targeting people who fly to ski. So weekenders then. Those within a maybe 3-hr drive can do day trips. Any longer would be an overnight stay. So, to make it worthwhile, and not knowing what the window or pre-purchase rates are, you’d probably need to go at least two, maybe three, different resorts. I know I’d ski Massanutten, but would I now try Blue Knob, Canaan Valley, or Bryce if I have the Indy Pass? Maybe. Maybe not. Bryce is almost as close as Liberty, and probably as close as Whitetail. Would I drive out there just to up my resort counts? Maybe. Maybe not.
 
#22
I’m trying to understand the appeal of this pass. At two days a piece, it’s not targeting people who fly to ski. So weekenders then. Those within a maybe 3-hr drive can do day trips. Any longer would be an overnight stay. So, to make it worthwhile, and not knowing what the window or pre-purchase rates are, you’d probably need to go at least two, maybe three, different resorts. I know I’d ski Massanutten, but would I now try Blue Knob, Canaan Valley, or Bryce if I have the Indy Pass? Maybe. Maybe not. Bryce is almost as close as Liberty, and probably as close as Whitetail. Would I drive out there just to up my resort counts? Maybe. Maybe not.
For an intermediate mainly practicing on greens and easier blues, an Indy Pass would mainly be of interest to see if one of these less well known ski areas is a good fit on weekends. I can pretty much guarantee there will be much shorter lift lines than Whitetail, Liberty, or Snowshoe. The day rates are relatively inexpensive, but going 4 days is pretty much break-even for weekends. Would take 5-6 uses for weekdays.

From DC, CV is definitely more of an overnight stay type of situation. The CV Lodge is quite nice and pretty reasonable. Has a restaurant in the building so can be a straightforward trip that requires little planning effort.

I think the key point is that these are places many people within driving distance haven't heard of or considered at all. All multi-resort pass or perk offerings are marketing cooperatives. Not too likely to have an article in SKI Magazine about small ski hills in the VA. :smile:
 
#23
I think the key point is that these are places many people within driving distance haven't heard of or considered at all.
Very valid point. I didn’t look up Bryce, Blue Knob, or CV till now and was surprised Bryce is not much farther. As an aside, I lived here 10 years before knowing Liberty is only 90 minutes away. Oh yes, I heard their commercials on radio, but if they had said something like “only 90 minutes from DC...”
 
#24
Very valid point. I didn’t look up Bryce, Blue Knob, or CV till now and was surprised Bryce is not much farther. As an aside, I lived here 10 years before knowing Liberty is only 90 minutes away. Oh yes, I heard their commercials on radio, but if they had said something like “only 90 minutes from DC...”
Fair to say that the only reason I know about any of the Mid-A ski areas besides Massanutten and Wintergreen is because I've been participating in online ski forums. I started with SkiSE and NC mountains. Soon discovered that even though the NC ski areas are slightly closer to my house than the two in VA, it actually made more sense in my case to drive north instead of west. Partially because there are people from TN, GA, SC, and even FL who drive to the NC mountains for ski weekends.

Quite different from back in the 1980s when the Internet wasn't really an option as a way to learn where to go skiing in the southeast. There were actually more ski areas in NC back then. But only a few survived into the current era when 100% snowmaking and/or becoming a 4-season resort is the way to survive as a business.
 
#25
Very valid point. I didn’t look up Bryce, Blue Knob, or CV till now and was surprised Bryce is not much farther. As an aside, I lived here 10 years before knowing Liberty is only 90 minutes away. Oh yes, I heard their commercials on radio, but if they had said something like “only 90 minutes from DC...”
OnTheSnow is one way to do a quick comparison of ski areas/resorts in the same region. Can see the number and type of lifts, total acreage, snowmaking coverage, vertical, and opening and closing dates. Of course, that's just a starting point. Bryce is quite different from CV or Blue Knob. Bryce and CV are better for beginners than Blue Knob. People who like to ski trees are always hoping it snows a lot at Blue Knob because natural snow is required for off-piste skiing. None of these three places have a high-speed lift like Wintergreen. However, waiting in a lift line for 15+ minutes at Wintergreen is standard on weekends.

I have spent a couple long weekends at Blue Knob. Haven't skied at CV or Bryce but have stopped by to look at the base. For a small ski area, I have enough experience checking out places with less than 200 acres to interpret a trail map after a first-hand look at a base area when taking into account the mountain stats.

Lots of different considerations when deciding which ski area/resort is worth the drive and/or staying overnight.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#26
Dates for ski swaps in the fall are starting to emerge. Here's what I've seen so far.

Oct. 11-20, 2019: Appalachian Pre-Season Sale and Swap, Boone, NC
Nov. 2-3, 2019: Freestyle Ski Swap, Charlottesville, VA
Nov 17, 2019: Pro-Fit Ski Swap, Leesburg, VA - benefits Whitetail Ski Patrol
Nov. 29, 2019: Wintergreen Ski Swap, VA - benefits Wintergreen Ski Patrol
Dec. 7-8, 2019: Cataloochee Ski Swap, Maggie Valley, NC
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#27
Adding Buckman's info...

Oct. 11-20, 2019: Appalachian Pre-Season Sale and Swap, Boone, NC
Oct. 16-19, 2019: Buckman's Tent Sale, King of Prussia, Montgomeryville, Reading, Whitehall, PA
Nov. 2-3, 2019: Freestyle Ski Swap, Charlottesville, VA
Nov 17, 2019: Pro-Fit Ski Swap, Leesburg, VA - benefits Whitetail Ski Patrol
Nov. 29, 2019: Wintergreen Ski Swap, VA - benefits Wintergreen Ski Patrol
Dec. 7-8, 2019: Cataloochee Ski Swap, Maggie Valley, NC
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#28
Only Sugar has 2019-20 lift ticket prices up already among the NC mountains. Unlike the others, Sugar doesn't usually discount lift tickets during early season.

SugarFest is Dec. 13-15, 2019. My first demo day was at SugarFest just over 10 years ago when I was a confident intermediate. Learned a lot that day. Andrew Weibrecht is doing the 3-day race clinic. Not a bad deal for the full 3 days at $250 (includes Sat night dinner) or can do just one day for $90 (prices include lift tickets).



Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 12.44.40 PM.png
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#29
Added a few in October.

Oct. 5, 2019: Ski Haus, Annapolis, MD
Oct. 11-20, 2019: Appalachian Pre-Season Sale and Swap, Boone, NC
Oct. 16-19, 2019: Buckman's Tent Sale, King of Prussia, Montgomeryville, Reading, Whitehall, PA
Oct. 20-21, 2019: Ski Tunes, Columbia, PA (Roundtop)
Oct. 27, 2019: Ski Center LTD, Gaithersburg, MD
Nov. 2-3, 2019: Freestyle Ski Swap, Charlottesville, VA
Nov 17, 2019: Pro-Fit Ski Swap, Leesburg, VA - benefits Whitetail Ski Patrol
Nov. 29, 2019: Wintergreen Ski Swap, VA - benefits Wintergreen Ski Patrol
Dec. 7-8, 2019: Cataloochee Ski Swap, Maggie Valley, NC

The swap at Ski Haus in Annapolis is where I bought my daughter's first boots, skis, and poles. My daughter and I drove up the day before and stayed with a friend who lived near Annapolis. We arrived 30 min before the official opening time. Made parking easier. Also got a bit of a head start looking at stuff. Got lucky and found boots that would work. Had help from one of the store staff. Skis were easier. No poles, but when I was waiting in line to pay there was a father bringing in gear from both his daughters. By the time he had them priced, the skis and poles were spoken for. We got the poles for $5.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#30
Wisp doesn't have day tickets available online yet, but started selling season passes in March. The prices go up on Sept. 23. The perks for passholders have expanded in recent years. Now that Wisp and Wintergreen are both operated by Pacific Group, it's possible to get 6 free day tickets at the other resort. Doesn't take many ski days to break even on a season pass that was $279 in March. Millenials (19-29) and seniors (65-69) get a pretty big price break. Seniors 70+ only have to pay a small processing fee for a season pass.

I've been hoping to check out Wisp for a while, but it's a little out of day trip range from Massanutten. Staying midweek at the Wisp lodge seems like it would be fun. A mountain that's had lifts and snowmaking since the 1950s always makes me curious.

Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 1.24.06 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 1.32.58 PM.png
 
#31
Peak is offering a special deal for their PA ski areas. Interesting considering that the merger with VR is supposed to happen soon.

Idea is that for $149, you can get three tickets to any of the five Peak ski areas in PA or Hunter. The PA locations include the three former Snowtime locations (Whitetail, Liberty, Roundtop), plus Jack Frost and Big Boulder. Also can bundle in rental gear. Price goes up on Oct. 1 and offer goes away Dec. 2. Feels like an experiment to attract first-timers or beginners, as well as advertise Hunter to DC/NoVA/Philly folks. Limited to two 3X/3X Plus purchases. Hunter had the 3X card in 2017.

Liberty website
Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 1.08.04 PM.png

Whitetail website
Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 1.30.16 PM.png
 
#32
For NC folks who haven't been to Sugar lately, they are replacing another original lift. The double chair for beginners is being replaced with a detachable quad. Certainly will be easier for never-evers and beginners. A bit unusual to have a detachable for such a short distance. The ride will change from 6 min to 2 min. Whether or not having added capacity for beginner terrain is a good idea on busy weekends is a different question.

http://www.skisugar.com/high-speed-detachable-quad-chairlift-beginners-sugar-mountain-ski-resort/
 
#33
Ski Center LTD in Gaithersburg is having a pre-season sale Sept. 26-29. Pretty big discounts on last season's skis and boots. They have added gear from several brands, including Dalbello to their leased equipment list. Lease prices go up on Oct. 16. Note that they won't do any equipment leasing during the sale.
 
#34
Examples of what Ski Center LTD has on sale in late Sept. Didn't know they are a Stöckli dealer. I assume the other ski shops in the DC/NoVA area have sales in Sep/Oct too.
  • All 2020 Ski Equipment on sale as marked (certain exceptions apply).
  • All previous year skis from Volkl, Fischer, Dynastar, Liberty, Rossignol, Blizzard and Nordica at least 30% off of MSRP
  • Buy any Stockli ski and get a coupon for 3 free waxes on our state of the art Montana Wax Future (a $210.00 value)
  • All previous year boots 25-30% off of MSRP from great brands such as Lange, Fischer, Nordica, Rossignol, Full Tilt, Atomic, and Salomon
  • All previous year Alpine and AT Bindings 25-30% off of MSRP
  • Hotronic Boot Heaters and Heated socks 20% off of MSRP
  • All helmets from Smith and Giro 20% off of MSRP
To offer our customers the best possible service, we will not be fitting lease equipment during the Summer Sale. Leasing will resume September 30, 2019.
 
#35
For anyone thinking about driving to Snowshoe who doesn't have Ikon, the 3-For-All package is being sold online. The price is $159 for 3 tickets that can be used any day. These used to be only available at selected ski shops. Now supposedly limited quantities but available until the end of March 2020. Only for use by one person during the 2019-20 season.

https://www.snowshoemtn.com/plan-your-trip/deals-and-packages/3-For-All
"All you need to do is purchase your 3 For All Pass for the low price of $159. Simply pick up your pass at The Depot on your first trip to the mountain then hit the slopes any 3 days of the season. Don't worry about pesky blackout dates or using your days consecutively, just enjoy the ride. We know...it's awesome! But you better hurry, we only have a limited quantity of these sweet passes and they're sure to sell out!"
 
#36
I bought Peak Traveller for L/RT/WT, Epic for Breck/Keystone (as often as I go there, maybe I should consider them my “home mountain” :smile:), and IKON really for just Taos but also to check out other IKON destinations. When the VR acquisition closes, I should get a refund of the Peak pass since I have Epic already. For 20/21, I can see just getting the Epic pass and maybe some sort of pass for just Taos if my inaugural Taos Ski Week gets me hooked. I might forgo the IKON for 20/21.

I’m not sure VR would have a local pass for just the PA resorts for 20/21 and beyond. Looking through my notes, the Epic Local Pass early pricing was $659. The unlimited Peak Pass early pricing was $629. So for $30 more, you gain a lot more resorts. Of course, the calculus would be different if you opted for the Peak Traveller (week days only w/ blackouts $329) or the Ranger (11 blackouts $529). In that case, the incremental is more substantial.
The face that the VR buyout of Peak Resorts is a done deal is hard to miss today. Going to the home pages of Whitetail, Liberty, and Roundtop it's impossible to miss "area name is now epic" because is covers the screen. However, there isn't a lot of emphasis on the fact that the price for Epic passes go up on Oct. 13. The 3X deal for $149 is more noticeable on the websites of the former Snowtime locations.

Is it clear how you get your refund?

I've thought about the idea of getting an Epic Pass for an extended Colorado trip at some point. Being able to use Epic for a few days in the mid-Atlantic and at Hunter will be handy. I like the Whitetail demo day in early Jan, partially because it's on a Friday so don't have to wait in line for the lifts.
 
#37
Is it clear how you get your refund?

I've thought about the idea of getting an Epic Pass for an extended Colorado trip at some point. Being able to use Epic for a few days in the mid-Atlantic and at Hunter will be handy. I like the Whitetail demo day in early Jan, partially because it's on a Friday so don't have to wait in line for the lifts.
Scrolling way down on the FAQ I found this:

“I have purchased both a Peak or Midwest Pass Product AND an Epic Season Pass product. Can I get a refund?

Yes. Please contact Vail Resorts pass sales customer service at 1-970-754-0058 to verify your Epic Pass purchase and initiate your refund process. A refund will be issued within seven days from the home mountain of your Peak or Midwest pass.”


For me the Epic Military is a no-brainer. There are so many Vail resorts I haven’t been, depending on how I like Taos, A-Basin, Copper, and Snowshoe this season, I might just stick to Epic for 20/21. More money for trips!
 
#38
Adding the early Oct and early Now swaps at Alpine Ski Shop that benefit Timberline Ski Patrol. Apparently the Timberline patrollers want to stay active by helping out at other resorts in order to maintain the annual training requirements. If you haven't participated in a swap before, the Alpine webpage has a good FAQ.

https://alpineskishop.com/ski-swap-information/

Oct. 5-6, 2019: Alpine Ski Shop, Sterling, VA - benefits Timberline Ski Patrol
Oct. 11-20, 2019: Appalachian Pre-Season Sale and Swap, Boone, NC
Oct. 16-19, 2019: Buckman's Tent Sale, King of Prussia, Montgomeryville, Reading, Whitehall, PA
Nov. 2-3, 2019: Freestyle Ski Swap, Charlottesville, VA
Nov. 2-3, 2019: Alpine Ski Shop, Sterling, VA - benefits Timberline Ski Patrol
Nov 17, 2019: Pro-Fit Ski Swap, Leesburg, VA - benefits Whitetail Ski Patrol
Nov. 29, 2019: Wintergreen Ski Swap, VA - benefits Wintergreen Ski Patrol
Dec. 7-8, 2019: Cataloochee Ski Swap, Maggie Valley, NC
 
#39
Scrolling way down on the FAQ I found this:
For people who only bought Peak and haven't already planned a trip out west, may not make sense to convert to Epic for 2019-20. A key point that's easy to miss in the FAQ is that the integration of Peak Resort location into Epic ticketing is happening AFTER the 2019-20 season is over. But the language is unclear. Does "benefits" also include lift access? The info on the Epic website says "unlimited, unrestricted access" to the the 17 Peak locations for 2019-20.

What is clear is that Peak passholders will be able to get a 50% discount on day tickets at VR destination resorts out west and in the northeast.

https://www.epicpass.com/info/peak-resorts-faq.aspx

If I exchange my Peak or Midwest pass for an Epic Pass, can I keep my benefits?

Any Peak or Midwest pass holder that upgrades/exchanges to an Epic Pass product will get Epic Pass Club benefits at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte, Park City, Whistler Blackcomb, Stevens Pass, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stowe, Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Wilmot, Afton Alps, and Mt. Brighton.

Vail Resorts will be integrating lift ticket and season pass systems for the newly acquired Peak Resorts after the 2019-20 winter ski season and therefore Epic and Epic Day Pass benefits will not be eligible at the 17 Peak Resorts during this season.


Can I keep my Peak or Midwest Pass product?


Yes, you can keep your Peak and/or Midwest pass products with the associated benefits for the 2019-20 season only. Please note, Peak and Midwest passes will also receive a 50% discount off the window rate at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte, Park City, Whistler Blackcomb, Stevens Pass, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stowe, Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Wilmot, Afton Alps, and Mt. Brighton.
 
#40
I believe the Epic pass benefits refer to buddy tickets, ski-with-a-friend tickets, and discounts at some resorts. The Peak pass benefits are probably referring to lodging discounts at select resorts. So, if I understand correctly, when you exchange your Peak pass for an Epic pass, you don’t get to use the Epic buddy tickets or ski-with-a-friend tickets at the Peak resorts until the 20/21 season, and you also lose the discount lodging at select Peak resorts. Essentially, the only thing you can do with an Epic pass at a Peak resort is unlimited, unrestricted skiing for yourself. Which is A-Okay.
 

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