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Old School ski areas to explore

arbusch

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#41
My DH grew up in Libby, MT and learned to ski at Turner Mountain. This is a really fun ski hill. 2000 vertical feet with a perfect fall line. Definitely more intermediate to advance runs. I would definitely add it to your list if you are near Schweitzer or Whitefish. On a powder day on the weekend, this is the place to be since it doesn't get as tracked out as fast as the bigger mountains.
 

sibhusky

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#42
Although Turner is only 62 miles from me as the crow flies, it's 130 miles driving, 2 hours and 45 minutes (Fernie, 104 driving miles, is only 2 hours away). May be okay if you've got a hotel lined up, but not a casual round trip on a ski day. It's also only open Friday to Sunday. There's also Blacktail, 49 miles, 1 hour 20 minutes, Wednesday to Sunday.
 
#43
Here's an updated list of "old school" ski areas for those interested in exploring some day. This is not meant as a comprehensive list, but a solid starting point based on input from Divas in recent years for people who value a low key vibe, emphasis on family skiing/boarding, and a ski school dedicated to getting children and adults off to a good start worth slower lifts and few amenities. Old school ski areas usually have inexpensive lift tickets and less worry about lift lines even on weekends.

Best to check on details if considering checking a ski area out as some places are only open a few days a week even during mid-season.

? - old school features to some people, but not to others

CANADA
QUE: Mont Blanc, Mont Gabriel, Mont Garçeau, Vorlage
ONT: Batawa Ski Club
NL: Smokey Mountain
BC: Whitewater (1200 acres)

MORE THAN 500 ACRES

49 Degrees North, WA
Mt. Spokane, WA
White Pass, WA
Willamette Pass, WA
Anthony Lakes (cat skiing), OR
Hoodoo, OR
Dodge Ridge, CA
Homewood Mountain Resort (views of Lake Tahoe), CA
Sierra-at-Tahoe, CA
Diamond Peak, NV

Blacktail, MT
?Bridger Bowl (non-profit), MT
Great Divide, MT
Turner Mountain, MT
Lost Trail Pass, MT
Lookout Pass, ID/MT
Bogus Basin, ID
Brundage, ID
Pebble Creek (near Pocatello), ID
Pomerelle, ID
Grand Targhee, WY

?Alta Ski Area, UT
Beaver Mountain, UT
Brian Head, UT
Brighton Resort, UT
Powder Mountain (restricts number of day tickets), UT
Eldora, CO
Loveland, CO
Monarch, CO
Powder Horn (near Grand Junction), CO
Sunlight Mountain (near Aspen), CO
Wolf Creek, CO
Santa Fe, NM

Mt. Bohemia, MI
?Sugarloaf, ME

OLD SCHOOL LESS THAN 500 ACRES

ME: Mount Abram, Shawnee Peak (formerly Pleasant Mountain), Black Mountain (non-profit), Lost Valley, Big Rock (non-profit, formerly Mars Hill Skiway)

NH in general, except Loon: Arrowhead (non-profit), Attitash, Black Mountain, Cannon, Cranmore, Dartmouth Skiway, Ragged, Tenney, Waterville Valley, Wildcat

VT:
Ascutney (non-profit), Bolton Valley, Bromley, Cochran's Ski Area, Mad River Glen (coop ownership), Middlebury Ski Bowl, Magic Mountain, Northeast Slopes, ?Pico, Queechee, ?Smuggler’s Notch, Suicide Six

MA: Berkshire East, Bousquet, Catamount (on NY border), Nashoba Valley (near Boston), Ski Butternut
CT: Mohawk, Powder Ridge
RI: Yawgoo Valley

Central NY: Greek Peak, Labrador, Plattekill, Song, Swain
Catskills NY: ?Belleayre, Mt. Peter, Plattekill
Upstate NY: ?Gore, McCauley, Mt. Royal, Thunder Ridge, Titus Mountain, West Mountain

West PA (drive from Pittsburgh or DC):
Blue Knob; Laurel Mountain
East PA (drive from Philly or DC):
Big Bear at Masthope Mt.; Elk; Jack Frost/Big Boulder; Montage; Shawnee Mountain
WV: Winterplace
NC: Appalachian, ?Beech, Cataloochee

OH in general
IA: Seven Oaks

MT: Maverick Mountain
WY: Pine Creek
CO: Echo, Howelsen Hill, Ski Cooper
NM: Pajarito, Sipapu

WA: Bluewood, Loup Loup Ski Bowl (non-profit), Summit East at Snoqualmie Pass
OR: Mount Ashland (non-profit), Ferguson Ridge

CA: Badger Pass (in Yosemite), Boreal, Granlibbakken, Mt. Waterman, Soda Springs, Snow Valley
 
#44
If you want really old school, I would recommend Ferguson Ridge Ski Area in Joseph, Oregon - https://www.skifergi.com/

All volunteer run ski hill. T-bar and rope tow, only open weekends and holidays, 10am-4pm, $20 lift tickets (no half days). Rental gear only $15 a day. A great local ski hill where the kids pretty much entertain themselves and parents can let the kids ski by themselves. Lots of beginner to immediate runs.

Super family-friendly and great little hill. On a powder day, the tree runs are a blast.
Now that's pretty far drive for any traveler. Four hours from Boise and five hours from Bend. Good for them locals keeping the place going. The history on the website written in 1993 is fascinating.
 

arbusch

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#47
Although Turner is only 62 miles from me as the crow flies, it's 130 miles driving, 2 hours and 45 minutes (Fernie, 104 driving miles, is only 2 hours away). May be okay if you've got a hotel lined up, but not a casual round trip on a ski day. It's also only open Friday to Sunday. There's also Blacktail, 49 miles, 1 hour 20 minutes, Wednesday to Sunday.

Definitely not a day trip but if you ever choose an epic ski road trip. It needs to be on your list.
 
#49
Yes I do live in the middle of nowhere. Not close to anything but a pretty special place and worth the trip if you ever choose to travel to the end of the road.
At the moment I've got a ski buddy willing to drive pretty much anywhere to ski in the western U.S. Helps that we are retired but active enough to consider driving 500 miles in a day a "short" day. He picked me up in Boise a couple years ago and we drove to Bend that afternoon. :smile:

And you can rent the whole mountain during the week!
Ah, that adds another ski area with a full day rental option. The two in the northeast are Pico in VT and Plattekill in NY. Several Divas just participated in a Pico Day that raised some money for an adaptive ski program. Turner in MT, Eagle Point in UT, and Silverton in CO are the other three according to a 2018 article.

Aug 2018, Unofficial Networks
You Can Rent These 5 Ski Resorts By The Day!
 

arbusch

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#50
At the moment I've got a ski buddy willing to drive pretty much anywhere to ski in the western U.S. Helps that we are retired but active enough to consider driving 500 miles in a day a "short" day. He picked me up in Boise a couple years ago and we drove to Bend that afternoon. :smile:


Ah, that adds another ski area with a full day rental option. The two in the northeast are Pico in VT and Plattekill in NY. Several Divas just participated in a Pico Day that raised some money for an adaptive ski program. Turner in MT, Eagle Point in UT, and Silverton in CO are the other three according to a 2018 article.

Aug 2018, Unofficial Networks
You Can Rent These 5 Ski Resorts By The Day!
I would definitely add NE Oregon to your list and check out Anthony Lakes and Ferguson Ski Area for your "short" road trip.

Here are two more small town resorts that I have been wanting to check out "nearby" (within 2 hours of where I live) -

Cottonwood Butte (ID) -https://www.cottonwoodbutte.org/
Bluewood (near Walla Walla, WA) -https://www.bluewood.com/

Too bad Sprout Springs Ski Area is still closed, you could definitely do a circuit of small town ski resorts in the NE Oregon, SE WA, and SW ID.
 
#51
I would definitely add NE Oregon to your list and check out Anthony Lakes and Ferguson Ski Area for your "short" road trip.
Have heard of Anthony Lakes and seen video of the powder skiing there. :smile:

Looks like half-price on Thursdays. They have a spring break camp for kids that's great a deal: $150 for 5 days for lift tickets, rentals, and lessons. Bet that filled up fast.

Screen Shot 2020-02-26 at 1.33.43 PM.png
 

arbusch

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#52
Have heard of Anthony Lakes and seen video of the powder skiing there. :smile:

Looks like half-price on Thursdays. They have a spring break camp for kids that's great a deal: $150 for 5 days for lift tickets, rentals, and lessons. Bet that filled up fast.

View attachment 12270
Well, it is the "dry" side of the state. So our snow is more light and fluffy than the west side cascade cement powder.

Anthony lakes has great kid programs like a free ski bus and 5/6th graders ski free and special Friday program - all the small town schools in NE Oregon went to a four day week to save money during some big budget cuts in the mid-90s. It gets lots of ranching/rural kids skiing.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#53
Have heard about Ski Cooper (not Copper) for a while. But recently learned a lot more about this successful Colorado area owned by the county and run by a non-profit organization. It's not that small, about 500 acres, and even has a cat skiing option for about $500 for a day. Recently added a T-bar to expand terrain based on a 10-year plan. Cooper doesn't have any snowmaking.

Cooper is clearly run to serve the locals. It has a lot in common with Bridger, which is one of my personal favorites.

An unusual feature for Cooper is the completely reciprocal partnerships with over 40 other independent small mountains all over the U.S. Quite a few of those were also on the new 2019-20 Indy Pass, but some are not such as Plattekill in NY. That means there are people with season passes in the midwest and northeast who have a reason to pay a visit to Cooper when they are flying to Denver for a ski vacation. The deal is that a season pass holder for Cooper can ski 3 days at any and all of the partners.

Feb. 17, 2020, Colorado Sun
Ski Cooper’s expanded expert terrain, financial vibrancy reveal model for nonprofit ski area management
Think of Ski Cooper as the craft-beer of Colorado's ski industry, said Dan Torsell, the area's general manager
" . . .
And Ski Cooper just upped its game with Tennessee Creek Basin, a 70-acre expansion of challenging terrain, serviced by a new T-bar chairlift. The ski area saved money for a decade to pay for the $1.8 million expansion, which included about $1.6 million for the Leitner Poma surface lift and installation, and more than $200,000 for clearing about 36 acres of dense timber to carve room for 13 tree runs, all classified as double black-diamonds.

But that saving didn’t come at the cost of other projects. This season Ski Cooper installed RFID chip technology so ticket-checkers can scan skier passes with a wave of a wand. The Ridgeview Cafe yurt on top of the mountain has grown dining revenue with the popularity of evening dinners. Ski Cooper also has one of the only snowboard cross courses in the West, and teams from around the world come and train on the course’s berms and jumps before the ski area hosts big-name contests like the Rev Tour.

Torsell switched out a concessionaire that was handling food in the base area cafeteria and brought it in-house with a renovated kitchen and a new bar. The kitchen now caters some of the larger events in the area, like the Leadville 100 races. He revamped the rental and retail spaces at the base as well. The 2,600-acre snowcat skiing on Chicago Ridge also has added to Ski Cooper’s bottom line. So has Twofer Tuesday and $30 Thursday events, which deliver lift access for a fraction of the walk-up cost of most every other Colorado resort. (A day ticket at Ski Cooper is $62.)
. . ."
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#54
Happy to see that Bousquet in Pittsfield, MA was sold to a local group. They are going to get advice and be on a regional pass together with Berkshire East and Catamount. BEast and Catamount have been under the same ownership for a few years. Bousquet has a long history. There are activities during the summer too. It's really good resource for local families.

With Jiminy Peak near Pittsfield as well, staying for a weekend could be make for a fun family ski vacation. There is slopeside lodging at JP as well as more affordable lodging options in Pittsfield and Adams. Mt. Greylock State Park is there too and great for hiking. The park is only open during the summer season. But there are skiing trails maintained by the Mt. Greylock ski club that are open on weekends and holidays with two rope tows. The "grippers" used by some people were invented by Claude Bousquet, who created the Bousquet ski area.

Screen Shot 2020-06-04 at 12.23.10 PM.png
 
#55
Unfortunately just as things were looking up for Soldier Mountain, a devastating fire ripped through the heart of the mountain. The new General Manager was looking forward to opening up new mountain bike trails in that section.

August 12, 2020, Boise State Public Radio
Fire Burns Through Heart Of South Central Idaho Ski Resort
https://www.boisestatepublicradio.o...heart-south-central-idaho-ski-resort#stream/0
"The Phillips Creek fire began on August 5 with a lightning strike north of Fairfield. It grew to more than 2,000 acres and was 100% contained on August 12. But last weekend, when flames were still roaming, the fire tore right through Soldier Mountain Ski Area.

Soldier Mountain was set to unveil a new mountain bike trail system over the weekend, when the fire put the opening to a halt.
. . .
Alden [new GM] was brought in by the ski area's new owner, Ascent Ventures, a company based in Lehi, Utah. The sale from previous owners Diane and Matt McFerran went through last Thursday, one day before the fire made its way to the resort.

The team is still in a state of shock, Alden said. The ski lodge is intact, but the fire came right up to its porch -- along with several other structures and houses, it was "heroically" saved by the firefighters, he said.
. . ."
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#56
One of the classic New England old school ski areas has been doing major construction at their base all summer. The timeline at Mad River Glen slipped a bit due to the pandemic, but seems on track to be completed in time for the 2020-21 season.

Basebox Renovations
The rustic and simple Basebox is much beloved by all of us, but this venerable landmark needs significant work to address many years of deferred maintenance. The only major visible change from the exterior will be a bump-out of the corner adjacent to the Practice Slope Lift to accommodate a new stairway and elevator. The renovations will address long-standing issues with bathroom capacity, traffic flow, operating costs, outdated systems, and an inefficient food service area. You can rest assured that despite the renovations, the Basebox will definitely retain its simple and rustic character.
  • Add a new elevator and stairway on the Northeast corner to improve traffic flow and meet current codes
  • Add two additional bathrooms on the main level
  • Renovate the two existing lower-level bathrooms
  • Completely renovate the kitchen and food service area to greatly increase operational efficiency
  • Add a Pub window to order drinks from the cafeteria area
  • Add new two new fire exits and a fire alarm system to meet current codes
  • Rebuild part of the foundation under the Pub to address structural issues
  • Expand the lower-level Ski School kids’ area to address overcrowding
  • Enlarge the lower-level entrance to improve flow
  • Add additional cubby storage space
  • Perform necessary work to mechanical and electrical systems
  • Perform repairs to the foundation & supports of the Pub fireplace, add new railings, and other upgrades
  • Improve building energy efficiency
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#58
One of the classic New England old school ski areas has been doing major construction at their base all summer. The timeline at Mad River Glen slipped a bit due to the pandemic, but seems on track to be completed in time for the 2020-21 season.

Basebox Renovations
The rustic and simple Basebox is much beloved by all of us, but this venerable landmark needs significant work to address many years of deferred maintenance. The only major visible change from the exterior will be a bump-out of the corner adjacent to the Practice Slope Lift to accommodate a new stairway and elevator. The renovations will address long-standing issues with bathroom capacity, traffic flow, operating costs, outdated systems, and an inefficient food service area. You can rest assured that despite the renovations, the Basebox will definitely retain its simple and rustic character.
  • Add a new elevator and stairway on the Northeast corner to improve traffic flow and meet current codes
  • Add two additional bathrooms on the main level
  • Renovate the two existing lower-level bathrooms
  • Completely renovate the kitchen and food service area to greatly increase operational efficiency
  • Add a Pub window to order drinks from the cafeteria area
  • Add new two new fire exits and a fire alarm system to meet current codes
  • Rebuild part of the foundation under the Pub to address structural issues
  • Expand the lower-level Ski School kids’ area to address overcrowding
  • Enlarge the lower-level entrance to improve flow
  • Add additional cubby storage space
  • Perform necessary work to mechanical and electrical systems
  • Perform repairs to the foundation & supports of the Pub fireplace, add new railings, and other upgrades
  • Improve building energy efficiency
Thanks for posting that about Mad River Glen. I wonder if they will leave the old floor as it is. The Base Box is surprisingly ratty.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#59
Thanks for posting that about Mad River Glen. I wonder if they will leave the old floor as it is. The Base Box is surprisingly ratty.
Not really much of a surprise. The priority for capital money had to be on the mountain. It took a long time to raise $5 million dollars to cover the costs of the wish list from a decade ago. Base Box and the replacement of the Ski Patrol building has a price tag of $3.2 million. As I understand it, there is $300-400K not yet covered for work related to the two base buildings that may require a loan.

For info about the other MRG improvement and major maintenance projects being supported by the major fundraising campaign, click here for the Preserve Our Paradise project info. One of the first projects was to replace the 20yo groomer back in 2015. All the investments will mean more efficient and cost-effective operations in the future. It's fair to say that the level of dedication of the people who support MRG financially is unique and cannot be matched by any other ski area.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#60
Speaking of Summer 2020 construction, the new owners of Timberline in Davis, WV didn't let the pandemic slow them down one bit. Both lifts are being replaced, snowmaking infrastructure was fix and enhanced substantially, and the base lodge is undergoing a complete renovation and rebuild. Tline will be a fantastic place to ski for the 2020-21 season for folks in the DC/NoVA or Pittsburg region.

The owners are the Perfect family, who have been running Perfect North in the midwest successfully for decades.

https://timberlinemountain.com/news-from-the-mountain/
 

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