I started riding a snowboard back in March 21. 2011. I have visited over twelve mountains, across five states including: Wyoming, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Denver, and Vermont about 60 miles from the Canada Border. The list goes like this: Wachusett, Jackson Hole, Jay Peak, Sugarloaf, Killington, Loon, Sunday River, Wild Cat, Attitash, Black, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Bretton Woods, and Waterville Valley. I have put more time on mountains in this short two year journey than most do their whole lives. So I will share in my traveling journey from mountain to mountain. I have put 50,000 miles on my Landrover in two years. My favorite mountain is all of them for their special features. I am going to hit a few new mountains this year, would love to hit Mont-Treblant, QC CA , or Whistler BC.
Wachusett Mountain, Princeton MA
The first mountain that I will review is a local mountain to me located in Princeton, MA. Wachusett Mountain (www.wachusett.com)has 22 trails and a 2000+ foot summit. They are known for “Ralphs Run” with a great trail Blue and you can learn how to get your riding skills down. They have the best ski check around the best mountain bar with great girls and great food. This mountain is a great beginners mountain to learn your craft. I like to get speed on this mountain because it is an easier mountain.
This mountain was voted #1 in New England for beginners to ride or ski. I have been named by the bar girly girls as, “Princess of Wachusett” because I have been there so much. Also, they have “Night Skiing” from 4pm to 10pm. After a hard days work, I will jump on the highway for a great salmon dinner at the Copper Top and ride for a few hours and go home feeling great and it puts a little pink in my cheeks. As I am getting better this mountain does not offer me a challenge like some of the other mountains that I ride on, but it is my spot where everyone knows my name, Tiffany Topcab.
This is a great place during the week and then I will hit up a more challenging mountain on the weekends. This season started early for me Nov. 10,2012 and have been out 12 straight weekends, and I go mid week night riding and I am getting so strong. It takes a lot to get up 4 am on your day off to ride shot gun for four hours and then ride on a super stoked mountain for another six hours to ride back and do it your second day off. That’s balls to the walls.
Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley ME
The second mountain is really the mountain that I fell in love with. I can now say that, ” I AM A LOAFER SINCE 2011″. Sugarloaf (www.sugarloaf.com)located in Carrabassett Valley Maine is New England’s Premier Ski Resort where they usually get dumped on with fresh powder on a daily basis. Sugarloaf is where I have challenged my body, soul, mind and skills. I am naturally scared of heights, so I think that’s what makes me feel great that I am over coming my fear and shredding it up on the slopes. Sugarloaf is a troop up North about 4 1/2 hours from Boston, but so worth the drive any day.
This is the only lift-serviced above treeline skiing in the East. Base 1,417 feet and a vertical of 2,820 feet. They also have the longest blue trail called Tote Road that goes from top to the bottom and it is a blue trail. The average season ends in May. They have the greatest groomers working all through the night to make your day the best corduroy you can dream of. So the best time I had was when it snowed 50″ of fresh powder and then the next day it gets 18″ more of powder and I had to pull the “snow sick card out” and hit powder for the first time that was awesome.
Feeling pure powder, I actually cried I was so happy. Powder made me ride to the best of my abilities keeping up with a guy who has been riding 7 years and skied since he was four, so I was living the boarders dream. I ended up lost (wink wink) on Access Road where I was not supposed to be but thought, ” too good too pass up, miles and miles of untouched roads that travel the whole mountain, if they clipped my pass it would have been so worth it.. No one caught us and I have the season pass. Sugarloaf Village has every thing you will need, great food, shopping with the best snow fashion of any of the other mountains. Try and stay on the mountain because you can jump in the sauna and warm your bones up and have a great dinner. Always get to bed early so that you have first runs, so awesome.
Jay Peak, VT
On to my third favorite mountain which is located in Jay Vermont about 60 miles from the Canada Border. Jay Peak(www.jaypeakresort.com) located at the top of heaven. Base elevation is 1,815 ft and at the top of the summit which you need to take the tram up to as long as wind permits and that is 3,968 ft. Once you get to the top, stop and look where you are at, it will feel like you are in the clouds. You can blue trail all the way back to the base Jay Village. Jay is also home of the glades, and they have beginners to advanced back country glades.
I have now learned and know Jay like I know the streets of Boston so it gets better each time I go up. Jay Village Inn is the best place to stay if you are doing the “DIVA” weekend. Jay Village has great 4 Star service with 4 Star prices. Do what the locals do, which is to head out side of Jay in Montgomery Vt. where you can stay at the local favorite, “Grampa Grunts” $40 per person per night and they have an awesome cool vibe and get your breakfast on Grunt style in the basement. I love Jay Peak and I feel that this mountain you will ride harder here, which will make you a better rider. Since Jay is so far away it never really has large crowds so that makes this place heavenly.
Loon Mountain, Lincoln NH
Now this mountain makes me a, “LOONATIC” since 2011. Loon Mountain (www.loonmtn.com)is located in Lincoln, NH about 3 hours from Boston so it is a quick ride to a great groomed mountain. This is not a super huge mountain but is big enough for me and I love the outside fire pit to warm your gloves and boots while you sip on something from the bar slope side. I have never had a bad Loon day. Stay at Indian Head Resort with out door jacuzzi and it’s fun. Bands on the week ends and if you are lucky like I am to have met another beginner rider last season at Loon and she has a condo across the street and so we make weekend adventures together and I stay for free, well buy her dinner- either way it is a win win.
I have found a great friendship with some one who is different than me and now were connected for life. I have been out more than her, so I have experienced more situations and I try to help teach her new skills that I have picked up. Girly girls who snowboard are a part of the boys club. So try to LOON IT UP at least once in your life and eat breakfast at Flap Jacks across from the entrance.
I have killed it at Killington, Vt…Elevation over 4200 ft. That is a big mountain, and it is either kill or be killed. I love when you pull into Killington (www.killington.com) resort area, it feels so high up as you see this huge mountain with tons of trails for newbies or advanced black diamond experts. There are so many long runs with super wide trails. So many choices for all types of levels, so much mountain that you can find trails through out the day that know one will have even touched an afternoon surprise. Longer season of riding and in the spring it is awesome, sun and snow.
Great terrain parks if you get down that way- I am not at the terrain level yet….next season. I am getting into jumps now. Great grooming and worth the price of the ticket. If you are going to eat any where for dinner hit up The Garlic which has an amazing candle wax display and the best Italian food with a super low light romantic spot to eat and get into the night mode. You will feel like a queen after eating here. Enjoy a different trail every time.
Bretton Woods, NH
New Hampshire has Bretton Woods(www.brettonwoods.com). This is the mountain where I tried snowboarding for the first time and the rest is history and now it has taken over my life and world. All for the better, my first time on the board was so hard and I wanted to be good so bad that I focused 100%. At the Summit it reaches 3,100 ft with a vertical drop of 1,500 ft and base of 1,600 ft and 10 lifts. This is a family mountain with winding trails that any one can enjoy. This ski resort was ranked 4th in Best In Ski Resorts in Eastern US. The trails are amazing and well groomed. Close to Mount Washington so the views are beautiful.
Jackson Hole, WY
I have to say the scariest mountain I have been to as of now, would be Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Me and a group of riders(by the way this group has been riding together for over five years and they are all advanced) decide on group trip to Jackson Hole (www.jacksonhole.com)for the first time. At this point I had only been on a board for about one season so I was very sketchy riding. An eight hour plane ride we arrive at night to Jackson to wake up to nothing but mountains as high as the sky all around. As we pull up to the biggest mountain that I have ever seen my nerves and fear of heights kicked in big time.
Known for world class snowboarding and skiing, Jackson is one of the top ski resorts in the world. The elevation at the Summit is 10,450 ft with a vertical drop of 4,139 ft of which I slid down about 1,100 ft until Jackson Safety Patrol stopped me from falling to my death. I ended up on a black diamond by accident and it was all down there from that point. Luckily no injuries and I had a cute patrol guy named “Josh” who helped me down and the next day, stayed on the green and blue trails. If you can make it at Jackson WY then you can make it any where. It is such a huge place that there are over 100 trails and great runs for beginners and the super advanced that go on for miles. Enjoy the views because you will not see anything as beautiful in your life.
Sunday River, Newry ME
Halloween weekend last year 2011, Sunday River (www.sundayriver.com)was dumped on and so we headed up North about 3 hours from Boston to trick or treat and ride.. Sunday is good size mountain with Summit being about 3,200 ft and a vertical of 2,340 ft. This mountain, tends to be more icy than the other’s but when it’s good snow then it will be awesome. Sunday River has an advanced terrain for the die hard riders. The season last’s almost to May so Spring riding is good here and soft. Sunday is a great party mountain, so stay on the mountain and enjoy all of the amenities, such as hot soak in the hot tubs or an outside swim in their hot tubs or sauna’s. Great places to eat and drink.
Breckenridge is the world’s ski/snowboard destination. This is where all of the masses of beginner’s and first timer’s try the United States best mountain. Breckenridge (www.breckenridge.com)is beautiful and has many trails for all levels. The summit elevation is 12,998 feet and 3,398 feet vertical with lot’s of trails and over 30 lifts. On a clear day you can see over 50 peaks. Breckenridge is close to Denver airport and is in the heart of Denver’s ski country.
Lot’s of shops to get the latest snow fashion gear, plenty of great places to eat and drink and party. I found this mountain to packed of the masses and I was there on a Thursday, I would hate to see a Saturday. Way too many people on the trails, most people on my trail shouldn’t have been. I spent more time stopping and letting rookie riders go. It does have some of the most beautiful views in this country. We went with awesome weather, no snow, just sun and more sun. It was warm enough that I could ride in my base layer and a hoody. I was happy to see pure corduroy trails even at the middle of the day. Breckenridge has the longest trail 3.5 miles on Four O’clock trail. It was a great experience.
Arapahoe Basin, A-Basin CO
I can now say that A-Basin (www.arapahoebasin.com)is one of my top three favorite mountains in this fabulous country. Getting used to Colorado’s oxygen level takes at least a few days, my key to survival was gallons of water(H2O), and eating great meals. The first few days we arrived in Denver my travel group all suffered from head aches and felt as if we weren’t getting enough oxygen, it phased out a few days later. A-Basin is a giant snowboarding playground, the sun shines as if it’s heaven calling you. A-Basin has the highest terrain park, and great big bowls and chutes.
The summit elevation is 13,050 feet and the vertical drop is 2,270 feet and it is scary as $%&*… They receive over 350 inches of snow each year. They have the best groomed cruiser runs in the world. A-Basin known as “the legend” in Colorado. They are usually the first to open and the last to close. The base elevation is 11,000 feet. They have the most terrain to ski in. I cried at this mountain from the size and beauty of it, also prayed a few times for my safety down this monstrous mountain. I felt so blessed to be able to come so far with my riding in only three years. Once I conquered the Montezuma’s Bowl, all other mountains will seem like a hill. It didn’t snow while we were here, so no powder, but it was an epic trip for 4 days of the best riding of my snowboard life. This mountain had no ice, and there are so many trails to ride, unlike riding in New England. This mountain is Colorado’s best kept secret, and for the advanced. It is so massive, and trails go for miles. They have a great bar, and good food to keep you riding all day.
Crotched Mountain, Bennington NH
What can I say about Crotched Mountain?? Do not let the name distract from all of it’s beauty. Located about 2 hours from Boston and a quick ride to one of the best smaller mountains, with not too many people. Crotched mountain(www.crotchedmountain.com) is great because it stays open on the weekends until 3am. We slept in late on our 17th straight weekend, and caught up on my rest and woke up and had a great big brunch and headed out to this new mountain.
It is a good size mountain with great trails, this is perfect for beginners and all levels. The summit elevation is 2,066 feet and the vertical feet is 1,000 and the longest trail is 1.23 miles on the Milky Way. If you are traveling with a group or small children this is perfect. I will buy a season pass here next year. They have great trails and lot’s of glades to ride through and some at the beginner level. At night, it get much better, with the lights and lack of people, you feel as if you are alone on the trails. After coming here, I find it hard to go to Wachusetts packed like sardines trails.
I will be continuing my riding adventures, so stay tuned to my next updates.
And as always, WEAR YOUR HELMET..