If there’s one gift all resorts here in the northeast want for Christmas it’s snow. Snow on their slopes is good but snow in the cities where the skiers live is even better. A couple of inches of snow on the ground in Boston, Portland, Hartford, and New York City is better than thousands of dollars in free publicity.
Of course the resorts will settle for snow in the hills or perfect weather for snowmaking . . . as long as it comes just in time for Christmas!
If you want to have a really Merry Christmas this year, why not spend it on the slopes? Some hills are closed on Christmas Day, but many are open, and are often as uncrowded as you’ll ever see them. So if you can break your family free of your Christmas traditions try skiing or riding on Christmas Day. Who knows, it may start a whole new holiday tradition for you!
Who’s Nice and Open On Christmas Day 2010?
Note that operating hours will sometimes vary. So will prices. While some of the larger areas will charge full holiday rates (best way to save: look for on-line deals when you pre-buy your tickets), others will charge less if they don’t have all their terrain open. And the weather at this time of year can still be iffy. So check before you go . . .
Mount Southington near Marion (6-10 pm only)
Ski Sundown in Canton Center
Woodbury Ski Area in Hotchkissville
Saddleback in Rangeley
Ski Butternut in Great Barrington
Catamount in South Egremont
Jiminy Peak in Hancock
Wachusett Mountain Princeton (night skiing only)
Attitash in Bartlett
Balsams Wilderness in Dixville Notch
Bretton Woods in Bretton Woods
Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway
Crotched Mountain in Bennington
Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln
Ragged Mountain in Danbury
Mount Sunapee in Newbury
Waterville Valley in Waterville Valley
Belleayre Mountain in Highmount
Gore Mountain in North Creek
Hunter Mountain in Hunter
Whiteface near Lake Placid
Bolton Valley in Bolton
Bromley Mountain in Peru
Burke Mountain in East Burke
Jay Peak in Jay
Killington in Killington.
Mad River Glen in Fayston
Magic Mountain in Londonderry
Mount Snow in Dover
Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow
Pico in Rutland
Smugglers Notch in Jeffersonville
Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe
Stratton Mountain Resort in Stratton
Sugarbush in Warren, Vermont.
Christmas to New Year’s
Where Christmas Day is usually quiet, the days after Christmas are a different matter . . . Every area is open, the kids are off for the holidays, parents are trying to use up vacation days before the end of the year, and everyone in the world (it seems) can’t resist the lure of sliding on snow—especially if Santa brought new clothes and gear . . .
Christmas Week Picks
If I had to choose one area in all of the northeast for skiing Christmas week, I’d probably pick The Balsams Wilderness (1-800-255-0600; ) in Dixville Notch, N.H., simply because it’s so far away from anything. It’s a great mid-sized hill and I’ve never seen it even close to crowded. Of course I love staying at The Balsams Hotel, but if that’s not in your budget, there are much cheaper options in nearby Colebrook and Errol (though both can fill up if the snow is deep enough for snowmobiling).
Elsewhere in New Hampshire, Black Mountain in Jackson, Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme Center, and Whaleback Mountain in Enfield, N.H. Go early in the morning before the kids are awake for the best snow . . .
Every Massachusetts area with snow is gonna rock and roll Christmas week, but Berkshire East (413-339-6617; www.berkshireeast.com ) in Charlemont, seems to get bypassed by a lot of skiers and riders headed north.
Up in Maine, try Mount Abram (207)875-5000; www.skimtabram.com ) in Locke Mills, and Black Mountain Of Maine (207-364-8977; www.skiblackmtnofme.org ) in Rumford, Maine, both in the shadow of Sunday River . . . If you insist on a “big mountain” experience., Saddleback (1-866-918-2225; www.saddlebackmaine.com ) in Rangeley is a great bet.