Ski East: What's New

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MAINE

Shawnee Peak Ski Area

Shawnee's base lodge expansion adds about 1,000 square feet of space. Meanwhile, potential homebuyers can tour the new Trailside Woods development, a village-style collection of 23 houses on the east side of the slopes.

Lost Valley Crews widened trails over the summer, and former U.S. Ski Team star Julie Parisien returns to coach the same race program that made her a contender.

MASSACHUSETTS
Jiminy Peak A new C-Tek six-pack gives Jiminy the only high-speed lift in the Berkshires. It replaces Exhibition Double, running up the middle of the resort to the 2,380-foot summit, cutting the 1,140-vertical-foot ride from 17 minutes to five minutes. Also: Deck space has been added at the summit and snowmaking has been increased.

Blandford A bigger snowmaking reservoir gives club-owned Blandford more reliable coverage as night skiing and after-school programs are amped up, possibly on additional lighted trails.Brodie A new, lighted tubing slope has its own handle-tow and parking lot.

Butternut Basin Two miles of pipe, more water, more air and 100 new tower guns give Butternut a substantial boost in snowmaking. Nashoba The tubing area expands to meet demand, with two handle-tow lifts, a half-dozen new lanes and a walk-up area for small children.

Ski Ward A halfpipe and Pipe Dragon groomer give steadily growing Ski Ward more youth-appeal. Another tubing chute has also been added.

Wachusett Mountain A new base lodge addition means more room on busy weekends. Luxury day suites upstairs bring the sky-box concept to skiing (see Ski Life, page 50).

MID-ATLANTIC
Bryce Resort, Va. Bryce has embarked on a $1 million renovation of its main lodge, including a complete remodel of the restaurant area. Meanwhile, 10 new tower guns have been added to the snowmaking arsenal.

Camelback, Pa. Camelback greatly expands its night-skiing offerings. Lights have been added to eight trails on the east side of the mountain, increasing night-time vertical footage by 100 feet, with high-speed lift service on the Stevenson Express. The lights open up needed novice terrain, including meandering Nile Mile. Meanwhile, base-area buildings have been reconfigured to improve traffic flow; the children's learning area has added a new conveyor-type lift; and tubing has been expanded, with more lanes and another lift.

Massanutten, Va. A new pond triples the water available at Massanutten, finally allowing the resort to take full advantage of its existing snowmaking infrastructure. Meanwhile, two new hotel buildings have been built, to be used almost exclusively as accommodations for prospective time-share buyers.

Seven Springs, Pa. A new $5 millionskier-services building eliminates congestion for skiers arriving at the mountain, with 35,000 square feet on three floors. It houses ticket windows, the ski school, daycare facilities and a ski shop. Meanwhile, the Giant Steps trail has been reconfigured and graded to add intermediate terrain, the Nastar race slope has been moved under the lights, and a new Bombardier groomer, with halfpipe attachment, has been added.

Wintergreen, Va. More snowmaking, including new tower guns, enables Wintergreen to improve coverage of its expert terrain, including the Highlands area off the quad.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Black Mountain Black celebrates its 65th year of cozy old-time skiing in the hills above Jackson with continued expansion of its new gladed terrain. Limited tree-clearing in the Lostbo and T2 glades, plus the addition of a new section, Carter Notch, adds 20 acres of skiable terrain. A new pub has been added in the base lodge. Long-range, Black hopes to add a lift to the ridgeline in the East Bowl area, which would increase vertical by 300 feet.

Cannon Mountain Cannon gets into the tubing business with 2-3 lanes and a dedicated handle-tow. Meanwhile upgraded terrain park features two 300-foot halfpipes. The old halfpipe has been removed and replaced by a Nastar race hill.

Mount Cranmore New-school adrenaline junkies are sure to appreciate the new Palmer X Park, a signature terrain park designed by the team of snowboarder-turned-skiercross-star Shaun Palmer. Its banks, rolls and kickers are open to all sliding tools, including Cranmore's fleet of snow toys.

Dartmouth Skiway Thanks to alumni generosity, the Skiway christens a handsome new base lodge (illustration, page 14E). The McLane Family Lodge, named for $1.5 million contributor Andy McLane ('69) replaces the 44-year-old Brundage Lodge. It's a light-and-airy, two-story, 16,000-square-foot structure, more than four times the size of the original, with a retail store, spacious bathroom and dining facilities and a state-of-the-art headquarters for the college's highly competitive ski-racing program. Meanwhile, another alum has donated money toward the purchase of 20 new snowmaking guns.

Pats Peak A revamped base lodge is taking shape, though only as architectural drawings so far. Lighting has been improved on four trails, and a snowmaking compressor has been added.

Tenney Mountain Tenney installs a new terrain park off its Eclipse triple chair. Long-range plans would open up the north side of the mountain, on trails laid out (and some cut) years ago.Wildcat An expanded shop smooths the rental operation.

NEW YORK
Belleayre Mountain Last year's liftinstallation finally connected the upper and lower parts of the mountain and contributed to a 38 percent increase in skier days at the state-owned resort. This year brings a new 550-car lot to accommodate the visitors, two new trails to play on and a new interpretive nature trail on Deer Run. The new Dot Nebel trail (named for the Belleayre trail designer and race coach) is a 1,000-vertical-foot black-diamond. Meanwhile, the Seneca trail was lengthened by 240 vertical feet, a black-diamond section accessing the bottom of the Tomahawk lift. Two new groomers and 60 new tower guns supplement grooming and snowmaking.

Gore Mountain Gore cuts two new trails under the North Woods Gondola it added last year. Sagamore and Foxlair, both intermediate slopes, are named after Adirondack Great Camps. And a new excavated halfpipe will be ready for use early in the season.

Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl Expert skiers have always enjoyed the double-black terrain of Hunter West, but there was a problem: It was never more than a thaw-freeze cycle away from being unskiable. Now two Pisten Bullys have been added to the groomer fleet, and one is a winch-groomer that can handle Hunter's steepest terrain. There's also a new dedicated lodge at the base of the tubing area, with improved food service. And the Hunter Mountain website (www.huntermtn.com) now offers advance ticket sales.

Peek N Peak A new 85-room Holiday Inn Express expands the bed-base. On the hill, the beginner area has been enlarged by 40 percent, with a new conveyor lift. Snowmaking has been boosted 25 percent, and trail reconfiguration adds more advanced terrain.

Ski Plattekill Mountain A new chairlift signals the end of an era for a Plattekill icon. The Northface Express double accesses terrain once only reachable via the vaunted T-bar, a 3,000-foot lift dating to 1961 and long acknowledged as one of North America's longest, steepest surface lifts. Visitors can expect 200 more vertical feet, a much more comfortable ride to the 3,500-foot Catskill peak and speedier access to 50 percent of the area's terrain, including its most difficult stuff.

VERMONT
Ascutney Mountain Resort Ascutney is on the rise, literally: A new high-speed quad accesses a new peak, taking the area's overall vertical from 1,530 feet to 1,800 feet. The mile-long quad speeds to the top of North Peak, from which skiers will christen five mostly expert trails, including the double-black Liftline, which Ascutney promises is one of the toughest trails in the East.

Middlebury As it gears up to host the NCAA collegiate championships in March, Middlebury makes infrastructure improvements that will help ensure a successful event. Two new air compressors will not only produce more snow for the venerable race slope and other trails, but will also be environmentally cleaner. Meanwhile, the Breadloaf cross-country trails nearby get their own snowmaking setup and a new groomer.

SLEEPING IN

Devonfield
Lee, Mass.
(Near Catamount, Butternut, Jiminy Peak, Brodie, Bousquet)
It's not often one gets to sleep in a queen's quarters. Of course, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands decamped from Devonfield, her summer-of-'42 hideaway, quite a few decades ago. Still, this expanded Federal mansion¿the core of which was built by a Revolutionary War soldier¿retains a gracious air. The large, traditionalist living room/library is an immediate tip-off to the kind of cosseted quarters that await: eight king- or queen-bed chambers ($80-$200 per night), equipped with wood-burning fireplaces, Jacuzzis and/or window seats from which to contemplate 27 birch-dappled acres of groomed cross-country skiing terrain. For downhillers, it's never more than a 15-minute drive to any of the four nearby ski areas, and the full breakfasts overseen by innkeepers Pam and Jim Loring ensure that you have sufficient fuel.
Information: Devonfield, 85 Stockbridge Road; (413) 243-3298; fax: (413) 243-1360; www.devonfield.com.
¿Sandy MacDonald

Home Hill Inn
Plainfield, N.H.
(Near Mt. Ascutney, Okemo, Mt. Sunapee )
The French know a thing or two about living and eating well. Add skiing to the mix and life is magnifique. French-born innkeeper Stephane du Roure and his wife, Paris-trained chef Victoria, make it all possible at New Hampshire's Home Hill Inn, an 1818 Federal home turned French country inn.

Just 15 minutes from Ascutney, Home Hill is also less than an hour's drive from Sunapee, Okemo, Killington, Pico, Suicide Six and the Dartmouth Skiway. Cross-country ski and snowshoe trails start right out the front door on the inn's 25-acre property. After a day in the cold, warm up with a drink in the library, then retire to one of three dining rooms for a four-course prix-fixe dinner ($49). Expect Provençal specialties with a New England accent, such as pan-seared scallops with maple-dijon cream and roasted pheasant topped with apple-cider sauce.

After dinner, skate on the lighted pond, then warm up by your own fireplace in one of nine spacious, country-chic guest rooms. You'll soon comprehend the French joie de vivre.
Information: Home Hill Inn, 703 River Road, Plainfield, N.H. 03781; (603) 675-6165; fax: (613) 675-5220.
¿Edith Thys

DINING OUT

Manoir Hovey
Lake Massawippi, Que.
(Near Mont. Orford, Bromont, Owl's Head)
About 10 miles east of Mont Orford, Manoir Hovey¿a 1900 country estate modeled after Mount Vernon¿combines the best of retro-style après-ski warmth with cutting-edge cuisine. Cocktails are dispensed beside the 10,000-brick hearth in the Tap Room, which is a formercarriage house bedecked with an ancient birch-bark canoe. Upstairs, in a grand lake-view salon (also fire-lit), fabulous dinners unfold in three to six courses of varying complexity (approximately $32-$60, or included in an MAP rate of about $80-130 per person). Acclaimed chef Roland Menard is an undying advocate of regional cuisine. His foodstuffs are sourced so locally that neighboring farmers merit menu bylines: a M. Olivier, for instance, provides the breast of mallard duck (served with a sauce of black currants from the Ile d'Orleans), M. Gagnon the rabbit that becomes a cardomom-scented ballotin set amid hearts of bullrushes, and Mme. Lapierre the pleurotes (oyster mushrooms) that cradle a ing the double-black Liftline, which Ascutney promises is one of the toughest trails in the East.

Middlebury As it gears up to host the NCAA collegiate championships in March, Middlebury makes infrastructure improvements that will help ensure a successful event. Two new air compressors will not only produce more snow for the venerable race slope and other trails, but will also be environmentally cleaner. Meanwhile, the Breadloaf cross-country trails nearby get their own snowmaking setup and a new groomer.

SLEEPING IN

Devonfield
Lee, Mass.
(Near Catamount, Butternut, Jiminy Peak, Brodie, Bousquet)
It's not often one gets to sleep in a queen's quarters. Of course, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands decamped from Devonfield, her summer-of-'42 hideaway, quite a few decades ago. Still, this expanded Federal mansion¿the core of which was built by a Revolutionary War soldier¿retains a gracious air. The large, traditionalist living room/library is an immediate tip-off to the kind of cosseted quarters that await: eight king- or queen-bed chambers ($80-$200 per night), equipped with wood-burning fireplaces, Jacuzzis and/or window seats from which to contemplate 27 birch-dappled acres of groomed cross-country skiing terrain. For downhillers, it's never more than a 15-minute drive to any of the four nearby ski areas, and the full breakfasts overseen by innkeepers Pam and Jim Loring ensure that you have sufficient fuel.
Information: Devonfield, 85 Stockbridge Road; (413) 243-3298; fax: (413) 243-1360; www.devonfield.com.
¿Sandy MacDonald

Home Hill Inn
Plainfield, N.H.
(Near Mt. Ascutney, Okemo, Mt. Sunapee )
The French know a thing or two about living and eating well. Add skiing to the mix and life is magnifique. French-born innkeeper Stephane du Roure and his wife, Paris-trained chef Victoria, make it all possible at New Hampshire's Home Hill Inn, an 1818 Federal home turned French country inn.

Just 15 minutes from Ascutney, Home Hill is also less than an hour's drive from Sunapee, Okemo, Killington, Pico, Suicide Six and the Dartmouth Skiway. Cross-country ski and snowshoe trails start right out the front door on the inn's 25-acre property. After a day in the cold, warm up with a drink in the library, then retire to one of three dining rooms for a four-course prix-fixe dinner ($49). Expect Provençal specialties with a New England accent, such as pan-seared scallops with maple-dijon cream and roasted pheasant topped with apple-cider sauce.

After dinner, skate on the lighted pond, then warm up by your own fireplace in one of nine spacious, country-chic guest rooms. You'll soon comprehend the French joie de vivre.
Information: Home Hill Inn, 703 River Road, Plainfield, N.H. 03781; (603) 675-6165; fax: (613) 675-5220.
¿Edith Thys

DINING OUT

Manoir Hovey
Lake Massawippi, Que.
(Near Mont. Orford, Bromont, Owl's Head)
About 10 miles east of Mont Orford, Manoir Hovey¿a 1900 country estate modeled after Mount Vernon¿combines the best of retro-style après-ski warmth with cutting-edge cuisine. Cocktails are dispensed beside the 10,000-brick hearth in the Tap Room, which is a formercarriage house bedecked with an ancient birch-bark canoe. Upstairs, in a grand lake-view salon (also fire-lit), fabulous dinners unfold in three to six courses of varying complexity (approximately $32-$60, or included in an MAP rate of about $80-130 per person). Acclaimed chef Roland Menard is an undying advocate of regional cuisine. His foodstuffs are sourced so locally that neighboring farmers merit menu bylines: a M. Olivier, for instance, provides the breast of mallard duck (served with a sauce of black currants from the Ile d'Orleans), M. Gagnon the rabbit that becomes a cardomom-scented ballotin set amid hearts of bullrushes, and Mme. Lapierre the pleurotes (oyster mushrooms) that cradle a fricassee of Quebec sweetbreads. Even desserts are deliciously down-to-earth, in such confections as warm zucchini cake on a marmalade of winter squash and honey-wine sabayon. It's easy to see how Manoir Hovey consistently carries off its "best of" awards¿not just locally (there's keen competition among the leisure-oriented Eastern Townships), but province-, country- and even continent-wide. It's truly a national treasure.
Information: Manoir Hovey, Lake Massawippi, Quebec; (819) 842-2421 or (800) 661-2421; fax: (819) 842-2248; website: www.manoirhovey.com.
¿S.M.

Gepetto's Restaurant
Sugarloaf/USA Base Village, Maine
Gepetto's is the kind of place that keeps people coming back again and again. It's an institution at Sugarloaf, and no wonder: For more than 20 years, this casual slopeside restaurant has been serving a variety of fresh foods for both lunch and dinner. Key ingredients: The prices are reasonable ($8-18), the portions big and the service is pleasant and efficient. And you can't beat the slopeside location, especially if you're popping in for a quick lunch on a powder day. There's an express soup-and-salad bar for those in a hurry, offered in addition to the main menu. Big windows in the plant-filled main dining room showcase the action in the village and a glimpse of the slopes. In the popular bar, you can catch up on the local gossip and snow conditions while nibbling appetizers such as lobster-stuffed portabello mushroom. The menu addresses appetites both small and large. Choose from hearty soups and salads, fresh-dough pizzas, small plates such as chicken quesadilla or linguini marinara, creative pastas or land-and-sea entrées such as lobster-stuffed haddock or barbecued baby-back ribs. Nightly specials might include pistachio-encrusted rack of lamb or salmon filet.
Information: Gepetto's, Sugarloaf/USA base village, Carrabassett Valley, Maine; (207) 237-2192.
¿Hilary Nangle

The Notchland Inn
Hart's Location, N.H.
(Near Attitash Bear Peak, Bretton Woods, Cannon Mountain) In its previous incarnations, the Notchland Inn¿an 1862 granite mansion presiding over a 400-acre mountainside swathe near Crawford Notch¿was not the cheeriest of settings. It took innkeepers Ed Butler and Les Schoof (former general manager of the American Ballet Theatre) to liven things up. Now the Gustav Stickley-designed parlor, an Arts & Crafts gem, sparkles as it should, and the 12 rooms¿including a schoolhouse loft suite¿all glow with their own fireplaces. But best of all, the revitalized restaurant brings destination dining to this neck of the woods. The draw is a fabulous $35 five-course-plus prix-fixe dinner. Diners are offered several choices at each course: soup (we couldn't pass up the lobster stew), appetizer (capellini with portobellos sautéed in vanilla bourbon butter¿oh my), entrée (rosemary-crusted rack of lamb), delightful salad, and dessert, where the "plus" part comes in. Repeat visitors know to pace themselves for unlimited seconds of the likes of bakedapple rum custard, raspberry chocolate cheesecake or bananas Foster. For entertainment, the inn mascots, Bernese mountain dogs named Coco and Abigail, amuse diners by assuming the "pretty please" position just outside the hoar-frosted French doors.
Information: The Notchland Inn, Harts Location, N.H.; (603) 374-6131 or (800) 866-6131; fax: (603) 374-6168; web-site: www.notchland.com; E-mail: notchland@aol.com.
¿S.M.e a fricassee of Quebec sweetbreads. Even desserts are deliciously down-to-earth, in such confections as warm zucchini cake on a marmalade of winter squash and honey-wine sabayon. It's easy to see how Manoir Hovey consistently carries off its "best of" awards¿not just locally (there's keen competition among the leisure-oriented Eastern Townships), but province-, country- and even continent-wide. It's truly a national treasure.
Information: Manoir Hovey, Lake Massawippi, Quebec; (819) 842-2421 or (800) 661-2421; fax: (819) 842-2248; website: www.manoirhovey.com.
¿SS.M.

Gepetto's Restaurant
Sugarloaf/USA Base Village, Maine
Gepetto's is the kind of place that keeps people coming back again and again. It's an institution at Sugarloaf, and no wonder: For more than 20 years, this casual slopeside restaurant has been serving a variety of fresh foods for both lunch and dinner. Key ingredients: The prices are reasonable ($8-18), the portions big and the service is pleasant and efficient. And you can't beat the slopeside location, especially if you're popping in for a quick lunch on a powder day. There's an express soup-and-salad bar for those in a hurry, offered in addition to the main menu. Big windows in the plant-filled main dining room showcase the action in the village and a glimpse of the slopes. In the popular bar, you can catch up on the local gossip and snow conditions while nibbling appetizers such as lobster-stuffed portabello mushroom. The menu addresses appetites both small and large. Choose from hearty soups and salads, fresh-dough pizzas, small plates such as chicken quesadilla or linguini marinara, creative pastas or land-and-sea entrées such as lobster-stuffed haddock or barbecued baby-back ribs. Nightly specials might include pistachio-encrusted rack of lamb or salmon filet.
Information: Gepetto's, Sugarloaf/USA base village, Carrabassett Valley, Maine; (207) 237-2192.
¿Hilary Nangle

The Notchland Inn
Hart's Location, N.H.
(Near Attitash Bear Peak, Bretton Woods, Cannon Mountain) In its previous incarnations, the Notchland Inn¿an 1862 granite mansion presiding over a 400-acre mountainside swathe near Crawford Notch¿was not the cheeriest of settings. It took innkeepers Ed Butler and Les Schoof (former general manager of the American Ballet Theatre) to liven things up. Now the Gustav Stickley-designed parlor, an Arts & Crafts gem, sparkles as it should, and the 12 rooms¿including a schoolhouse loft suite¿all glow with their own fireplaces. But best of all, the revitalized restaurant brings destination dining to this neck of the woods. The draw is a fabulous $35 five-course-plus prix-fixe dinner. Diners are offered several choices at each course: soup (we couldn't pass up the lobster stew), appetizer (capellini with portobellos sautéed in vanilla bourbon butter¿oh my), entrée (rosemary-crusted rack of lamb), delightful salad, and dessert, where the "plus" part comes in. Repeat visitors know to pace themselves for unlimited seconds of the likes of bakedapple rum custard, raspberry chocolate cheesecake or bananas Foster. For entertainment, the inn mascots, Bernese mountain dogs named Coco and Abigail, amuse diners by assuming the "pretty please" position just outside the hoar-frosted French doors.
Information: The Notchland Inn, Harts Location, N.H.; (603) 374-6131 or (800) 866-6131; fax: (603) 374-6168; web-site: www.notchland.com; E-mail: notchland@aol.com.
¿S.M.