2001 Adventure Guide: East - Ski Mag

2001 Adventure Guide: East

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In this year's national Adventure Guide, the East outdid itself. Killington made the top 10 twice, for bumps (ranking third) and for partying (also third), while Jay Peak was named first for trees (usually Steamboat wins it) and seventh for powder, beating out the likes of Whistler and Vail. Other high praise: Mad River, seventh for bumps; Hunter, sixth for partying; and Mount Snow, 10th for partying.

These results are astounding when you consider that most of the 60-plus editors and contributors who voted have a Western bias. Says Adventure Guide editor Mike Miracle: "If the bumps category was called 'Toughest Bumps,' the top 10 would all be Eastern." So you see, there are more than a few good reasons to forego those Western winters for a while¿at least if you're into tough skiing and hearty partying. For a detailed guide to other high-ranking Eastern areas, read on.

TOP FIVE EASTERN SKI AREAS
1. Stowe, Vermont

As Vermont's highest peak, Mt. Mansfield has everything a ski junkie needs: supersteep terrain, top-to-bottom cruisers, great tree skiing, and modern lifts. The majority of Stowe's trails were hand cut in the '30s, which accounts for their distinct personalities. The Front Four are considered some of America's hairiest descents or, for just plain flying, there's Sunrise, Gondolier, and Lord. Part of Stowe's allure is the town itself: a quintessential New England village with the right mix of classic lodges (like the Trapp Family Lodge), quaint shops, spas, and fashionable eateries.
2. Sugarbush, Vermont
3. Killington, Vermont
4. Sugarloaf, Maine
5. Whiteface, New York

TOP FIVE FOR HIDDEN STASHES
1. Mad River Glen, Vermont

At Mad River, there are hidden stashes for the tourists (those are off the main runs) and then there are the other secret spots for regulars (those are hard to find). Locals are famous for cutting their own trails in the off-season, but they don't cut the entrances, so only they know where to go. Three Cliffs and the 19th and 20th Hole are some of the better known stashes. Even so-called "tourist" spots are first-rate: there are enough nooks, crannies, gullies, and jug handles off Paradise to keep most experts challenged for hours.
2. Jay Peak, Vermont
3. Stowe, Vermont
4. Smugglers' Notch, Vermont
5. Killington, Vermont

TOP FIVE EASTERN LIFTS
1. Single Chair, Mad River Glen, Vermont

Mad River Glen's icon is its 52-year-old single chair lift¿the area's original lift. Taking the single is the only way to the top, but since the lift runs from base to summit, you get 18 minutes of reflective time to enjoy the beautiful scenery and quiet, peaceful surroundings. Or, if you insist on conversation, you can yell back to your neighbor. And, since there aren't a lot of people getting to the top at the same time, once up, you get 2,000-plus vertical mostly to yourself. On busy weekends, Mad River sells lunch in the lift line.
2. Tram, Jay Peak, Vermont
3. Tram, Cannon, New Hampshire
4. Slidebrook Express, Sugarbush, Vermont
5. Quad, Tremblant, Quebec

TOP FIVE PROVING GROUNDS
1. Killington, Vermont

In the realm of toughness, nothing quite beats Killington's Outer Limits mogul run, which attains a 62 percent grade in places and rises 1,100 vertical feet. The endless bumps are big and rutted. And, as if that's not enough, you have to contend with a captive audience from the Bear Mountain base lodge sundeck below and cheers (or heckling) from the quad that runs overhead. If that's still not enough, try Ovation, Killington's steepest, or Vertigo, which is steep and never groomed¿but, thankfully, there are no spectators.
2. Mad River Glen, Vermont
3. Stowe, Vermont
4. Sugarbush, Vermont
5. Cannon, New Hampshire

TOP FIVE MAKEOVERS
1. Tremblant, Quebec

In the span of a decade, Tremblant has reinvented itself, spending C$800 million to create a village and upgrade facilities. WWhat it means is a choice of 1,300 lodging units; 75 shops and restaurants; nine new lifts (mostly high-speed quads, plus a six-pack and gondola); 80 percent snowmaking; plus, of course, plenty of skiing: 220 acres of trails and tree skiing have been added for a total of 610 skiable acres. Is it any wonder the Laurentian mountain beauty tirelessly sets new attendance records every season (677,000 in 1999 compared to 300,000 in 1991).
2. Okemo, Vermont
3. Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
4. Gore, New York
5. Ascutney, Vermont

TOP FIVE FOR SOLITARY SUNDAY SKIING
1. Killington, Vermont

Most Killington regulars (at least the single urbanites) are serious about their partying. For those weekend warriors who forgo the lure of the access road's many bars on Saturday night, the reward is quiet, uncrowded slopes on Sunday morning, when most of the previous night's bar hoppers are still bedridden with hangovers. The more solitary spots tend to be black-diamond runs like Double Dipper and Outer Limits, but the Glades Area, sections of Snowdon, and Rams Head Mountain are all good bets. Best tip: Avoid the gondola.
2. Hunter, New York
3. Middlebury Snow Bowl, Vermont
4. Dartmouth Skiway, New Hampshire
5. Le Massif, Quebec

TOP FIVE FOR ENDLESS TERRAIN
1. Jay Peak, Vermont

Snow is the big reason for the seemingly limitless terrain at Jay Peak. Last year, 488 inches fell, making it one of the top areas in the country for natural snow. That bounty of real snow helps to open up the over 100 acres of tree skiing and makes the 150 acres of off-piste skiing accessible (not to mention the 285 acres of on-piste skiing). The vast variety of backcountry terrain like The Dip on the eastern side and Beyond Beaver Pond on the opposite end adds to Jay's reputation.
2. Killington, Vermont
3. Sugarbush, Vermont
4. Sugarloaf, Maine
5. Sunday River, Maine

TOP FIVE BEST-KEPT SECRETS
1. Le Massif, Quebec

No crowds, great snow, and upmarket facilities (a trained chef cooks to order in the base-lodge cafeteria) are reasons to make the trek to Quebec. It's so uncrowded that this year's special (for only C$68) includes lodging, two meals, and lift ticket. Le Massif is not for the faint of heart¿steep slopes facing down toward the St. Lawrence River are a trademark. The mountain also has dedicated training runs for all World Cup disciplines except men's downhill.
2. Magic, Vermont
3. Burke, Vermont
4. Saddleback, Maine
5. Middlebury Snow Bowl, Vermont

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