When Tim and Diane Mueller bought Okemo in 1982 they took on a mountain with lots of potential.
Remember that nice guy in high school, the one who might not have been an All-American on the football team but who was just plain sweet in every way? Okemo might very well be the "best all-around" of Eastern ski resorts. Readers rave about everything from its customer service (No. 3), famous grooming (No. 2) and overall family feel (No. 3). It's that kind of consistent, solid experience that the Mueller family, who raised their own kids on the mountain, have been working toward for years. As the new Jackson Gore base expands, so does the quality of the Okemo experience. Skiers love the facility. (Despite the "retrofitting" of the older Okemo base lodge last season, it still does not add up to Jackson Gore.) Okemo works hard on the details, like putting mountain hosts on resort shuttles to help answer questions. "A nice overall resort; the folks are just so friendly," says one reader. "Truly cares about the customer," another chimes in. That shows up where it matters most: on the ski surface. Readers frequently praise the quality and quantity of Okemo's pampered snow. ("Best groomed slopes - always.") Some fret over the blueness of the trails and wonder if they'll ever find challenge on the mountain. While some of that is a decision nature made long ago, the new trails at Jackson Gore, which the resort took pains to make as challenging as possible, might offer some satisfaction. One thing is for sure: these trails will be well-covered and cared for. - M.M.
Final two trails of Jackson Gore expansion; lift loading and unloading carpets at South Ridge will reduce waiting times.
Purchase lift tickets at okemo.com, and pay last season's prices, every ticket, every day.
Smokey Jo's BBQ, Sugar House Lodge
Defiance. A must-ski on a busy day. The masses head for Chief and World Cup, or miss the turn to Defiance and hit Countdown.