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Monday, October 31, 2011

Ski and Surf Jay Peak

A powerful nor’easter that swept up the East Coast this weekend dumped snow in Boston and the New England peaks. In fact, a few ski resorts like Sunday River and Killington opened early to get the first taste of winter weather. In northern Vermont, Jay Peak received 7 inches of snow. That’s no surprise. Bordering Quebec, Jay Peak receives more than 370 inches of powder, more snow than any other ski area in the East. Being this far north, Jay also accommodates far more Quebecois than New Yorkers. This might change now that the resort has poured more than $200 million into renovations in the past two years as it tries to rival Stowe as the premiere ski resort in northern New England. The Tram Haus Lodge, a 57-suite ski in/ski out lodge, made its debut last winter, along with a new nordic center, and ice skating arena. Set to debut this December is The Pumphouse, an indoor waterpark in the new Hotel Jay that will include a fully retractable open air roof and the longest indoor lazy river in America.  The park also features a 50-seat bar overlooking the rides, a slide that drops its passenger into a free-fall, and the Double Barrel Flowrider—a standing-wave ride that will allow visitors to “surf” in Vermont.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/31/11 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Vermont Skiing is Open for Business

I just finished a story for The Boston Globe on the impact of Tropical Storm Irene on the ski areas of New England. The deluge of rain forced rivers to overflow, washing away bridges, collapsing roads, and causing structural damage at base lodges at ski areas. Well, we’re a resilient lot in New England, with work crews quickly coming to the rescue. The good news is that less than 2% of roads in Vermont are still closed and that number will surely decrease by the time ski resorts open in mid-November. The entirety of Route 100, which travels south to north along the spine of the Green Mountains, is now open. Not only is accessibility no longer an issue, but Vermont ski areas have made improvements. Mount Snow is installing America’s first high speed detachable six person bubble lift this season. Killington plans to unveil a new lift-served tubing park, a new outdoor bar overlooking Roaring Brook, and will introduce Olympic Gold Medalist Donna Weinbrecht as a women’s clinic instructor. Sugarbush is featuring a new Lincoln Park base area, while Stowe has replaced the FourRunner chairlift on Mount Mansfield with a new high-speed detachable quad. The fun continues at Okemo on their four-season mountain rollercoaster and at Jay Peak, which will open a new indoor waterpark. Good riddance, Irene. Don’t let the door smack you in the ass on your way out. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/21/11 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ski Revelstoke

Those same summer guides that took my family rock climbing and white water rafting in the Canadian Rockies this summer are hardcore skiers once the first snow falls. And which ski area were those guides raving about? Revelstoke. Located about two hours northeast of the Kelowna Airport in eastern BC, Revelstoke has the most vertical in North America, attracting the expert skier who wants a taste of the Selkirk powder, via traditional ski trails, heli-skiing, or cat skiing. The only knock against the ski area was its lack of terrain and infrastructure for young families. That’s all about to change. New for the 2011/2012 ski season is a new beginner’s slope with snowmaking, a tubing park, a kid’s outdoor center, and new child care facilities. Watch out Whistler, because Revelstoke is starting to make a big push for international clientele.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/20/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Big Sky Planning to Add Direct Flights from New York to Bozeman, Montana

With direct service from San Fran and Atlanta, much of the country already knows about the big skiing at Big Sky. Add neighboring Moonlight Basin, connected by trails from Big Sky, and you have 5,532 skiable acres, more than any other ski area in America, including Vail. The ski area has just received a grant to help implement direct service to Bozeman from New York’s JFK. Many northeasterners already head to Big Sky, lured by the lack of lift lines (there’s less than 100,000 people in a 100-mile radius) and the 4,350 vertical with the last bit of stretch up Lone Mountain (elevation 11,166 feet) reached by a tram. Add the proximity to Yellowstone National Park in the serene winter months, less than an hour’s drive and easily accessible on a day tour, and you have one of the country’s best winter experiences. New this ski season is five new gladed runs off the Ramcharger chairlift.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/19/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Toast to High West Distillery

The Park City ski area has had a lot of changes over this past year, with the opening of the new Montage resort in Deer Valley and the unveiling of both the Waldorf Astoria Park City and Hyatt Escala Lodge at Canyons ski area. But my favorite debut is the first distillery to open in Utah since Prohibition, High West Distillery and Saloon. One snifter of the small-batch rye whiskey and you might suddenly have that extra edge you need to attempt that black diamond trail. Remember it’s the whiskey talking, son, so don’t do anything rash.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/18/11 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Use Liftopia When Heading to a Ski Resort This Winter

With a chill in the air and the leaves starting to change color in Boston, I’m going to preview the ski season this week on ActiveTravels. First up is the website Liftopia. What Liftopia does is simply offer deals at over 150 ski resorts in America. Pick the date and ski area you’re headed to and you could get a serious reduction on the price of a lift ticket. So much in fact that it should always be your first stop before heading to the mountain. For example, this week they’re offering 40% off the early season pass at Utah’s Snowbird, 78% off a lift ticket at Colorado’s Monarch Mountain, and 61% off Bolton Valley in Vermont. You can also follow them on Twitter @liftopia.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/17/11 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rekindling My Love for Cross-Country Skiing

The Northeast has received more than its fair share of snow this winter. In fact, Boston is set to receive another 2-4 inches this evening. I’ve taken this opportunity to x-c ski at three of my favorite spots in New England. In January, I celebrated my wife’s birthday by skiing in the Berkshires at a Trustees of Reservations property called Notchview. While researching my first book, Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England, I skied at Notchview and remembered it being one of the premier spots for the sport. Upon my return trip, it was even more magical, with a healthy dumping of fresh snow creating a winter wonderland of bent pine branches. This past weekend, my family stayed at the historic Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire. On Sunday, under clear blue skies, I took my daughter and nephew for a morning jaunt on the web of trails found at the Bretton Woods Nordic Center. Mount Washington and its broad-shouldered slopes and snowcapped peak could be seen in its entirety, not wrapped in any clouds, which is a rarity in these parts. It was another glorious outing smelling the pines while cruising along a stream. This coming weekend, we’re off to Stowe, Vermont, to cross-country ski at Trapp Family Lodge during the height of the maple sugar season (see the best trips of the month section to the right of this entry). I look forward to tackling the Parizo Trail once again and having my bowl of soup in the cozy cabin. For dessert, I’ll try the homemade maple taffy.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/24/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Ski Vermont Insider App

Ski Vermont has teamed up with Insider Network to develop a new app that offers skiers and boarders exclusive deals and discounts based on where they like to ski in the state. So far, Killington, Mad River Glen, Mount Snow, Okemo, Smugglers’ Notch, Stowe, Stratton, Sugarbush, and Suicide Six are participating in the Ski Vermont Insider. The latest snowfall and trail openings, lodging and après-ski deals, two-for-one lift tickets, ski rental discounts, even a chance to win a free ski pass for next season are currently being offered. The app launched in January.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/15/11 at 01:59 PM
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Friday, February 04, 2011

Cross-Country Ski at Notchview Reservation in the Berkshires, Massachusetts

Last Friday, my wife and I headed to the Berkshires in the western part of Massachusetts to check out the incredibly detailed 500 year-old prints of Albrecht Durer at the Clark Art Museum and the wildly inventive bird and flower sculptures of Petah Coyne at Mass MoCA. The highlight of our trip, however, was cross-country skiing on the grounds of the exquisite Notchview in Windsor. Run by the Trustees of Reservations, Notchview’s trails were groomed with a fresh layer of powder when we arrived. We went counter-clockwise on the Circuit Trail, passing meadows and skiing under a tunnel of snowed-under pines. The web of white branches kept us snug within the forest, protecting us from any wind. After passing a small shelter, we turned onto the Whitestone Trail and entered a winter wonderland of uprooted trees and branches arching over the serpentine path. A downhill run brought us back to the main lodge, invigorated by the fresh smell of pine and the exercise. To top it off, we went to the Old Creamery in Cummington, a favorite local haunt that features homemade soups, grilled panini sandwiches, salads, and pies. The perfect ending to a perfect outing.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/04/11 at 01:59 PM
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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Snowboard Among Champs

If you just saw Shaun White nail his signature Double McTwist to snag gold once again at the Winter X Games and want to see the Flying Tomato do it live, head to Vermont for the 27th U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships. Held March 7-13, the competition takes place at Stratton Mountain Resort, the spot that put snowboarding on the map. This is where Jake Burton first tried the sport and where a young Lindsey Jacobellis took up boarding after her family’s vacation house caught fire, burning all of the ski equipment. Cheer them on, but don’t just be a spectator. There’s a reason why Ski Magazine has voted Stratton the best terrain parks in the east for the past decade. Little rippers can test their freestyle skills on Burton’s Parkway, a kid-friendly area built with the novice in mind. One step larger than Parkway is Tyrolienne, featuring neophyte table-tops to catch air, and wider, lower rails to start grinding. Once you’ve mastered Tyrolienne, it’s on to Old Smoothie for challenging table tops and rails, much higher off the ground. Check out the jumps first or you’ll be doing some serious face plants.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/01/11 at 02:00 PM
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about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association