March 19th, 2012 11:25 AM
Looking for advice on where to look for potential second home purchase/rental
My family has been living abroad 3-6 months a year for the past few years, but now that the oldest of 3 kiddos is far along in school... we need to stick around. Both my wife and I grew up spending many weekends at a second home in the mountains and we would like to include that in our family. We want to organize a trip this summer to scout out some places we have only heard/read about, but never visited.
Our kids are solid intermediate skiers, but little at 6 and 7. We have a 3rd little one, too. My wife and I are 'expert' skiers. We ski every year at my inlaws, which is a long plane ride away and too far even for a week. And too $$ and hassle. But excellent skiing. I enjoy backcountry skiing, my wife likes the groomers.
Problem is... we live on Cape Cod and the mountains just seem too far for winter weekends, esp. when you include the fact that you have to drive through Boston. For reference, we live near the Otis trails.
We go to VT in the summer for a week or so to visit my folks. Warren/Waitsfield area where I grew up skiing. Awesome place but 4.5 to 5 hour drive from us. Too far for a weekend, even a 3 day weekend. I grew up in W. Mass. so it was not that far. We do love it there. Just wish it was closer. My son suggested Jet packs, which I am looking into.
I played with google maps. Waterville Valley has a great rep. and is 3.5 hours away thru Boston. Borderline distance. We are dreaming of leaving Friday after school and arriving in time for dinner and not feeling tired and spent from the drive.
Wachusett looks good at 2 hours and up 495 from the cape, no need to go through Boston. But it looks small. Would we get bored skiing there for a season? It's close to Boston so is it crazy crowded on the weekends? It's not cheap, for such a small area.
Any other places worth looking into? Southern NH?
While not having explicitly mentioned it to my wife, I was hoping for a place with great trails!!!! Warren, VT has some great riding. Very different from the Cape.
We might use the place in the summer, but the cape is nice. Cape in the winter is so dreary.
We feel that skiing is too expensive unless you bite the bullet, get a season pass, and go all the time. Then it's not that bad.
We are thinking of checking someplace out this summer, and then this winter doing a season rental, maybe with another family. Long term plan might include purchase, but I have to see what we can afford on our budget.
Thanks in advance for any info! If you see a goofball out at Otis on a red Turner or blue Wojcik, that's me.
March 19th, 2012 11:50 AM
JH - Yes Wachusett will have you bored very quickly and it can be very crowded. It is a great place if you are nearby, especially for kids and mid-week skiing/riding but certainly not a "destination". Waterville Valley is a nice place to visit and ski for a few days but I find it very tame and many trails are very wide and straight. Loon is close to this and has better terrain but can be very crowded. In this area I much prefer skiiing Cannon - more of a no-frills ski area and there is no slope-side lodging. It has challenging terrain and is beautiful. Problem with being close to any good mountain is that real estate is very expensive. I skied Mad River for four years straight and then Sugarbush more in recent years, you are not going to find skiing like that in close proximity to the Cape. If the weather keeps up like it is there may not be much skiing in the future in New England! I just came back from a weekend at Saddleback in Rangeley, ME and that is a fun and inexpensive mountain but even from the Boston area it is over four hours away. You can probably find good mountain biking anywhere you go. Good luck with your search.
March 19th, 2012 11:57 AM
Thanks YakFish. We did hike up to the top of Cannon from a AMC hut during the winter one year. Worth looking into.
You seem to be echoing my initial doubts about being able to have fun skiing on a weekend. I was hoping for some magical mountain close to home with awesome terrain, very few people, and cheap lift tickets.
March 19th, 2012 01:06 PM
SS rule the dirt!
March 19th, 2012 02:02 PM
Thanks, but it's 4 hours from us. I love Burke, and that's only a half hour further.
Originally Posted by leebo
March 19th, 2012 02:14 PM
Sounds like you're looking for the light, cheap and strong version of skiing.
March 19th, 2012 03:01 PM
I would look in the Mount Sunapee or maybe a bit further up to Okemo areas, that will get you up closer to where you want to skii and it's a good jumping spot. If you get bored with an area you have a fairly close commute to other areas. Same can be said if you wanted to go to Waterville or Loon, you can get a place up there and then plenty of places within very reasonable driving distances from there so you won't get bored skiing the same mountain over and over again! Good luck in you search! My wife and I are actually thinking the same thing but I live close the NH border so I am thinking about Sunday River or possible Jay Peak!
March 19th, 2012 04:26 PM
Berkshire East Ski area in Charlemont, MA is well and by far the best skiing south of Killington. There is a TON of high quality biking in the area including a growing group of mountain bike specific trails on the mountain and in the surrounding valley. Crowds are low, the views as pretty as any in New England. And real estate relatively cheap.
I live only 30 minutes from there and I think about getting a weekend place that's a little closer...
March 19th, 2012 04:32 PM
that is also. I grew up near there and we had ski team practice there. It's small but has some drop and is not flat.
Originally Posted by Superbman
March 20th, 2012 08:57 AM
I'll throw another vote in for Cannon.
Its got killer trails, definitely better snow (the notch gets winter when other places get thaw/rain), never crowded, and cheaper lift tickets than anything in the area.
Loon is a fun place, but it is crazy on weekends. Waterville is a great family spot, but also very crowded. You get a nice separate family/learning area at Cannon and quality trails on the rest of the mountain. There is some BC stuff to be found, but this wasn't the year for it. They have a lift running on Mittersill (old ski resort abutting Cannon that shut down back in the 80s/90s); think narrow natural trails and trees, very fun!
If you enjoy skiing for the sake of skiing, skip Wachusett, its way too crowded. If you weren't looking long term, it'd be a great family spot to get the kids into the sport, but that doesn't seem to be what you want.
Season pass (No blackouts) at Cannon = $760, day =$68; go 11 times and it pays for itself.