Is the Subaru Outback the Ultimate Ski Car?

We’ve been thinking about replacing our 2006 Honda CRV. While I have always been a “drive it into the ground” kind of guy, our last two mountain cars, both CRVs, have shown more rust than I’d like after six years. Both cars looked fine, but upon close inspection, it was evident that to get value on the trade-in, it was time to sell.

ski vehicle
2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i

After owning six consecutive Hondas, we’ve been considering switching to a Subaru Outback. While I’m not a fan of the styling, the Outback would fit our need for a high-mileage highway car, with the traction to negotiate our steep driveway, and a state-of-the-art automatic transmission to make Sunday night traffic more tolerable.

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Driving to Ski Country

I saw an advertisement for a furniture company that appealed to me. The whole commercial was about how they built their own recycling plant and they take back all the packaging for your furniture, promising it will be recycled. (That’s one part of new stuff I always hated — all those boxes and stryofoam peanuts by the curb.)

I went on the web to look them up and send them a note. I got sidetracked and ended up in a “chat” with a customer service rep. She was clearly personally invested in the company and said she had been “chasing a job with them for 2 years.” They are in Syracuse.

Got me thinking about moving yet again. I did some mapquest: 3 hours from Syracuse to our place near Gore vs 4 hours 50 minutes from here in downtown NJ. It’s a shorter and much easier drive with significantly less traffic.

While that would be a significant improvement in the drive to Gore, it’s not really not that much better for all the Vermont resorts including Killington, Sugarbush, Stowe or Jay.

On the other hand Albany would be much closer to Gore and almost everything else. Basically 3.5 hours off my drive to anywhere, and even more if you go up along the Northway. Then I just start mapquesting everything.

All these times are from Central NJ:

  • Gore: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Killington: 4 hours 50 minutes
  • Sugarbush: 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Stowe: 6 hours 45 minutes
  • Jay: 7 hours 30 minutes

It usually takes us 5 hours to Gore with one stop, going mostly close to the speed limit and with whatever traffic we hit. So if you add 1/2 hour to all the times, it just seems impossible to get to Killington in an extra 22 mins or Stowe in an extra 2 hours and 10 min. For figuring, use times from Albany by subtracting 3.5 hours and adding in your time to Albany. Are those times realistic?

White Knuckle Storm Chasing

If you’re a skier from MASH (aka Mid-Atlantic Ski Hell) like me, you’ve done some white knuckled storm chasing up through the Hudson Valley.

Winter Storm Warning

This afternoon was a challenging drive. Before leaving, I knew I had to drive through freezing rain warnings. There was ice on the trees and my antenna. But somehow the road never got slick. The ground was warm enough and the airtemp was not that cold either. The storm shown on the NWS county map…there were 2 counties I had to pass through with freezing rain warnings and Northern Warren County is right in the center of the Winter Storm Warning area. It’s a classic type for me.

It actually all started for me with St Patricks Day 2007. I drove up in 3 consecutive storms that season to get some great skiing. The way the storms work, if there is going to be significant potential for snow in the Adirondacks, there’s also a really good chance that the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico are involved.

A storm with good potential for Gore or Whiteface is quite probably pouring a cold rain in New Jersey. And somewhere between here and there there’s a transition zone. Sometimes the precip will basically go from rain to rain/snow to snow. That’s really no problem. Sleet can really jam up your windshield if you don’t have a strategy for keeping it clear. Freezing rain can mean really long delays or worse.