Ready for Maple Ski Ridge

I’ve had it with the liftlines. I’ve had it with crowds and icy groomers and high-speed mega-resort hype. So had my daughter. We wanted someplace low-speed and low-key.

Someplace cheap and out of the way and un-intimidating. Someplace where you could glide onto the lift without hovering close to the inconsistently masked skiers.

We found it. Maple Ski Ridge, a 270-vertical-foot hill, is a few miles off the Thruway and 25 miles outside of Albany. It shouldn’t, I thought, be crowded. Outside of local families, I figured most people would head up to West or Gore or south to the Catskills. And if I figured wrong – an adult holiday lift ticket, purchased online in advance — was only $39.

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Stowe: Before the Shutdown

Snowmelt was already dripping from the eves of the Mansfield Lodge when I swung off Vermont Route 108 and into the Stowe parking lot. It was 45 degrees and climbing, the sun parked amid scattered clouds overhead, with nearly empty trails stacked along the face of Mount Mansfield.

This was before the world was turned upside down. Before our season had ended — not on Superstar in shorts, but with us in our homes and communities waiting to see what would happen next.

It was Tuesday, March 3, just a couple days after a freight train of lake effect snow had blitzed the mountain with the biggest dump of the season.

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Burke: Chasing Winter

Last week winter seemed to be winding down, with above-freezing temps forecast clear up to Canada before St. Patrick’s Day. Desperate to extend winter, I had my sights on a storm forecast to dump nearly a foot of new snow across northern Vermont. After considering my options, I locked onto a hill I’d overlooked in 20 years of skiing Vermont: Burke.

Sherburne Express

I’d read the online commentary: steep, funky, heavily gladed, classic New England twisty with high-quality snow well-preserved by cold temps and a lack of crowds. But to get there you have to drive past some big-name ski areas, most with equal or greater vertical drop, skiable acreage and average annual snowfall.

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