Okemo: March 30, 2015

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snoloco snoloco
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Okemo: March 30, 2015

To split up the drive from Stowe, my dad and I decided to ski Okemo for a day so we could get another new mountain and try out their new Sunburst Six bubble 6-pack lift.  Here are my thoughts on the place.

First off the place is very built up with lots of condos and million dollar homes lining the lower trails as well as a large slopeside hotel.  We stayed at that hotel called the Jackson Gore Inn.  

The layout is pretty unusual where the main lifts start above the base area and another lift is needed to get to them from the base area.  However I kind of liked it because it means less crowded boring runout at the end.  They advertise 2,200 vertical, but it feels greatly exaggerated.  It feels like 1,800 tops, but because of the layout, you can only ski 1,600 in one lift ride.  They advertise 655 acres, but this also feels exaggerated as it skied smaller than Stowe which advertises 450.  The area is sectioned kind of like Gore and less like one big mountain like Stratton.

The lift infrastructure is great.  The place is served almost 100% by high speed lifts.  The Sunburst Six was the most comfortable lift I have ever ridden.  The bubble is great to get out of the wind and the heated seats are noticeable, though I think they have little effect.  Maybe in colder weather it would be different.  It really only gives a shot of warmth at the beginning of the ride.  It is great to get protection from the elements on a lift without removing equipment and I wish more ski areas had this type of lift.  

The terrain was sort of meh in my opinion.  Maybe it was because we were spoiled from Stowe the two days before.  The trails are very repetitive and most ski very similarly.  There are multiple 4 way trail intersections on all trails on the main mountain.  There was even one area where skiers would go two directions.  It wasn't crowded today, but on a busy day, crashes at these intersections must keep patrol pretty busy.  The trails all have these snowcat built waves on them.   I think they put these in sort of as speed bumps because they reduce visibility so you go slower.  I've never seen these at any other mountain and my dad and I found them quite annoying.  The differences between green, blue, and black were relatively small compared to other places I've skied.  Trails that are about the pitch of Parons Run and Sagamore are marked double black to give WF and Gore skiers an idea of the max difficulty level.  Those looking for gnarly challenging terrain would become quickly bored, but it's core market seems to be mostly families and especially those with young children and it serves this market quite well.  Would I go back, yes, but I'd be more inclined to visit Mount Snow, Killington, or Stratton if I was going to Southern Vermont.

Sorry no pics for now.  They won't insert from my phone.
I've lived in New York my entire life.
Skiray Skiray
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Re: Okemo: March 30, 2015

My Vermont friend once told me this

You know what Okemo means Abenaki (since that was controlled by them) - "Every Run Looks The Same"....

Of course this is not true but, I get what you are saying. We have been invited to ski there a few times and have passed.. In the mid 90's my wife and I loved the place but, now it's just so developed and meh, that we would rather hit a smaller mountain with more variety of terrain.

skunkape skunkape
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Re: Okemo: March 30, 2015

Many people say that Okemo and Mt. Snow are serving similar terrain, with the exception being that Mt. Snow's terrain park is insane!
Z Z
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Re: Okemo: March 30, 2015

Now that you have been to Okemo you know what Park City is like...meh in your own words.  They serve they same market.  Rich folks that can't ski well.
if You French Fry when you should Pizza you are going to have a bad time
snoloco snoloco
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Re: Okemo: March 30, 2015

Coach Z wrote
Now that you have been to Okemo you know what Park City is like...meh in your own words.  They serve they same market.  Rich folks that can't ski well.
I plan to go to Steamboat, not Park City when I go out west.  Even if I went to Park City, it'll be interconnected to The Canyons, so I'd just ski The Canyons mostly which looks better.

Okemo sort of felt like a big Belleayre, but with better lifts and slopeside lodging.  Boring repetitive trails all parallel to each other.  I think my dad and I might have hit it on a bad day, but repetitive trails are repetitive trails.  

Also, the service at Jackson Gore Inn was a joke at best.  They understaffed everything which caused long waits.  We had a great meal at the Coleman Brook Tavern, but half the restaurant was closed and the hostess plain ignored us.  We sat at the bar instead and the bartender there did a great job.  He seemed overworked, but handled everything very well.  He said that he didn't know why everything was so crowded as the hotel was less than half full the night we stayed there.  A group of 2 families soon came next to us and they were shut out of the restaurant.  The adults sat at the bar and the kids all used the barrier between the bar and hallway as a table.  It was pretty funny to watch.  

In the morning, the same thing continued.  They didn't have enough employees to staff the cafeteria for breakfast.  There was a huge line of people waiting while the 3 employees worked their butts off to get the food out fast as management did not call enough in to handle the crowd.  That took about 3 times longer than expected.

My dad sent me to get the lift tickets while he packed things up and brought them to the car.  Once again, that process was a shyt show.  They didn't have the ticket windows open and instead made everyone who was buying anything wait in the same line with only two people at the counter.  This means that those getting rentals and those signing up for kids programs had to wait with those just getting lift tickets.  15 minutes later and listening to kids crying a good chunk of that time I finally got to the front.  We have Vermont Travel Club Cards and I showed them and no one had a clue what they were.  They had no clue what they were.  I almost totally lost it when that happened.  I was literally about to slam the credit card on the desk and say "JUST GIVE ME THE GOD DAMN LIFT TICKETS".  They said I was in the wrong base area and that they shouldn't be giving me the discounted tickets, but they'd give them to me.  I said that "we paid a premium price to stay at your hotel because it was slopeside.  Now you are saying we had to drive to the other base area?  Doesn't make sense to me".  BTW, Stowe immediately knew what the cards were when we showed them to the person at the front desk where we stayed.

Finally, my dad had me go get the skis out of ski check while he checked out of the room.  Once again, it was understaffed and took forever.  We stayed on mountain to make it easier to get on the lift by 9 when they opened.  My dad said that had we stayed off mountain, we would have easily been at the lodge by 8:30 and been on the lift by 9.  It was 9:20 when we finally loaded the lift and I was literally on my last nerve by then.  

Unfortunately Okemo makes it relatively hard to park close if you don't stay on mountain while one can easily park close to the lift at Stratton, Killington, Stowe, etc, so we'd kind of be stuck staying there again if we went back.  Another reason why Okemo is not near the top of the list of places to return to.
I've lived in New York my entire life.
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Re: Okemo: March 30, 2015

Should have read some reviews on here about Okemo... we have all said this before.  

Also, this is why you don't pick ski areas based on lifts.  If they are making the investment in lifts and lodges odds are the money you are spending on your ticket is going to that vs what you are actually skiing on.  
snoloco snoloco
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Re: Okemo: March 30, 2015

We wanted to try Okemo for the first time and while it wasn't a perfect fit for my dad and I, we don't regret going there.  

As for the fact that they don't invest in what you are actually skiing on, that is wrong.  They groomed almost everything on a midweek day late in the season.  That costs money.

High speed lifts don't equal boring repetitive terrain and outdated slow lifts don't equal interesting terrain.  A ski area's terrain quality is determined by the topography of the land, not by investment.  Stowe has nearly 100% high speed lift access and some of the best terrain I've ever skied.  Belleayre has mostly fixed grip lifts and trails all parallel to each other that ski exactly the same.
I've lived in New York my entire life.
witch hobble witch hobble
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Re: Okemo: March 30, 2015

In reply to this post by snoloco
snoloco wrote
..... and listening to kids crying a good chunk of that time.....
Sounds similar to this place sometimes.
ml242 ml242
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Re: Okemo: March 30, 2015

In reply to this post by snoloco
snoloco wrote
Okemo sort of felt like a big Belleayre, but with better lifts and slopeside lodging.  Boring repetitive trails all parallel to each other.  I think my dad and I might have hit it on a bad day, but repetitive trails are repetitive trails.  

My dad sent me to get the lift tickets while he packed things up and brought them to the car.  Once again, that process was a shyt show.  They didn't have the ticket windows open and instead made everyone who was buying anything wait in the same line with only two people at the counter.  This means that those getting rentals and those signing up for kids programs had to wait with those just getting lift tickets.  15 minutes later and listening to kids crying a good chunk of that time I finally got to the front.  We have Vermont Travel Club Cards and I showed them and no one had a clue what they were.  They had no clue what they were.  I almost totally lost it when that happened.  I was literally about to slam the credit card on the desk and say "JUST GIVE ME THE GOD DAMN LIFT TICKETS".  They said I was in the wrong base area and that they shouldn't be giving me the discounted tickets, but they'd give them to me.  I said that "we paid a premium price to stay at your hotel because it was slopeside.  Now you are saying we had to drive to the other base area?  Doesn't make sense to me".  BTW, Stowe immediately knew what the cards were when we showed them to the person at the front desk where we stayed.

Unfortunately Okemo makes it relatively hard to park close if you don't stay on mountain while one can easily park close to the lift at Stratton, Killington, Stowe, etc, so we'd kind of be stuck staying there again if we went back.  Another reason why Okemo is not near the top of the list of places to return to.
I'm rarely one to stick up for Okemo but I doubt you found the best terrain there. For one day, if it was empty, I would have a good time there (given good snow). The mountain is wide and there are fun trees in places. I'd namecheck some trails if I could, but i don't remember. It does kind of suck to go from Outrage all the way to the good stuff at Jackson Gore which is low elevation on often thin cover, which is a bummer.

As far as discount cards go, I have a SANY and a VT travel, and I've had the Fox44 and NE Ski and Ride too. It really doesn't make a difference about the resort, it takes one ticket vendor to screw up that part of the process and it happens a lot.

As far as parking goes, there's close parking at Stratton? I thought you had to go through the dumb village to get to the boring terrain? As far as Mt. Snow goes, I'd rather just ski Berkshire East anyway.
snoloco snoloco
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Re: Okemo: March 30, 2015

No, one can park close at the Sun Bowl at Stratton.  There's no village there.

The trees were not in play at Okemo due to a freeze thaw.
I've lived in New York my entire life.
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