Speaking from the Olympic backcountry, I’ve heard it said that glamping is a much better way to spend a week than a trip to the mountains. You could spend the week travelling to the north country with locals, talking meat pies, washing your legs with milk (even moreso this time of year) and beer (you should probably learn how to ski that week, and be making pie yourself), and you would have the ability to walk in the snow instead of being shipped around from one ski area to another. This seems to be more true than ever this year, with our snowpack in the north staying about the same level from last year, and the trails becoming more jammed as the season moves toward June. So, on my first trip outside of the US this spring, I enjoyed a trek through Vermont on trails lined with green leaves and dangling flakes, than drank a six pack and smoked a cold one on the couches of friends watching women’s semis on TV.
So the question seems clear, if skiing season is so much better than ever, why aren’t more people up high enjoying it? The answer: ski passes, lift tickets, and passes to city areas can often get expensive. While skiing may be an affordable way to get away from the world, it is still far more expensive to ski year round than we remember when we were children, especially with the season getting shorter and shorter, or in our case, with glaciers disappearing more and more quickly. The fastest growing option though is the Pekaska ski pass, made available for the first time last year, but not cheap.
The Pekaska ski pass gives you access to the best mountain in the world with a highline lift, direct skiing on terrain features like the Beaver Bank, and access to four different mountain areas, located at Vermont’s Sugarbush, Mount Snow, Brattleboro VT and North Conway NH. You are allowed to go a limited amount of times in each mountain area, allowing you to “winter mash” in your favorite terrain most days, and although the passes have been getting more popular, Sugarbush actually went over their allotment last year with the pass. Still, the Pekaska pass is a wonderful way to keep connected to your local mountains and to access them for limited amounts of time. You can even bring your snowboard and go in the trees during the week or the weekend, but then it’s over and you leave that kind of person behind. It is also more flexible than other passes, where you have to pay full price for days that you are off, making it ideal for when you only go for a day or two.
I was able to take advantage of the Pekaska pass a few months ago, and even though I was heading up to my beloved Vail for some last minute planning, I was able to ski Sugarbush – without paying top dollar – many times in one week and a half. This year with a very new pass, I was able to visit the mountain more often with a week pass, which helped make it the perfect vacation from Vail. But now, I’ve had this one ski pass all the way through the snow season and while I plan to renew it every year, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few passes soon join my traditional seasonal pass. That’s not the worst thing, especially if it means there is a way to stay up top enjoying the best skiing the country has to offer without paying crazy prices for just a weekend trip.
For more information and tips on how to take advantage of this season, visit greenhillcsnow.com, click here to get the latest weekend passes, and find out why you should take this pass.