I have family in Ludlow, so I have been lucky to be skiing this great mountain for almost 20 years. With 14 lifts, 98 trails and a huge and efficient snowmaking system, you can always bank on good conditions and relatively crowd-free trails at Okemo. I love the place because it is friendlier and less chaotic than the nearby behemoth Killington, and it also lacks the crowds of high school and college kids flinging themselves down the mountain that are prevalent at many other East Coast ski spots. Okemo has an excellent ski school that caters to beginners of all ages, and their efficient high-speed lifts (some of them quads) whisk you up to the summit in no time. The staff is friendly and courteous, and the ski patrol is top-notch. Okemo welcomes both skiers and snowboarders, and even has a half pipe. It's a good place to start your little ones skiing or snowboarding, and also a good place for couples just looking for great conditions and minimal hassle.
Daily lift tickets are available in full day ($51 midweek adult/$56 weekend adult) and half day ($39 midweek adult/$42 weekend adult.) Multi-day and season passes are also available, and they run specials every once in a while.
Due to their incredible snow-making system, the conditions are always pretty decent, even in November before the big snows come. I know the East Coast gets a bad rap for icy conditions, but in my many years of skiing Okemo I have rarely had to contend with ice patches or slushy conditions. The one thing to remember is that Vermont temperatures are really COLD - I get excited when the thermometer reads in the mid-20s, that's a warm day! You really have to have proper gear to keep you warm.
The base lodge at Okemo is typical - pro shop, lockers, damp changing rooms, a large cafeteria with long rows of tables. Do yourself a favor pack a picnic lunch, the food is awful and overpriced. We like to pack a good lunch and eat it at either the Sugar House Lodge, near the base of the Northstar Express quad chairlift (about halfway up the mountain), or at the Summit Lodge near the top of the Northstar Express - it has beautiful views. The lodges that are located up on the mountain are a bit nicer than the busy base lodge.
Okemo is in the process of opening another mountain, Jackson Gore, which is scheduled for Winter 2002. This will add a considerable number of trails and lifts to Okemo's already large network, in addition to an entire village of condos,hotels, and shops. They even claim that they are going to have train service from New York via Rutland. We'll see - I just hope this doesn't create a crowd problem.
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