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November 07, 2007

The Schedule

The schedule is out!

Below are the projected opening days for Vermont's ski areas for the 2007-2008 season. Killington, as is its custom, plans to be first. Stratton, Stowe, Smugglers' Notch, Sugarbush and Jay Peak will not be far behind. By mid-December, every lift-serviced ski area in the sate should be offering at least one ribbon of white.

Of course, early season opening plans are just that -- plans -- weather-dependent ones no less. But friends, so far this November, the weather is permitting. It's not exactly bending over backwards, but it's at least permitting some quality snowmaking. Mother Nature, we can say, is having a permissive autumn here in the Green Mountain State.

Nights have been cold. Days have been above freezing but cool. Natural snow has been ever elusive, but, to quote Red at the end of Shawshank Redemption: "I hope ... I hope ... I hope."

Anyway, on to the schedule:

Ascutney, Nov. 23

Bolton Valley, Dec. 7

Bromley, November

Burke, Dec. 8

Cochran's, Dec. 15

Jay Peak, Nov. 23

Killington, Nov. 16

Mad River Glen, Dec. 15

Magic Mountain, Dec. 15

Middlebury Snow Bowl, Dec. 8

Mount Snow, as soon as possible

Okemo, November

Pico, Dec. 15

Smugglers' Notch, Nov. 23

Stowe, Nov. 21

Stratton, Nov. 21

Sugarbush, Nov. 23

Suicide Six, Dec. 21

November 7, 2007 at 07:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 05, 2007

The price is right at autumn ski swaps

It’s ski swap season as we prepare for the snow to fly.

Cochran's Ski Area in Richmond got into the act last weekend at Camel’s Hump Elementary School; Smuggler’s Notch’s annual event was in October at the Champlain Valley Exposition.

With retail prices for top-of-the-line skis passing $1,000 and snowboards going for more than $600, it’s important to keep these swaps on your radar if you’re in the market for new gear. At face value, the cost of skiing appears to be high and getting higher. In reality, though, there is more leftover inventory warehoused at ski areas and ski shops at this time of year than industry folks know what to do with. That includes last year’s models still in the wrapper, used gear in various stages of their life span and rental equipment hitting the market for the first time.

With all this great equipment flooding the market, it’s hard to justify dropping a grand to get outfitted. Especially when you factor in the cost of a season pass (which is best just not to think about; swipe the credit card and move on). The fall ski swaps and sales take prices into the reasonable range, and further, to the point where some truly remarkable deals on everything from jackets to bindings to quality skis and snowboards are available.

If you missed them this year, just keep them in mind for 2008-2009. That same pair of skis that is retailing for $1,200 in ski shops today could be on the block for less than half that at the swaps next year – and still in the wrapper!

November 5, 2007 at 07:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)