Chris Carr Waterville Valley New Hampshire Photo Mike Azevedo

Chris Carr. Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. Photo: Mike Azevedo.

Resort Guide 2013-2014: East Coast

Words: John Poulin

Snowboarding on the East Coast usually boils down to one common denominator: adapting. When the park is good, you take park laps. When there’s fresh snow, you ride the trees. If the whole mountain is boilerplate, you just make something work. You learn to work with what you have. The notion that the East Coast is flat, cold, and icy cannot be entirely refuted, but when the mountains of Old Country USA open up and give you the goods, there are few better zones to board. The Slides at Whiteface, New York; Jay Peak, Vermont’s Face Chutes; ride these on a good day and you’ll be a believer.

Most mountains get a couple rounds of smaller park builds going before the big ones are built, but by Christmas you can expect the major East Coast parks to be up and running. As always, it’s up to you to follow the weather and see what’s actually happening in the mountains. Sugarloaf, Stowe, or Jay Peak will be your best friend the week of a storm, but you could be bummed if you hit either one of them during a dry, cold front when the mountain turns to ice. For East Coast pow hunting, count on waiting until at least February, when the anticipated January thaw has passed and the snow cycles start to kick in again. The same goes for the parks.

Snowboarding on the East Coast is about heart. Watch a Yawgoons edit. Picture kids shoveling ice rink snow into the back of a truck to set up a rail in August. See an event like Rails To Riches at Killington, where a win puts you on the Eastern map; gatherings like Back To The Boneyard at Waterville Valley, celebrating heritage; Mount Snow’s newly formed Carinthia Open debuting as the US Open moved Out West last season. Or just have an interaction at any one of the dozens of small time hills throughout the states. Riding is a part of everyday life in these communities and it shows in their commitment to what we do.

Check out the next page for our top 3 freeriding resorts on the East Coast…