I was looking forward to staying at Okemo’s Jackson Gore Inn ski-in – ski-out complex in Ludlow, Vermont. In the past, I have skied over to the slopes serviced by the lift at Jackson Gore but I have never stayed at those luxury slope-side accommodations.
I had a one bedroom suite that faced the mountain in Adams House, which included a livingroom/kitchen and two bathrooms. I had two televisions, a fireplace, washer/dryer and a fully equipped kitchen.
In addition to slope-side, this complex includes three restaurants, swimming at the Spring House Pool and a relaxing heated outdoor jacuzzi just steps from the back door. There was a ski locker room for equipment storage and parking in a heated garage. They have early-season weekend packages for under $275 per person, including lift tickets, lodging and all the amenities of mountain-side. Package includes two nights’ lodging in a Jackson Gore Inn room, plus 2 days of skiing and complimentary use of the Spring House. For reservations call (866) 706-5366 and tell them that you read about them in the Ski Bum News.
I was looking forward to zooming down some of the manicured corduroy that Okemo is famous for, but Mother Nature was not accommodating. I woke to a grey morning under a low-hanging cloud. It seems that someone forgot to sacrifice a virgin to Thor to guarantee snow. (Evidently, finding a virgin in that part of Vermont is a little difficult.)
I put my skis on just a few steps from the back door and skied to the lift. As it was mid-week, there was no one waiting at the lift except the lift attendant.
I rode up the mountain and things looked good from the chair but by the time I got to the top of the mountain, mist had created a frozen film on my goggles and I had to scrape it off to see.
I decided to spend the morning exploring the open trails that were serviced by the Jackson Gore lift and had a good time. The snow surface was in good shape but I was forced to stop periodically to scrape the film of ice that kept forming on my goggles from the freezing mist.
After skiing over to the Jackson Gore Express Quad from the Coleman Brook Express Quad that services the Jackson Gore base area, I began to explore all the open trails on this part of the ski resort. I checked out Vortex to Eclipse and then rode up the chair again and skied Upper and Lower Limelight for a few runs.
I decided to ski over to the main mountain, so I took Sunset Strip from the top of Jackson Gore Peak and picked up Mountain Road, skiing it all the way to the Northstar Express Quad. I rod to the top and checked out Jolly Green Giant and Noreaster before going into the Summit Lodge for some lunch.
Okemo offers 650 acres of terrain with 97% snowmaking coverage. The mountain boasts a vertical drop of 2,200 feet and offers 32% novice terrain, 37% intermediate terrain, 31% advanced and expert trails, and 10 terrain park and feature areas. As of this writing, 118 of there 119 trails are open including slopes and glades. There are 19 lifts, including 9 quad chairs (5 high speed detachable quads), 3 triple chairs and 7 surface lifts.
After taking a quick run down Noreaster, I decided to head back to the trails on Jackson Gore to finish up the day. A few more runs did me in, so I went back to my rooms, took a quick shower, changed and drove to Tom’s Loft Tavern for a Happy Hour libation.
Not soon after ordering a beer, a man sat down next to me and we began to chat and I was surprised that he knew many of my old friends from my days of living in Vermont. Tom’s Loft Tavern is one of those friendly places frequented by locals where visitors feel right at home.
The next day, it rained, so I decided to explore the road that leads from the Jackson Gore Inn to the Okemo base area. I had never been down this road and I was impressed by all the beautiful homes, mansions and complexes like Solitude Village that I found there. Some were serviced by their own ski lift, i.e. the Morning Star Triple Chair.
There were only 37 trails open the day I was there but as of this writing, 118 of 119 trails are open. If you are interested in sampling some of Okemo’s legendary groomed trails and zoom down their corduroy, book a ski trip to Okemo and you will have a great time.