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How Am I Going To Pick A Home Mountain? -- Ski Rex Says...


It was just yesterday I put together a quick news piece about Indy Pass adding seven new mountains to their lineup. Although I am about to link that piece just below this paragraph, that's not really the point of the piece you are reading now.

Indy Pass Has Added Seven More Hills For The Coming Season

Decisions, decisions. In these days of the mega passes, spring now means that skiers and snowboarders get to go back and forth over and over, weighing out the pros, cons, and all the other factors one will use to choose which pass they will pick up for next season.


No, this piece comes from one of the comments that piece picked up on Instagram. As you can see below, fellow Vermont local Get Stoked Productions asked me a question that I haven't been asked in a very long time.

 
I haven't been asked about my home mountain in quite some time. But then, I haven't really had a home mountain in quite some time, which is what I said in my reply. Well, I actually said, "@getstokedproductions that's the beauty of me. I'm in a position to pick a new one and I'm in a place where I have a bunch to choose from."

That got me to thinking later on that night. I really am in a place where I can choose whichever mountain I want to be my home mountain. But, then I also asked myself, "What is a home mountain?"

Well, for some, the answer is going to be very literal. It's right where they live. For me, as I have said more than once here on Ski Rex Media, my first home mountain is Mount Snow down in West Dover, VT. I grew up in that area, graduated from high school just one town over, and I worked at that mountain all through and just after high school. I also skied it as often as I could and more than anywhere else at that time in my life. That really was my home mountain. But now, I live about an hour and a half north of there, so could it really be my home mountain? I think it could if I ended up there, again, more than anywhere else. That may or may not be likely, but that got me thinking that there is more to a home mountain than it just being in one's town.

The best answer I could come up with is a blend of proximity to one's home, cost, nostalgia, and where a mountain ranks on one's favorite list. The reason I consider it a blend of all those things is because there are those that do not live close to a ski mountain and each person's definition of close can be different. After all, Killington is one of my favorite mountains and I consider it to be kind of close. However, the actual distance is about 35 miles to the base of the Skyeship Gondola out there on US-4. I've also had a lot of good times there over the years, so that works into the nostalgia. But, will I be spending a lot of time there this winter? Again, I'm not sure.

You see, if I take all of those categories I mentioned into consideration, I have more than a handful of hills, all of varying sizes, that are within an hour to an hour and a half from here, all of which have different price points being that Ikon, Epic, and Indy Pass are all represented. I have also had some good times at a couple, and like anyone else, I have the ones that I would consider my favorites that I would visit as much as I could. So, how does one pick a home mountain with so many choices? It won't be easy, that's for sure. I'll show you by going through each category.

-Proximity

The current location of the Ski Rex Media HQ is in Hartford, VT. As I said, that puts me around an hour and a half or less from just about every mountain in the state that isn't Jay Peak or Burke. Also, if I really wanted to tempt fate with the patrols of state and local law enforcement, I might be able to make Burke in 90 minutes. But, I'm not going to do that and I'm not suggesting you do either. Anyway, most of the ski hills in the state aren't really that far from here.

Now, that closest mountain to the HQ is actually just over the border in New Hampshire, which would be Whaleback Mountain, which would be a fine choice for a home mountain. It has a great vibe and it's right up the road, though I have only spent one day there and it wasn't skiing. It was watching others ski and snowboard for a piece I was writing about their World Snow Day Event. To be honest, I haven't skied at the second and third closest hills, either, which would be Ski Quechee and Suicide Six respectively. All of these are less than half an hour away, so I could spend a ton of time at any of them. That makes them all very tempting when it comes to choosing a home mountain.

-Cost

But, how well do they rate when it comes to cost? Well, I'm looking to keep ski expenses to a minimum this year for a few reasons, one of which being that I might not get as much recreational skiing in as I would like while doing projects from Ski Rex Media. I'll still be skiing, but it will be more like "work skiing," if that's a thing?

Whaleback Mountain is not on any of the major mega passes, but they are local, independent, and a non-profit hill. The day tickets there aren't that bad and neither is the season's pass. However, Suicide Six is on the Indy Pass, as are Bolton Valley and Magic Mountain. Again, all of which are a little more than an hour's drive or less away. With the Indy Pass being fairly cheap and having three mountains not far, any of those would fit the proximity and cost categories.

Although, when it comes to what one could get with a pass, Ikon and Epic passes aren't a bad deal, either. Just like the Indy Pass, I have more than a few of them within an hour and a half or less. Mega passes are also tempting in the choice of a home mountain because there are so many other choices when one wants to get away from a home mountain, obviously. 

Yeah, it would seem cost isn't helping me to decide since there are good deals to be had just about anywhere, especially with all the pre-summer sales. Let's move on to the next category.

-Nostalgia

So, when it comes to nostalgia, Mount Snow will win out every time. I have skied there the most, I worked there for several years, and it's where I really honed the craft, not to say I was a wicked good skier, but I did alright. But then, Killington really rates in this category, too. I have had a bunch of good times there, as well as the most embarrassing ski story that I have, which you can watch on the YouTube channel

There's also Stratton, though. After I left Vermont for New Jersey, one of the places I would ski, almost exclusively for a long time, was at Stratton. Truth be told, a lot of my friends that left Mount Snow ended up working at Stratton, so I was getting tickets for nothing quite often, But that doesn't take away from it being an awesome mountain. I had a ton of good times and I have a ton of good memories from that place. So, it falls under nostalgia.

I guess I could throw Magic Mountain in here, as well. Kind of, anyway. No, I have not skied Magic Mountain, but I have spent a lot of time in that area over the years. Again, I had a bunch of friends working at Stratton, which is right around the corner. My friends all live nearby at the time, so I was in that area a lot.

Of course, though just a ski hill, Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro, Vermont was the first place I took a ski lesson back when I was in 6th grade. So, there is totally some nostalgia when it comes to that place, though I don't think I would call that a home mountain. It might be fun to go take some runs there from time to time, but I don't think it fits here.

So, there is a lot for me to think about here, too. I still haven't decided which one to pick, but at least I get to lay this all out there. Sometimes it's easier to make a choice when one can talk about it.

-Favorite Mountains

This category will be quick since I already know my top three favorite mountains. They are, in no particular order, Mount Snow, Killington, and Camelback in Pennsylvania. 

I really don't think I would pick Camelback as my home mountain right now. Yes, I don't mind driving a bit to get to a mountain, but the 6+ hours that it might take from here maybe too much for home mountain status. I just wouldn't be there all that often. Though, I do suggest checking it out if you have the opportunity. It's small, but it's neat. I like it, anyway.

So, that leaves Mount Snow and Killington. I do love both of those mountains.

-Conclusion

It would seem that I have narrowed it down to Mount Snow and Killington, but that's not really true. While they do fit most of those categories, I do think I want to keep my recreational ski budget as cheap as possible so Ski Rex Media gets a decent budget, too. A thought like that brings me back to the Indy Pass, which has mountains that fit more than one category, as well. Hmmm...how am I going to pick a home mountain?

That's really what this was all about. I've told you how I am going to do so, but I still haven't done so. It's kind of hard while it's almost 80° outside. Not that I'm not thinking about next winter. Obviously, I am or I wouldn't be writing something like this.

The truth is, since I started thinking about this last night, I have no idea how to answer the question "Where is your home mountain?" I'm just not sure where that would be right now. I"m guessing I'm going to have to weigh all of the options and see what happens. There are still more than a few mountains that aren't far from here, both in VT and NH, that I didn't mention that could easily fit the bill.

I guess, for now, I don't know how I am going to pick a home mountain. But trust me, I fully intend to test out as many as I can to see which place I, and Ski Rex Media, might like to call home.

Also, shout out once again to Get Stoked Productions (IG: @getstokedproductions - Youtube: Get Stoked Productions) for sparking the idea that became this written piece. Maybe I'll run into you when I'm in your part of the state. #ILoVermont

Top Photo: The Grand Summit Hotel At Mount Snow, Vermont - Credit: Mount Snow




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