(Editor's Note: Here's a quick tour of New England ski sites, prepared by David C. Dionne, The Harbus's advertising manager and a native Vermonter familiar with the slopes of his region and how to get there.)
Northern New England presents a world of skiing opportunities to both the novice and Kanonen -- from the "chicken slopes" of local ski facilities to the dizzying drops of Stowe and Tuckerman.
With the changes in altitude and length of run, of course, comes similar changes in the price of slope tickets and accomodations, to say nothing of available social recreation.
Where, the unfamiliar one might ask, should one go when confronted by New England's great variety of both natural and man-made resources for winter sport?
The answer depends, first of all, on how good a skier you are. The old adage that one must crawl before walking applies particularly to the new skier, for there are few activities that make more physical demands and require better conditioning than alpine skiing.
The new skier's first step should therefore be a few skiing lessons on local slopes to learn the fundamentals of balance and form, as well as to learn the basic exercises that will get rubbery ankles and unused joints in the proper form for 30 miles per hour downhill runs.
If one were to follow this advice, the first stop would be a slope such as the near-by Blue Hills Ski Area in Milton, Mass. Complete with chairlift and snowmaking machine, the area's ski school is under the direction of Olympic Champion Penny Pitou and her husband Egon Zimmerman. Only 30 minutes from Boston via Routes 9 and 128 South, Blue Hills could be a convenient local practice slope as well as the first stop of a formal New England ski tour.
North of Boston, the Boston Hill ski area in Andover, Mass., offers similar practice slopes for the late-afternoon or beginning skier.
Heading due west from Boston on the Massachusetts Turnpike, the slope-hopping enthusiast would want to further his skills on Mt. Tom in Holyoke, Mass. (five miles north of Exit No. 4). There he could take advantage of a recently-expanded mountain-top-to-base slope that is serviced by a 3450-foot double chair lift and 220-foot T-Bar. A Friday night of skiing after classes would be possible, in that the slope is open to the public seven days and seven nights a week.
Wheeling back onto the Turnpike, it is a 40-mile drive to Route 7 and then 12 miles south to South Egremont's famous Jug End Barn -- an overnight haven for the tired skier. Concentrating on social activities, Jug End offers all the facilities needed for the proper way to top off the first day of chapped cheeks and tired ankles.
The dawn of the next day could see the skier, hopefully rested and refreshed, either taking advantage of Jug End's 1600-acre winter sports facilities or burning up the trails at nearby Catamount in Hillsdale, New York.
But the lure of Vermont's fabled resources may be overwhelming at this point, no there's time enough to hit the road North on Route 7 to Routes 9 and 100 and Mt. Snow.