I have a shiz-ton of pet peeves. I must have been around 15 or so when a switch flicked in my brain and my irritability lobe started working overtime. I know what you’re wondering… Do I keep a running list of people I plan to take down when I have achieved world domination? The answer is yes, I do, and you’re probably on it.
The only thing longer than my list of people-to-be-destroyed is my list of things-that-people-say-that-make-me-want-to-destroy-them. And high atop that list is a question that I hear LITERALLY every time I tell a person that skiing is one of the great joys in my life (as previously stated, it’s a top-drawer simple pleasure that involves donning fabulous get-ups). Of course, the first natural reply is “Where do you ski?” That I can deal with. It’s the rejoinder to my answer (“Vermont”) that I absolutely cannot stand – “You’ve never really skied if you’ve never skiied on the West coast!”
SHOVE IT BIATCHES! Numero uno- I have a deep-seated aversion to the West Coast. I don’t do the frontier lifestyle and I don’t do yoga and granola and New Age homeopathic remedies. And I don’t care if that’s the most ridiculous generalization ever made, because that’s just how it is.
Numero dos- NEWSFLASH! You cannot be going out to freaking Utah every weekend to hone your pizza wedge in SkiWee when you live in Nuevo York people. The joy of East Coast skiing is that you can get a ski house and take your tots out all winter long so they can get amazing at it. Hence why Lindsey Vonn doesn’t have shiz on me.
Numero tres- If there’s one thing I don’t need, it’s a ginormous ski resort with 5 bajillion different trails and terrain areas and whatever the hell else. I’ve been going to the same five glorious, manageable mountains since I could plop my tush on a ski lift. Thus, I know every single trail like the back of my hand and look even more(!) amazing at skiing when I’m on them. Seriously, I dare you to watch me take on Whip at Butternut- it’s breathtaking.
Now that we have that out of the way, I present to you the Feinberg Family school of Ski Areas, in order of awesomeness.
Ages 0-12: The Berkshires
Larry and Linda used to rent a house in the Berkshires every winter, which is where our passion for flashin’ on the slopes was born. Let’s forget about the fact that the house happened to be in the middle of a funny farm for a quick sec – that house was home to pretty much all of my fond childhood memories (aside from the LBI ones, duh): sharing the Solar System room with Beezus, watching The Last Waltz in my onesie, wrapping Katy’s birthday presents in newspaper because that’s all we had lying around. Perfection.
We learned to ski at two mountains: mostly Butternut -still my #2 favorite after Stratton- and sometimes Jiminy Peak. No doubt that both are small, but even in my twenties they’re perfect for a half day, especially since they’re within easy driving distance of NYC and Westchester. Also, each has a couple of blacks that aren’t total jokes, and Butternut has amazing chili that’s perfect for a pick-me up between runs. Just check the snow before you go up there – if the weather hasn’t been cooperating, they can get super icy which sucks.
When we were in high school, we got into Catamount for a while because they had night skiing (i.e. more flattering lighting for picking up boys on the lifts) and it’s a more challenging mountain. For some reason though, it’s way windier at the peak than it is at Butternut or Jiminy, so I’ve since stayed away because a ski mask does not go with my ensemble. But still worth a try if you’ve never been.
The other great thing about skiing in the Berkshires is the handful of adorable villages to choose from. We used to stay in Monterrey, which is right outside of the utterly charmant Great Barrington (definitely check out Martin’s for breakfast one day- one word: crayons). Lennox, Stockbridge, Egremont, and Hillsdale are all equally fun for a non-ski day and have nice restaurants, tzotchke shopping, etc.
Ages 12 and up
Once Larry confirmed that we didn’t need lessons anymore (and in my case, could finally start using poles), it was time to start skiing bigger mountains. For a while, we kept using the house in Monterrey and would just wake up extra early to make the trek up to Vermont, but now we just take a weekend here and there to get in our yearly ski.
Our go-to in Vermont is Stratton – it’s got a tippy top drawer little ski village at the base of the mountain with great condos/ hotel rooms to stay in. And the mountain has just enough to keep you busy for 2-3 days of skiing. It’s not far from Burlington and Manchester if you really feel the need to do more extensive shopping, exploring, etc (cough cough Katy and Linda). We’ve also done Sugarbush – very similar spot, but it’s WAY farther from NYC/ Westchester than Stratton. In my opinion, it’s really not necessary to drive the extra two and a half hours, but whatever floats your boat. One bonus is that the original American Flatbread is nearby, and the pizzas are way danker than the frozen ones you get at H Teets.