2013-14 Preview of Connecticut Ski Areas
Luke Wayne Photography
For the first time in seven years, Connecticut residents will have five ski areas to enjoy close to home. In addition to Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort, there is Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall, Ski Sundown in New Hartford, Mount Southington in Plantsville and Woodbury Ski Area in Woodbury.
Though battling at least seven lawsuits claiming defective premises, Woodbury Ski Area is always first to open for the season. Beginners have already been skiing during limited hours since late October, which owner Rod Taylor says, “We’re pretty proud of.”
“You don’t need a big area to learn how to ski or snowboard,” Taylor says, adding that this year he has improved his tubing park and increased safety, erecting new fencing and replacing lights. He would not comment on whether this was a result of the lawsuits, but says tubing is offered for anyone from beginner to expert.
The former national ski champion, a West Hartford native, says his ski area offers 15 trails, six lifts and a 300-foot vertical drop and is open until 9 p.m. on weekends. It also offers seven different ziplines through the winter, although not if conditions are icy; visitors are advised to call ahead.
Trish Morrissey, director of guest services at Mohawk Mountain, says they hope to be open by the middle of December, but are “always 100 percent ready to go by Christmas week.” A new triple chairlift, a coffee shop offering waffles, a new complimentary bag storage area and all-day ticketing are highlights of the season, she says.
Mohawk, offering 25 trails and a 650-foot vertical drop, will be open until 10 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it closes at 4. Dec. 21 is First Experience Day where anyone who has never skied before will be offered a free ticket, lesson and rental package, all to make skiing more accessible to wider audience. Last year, this event drew 800 people, Morrissey says. “Come on out, give it a try,” she suggests.
Ski Sundown offers 15 trails and a 625-foot vertical drop. It has a total of five ski lifts and is expected to be open by early December, “but if we have cold weather, we will open as early as Mother Nature permits,” says marketing director Lori Shield. “Around Thanksgiving is not out of the question as long as we can open with a quality product.”
With 20 new, efficient tower guns and a new 300-foot conveyor lift in the Sunnyside Learning Area this year, Ski Sundown is open until 10 p.m. most days, and until midnight on New Year’s Eve. It boasts a variety of freestyle terrain with jumps, hits, ramps, banks, fun boxes, jibs, rails, half-pipes, quarter-pipes and moguls.
Mount Southington, with 14 trails from beginner to advanced, has a fleet of new tower snow guns installed on the main trail, Avalanche. The ski area also offers a new “Frequent Skier Passport” for $60 and has night skiing available until 10 p.m. It offers a 425-foot vertical drop and seven ski lifts and also expects to be open by early December.