So the countdown has officially reached zero and the snowboarding adventure has officially begun. Today’s trip took me (and Rob) to Burke Mountain in East Burke, Vermont. And now a lovely video introduction…
Anyways, Burke asked yesterday on their Facebook page what we all wanted for Christmas, and I said something along the lines of ‘Snow, but tonight since I’ll be there tomorrow morning.’ Looks like I might have to start believing in either Santa or Old Man Winter again, because it was an awesome day full of packed powder and fun.
Now, the review…
Location: Burke is a good 2.5 hour drive from Southern NH, but an easy drive. Just be careful as you’re going through Franconia Notch since it has it’s own weather pattern up there (crazy snow squalls that stick sometimes as late as May for example). I particularly liked the fact that Burke was located so close to a few decent sized Vermont towns (St. Johnsbury and Lyndon), so necessities like gas and food are easy to find.
Parking: As we learned today, Burke is setup a little differently than most mountains. There is a lower lot and a middle lot. The lower lot is at the bottom of the mountain and the middle lot is literally at the middle of the mountain. I’d recommend parking in the lower lot if it’s bad weather like today (of course we had a truck, so we decided to head to the middle lot). Otherwise, there appears to be a ton of parking, so no issue there.
Ticket Counter/Guest Services: We didn’t have a chance to speak much with the staff at Burke, but to the folks who helped us out at the Bear Den with our ticket issue – thank you. Very courteous and resourceful instead of running us around in circles. Just as a side note to folks visiting, apparently tickets can be purchase at both lodges, but vouchers should be redeemed at the lower lodge.
Price: Lift tickets are fairly reasonable priced at Burke considering the size of the resort. A normal, full priced, high as you can get ticket is $68. I managed to get mine on Liftopia for $39.
Lodges: I had a chance to check out both the Shelburne Lodge and Mid-Burke Lodge. While the Sherburne Lodge was nice, the Mid-Burke Lodge could use a little updating. Both certainly work though with plenty of seating and great locations in respect to the lifts.
Lifts: Burke has 6 lifts, one of which will be making it’s grand debut tomorrow. I only had the chance to check out one of the lifts today – the Sherburne Express, a high speed quad. From what I saw (the many times I rode it), everything was in great condition and lift operators are quick to get lines moving.
Trails: I’m a fan of big open trails and glades (kind of opposites there), so places with big open trails or glades are always going to be my favorites. I don’t like little narrow trails that you always feel like you’re going to run into someone, and Burke doesn’t seem to have those. Every trail was massive, both in distance and width. Even with some hilariously flat spots (I know, I know – places weren’t graded originally for snowboarders), it made for a fun day of carving some nice big turns in fresh powder. Another cool feature of Burke is their separation of easy from difficult. I’ve never seen a mountain do it before and it’s awesome. The top of the mountain (above Mid-Burke Lodge) is the Blues and Blacks. The bottom is the greens. That simple. Wow.
Ok, now the moment you’ve all been waiting for because I know you’re here for the food reviews. 😉
I checked out the chicken tenders at the Kingdom Cafe in the lower lodge. At $8.25, it came with 3 fairly good sized tenders and a side of fries. The chicken was real chicken (just wait until the review when I say ‘unidentifiable meat like substance’ – oh boy) covered with this pretty tasty thick crunchy coating that kind of reminded me of southern fried chicken. Pretty different than the other tenders I reviewed last weekend. Now, the fries sadly dragged the meal down a little. While they definitely had some flavor going on (pretty sure the cook tossed them in sea salt which is pretty cool), they just weren’t cooked enough. Thin fries were alright, but big fries… not so much.
Final Score: 3.75 Tenders out of 5