It’s March and 79 degrees. I swear winter decided to either take a year off or just plain missed a memo. Spring seems to be missing the memo too. Either way, I’m not done yet, even though we did just put away the slow blower and I’m wearing sandals and a dress. I’m not done until all of my local mountains have closed up. Diehard? Maybe. Addicted? Heck yeah.
So back when there was still temperatures in the 30’s (that suddenly seems cold) and still significant amounts of snow at ski areas, I visited Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, Maine. I have to admit this was one of the areas I was pretty excited to visit – big mountain, big trails, known for variety. I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint.
Location: Okemo is about 2 ¼ hours away from Manchester, NH. It’s yet another one of those easy drives and fortunately mostly highway. You’ll be headed up 93 North to 89 North and then eventually onto 91 South. Cell reception seemed to be good throughout.
Parking: I could tell that Okemo parking might be more complicated on a busy day, but on a quieter day like I went there isn’t much to it. Just park in the lot across the street from the lodge, and get walking. Just use some caution, as the aisles of cars definitely seem to make for a lot of blind corners.
Ticket Counter/ Guest Services: I didn’t have too much interaction with the staff at Okemo, but for those I did talk to, everyone seemed friendly and helpful.
Price: Vermont in general seems to have the highest of the ticket prices for New England, so at $84 for a weekend day adult ticket – it’s actually not the most expensive. The good news is that if you’re willing to go on a weekday, or can get creative, there are deals to be found. I bought a ticket ahead of time that was good for only Tuesday – Thursday for $49, so I couldn’t complain at all! Check out their Online Only Deals and Steals & Deals.
Lodge: By the time I left, I think I figured out the lodges at Okemo and let me just say – they’re all very different! I made Clock Tower Base Lodge my base camp (big, lots of room, tables, cubbies, but not much aesthetic charm). I dropped into Summit Lodge (awesome view, pretty rustic). And I ate lunch at Jackson Gore’s base area. The lodge there is called The Roundhouse, and while it’s certainly the most beautiful of the lodges, it was definitely the unfriendliest towards baggage and small groups of people. All the tables were big round tables taken up by large groups and their bags, so for a person there alone like me – it was eating on the stairs for lunch due to lack of a seat! I’d suggest that Okemo consider putting in some bar like seating along the windows to cater to single visitors or groups of two. Big tables for eight just don’t always work!
Lifts: Okemo definitely has an interesting lift network. From the Clock Tower Base Lodge, getting high up on the mountain definitely means glancing at a map as the big lifts aren’t right at the base. In a way, I kind of like it. All of the lifts I did ride though were in great condition!
Trails: Sometimes when I visit a mountain, I find myself feeling pretty much done after a few hours. Then there are mountains that I’m finding myself wanting to just stay at for a few days. Okemo is definitely the latter. I rode as much of the mountain as I could in about 6 hours, but I still want more! The trail network is intricate and interesting, and there’s a trail for every taste and style. There’s huge parks, wide open trails, glades, windy trails, bumpy trails, and trails that just go on and on. My pick of the day would definitely have to be Tuckered Out. I love a good windy trail with sharp turns, and this one had it with powder pockets to run through. Another pick just for the length and views would definitely have to be Buckhorn to Sunburst to Escape to Mountain Road. Can’t wait to go back next year.
Somewhere around two, I realized I had worked up a ferocious appetite, so it was time to find chicken tenders. I decided to head on over to The Roundhouse on the Jackson Gore side of Okemo.
For $9.75, starving snowboarders such as myself got 3 medium tenders and a helping of fries. The fries were pretty tasty and wonderfully cooked, but while the chicken had great flavor, it lacked a good solid crunch.
Final Score: 3.5 out of 5 Tenders