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Okemo — Mountain layout

Mountain Layout—Skiing

The mellow skiing and much of the beginning ski school action take place on the gentle rise served by two sister lifts, South Ridge Quads A and B. These two quads also provide access to several clusters of slopeside condos and townhouses, as well as serving as the gateway to the rest of Okemo’s lift system. There can be a logjam at these two lifts, but once up on the mountain you can choose from several chairs to get to the upper trails.

The Jackson Gore base area is a more laid-back alternative, and is less crowded on busy weekends. The Coleman Brook Express serves beginner terrain and accesses the Jackson Gore Express, which takes you to 2,725-foot Jackson Gore Peak. It also links you to the main mountain. The Northstar Express is always the most popular on weekends and holidays. To save time, take the Black Ridge Triple to the Green Ridge Triple. Both Green Ridge and Northstar unload by the Summit Lodge.

Another well-kept secret: ride the Sachem Quad to the Glades Peak Quad and head to the South Face Area in the morning to enjoy the glades and long cruisers.

Here is a larger, more detailed trail map.

Expert, Advanced: There are no true double-black trails on the mountain. Outrage and Double Black Diamond are both gladed and not particularly precipitous, but enjoyable and challenging with proper snow conditions. Black Hole, at the top of Jackson Gore, has tight trees and a healthy pitch.

Quantum Leap and Vortex, on Jackson Gore, have a good pitch at the top but quickly mellow out.

The other challenge is Okemo’s mogul runs. Wild Thing, Blind Faith and Punch Line are often left to bump up; when groomed, they are delightful cruising runs. Elsewhere on the mountain, you can often find manmade bumps on Sel’s Choice and the Ledges.

Intermediate: Overall, the pitch on this mountain is so consistent and the trails are so similarly cut, a skier would be hard pressed to describe the difference between Dream Weaver at one side of the mountain and Sidewinder on the opposite side. This is not a negative, just a fact of life.

Intermediates should choose their trails based on crowds. Our experience has been that while a cruise down Punch Line and Blind Faith may be crowded, wide arcing turns can be made down Upper and Lower Tomahawk and Screamin’ Demon without another person in sight.

As its name implies, the Solitude area is often the least crowded and has loads of intermediate terrain.

Beginner, First-timer: The 4.5-mile Upper and Lower Mountain Roads are the easiest route from the top. But beginners can ski virtually anywhere marked intermediate on this mountain. The Green Ridge triple and the Solitude Peak high-speed quad have many trails that are wide enough to allow traverses and mellow enough to help you maintain control. On Jackson Gore Peak, try Tuckered Out for a long, winding slide punctuated by gentle undulations and fine views.

Jackson Gore makes all the difference for first-timers. This area, with its two moving carpets and high-speed quad serving gentle terrain, is tailor-made for novice and beginner skiers and riders. The rental shop, Learning Center and kids’ programs are all in the same building too. Choose to start here, if possible.

That said, we’ll tell you about the learning area near the original base lodge. It’s served by two quads and two free surface lifts. Unfortunately, the first novice lessons take place in an area that is crisscrossed by more advanced skiers moving between lifts and condos. Fortunately, the children’s learning area at Jackson Gore is tucked away from other skiers.