December 20, 2018

Best Skiing Destinations on the East Coast

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Compared to skiing in the west, the elevations are lower on East Coast slopes and knee-deep powder is a rare sight. But the ski resorts make up for the lack of powder with a high tech mix of natural and man-made snow. In fact, the snowmaking techniques are so advanced that you’ll have a hard time telling the difference on most mountains.

Despite the smaller mountains, there are several eastern skiing areas that have the long, steep runs of the higher western peaks. Our list includes plenty of ski resorts that offer both white-knuckle challenges and the bunny slopes for beginners. Skiing in the east also gives you the chance to experience the charming and scenic New England towns where the popular ski resorts are based.

Travel Tips

The close proximity of mountains within New England makes it easy to visit multiple ski resorts on the same trip. Skiing in New York or Massachusetts is only a few hours drive on the north-south interstates. The same goes for ski resorts in Vermont and New Hampshire. For on-the-road comfort and affordability on your ski vacation, the best way to travel to several resorts is with a charter bus, especially with a group of 10 or more.

At Metropolitan Shuttle, we offer charter bus reservations specifically for interstate travel. When you plan your ski vacation with a group, consider booking a charter with us, a budget-friendly option that is cheaper per passenger compared to other types of travel like airline tickets or taxis and rideshare services. And while we can’t protect you on the slopes, we can keep you safe behind the wheel, a testament to our strict safety guidelines that follow federal standards.

North Conway, New Hampshire

For the best mountain vistas on the East Coast, the Wildcat Ski Resort in North Conway fits the bill. Adventure-seekers in your group will also a get a chance to shred some powder on 2,112 feet of vertical and ride one of the fastest lifts to get there. You’ll also get to experience the charm of a classic New England town in between skiing the slopes.

Sugarbush/Mad River Glen, Vermont

With its stunning natural beauty and diverse terrain, Mad River Glen has become a favorite New England hub for family-friendly skiing. In the 60s, the town of Sugarbush was a big deal among the glamorous jet setters that loved to ski. Legend has it that the term ‘jet setter’ originated in this area. Today, dedicated skiers are drawn here year after year to experience the fun and thrill of Vermont’s highest chairlift. At the nearby Mad River Glen Mountain, it’s a skier’s dream with real snow that follows the curves of the slopes.

Jay Peak, Vermont

Situated in the green mountains of Vermont, Jay Peak has some of the best skiing terrain in the east. Make the most of your ski vacation with picturesque tree glades, long trails, and an abundance of natural snowfall. You’ll find a range of ski runs from beginner level to advanced, making it ideal for the whole family.

Killington, Vermont

Known as the “Beast of the East” in the skiing community, people come here to experience the rugged terrain, including tree glades and lots of bumps. The best place for experienced skiers is the Outer Limits, which features the steepest and longest runs in New England.

Pats Peak, Massachusetts

Only a few hours drive from Boston, Pats Peak is easy to get to and also stands out among other resort areas with nighttime skiing and a large amount of terrain for beginners. When you’re not shredding the slopes, the town of Henniker serves as a cozy backdrop with a charming downtown that features many local businesses and a private college.

Catamount, New York

Another accessible skiing area, Catamount is only a few hours from New York City and Boston. It also has the best beginner terrain in the Berkshires, plus a steep run for experts and a selection of terrain parks for snowboarders and freestylers. If you love the magic of skiing at night, you’ll also find over 32 trails with plenty of lights. When you’re taking a break from the slopes, you can thaw out with a hot chocolate in the nearby town of Hillsdale, which is known for its friendly and relaxed vibe.

Sugarloaf, Maine

Situated in a remote part of Northern Maine, Sugarloaf is a four-hour drive from either Boston or Montreal. But the longer travel time is worth the effort, especially with plenty of natural powder from 200 inches of annual snowfall. It also features the only ski lifts in the east that are above the treeline. In the western mountains of Maine, the ski season stretches into May, giving you access to wide open snowfields and 2,820 feet of continuous vertical.

Stowe, Vermont

With a long history of skiing that dates back to the 30s, Stowe was the ski town where on of the first chairlifts were used, an interesting historical fact along with other notable events that are highlighted at the Vermont Ski Museum. On the slopes, you’ll find Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s tallest peak. More than half of the runs are rated for intermediates while experts can get their adrenaline pumping on some of Vermont’s most challenging trails. Three terrain parks are also available for snowboarders and other outdoor sports like sleigh rides and snowmobile tours.

Tuckerman’s Ravine, New Hampshire

For the best in backcountry skiing, Tuckerman’s Ravine offers stunning vistas of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. The wild terrain provides the perfectly rugged and natural landscape for a true East Coast skiing adventure.

Okemo Mountain, Vermont

Its location in south-central Vermont makes the Okemo Mountain easily accessible by car or charter bus. Along with being close to major interstates, Okemo also has excellent natural snow and well-groomed runs that are perfect for all levels. It also features the longest superpipe in the east and nine top-rated terrain parks, making it a hotspot for snowboarders.

Whiteface Mountain, New York

A mix of natural and man-made snow, these extensive ski trails make up 35 acres of mountainside, including the longest single intermediate run in the Northeast. Whiteface Mountain also features two terrain parks, a beginner’s park, and a half-pipe for snowboarders and freestyle skiers.

Some would say that you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a lift pass, and for those who love skiing, it’s practically the same thing. With winter in the air and eternal spring in your heart, keep calm and shred some slopes!

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October 26, 2018

Traveling with Large Groups on a Budget

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When you consider the cost of transportation, meals, lodging, and other travel-related expenses, traveling with a large group can get expensive. But don’t let that stop you from planning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with your group or organization. On your next trip with a large group, keep the costs down with these money-saving tips from the budget travel experts at Metropolitan Shuttle, the leading Charter reservation company serving the US and Canada.

Rent a Charter Bus

Compared to airline tickets, taxis, and ridesharing services, the price per passenger is significantly less expensive with charter bus travel. At Metropolitan Shuttle, our selection of vehicles features buses with large capacities, which means you can keep your group all in one place during the journey. Many luxury coaches offer amenities for the long haul, like onboard restrooms, comfy reclining seats with footrests, Wi-Fi, and much more.

For shorter trips within a metropolitan area, the school bus is the most budget-friendly option. It might not have the amenities of luxury coaches, but it can safely transport your group from point A to point B for a price that everyone can afford.

Affordable Charter Bus Pricing

When you request a quote from Metropolitan Shuttle, we also give you one upfront price, which means you won’t get stuck with hidden fees that can throw you off budget later on. If you choose a charter bus for your transportation needs, look for trusted companies with an excellent safety record and top-rated customer service. At Metropolitan Shuttle, safety is our number one priority, which is why we verify operators’ safety records and insurance before assigning any to your trip… Our expert customer service representatives will give you a breakdown of the final price to make sure that you understand the exact cost of the trip.

Bring Your Own Food

It’s common knowledge that food and drinks are more expensive at restaurants than grocery stores, especially with large groups. Be sure to mention to your travel expert that you’d like to bring food and drinks for your group, so they can pair you with buses that allow food and drinks. This way you can enjoy inexpensive food and drinks at your destination. If it’s a day trip, you could also ask each member of the group to bring their own packed lunch, which will further offset the cost of food. When everybody has their favorite snacks and drinks to enjoy, tailgating with your group can be a fun bonding activity that also saves the group a significant amount of money.

 

Crowd Funding

Even when you cut corners in all areas, the cost of group travel can be a heavy burden for organizations on a tight budget. But don’t let that stop you from planning an epic trip for your group! In the age of social media, raising money for a group or organization has never been easier. With a small amount of effort, you can call on the online community for support with crowdfunding platforms like Go Fund Me and Kickstarter.

 

Group Discounts

Whether it’s an amusement park, a convention center, or other destination, many companies offer quantity discounts on tickets and passes. In other words, the more tickets you buy, the cheaper the price. Once you have a headcount, you can calculate the savings per passenger, which can be passed on to members of the group. Some restaurants and hotels also offer group discounts, so it would be worth your while to ask about group pricing when making reservations. Not to mention, sometimes the tickets are free for the group leader.

 

Plan Ahead

Travel expenses like charter bus rentals and airline tickets often fluctuate with the seasons, so get the most value for your money when you book your trip a few months in advance. That way, you can lock in the best possible rate, even if you’re traveling during peak season. According to the travel insiders at CheapAir.com, the best time to book airfare is during the prime booking window, which is three weeks to three and a half months before your departure date. For cruise vacations, booking well in advance can also get you extra perks and amenities like drink packages, onboard credits, and Wi-Fi.

 

Financial Apps

Another way to cut corners on group travel is with financial apps that automatically split all of your expenses. Splitwise is free and does all the number crunching for you; that way, you can make sure everyone gets paid back for the money they spent during the trip. The Splitwise app tracks expenses that are group related and then evenly splits group activities, dinners, or entertainment expenses. The app will even send reminders to everyone until the balance is paid off.

Another handy financial tool, electronic payment apps such as Venmo or PayPal are an efficient and secure way for members of your group to exchange money in real time, which helps everybody keep a closer track on daily spending.

Group travel can be expensive but when you incorporate money saving tips into your travel plans, you and your crew can experience the adventure of a lifetime while avoiding feeling overwhelmed by finances. From #FOMO to #YOLO, these budget-friendly ideas will ensure that you never miss out on the fun!

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