If you’re attending Plymouth State and have ever been on a mountain before it is almost a given that you will be purchasing some type of season pass this year as the ski/boarding season approaches us. I personally am purchasing one as was wondering exactly which one of these is the best pass for a Plymouth State Student taking into account all the factors such as price, transportation, distance away from the school as well as my personal opinion (coming from a snowboarder who has visited these mountains each several times) on the better mountains that are included in the deals.
The two passes I choose to look at are the New England Pass and the 4-NH College Pass. These both include some great ski resorts in NH however there are some significant differences that needs to be considered as a college student.
Price: N.E.P.(New England Pass)- $349.00 VS. N.H.C.P.(4-NH College Pass)- $319.00
Sunday River (96 miles;approx 1hr 50min away from PSU)- Sunday River is an amazing mountain in the northern part of Maine with 7 different peaks(I know, unbelievable). It has plenty of difficult glades as well as a huge terrain park and worth the trip every time.
Sugarloaf (124 miles;approx 2hr 20min away from PSU)- Sugarloaf is located in northern Vermont and is a very popular mountain, the few times I have gone there were some pretty lengthy lines however some times it just happens. The mountain is a little bit smaller than Sunday River but has plenty to offer nonetheless. I have enjoyed my time there every time I have been however this mountain is definitely a drive.
Loon (24.4 miles;approx 30min away from PSU)- Loon is the mountain that has the most to offer students here at PSU in this particular package. Loon is one of my favorite mountains that has been expanding each year I return. Loon is a bit smaller than the previous two mentioned however they are at no shortage of challenging glades and their parks are fun and original.
Waterville (19.8 miles;approx 30min away from PSU)- Waterville is a small mountain located very close to Plymouth State. Waterville is a fun mountain if you are going for a half day or for a few hours at a time but I found that even visiting this mountain for one full day can get boring only because of how repetitive it is. If the summit is closed you may find yourself running the same 3-5 trails all day long which does in fact get very boring. The drive is what makes this one worthwhile.
Bretton Woods (48.5 miles;approx 50min away from PSU)-Bretton Woods is another fairly small mountain however has a lot to offer. Bretton Woods, when the woods is snowed in, offers several fun and challenging glades, they also have a park that is not crazy but gets the job done.
Cannon (31.3 miles;approx 30min away from PSU)- I have had some of the best snowboarding experiences in my career at Cannon Resort. Cannon is a mid-sized mountain that on a powder day is some of the best skiing around. They offer plenty of glades as well as a few hidden glades, usually with untouched snow. The parks are decent at Cannon however I’d suggest the regular downhill skiing if you make it out to this mountain for some fresh powder. PS. Fun fact, Cannon is the home mountain of 5 time Olympic gold medalist, Bode Miller.
Cranmore (52.2 miles;approx 1hr 25min away from PSU)- Saved the worst for last in this case. Cranmore is a very small mountain a little bit more south than most of the mountains. Every time I have made the trip to Cranmore it has been icy with the snow guns blowing in your face down nearly every trail (this may also be because I would never waste a powder day at Cranmore). If you are making a quick trip when you are passing by this is not a horrible mountain but it definitely not one you would want to ski everyday.
So, now that I have given you the run down on the price, the distance and time it would take to get to these mountains from campus (take into account gas and miles on your vehicle, those times and distances are one way), as well as a little bit of my personal experience while visiting these mountains you might be wondering which one of these passes is going to benefit you more overall…
In my personal opinion I believe that N.H.C.P. or 4-NH College Pass is the better option for MOST students at Plymouth State University. As you can see overall the New England Pass has some sweet mountains all which have a ton to offer however the travel distances to those mountains are the big turn off here. It is called the New England pass for a reason, because they are the best places around New England, not in our local area. The N.H.C.P. targets mountains that, yes are not as big as the other ones, however are located at a much more reasonable distance and for a cheaper price. Included in both passes are about the same amount of variety (variety including number of trails, parks, glades, etc) meaning the main factors are do you want to pay the extra cash, do you have means of transportation as well as gas money and most importantly as a college student do you have the time? I have presented you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on which pass is for you…my only suggestion would be get them sooner than later before the prices spike! Thanks for reading and safe riding!