The Most Useless Pods in New England

joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
in NELSAP Forum Posts: 1,403
I couldn't resist riverc0il's suggestion to start this thread.  A few ground rules.

1. The area at which the pod is suggested must be at least 500' vertical.
2. Rope tows do not count unless the nominator can demonstrate it as unusual in some way.
3. The pod can't be the only lift at the area. 
4. If two lifts serve the same pod, the second is for crowds and shouldn't be designated as useless (e.g. the double on Snowshed that was just removed)

The initial nomination for this lift is the High Country at Waterville Valley although the dissenters see it as an opportunity for early season skiing and the ability for WV to call themselves 2K vertical.

Some would suggest the Section of the Killington Gondola from Rte. 4 to Northbrook and the Sunrise Chair in it s present state to be valid candidates.  Killington's real estate owners would disagree with thath and the people who advertise only New England area with over 3K vertical want at least the full gondola.  

What else do you have?
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Comments

  • JonniJonni novice
    Posts: 19
    Part of me wants to suggest the old Banshee pod at Cannon, but there's no lift there anymore. So it technically doesn't count.
  • xlr8rxlr8r intermediate
    Posts: 28
    I don't know if it counts still as an individual pod but the Duckling Double at Sunapee is useless if the Spruce triple is running.  It used to be the main lift for those slopes but now it is essentially a backup lift.

    Both the quads out of Whitecap base at Sunday River are pretty useless.  There names have swapped when Boyne bought the place, so I think the one up Tempest is now just the Whitecap quad, and the one serving Moonstruck by the Summit hotel is the Little Whitecap quad.  Tempest is a good run, but all other lap-able trails off of Whitecap quad require the long Roadrunner run-out.  It would have been better to design a way to get to lower Obsession from the top of the Whitecap quad to make for a nice lap-able blue cruiser.  essentially WCQ is just an access lift either to Barker base or the White Heat quad.  The Little whitecap quad pod is a nice low intermediate pod that no one seems to ever use, this chair is always deserted.  It only really gets used by guests at the Summit hotel at the end of the day.

    Oz is useless because it barely ever is open and never matched its hype or met its original intent.  The Oz quad also barely ever runs, but not really an issue because almost everything is accessible from Jordan.

    While not useless as it is usually crowded and is centrally located on the mountain, the Solitude pod at Okemo I think is the most boring pod ever designed.  All trails there are the same pitch, all are straight as an arrow, and all have the horrible mountain road cutting across them halfway down.  This pod is the prime example of why Okemo gets labeled as boring, there is no character to this pod.
  • NJSkiNJSki advanced
    edited January 24 Posts: 229

    Birdland at Mad River Glen. The lift rarely operates, Birdcage is never open, and despite having the nice Novice terrain, you still have to get there from the top of Sunnyside, and find your back to the bottom at the end of the day.


    North Creek Ski Bowl at Gore. The real estate development never happened, so this was a waste of $$.

  • z1000307470z1000307470 intermediate
    Posts: 65
    NJSki said:

    Birdland at Mad River Glen. The lift rarely operates, Birdcage is never open, and despite having the nice Novice terrain, you still have to get there from the top of Sunnyside, and find your back to the bottom at the end of the day.


    North Creek Ski Bowl at Gore. The real estate development never happened, so this was a waste of $$.

    I disagree about North Creek. NYS did this to create another entrance to Gore and tie Gore to North Creek. NYS is not a promoter of RE, unlike every privately run resort. The RE developer has no clue to what would have worked and the development is not dead yet. In addition, the terrain in the Ski Bowl is awesome.
  • SnowmasterSnowmaster advanced
    edited January 24 Posts: 153
    The two tiny beginner areas at Loon. Little Sister has been turned into a park, but that's where the progression to brookway and lower bear claw would be. Kissin Cousin is gentler and has the pony tow, but looks crappy because they've reworked the chair and trails so many times. When you're ready to progress, there are no green trails that will get you back to the west basin area. Hopefully the new beginner area on south peak solves these problems, but I doubt it'll be open early and late season.

    At Black NH: the shovel handle lift... A hike away from the rest of the base area and otherwise not connected to the ski area.

    Stratton: Tamarack... Nice gentles terrain, but the oldest slowest lift on the hill, and they've cut down all the trees for mega mansions. At the top, you can see the summit 6, but it's uphill to actually get there.


  • z1000307470z1000307470 intermediate
    Posts: 65
    Kidderbrook at Stratton - they pulled out the FGQ about 10 years ago and now if you want to ski the terrain you have to take what feeles like a 2 mile pole out to get to the Sun Bowl Base. It has some fun tree skiing, but that runout at the bottom is a nightmare. 
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    edited January 24 Posts: 892
    NJSki said:

    Birdland at Mad River Glen. The lift rarely operates, Birdcage is never open, and despite having the nice Novice terrain, you still have to get there from the top of Sunnyside, and find your back to the bottom at the end of the day.


    North Creek Ski Bowl at Gore. The real estate development never happened, so this was a waste of $$.

    :x :x :x   I was in the Birdcage on Saturday.  Johnny Cash was playing on the loudspeaker and I had a hot cocoa.  Rode the chair three times, really enjoyed it.   I love Birdland!  You can keep that crazy stuff with the ice covered rocks and the moss and the trees, give me Birdland!!!!  


       North Creek Ski Bowl is a great way to avoid the crowds -- when the connection is open.  But otherwise I can see your point here.
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 710
    Should beginner pods really be on this list? They have a pretty clear purpose whether or not you use them.  And their lifts must be slow as beginners don't load or offload well.

    With respect to Sunday River, the names of those two quads have always been White Cap and Little White Cap.  Tempest is just the trail under the White Cap Quad. And both serve a purpose as well:  White Cap Quad serves housing and main resort access from the White Cap Base Lodge while Little White Cap Quad serves housing and access to White Heat.
  • NJSkiNJSki advanced
    Posts: 229

    NJSki said:

    Birdland at Mad River Glen. The lift rarely operates, Birdcage is never open, and despite having the nice Novice terrain, you still have to get there from the top of Sunnyside, and find your back to the bottom at the end of the day.


    North Creek Ski Bowl at Gore. The real estate development never happened, so this was a waste of $$.

    :x :x :x   I was in the Birdcage on Saturday.  Johnny Cash was playing on the loudspeaker and I had a hot cocoa.  Rode the chair three times, really enjoyed it.   I love Birdland!  You can keep that crazy stuff with the ice covered rocks and the moss and the trees, give me Birdland!!!!  


       North Creek Ski Bowl is a great way to avoid the crowds -- when the connection is open.  But otherwise I can see your point here.



    I love MRG and Birdland. Love the whole old school ambiance of the Birdcage, but how many days a year does it operate? I have also tried to lead a few novices to and from Birdland, with disastrous results. One person gave up on the sport that day. I wish it was easier to access.

    I just don't see Ski Bowl Village happening. It's been what, 10 years now since they got the green light? NY state just announced a major cash investment into Whiteface and Gore, and none of that is headed to the North Creek Ski Bowl.  


  • Posts: 1,670

    The two tiny beginner areas at Loon. Little Sister has been turned into a park, but that's where the progression to brookway and lower bear claw would be. Kissin Cousin is gentler and has the pony tow, but looks crappy because they've reworked the chair and trails so many times. When you're ready to progress, there are no green trails that will get you back to the west basin area. Hopefully the new beginner area on south peak solves these problems, but I doubt it'll be open early and late season.

    At Black NH: the shovel handle lift... A hike away from the rest of the base area and otherwise not connected to the ski area.

    Stratton: Tamarack... Nice gentles terrain, but the oldest slowest lift on the hill, and they've cut down all the trees for mega mansions. At the top, you can see the summit 6, but it's uphill to actually get there.


    I think most would agree about the Whitney's area at Black is pretty pointless. That's why it's only open for special occasions. It's only kept around for its historical significance.
    - Sam
  • casual_weekdaycasual_weekday intermediate
    Posts: 50
    Morse Highlands at smugglers notch comes to mind, very little vertical and all novice terrain. Although I do believe there is a road that takes you to the bottom of the lift, so maybe it is useful as another entrance to the mountain.
    Ski it or die trying
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 209
    NJSki said:

    Birdland at Mad River Glen. The lift rarely operates, Birdcage is never open, and despite having the nice Novice terrain, you still have to get there from the top of Sunnyside, and find your back to the bottom at the end of the day.

    Couldn't disagree more about Birdland at MRG... that is the mountain's primary beginner and lower intermediate terrain pod! Both the lift and Birdcage are open most weekends between Christmas and President's weekend and the lift is used by those that benefit from that terrain. Contrary to popular belief, Mad River Glen has EXCELLENT beginner skiing and it is at Birdland. A lot of families utilize the excellent ski school programs for younger skiers and they are on the Birdland chair. It is not more useless than any other beginner terrain pod in the region is.

    Regarding Sunday River, I think the White Cap lifts serve their purpose which include condo service and getting people from White Cap base out to other lifts. That is no different than many other base area lifts that are designed to be people movers. I think a useless pod denotes "why would I bother riding that lift to ski that terrain?" White Cap doesn't ask those questions. I would ride that lift to access the rest of the mountain, I would ski those trails to get back to the White Cap lodge. Seems useful. Regarding the Oz lift, that terrain pod is one of the best that Sunday River has to offer so I wouldn't say it is useless. The lift is underutilized and only runs during holidays and peak business but that is different than a useless pod.

    I'm actually having a hard time thinking of pods useless like the WV High Country. A lot of bad lift placements have been fixed with lift upgrades over the years. Maybe going historical would make more sense? 
  • ChuckstahChuckstah advanced
    Posts: 234
    Vickory Bowl at Wawa is useless to me at least.  I don't ski there much, but I've never seen the lift run.  The lift is slow and serves a couple of micro runs.  I guess it has a minimal purpose if it ever runs, as it could keep a park rat or two off the lower lifts.
  • NELSAPNELSAP advanced
    Posts: 110
    Is any lift that allows us to enjoy skiing truly useless?

    Maybe a term like "limited trail pods". North Lynx at Sugarbush is one - triple chair and just 3 trails (which is a low ratio for a non-beginner chairlift) - however, 2 of them, Sunrise and Birch Run are among my favorites, semi-gladed with a lot of character.
  • NJSkiNJSki advanced
    Posts: 229
    Looks like I am in the minority about Birdland. I am actually happy to feel "wrong" about my opinion. I love MRG and everything about it. I guess my timing is off with the Birdcage.
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing advanced
    Posts: 469
    Was going to mention Vickery as well...

    Ditto kudos to Birdland, and North Lynx takes pressure off Gate House and is nice on a cold sunny day, the 2 or 3 times we get them here
    :D

    At this point, I'd say Slide Brook at Sugarbush, but does not fit criteria for vertical drop. Has not opened yet this year due to lack of snow under it (needed for evac).


  • CannonballCannonball intermediate
    Posts: 85
    xlr8r said:

    Both the quads out of Whitecap base at Sunday River are pretty useless.  There names have swapped when Boyne bought the place, so I think the one up Tempest is now just the Whitecap quad, and the one serving Moonstruck by the Summit hotel is the Little Whitecap quad.  Tempest is a good run, but all other lap-able trails off of Whitecap quad require the long Roadrunner run-out.  It would have been better to design a way to get to lower Obsession from the top of the Whitecap quad to make for a nice lap-able blue cruiser.  essentially WCQ is just an access lift either to Barker base or the White Heat quad.  The Little whitecap quad pod is a nice low intermediate pod that no one seems to ever use, this chair is always deserted.  It only really gets used by guests at the Summit hotel at the end of the day.

    I disagree with this. And it seems like you disagree with yourself too since you do a good job pointing out the usefulness of both of these lifts. On those points I completely agree with you. I've ridden the WQC many times for its access to Barker and the base of White Heat. I've ridden the Little Whitecap when I've stayed at the Summit hotel. 
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 209

    At this point, I'd say Slide Brook at Sugarbush, but does not fit criteria for vertical drop. Has not opened yet this year due to lack of snow under it (needed for evac).
    I was going to mention Slide Brook but decided it did not fit the criteria of a terrain pod... it is strictly a transfer lift only.
  • xlr8rxlr8r intermediate
    Posts: 28


    xlr8r said:

    Both the quads out of Whitecap base at Sunday River are pretty useless.  There names have swapped when Boyne bought the place, so I think the one up Tempest is now just the Whitecap quad, and the one serving Moonstruck by the Summit hotel is the Little Whitecap quad.  Tempest is a good run, but all other lap-able trails off of Whitecap quad require the long Roadrunner run-out.  It would have been better to design a way to get to lower Obsession from the top of the Whitecap quad to make for a nice lap-able blue cruiser.  essentially WCQ is just an access lift either to Barker base or the White Heat quad.  The Little whitecap quad pod is a nice low intermediate pod that no one seems to ever use, this chair is always deserted.  It only really gets used by guests at the Summit hotel at the end of the day.

    I disagree with this. And it seems like you disagree with yourself too since you do a good job pointing out the usefulness of both of these lifts. On those points I completely agree with you. I've ridden the WQC many times for its access to Barker and the base of White Heat. I've ridden the Little Whitecap when I've stayed at the Summit hotel. 
    I will agree that Whitecap is used for access, but Little White Cap really is useless because the Summit can be reached by many other lifts.  I to have stayed at the Summit but I got back to the Hotel taking Barker quad up and skiing down Ecstacy to Snowbound to Lower Obsession.  Yes Little Whitecap quad is the most obvious way to get back to the Summit, but not the only way.  Regardless the pod is usually deserted of people which imo qualifies it for being useless.  
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 710
    I will agree with Vikery Bowl.  It is pretty pointless. When does that triple ever run?

    I have a feeling it was built more as a "f**** you" to environmentalists than for any true reason. Originally it would have been a much larger pod, but that got shot down by environmentalists due to old growth forests above the summit road (Mass Pike Trail).  As it was finally getting approved, it was to become the snowboard parks. Their argument was they needed to get it off Look Mom.  But when the pod finally opened, they never moved the park there and IIRC got sued again by environmentalists.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,403
    Summary 1 (I'm doing New England only for now).

    Interesting that most every suggestion came with caveats.

    MA:
    Wachusett: Vickery Bowl (My understanding: Wachusett wanted to expand and that was the only place for them to do so. Othher opinions on this lift/pod?)

    ME:
    Sunday River:Little whitecap - caveat: Access to and from Summit hotel.

    NH:
    Black NH: Shovel handle lift - Caveat: History
    Waterville Valley,  High Country: Caveats: opportunity for early season skiing and the ability for WV to call themselves 2K vertical.

    VT:
    Killington, Skyeship from Rte. 4 to Northbrook - Caveats: real estate related and ability to claim 3K vertical.
    Killington, Sunrise - Caveats: - real estate related
    ---
    Rejected based on condition 4 in the opening thread. "If two lifts serve the same pod, the second is for crowds and shouldn't be designated as useless (e.g. the double on Snowshed that was just removed)"
    1. Sunapee, Duckling Double
    2. Sunday River, other lifts suggested by xlr8r

    Rejected based on the fact the lift pod was abandoned:
    1. Cannon, Banshee
    2. Stratton, Kidderbrook

    Rejected based on contradictory inputs
    1. Mad River Glen, Birdland
    2. Sugarbush, Lynx

    Rejected because they are beginner areas:
    1. Loon. Various suggestions in snowmaster's posting
    2. Smuggler's Notch: Morse Highlands

    Rejected because the problem as described criterion for rejection seems to be more about the lift than the pod.
    1. Stratton: Tamarack

    Rejected because it is a transfer lift rather than a pod:
    1. Sugarbush: Slide Brook

    Got more?
  • NJSkiNJSki advanced
    Posts: 229

    Stowe: I have not skied there since the base development at Spruce was done. I was wondering how that has had an effect on the Toll House slopes? I could see it helping drive crowds there as much as I can see it rendering that area useless.

  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 892
    Anybody ever use the Line Drive lift at Okemo?  I've skied one trail down through that section, it's a fun route to Jackson Gore to see how the other half lives, but, is the lift necessary?  I've never seen it running, maybe that's just my timing?  Seems to me like the sunshine thing at Killington, except with fewer condos and a lot of those skiers just go to JG anyway
  • bubblecufferbubblecuffer advanced
    edited January 25 Posts: 210


    MA:
    Wachusett: Vickery Bowl (My understanding: Wachusett wanted to expand and that was the only place for them to do so. Othher opinions on this lift/pod?)

    Yeah, extend that lift to the base area.  Allow access to Lower Smith Walton from the top.  Glade between every trail in the pod.
  • Bill29Bill29 advanced
    Posts: 195
    I've seen Vickery Bowl used on weekends and at other times, usually holidays, when liftlines were long. The runs are short and easy And a couple of years ago at the end of that big snow year it was used when Wachusett opened for skiing on May 2. I think that was the only time any Massachusetts ski area ran lifts for skiing in May. The Vickery lift was the only access to snow that day
  • teighsteighs intermediate
    Posts: 58

    Morse Highlands at smugglers notch comes to mind, very little vertical and all novice terrain. Although I do believe there is a road that takes you to the bottom of the lift, so maybe it is useful as another entrance to the mountain.

    As a dedicated beginner area, dedicated to teaching children it is a gem all to itself.  Almost no lift lines, short lift ride, variety of terrain, perfect for the little ones as their attention span is also short.

    Best food on the resort at the lodge also.
  • DrJeffDrJeff advanced
    Posts: 244
    Bill29 said:

    I've seen Vickery Bowl used on weekends and at other times, usually holidays, when liftlines were long. The runs are short and easy And a couple of years ago at the end of that big snow year it was used when Wachusett opened for skiing on May 2. I think that was the only time any Massachusetts ski area ran lifts for skiing in May. The Vickery lift was the only access to snow that day

    The May in Mass lift served thing has happened before!  Back in 1993 (the year where the "Storm of the Century" pummeled the Northeast in Mid/late March), I skied Jiminy Peak the 1st weekend in May, when they reopened after shutting down for a week or so as I remember. This was also as I recall at the end of a season where they had just installed the Whitetail Quad (I believe it was initially known as QC-1 in honor of it being the 1st quad installed in Mass) and Jiminy was also a test center for Lenko Snowguns and they made some serious amounts of snow that year as a result!

    I remember it well as I got to go lift served skiing less than a week before my graduation from RPI, and didn't have to drive all the way up to Killington to do so! 
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 710
    It is my understanding Toll House pod was a separate ski area with a T-Bar that was engulfed into Stowe, much like Carinthia at Mt. Snow.  I think it was originally run by a hotel.  Instruction took place at Spruce well before its recent buildout or lodges, condos, Adventure lift, etc.

    There is housing/hotel down there, but very limited.  Fairly pointless even back when the double was installed in the '80s.
  • newpylongnewpylong advanced
    Posts: 414
    DrJeff said:

    Bill29 said:

    I've seen Vickery Bowl used on weekends and at other times, usually holidays, when liftlines were long. The runs are short and easy And a couple of years ago at the end of that big snow year it was used when Wachusett opened for skiing on May 2. I think that was the only time any Massachusetts ski area ran lifts for skiing in May. The Vickery lift was the only access to snow that day

    The May in Mass lift served thing has happened before!  Back in 1993 (the year where the "Storm of the Century" pummeled the Northeast in Mid/late March), I skied Jiminy Peak the 1st weekend in May, when they reopened after shutting down for a week or so as I remember. This was also as I recall at the end of a season where they had just installed the Whitetail Quad (I believe it was initially known as QC-1 in honor of it being the 1st quad installed in Mass) and Jiminy was also a test center for Lenko Snowguns and they made some serious amounts of snow that year as a result!

    I remember it well as I got to go lift served skiing less than a week before my graduation from RPI, and didn't have to drive all the way up to Killington to do so! 
    Q1 Quad still called that.
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,368
    I'm going to have to side with NELSAP that NONE are useless. Ok, as an author he said it better than that, but I'd prefer to ride any lift rather than walk up.
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
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