Jay McAree

Equinox Staff


While we still await the first big snowfall of the year here in Keene, the snowboarders and skiers among us are all preparing for how to approach this season.

One of the biggest preparations for most, is choosing which mountains their boards and skis will touch down on the powder.

The two clear-cut choices tend to be between the SOS pass, and the Higher Education pass.

The SOS pass has a price tag of 299 dollars and involves three mountains: Stratton, Okemo and Sunapee. While the Higher Education pass is around $319 and includes up to five mountains; Attitash, Crotched, JFBB(Jack Frost/Big Boulder), Mt. Snow, and Wildcat.

President of the KSC Snowboard and Ski Club Brian Fitzpatrick gave a small run down of some of the mountains included in these passes.

“Well [Mt.] Snow has a pretty legit park, Crotched offers night skiing, Sunapee on the other side is kind of like a hidden gem that not many people know about, and Okemo is a family mountain, so it is a good place to learn if you are a beginner,” Fitzpatrick said.

The club at KSC costs only 30 dollars to join and offers approximately nine or ten rides to the mountains. Fitzpatrick said that the past few years, the club has been promoting the SOS pass but doesn’t require one or the other.

“It’s more depending on what the members of the club do, so if more people do the Higher Education pass, than we will cater to them, and if more people do the SOS, than we will go for them,” Fitzpatrick said.

He continued, “The only downside with the Higher Education pass, it sounds like a good deal, but the club will probably only go to two of the mountains.”

The reason being that the club tries to attend mountains that are within an hour away because of its convenience to getting the vans back.

A couple of the mountains included in the Higher Education pass are well beyond that, with one in Pennsylvania, and another in Vermont.

Club newcomer Tyler Dipietro has his own factor when weighing the options of which pass to get. “Which ever one is cheapest probably, I didn’t do it last year so I’m not really all that familiar with the passes,” Dipietro said.

He added, “I’ve always skied and snowboarded my entire life and last year was actually  the first year that I took off. I really liked it a lot so I wanted to get back into it.”

A member of the club last year John Fanning says he is switching things up this time around. “I’m leaning towards the Higher Education pass this year, but I did get the SOS last year and loved it,” Fanning said.

Fanning has been skiing for 15 years now and has his own take on a few of the mountains.

“Mt. Snow in my opinion is one of the best mountains in all of New England. It’s more of a snowboarding mountain but the trails are amazing. Attitash is more of a skier mountain and more to my liking,” Fanning said.

Since Fanning did the SOS last year, he had nothing but love for it saying he would recommend it to anyone, but said he is all about experiencing new things and trying to ski everything he can.

“When I ski, I am looking for that down hill rush, there is nothing in the world like going down hill as fast as you can and looking at the views up there,” Fanning said.

For those students who open their wallets and are usually disappointed, there is an alternative to these passes.

Fitzpatrick said that Granite Gorge is a great option to those who can’t afford the pricier passes.

“Granite Gorge is 15 minutes away and 100 dollars for the season. You would probably make your money back in three trips,” Fitzpatrick said. He continued, “I would say it’s the best deal because Friday’s they actually shuttle 5-8 P.M. free to any KSC student. I would say if you don’t want to spend $300, it is a great alternative.”

Regardless of your preference, soon enough skiiers and snowboarders will be able to strap up and get back to the slopes.


Jay McAree can be contacted

at jmcaree@keene-equinox.com

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