Nothing beats a bright winter day spent carving up the slopes. But the fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. More and more ski resorts throughout the Northeast are keeping their trails open after sunset to add another element of fun to the winter experience. And it’s not just for skiing and snowboarding. Parks have a host of exciting activities to keep your adrenaline pumping well into the night. These are a few of the top spots for night skiing, night snowboarding and much, much more.
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Sunday River’s South Ridge and North Peak trails stay open until 8 p.m. on weekends and during holiday weeks. All-season passes and daytime lift tickets are valid for night skiing, and specific night skiing tickets are available as well. The lighted Sundance trail offers tubing from 4 to 8 p.m. on select weekends and holidays and the resort’s Grand Summit Hotel has a lighted ice rink with free admission.
But there is one activity that Sunday River offers for the truly adventurous that sets it apart: overnight dog-sledding and Nordic skiing trips. Operated by the Mahoosuc Guide Service, these two- and three-night trips are a combination of mushing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Food, plus all winter equipment such as skis, poles, boots, parkas and sleeping bags are provided. Just a note: Winter travel can be physically challenging. Participants should be able to ski or snowshoe for 4 miles with a light pack.
Stratton Mountain doesn’t have night skiing, but it does offer just about every other snow activity you can imagine. The Resort’s Coca-Cola Tube Park features four lanes of lift-serviced snow tubing, plus a warming hut with light refreshments and fire pit. The park is open on weekends and holidays until 7 p.m.
Stratton’s snowshoeing season runs through mid-March. Evening guided tours are available for all skill levels on the resort’s Nordic trails. In addition to regularly scheduled tours, Stratton offers special snowshoeing events. On each month’s full moon, tours are led through rolling New England terrain, where you’ll see moonlit snow, landmarks around the Nordic Center and Vermont’s legendary stars. The Stargazer tour is an off-grid hike to Stratton’s Nordic Center to enjoy the night sky. Finally, the Fireworks hike travels to the Mid-Mountain Lodge to view a fireworks show from above. All special tours end with a campfire, hot cocoa and marshmallows for roasting.
If you’re looking for something a little more fast-paced, enjoy an evening of fun and adventure on a guided one-hour snowmobile tour. Explore the slopes of Stratton after-hours with experienced guides as they lead you from the main base to the summit. It’s great for beginners and experienced snowmobilers alike.
Stratton also offers ice skating at night, Friday through Sunday, during the winter season. Guests can enjoy soup and sandwiches, hot cocoa, music and a campfire under the stars.
New Hampshire’s Crotched Mountain turns night skiing into an event. Every weekend the mountain hosts Midnight Madness, when trails stay open until 3 a.m., the latest night skiing offered anywhere in New England. At 9 p.m., high-traffic slopes are re-groomed to ensure safe trails, and then skiers and snowboarders are let loose until the early morning hours.
But that’s not all: The Onset Pub and Lounge holds a free Midnight Madness Concert Series featuring live local acts. Block parties, bonfires and other events round out the fun.
Jiminy Peak offers night skiing until 10 p.m. on many of its 45 trails. Jiminy’s Mountain Coaster, one of the first in the country, is also open late on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. You can control the speed of your descent, allowing you to take a leisurely ride down the mountain or speed up to 23 mph through 3,600 feet of twisting, turning excitement through the woods.
While snow tubing has become a popular activity at ski resorts across the country, nobody does it quite like Camelback Mountain. With 42 lanes, Camelback is the largest snow tubing park in the country. Two magic carpet lifts take you to the top of the mountain where you zip down 100 feet. When the sun goes down, it’s time for “Galactic Snow Tubing,” where the tubing park turns into an LED light show. If that wasn’t enough, the snow tubing park has its own lodge and dining options, as well as a waffle cabin on weekends and holidays. The park is open until 8 p.m. during the week and 10 p.m. on weekends and holiday weeks.
Guests can also night ski at Camelback and on weekends ride the Appalachian Express Coaster until 7 p.m. The 4,500-foot, steel-track mountain coaster cruises through the trees and down the steep slopes of Camelback for a ride you’ll never forget.
Smugglers’ Notch may not have night skiing, but it certainly offers more than enough nighttime activities to keep you busy. Sir Henry’s Hill Tube Sliding is open daily until 8 p.m., as is the natural outdoor ice skating rink located next to the Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Adventure Center.
For a heightened sense of excitement, try an evening snowmobile tour, offered at various times six nights a week. No previous snowmobile operation experience is necessary for these one-hour tours, which include safety and driving instruction. Even kids can get in on the fun with mini-snowmobile sessions.
The Northeast has scores of great ski resorts. What do you think are the best ski resorts in the Northeast? Share them with us in the comments below!