If your idea of the perfect winter trip is a mountain full of fresh snow to play on, then this is the list for you. With challenging high peaks for the experts and bunny slopes and lessons for beginners, plus snow tubing, ice skating, cozy lodges and other fun winter activities, these are some of the best ski resorts in the Northeast for an action-packed cold-weather day trip or weekend jaunt.
While you may not need to cancel your ski trip this year, you can expect some changes. Learn how ski areas across the Northeast are implementing pandemic safety measures.
Featuring 22 trails and four terrain parks, there’s plenty of snowy fun to be had at Powder Ridge. For those new to skiing or snowboarding, the designated beginner area is a great place to learn. Group and private lessons are available and they specialize in working with kids as young as 3-5 years old. For more family fun, the resort also has snow tubing, an airbag jump and snowbike lessons and rentals. After you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant Fire at the Ridge or Ridgeside Tavern, which often has live music.
Mohawk Mountain Ski Area
The largest ski area in Connecticut, Mohawk Mountain’s range of options helps it to stand out as one of the best ski resorts in the Northeast. 26 trails challenge all skill levels, while a broad range of programming is offered for those just starting out, including parent-tot (ages 3 & 4) and children’s classes (ages 5-13). Mohawk’s option to reserve equipment online in advance is an extra benefit that will get you onto the slopes faster. When you need a break, cozy up with your clan at the base lodge. Dining and lodging are located nearby.
Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods
Part of New Hampshire’s scenic White Mountains, Bretton Woods is consistently ranked as one of the best Northeast ski resorts with 63 trails, 35 glades, 10 lifts and two freestyle terrain parks. In addition to both Nordic and alpine ski trails, there are family-friendly activities like horse-drawn sleigh rides, tubing, ice skating, guided ski and snowshoe tours, snowmobiles (including a kids’ snowmobile park) and a zip line canopy tour. And with night trails open for skiing and snowboarding, the fun doesn’t end when the sun sets. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there are two on-mountain restaurants and a food court, plus many more options, counting those within the nearby White Mountain lodging accommodations, which include the stunning AAA Four Diamond Rated Omni Mount Washington Hotel.
Only two hours north of Boston, Loon Mountain is a convenient choice for your next winter day trip. 61 trials and six terrain parks ranging in all skill levels deliver the excitement and challenges that your snow-loving family craves. For even more fun, there’s zip lining, cross-country skiing, snow tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing, private and group lessons for all age groups and New Hampshire’s only superpipe. And when it comes time to wind down and warm up, there are two base lodges and 10 on-mountain dining options and restaurants to choose from.
Home to dozens of trails, a snow tubing area and a designated learning center, Campgaw Mountain ski area is ideal for beginners and experts alike. Also, with numerous learning programs for children ages 4-18, your child will receive instruction targeted to his or her age and skill level.
High Point Cross Country Ski Center
If your prefer your skiing experience to be (a little) more horizontal than vertical, High Point offers cross-country skiers and snowshoers access to a combination of 14 miles of trails tailored to all abilities and age brackets. But don’t think you won’t be experiencing an altitude rush – living up to it’s name, High Point is the highest point in the state. This ski center is open based on conditions, so be sure to call ahead.
Vernon Township, N.J.
Check out some of the 167 acres dedicated to freestyling at the resort’s terrain parks, or explore ski trails covering four peaks, all of which are open for night skiing. If indoor activities are more your speed, check out the resort’s seven dining and nightlife options, or hang out by the fireplace at one of the two lodging accommodations.
Catamount Ski Area
From small hills to steep drops like Catapult, Catamount’s signature double black diamond trail (and one of the steepest in the Northeast!), there’s something for everyone on this diverse network of slopes in the Berkshires. Of the 36 trials and park areas in this top ski resort, there are seven black diamond/double black diamond trails, five terrain parks and 15 trails with night skiing. If you’d rather take it easy, the Snowsports Learning Area is perfect for kids and first-timers. Catamount also offers private and group lessons for ages 5 and up. When it’s time to eat, there’s an on-mountain tavern and café, as well as nearby food and lodging options.
Mount Peter Ski Area
Trying to convince a friend or family member that he or she would be a natural on the mountain? With the purchase of a lift ticket, Mount Peter offers a free beginner ski or snowboard lesson on select weekends. And, if you’re looking to get your little one primed for those black diamonds by the time he or she hits kindergarten, the “Pete’s Pals” program introduces toddlers to skiing. If you’re coming from New York, round-trip bus transportation is available from several points in New York City, making it an easy day trip if you don’t have a car.
All skill levels will feel welcome at this 45-trail, three terrain park ski resort in the Berkshires. Jiminy Peak is known as one of the best ski resorts in the Northeast for its lessons, especially the full- and half-day skiing and snowboarding programs for children. When the family is not gliding down the ski trails, don’t miss the mountain coaster, which twists and turns through the woods at speeds of up to 23 mph! Another major selling point is Jiminy Peak’s Country Inn, a ski-in, ski-out, all-suite lodge, offering reasonably priced accommodations. Vacation homes on the resort property are also a great option for larger families. Dining includes a restaurant, tavern, food court and several stop-ins where you can grab a bite or warm drink and enjoy the views.
Carrabassett Valley, Maine
Made up of over 1,000 acres, featuring 162 trails and glades and on-site lodging options, Sugarloaf is the biggest ski area in New England. The trails and four terrain parks range from easy to expert, and there are group and private program options for adults and kids alike. Take a private family lesson or enjoy tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing and snowmobiling with your group. At the resort’s Anti-Gravity Complex, you’ll find even more fun stuff for the young ones, including an indoor skate park, trampolines and rock climbing. A number of dining and nightlife options are available at the resort and nearby.
The Maine sister resort of Sugarloaf, Sunday River is almost as big and just as enjoyable. With eight peaks for varying skill levels, seven terrain parks, lessons for kids and adults, family-friendly shows and kids-only events, nobody has a chance of getting bored here. There are three places to stay on the property, as well as on-mountain condos, all of which boast great ski-in, ski-out locations. There are also many on-mountain dining options, plus more in the nearby town of Bethel.
Blue Mountain Resort
Peaking at an elevation of 1,543 feet, Blue Mountain in Palmerton, Pa., provides winter adventurists with access to 40 trails. With snowmaking equipment blanketing 100 percent of the trails, Blue Mountain is the perfect destination for when Mother Nature just hasn’t been carrying her weight. With local lodging and nearby dining locations, it’s one of the best ski resorts in the Northeast.
Camelback Mountain Resort
If you’re looking for the full resort experience, Camelback Mountain in Tannersville, Pa., is certainly one of the best Northeast ski resorts for families. You’ll leave wondering how you ever went skiing before without access to an indoor waterpark, paint-your-own pottery studio, mini-golf course and laser tag arena. All this, in combination with lodging options ranging from one-bedroom suites to lofts accommodating up to 12 of your closest friends and relatives, six dining options and a spa. When you’re ready to hit the powder, jump on one of lifts providing access to 39 trails, all of which are lit for night skiing.
Okemo Mountain Resort
Your next snowy family getaway is in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains at Okemo. In addition to 121 trails and eight terrain parks (home to the East’s longest Superpipe), there’s the convenience of eight different slope-side accommodations to stay the weekend. Ski lessons are available for all skill levels looking to learn or improve. Kids ages 5 and under get free lift tickets. Kids’ Night Out provides hours of entertainment for the little ones while mom and dad can escape for some night skiing or dinner at one of the resort’s restaurants. For more winter attractions the whole family can enjoy, check out the Timber Ripper mountain coaster, snow tubing and ice hockey/skating rink.
Smuggler’s Notch, Vt.
There’s no denying that you get a lot for your dollar at this Vermont ski resort, also known simply as “Smuggs.” Located within the Mount Mansfield State Forest, it’s got 78 trails and four terrain parks for all different ski levels, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and kids-only trails – all among acres and acres of scenic woods. Along with acclaimed kids’ ski and snowboard programs, the (many) other perks include nine dining options, three lodges, child care, a teen center, tubing, airboard (inflated sled) races, zip lining, snowmobile tours, snowcat rides, evening entertainment and adventures like off-site dog sledding and ice fishing tours. After a long day out on the slopes, retreat to one of Smuggler’s five “communities” of condos, offering one to five bedroom accommodations for families of all sizes. If you’ve had enough frozen water, you can also jump into the indoor heated pool or hot tubs. And did we mention spa treatments?
Stowe Mountain Resort, Vt.
Making its home on Vermont’s largest mountain, Stowe Mountain Resort features 116 trails, a cross country and snowshoe network and five terrain parks. For expert snowboarders, there are challenging jumps and rails in the terrain parks, plus smaller obstacles for those who are just learning or working on their skills. For new skiers and snowboarders, it’s one of the best ski resorts in the northeast. On-mountain dining options include everything from restaurants and pancake houses to coffee shops and cocktail lounges. And if you want to spend some more time indoors, have the kids take on the rock wall in the Adventure Center, go shopping, decompress at the spa and wellness center, or catch a show at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center. On-mountain lodging is offered at the Stowe Mountain Lodge or the condos and townhouse rentals at the Inn at the Mountain.
The Northeast has lots of great ski resorts at all price points. What do you think are the best ski resorts in the Northeast? Share them with us in the comments below!
This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been updated.