AUTHOR: Krystyna Dudka
New England is known to be one of the best and most beautiful places to live year-round. From basking up the sun on the rocky beaches of the Seacoast to preparing yourself for the frigid New England winters, there’s always a surplus of activities to help keep your boredom at bay. For those of you who don’t live in the Northeast, don’t let the rapid seasonal changes fool you - New Englanders make the most of every season, no matter the weather. Up next? Ski season. New England is home to some of the best ski resorts in the Northeast, ranging from beginner-level to expert terrain and everything in between, with each peak offering extraordinary views. As most know, one of the best parts about living in New England is the freedom and accessibility to travel anywhere you want with little hassle. With New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont all within a few hours of one another, you don’t sleep on the East - you ski. If you’re thinking about hitting the slopes this winter, we’ve put together a list of the top 7 ski resorts in New England. Add these to your list of places to visit this season:
Vermont Ski Resorts
Killington - Killington, VT
Boasting the largest vertical drop in New England and the biggest ski area in the Eastern United States, Killington provides winter enthusiasts with some of the best skiing around. Offering a wide variety of terrain perfect for every level of skier and rider, Killington provides the perfect backdrop for cruising through the powder as you take in the scenic surroundings.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your way to one of 6 terrain parks, with features ranging from half-pipes and rails to outer-space themed parks, and more. And, once you’re done shredding, be sure to hit one of the many mountainside restaurants or bars to warm up with some hot cocoa or a craft brew.
For those of you who aren’t quite ready to strap into your skis or snowboard yet, don’t worry – there are plenty of other fun things to do!
- Take a ride on the ‘Beast Coaster’
- Snowshoe Tours
- Snowmobile Tours
- Scenic Gondola Rides
- Sleigh Rides
- Tubing Park
If you’ve never been to this popular Vermont ski resort, we highly recommend you make it a point to visit this year. You won’t be disappointed!
Killington Summit: 4,241’
Pico Mountain Peak: 3,967’
Vertical Drop: 3,050’
Skiable Acres: 1,977
Okemo – Ludlow, VT
Home to the Northeast’s longest superpipe and the highest vertical drop in Southern Vermont, Okemo Mountain opens in November and typically closes in mid-April, giving New England skiers and riders plenty of time to enjoy the snow. The mountain spans over 667 acres of land, with 121 trails and 20 ski lifts, letting you cruise through new terrain without ever getting bored.
Or, if you wanted to take a break from your skis and try something new, you can check out the Ice House for recreational ice skating, the Nordic Center, or snow tubing park. Okemo also features a ‘Mountain Coaster’ for a scenic and exhilarating ride through Okemo’s Jackson Gore.
If you’re traveling and looking to stay at the mountain, don’t worry - Okemo Mountain Resort offers round trip shuttle service from the Southern Vermont Regional Airport and the Rutland Amtrak Terminal in Rutland, VT. Talk about hospitality!
Vertical Drop: 2,200’
Skiable Acres: 667
Trails: 121 trails and glades
Jay Peak – Jay, VT
Jay Peak may be a bit of a drive for skiers and riders coming from the Southern parts of New England, but it’s absolutely worth the drive. Though there are 78 designated trails, slopes and glades, the trail edges are merely suggestions for those who dare to explore beyond the lines. Plus, Jay is known for receiving more snow than any other resort in North America, so you can count on plenty of fresh snow when you arrive.
Not a skier? Not a problem. Some people visit the resort just for the water park – the Jay Peak Pump House – featuring a 65’ slide, called “La Chute”, and plenty of other water activities to enjoy. With ski-in/ski-out lodging available, plenty of skiing and riding, skating, and a new recreational center, Jay Peak offers the perfect winter weekend getaway.
Vertical Drop: 2,153’
Skiable Acres: 385
Gladed Terrain: 100+
New Hampshire Ski Resorts
Loon Mountain - Lincoln, NH
Loon Mountain is nestled in the quaint town of Lincoln, in the White Mountains of Grafton County. With skiing open daily from 9am-4pm, this place is sure to get busy on the weekends, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
If you’re new to skiing, be sure to sign up for a customizable ski or snowboard lesson, where experienced teachers will guide you through the steps for your best ride yet. Throughout the season, be sure to check out Loon’s event calendar, with activities ranging from a Rail Jam and Christmas Eve Tree Lighting Service to a Slalom Race and New Year’s Eve Bash presented by Bud Light.
If none of these activities are up your alley- no worries! Choose from winter ziplining, ice skating, tubing, and more. Or, simply grab a seat inside or out and warm up by the fire.
Vertical Drop: 2,100’
Skiable Acres: 370
Bretton Woods – Carroll, NH
Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area, with plenty of acres for skiers and riders to explore on 62 trails, 35 glades and 3 terrain parks. And you can count on fantastic grooming. In fact, “Bretton Woods has been ranked #1 IN THE EAST for GROOMING and has held the top two spots in the East for Snow and Grooming over the last FIVE years.”
Can’t make it during the day, or don’t want to stop when the sun goes down? Bretton Woods also offers night skiing and riders for those who just can’t get enough. Bring the family for Powder & Pasta on Friday and Saturday nights from December 29, 2017 through March 10, 2018.
Vertical Drop: 1,500’
Skiable Acres: 464
Maine Ski Resorts
Sugarloaf – Carrabasset Valley, ME
Maine’s second highest peak, Sugarloaf Mountain has the ONLY lift-serviced above-treeline skiing in the East, and is the largest ski area east of the Rockies. With plenty of skiable acres of trails and glades, terrain parks, a superpipe, and more, Sugarloaf is a skier/rider’s dream resort.
For the extra adventurous, Sugarloaf offers Brackett Basin and Burnt Mountain Cat Skiing, giving skiers and riders access to backcountry terrain with deep powder and rugged slopes. Beware – this experience isn’t for beginners. Nordic skiers can enjoy the Outdoor Center, offering cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on 90 km of groomed trails and ice skating on an NHL-sized rink.
Sugarloaf offers Ski & Stay packages starting at just $89 per person, per night, so you can spend a few days exploring all the mountain has to offer.
Vertical Drop: 2,820’ (most continuous in NE)
Skiable Acres: 1,240
Sunday River – Newry, ME
Sunday River is one of Maine’s most visited ski resorts. With a vertical drop of 2,340 feet, it’s the second largest drop in Maine and the sixth largest drop in New England. Offering terrain for all ability levels, an 18-foot Superpipe, and 35 acres dedicated to freestyle terrain alone, you’ll find there isn’t enough time to explore everything Sunday River has to offer.
This popular resort features 135 trails with 8 interconnected mountain peaks and 7 terrain parks. And with slopeside lodging available, you can wake up bright and early to make your way onto the slopes, beating the rest of the crowd to the fresh corduroy.
Sunday River is also one of the select few ski resorts that offers night-time skiing, letting you ride out the snow for as long as you possibly can. If you ever get hungry while you’re out, stop at the Waffle Cabin for a chocolate covered waffle, or make your way into the Foggy Goggle for some food and drinks.
Vertical Drop: 2,340’
Skiable Acres: 870
Ready to Go Skiing?
This may be the end of our list, but these are just a handful of the mountains the Northeast has to offer. Trust us when we say the options are endless. Now enough with the reading – start getting the car packed for your next ski trip. Don’t forget your goggles!
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