Plenty of fresh powder and historic New England towns are the initial lure. But what keeps skiers and snowboarders coming back to New Hampshire is the convenience. Unlike in Vermont, Maine or New York, New Hampshire’s ski areas are all within easy reach of one another. And many of the state’s most popular resorts sit within a two-hour drive of Boston’s Logan Airport.
Not only are New Hampshire’s ski resorts easy to access, they also boast world-class conditions. While smaller in acreage than resorts out west, New Hampshire’s ski areas feature some pretty impressive vertical drops, not to mention top-tier ski schools and amenities. Meanwhile, the state averages nearly 70 inches of snowfall each year, ensuring primo powder coverage. And charming ski towns like North Conway ensure the fun continues even after the slopes close for the day.
Touting itself as New England’s most accessible ski resort, Loon Mountain is just two hours from Boston, making it a popular weekend getaway. It’s also ideal for families, with 20% of the marked trails designed for beginners and two terrain parks designated for kids. More advanced powder hounds will find plenty to keep them busy here, too. Loon Mountain houses the only superpipe in the state, as well as eight designated tree-skiing areas. And thanks to a recent $3 million investment in snowmaking, Loon Mountain’s runs are always covered in fresh powder.
Bretton Woods, NH
New Hampshire’s largest ski area encompasses more than 460 skiable acres, 62 marked trails and one terrain park. Needless to say, you’ll have plenty of room to master the slopes. But if you’re seeking even more space to carve powder, sign up for a guided backcountry skiing excursion. Or enjoy Bretton Woods’ runs after sundown on Fridays and Saturdays, when the resort offers night skiing. For the best snowfall, plan to visit Bretton Woods in February. The resort receives around 200 inches of fresh snow each year, much of it falling in late winter.
Home to the highest peak in New Hampshire, Cannon Mountain’s nearly 300 skiable acres are best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers. Only 14% of the resort’s 92 runs were designed with beginners in mind. But that’s not to say newbies can’t find their footing here. Cannon Mountain’s Tuckerbrook Family area is ideal for those just starting out, and the resort offers a number of instruction options for skiers and boarders of all ages. Cannon Mountain covers two mountain slopes and features two terrain parks, so there’s plenty of room.
Waterville Valley, NH
Surrounded by New Hampshire’s prized White Mountain National Forest, Waterville Valley stretches across 265 skiable acres and boasts an impressive 2,000-plus-foot vertical drop. Most of the resort’s 62 marked trails are ideal for intermediate-level skiers, though beginners will find a nice chunk of terrain well-suited to them. Meanwhile, more advanced powder hounds will be challenged here on trails like Ruffled Feathers and Tommy’s World Cup Run. Waterville Valley also offers lessons and an adaptive ski program, allowing everyone in your party to enjoy the slopes.
Pinkham Notch, NH
Wildcat Mountain’s nearly 50 marked trails run the gamut in terms of intended skill level. While newbies can tackle the longest beginner trail in New Hampshire, more practiced skiers and riders can test their skills in Wildcat’s tree-skiing areas and on its moguls. Meanwhile, take the time to slow down on the Lynx trail, said to be the most scenic run in the region. You’ll find plenty to keep you busy on Wildcat’s 225 skiable acres, but should you need more, Wildcat’s lift ticket is also valid at its sister resort, Attitash, just a 20 minute drive away.
A short drive from its sister resort, Wildcat, Attitash sprawls across two peaks in New Hampshire’s picturesque White Mountains. Together, the two mountains feature nearly 70 marked trails on more than 300 skiable acres. When it comes to skill range, almost half of Attitash’s runs are designed for intermediate skiers and riders, but there are plenty of runs for those who need more of a challenge, or an easier ride. Attitash also features three terrain parks ideal for perfecting tricks. And should you need a little coaching, the resort offers lessons for all ages.
Mount Sunapee’s 233 skiable acres have 67 marked trails that are relatively evenly split between beginner, intermediate and advanced. The resort also features the highest vertical drop in the state and averages more than 100 inches of snow per year. And for snowboarders, Mount Sunapee’s four terrain parks provide plenty of space to work on your tricks. What’s more, Mount Sunapee has convenience on its side. The resort is less than two hours from Boston and easily reached by I-93, making it a popular weekend getaway. To avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the week.
With nearly 90% of its trails designed for intermediate level and above, Gunstock Mountain likely isn’t the best choice for skiers who aren’t yet confident on the slopes. This New Hampshire resort’s terrain is on the more challenging side, but that doesn’t mean Gunstock isn’t family-friendly. In addition to its nearly 60 marked trails and six terrain parks, the resort also offers activities like tubing, cross-country skiing and the beloved Mountain Coaster. And for those who are looking to improve their skills, Gunstock offers lessons for all ages.
North Conway, NH
Cranmore is a bit of a legend on the East Coast. It was here that renowned Austrian skier Hannes Schneider, hailed as the “father of modern skiing”, first opened his ski school. And having been in operation for multiple generations, Cranmore was one of the first ski areas available to city-dwellers in New York and Boston. Today, the 170-acre resort encompasses 56 trails designed for all skill levels. And Cranmore’s ski school is still going strong, providing private and group instruction to powder hounds of all ages and skill levels.
Ragged Mountain is an excellent ski resort for families. Thirty percent of its terrain is designed with beginners in mind, and the resort’s learning center offers a wide variety of lessons and kids’ programs. Even better, first-time skiers can try the sport free of charge through the Bebe Wood Program to make sure they like it before investing in lift tickets and rental equipment. Ragged Mountain has plenty for more advanced skiers and riders, too. Seventy percent of the trails are marked as intermediate or expert, and the terrain park provides plenty of space to practice.
Dartmouth offers an Ivy League education, and the Skiway offers Olympic-level ski instruction. The Dartmouth Skiway has nurtured roughly 100 members of the U.S. ski teams over the years. Those new to the slopes can start their training at the Skiway’s ski school, or test their skills on the 25% of trails designed for beginners. More experienced powder hounds will find plenty of more challenging terrain, as well. And at the end of the day, you can gather together at the McLane Family Lodge for an après-ski snack.
Pats Peak has been welcoming the Henniker community to its slopes since 1963. The ski area exudes a family-friendly vibe, with 50% of its trails designed with beginners in mind and activities like tubing. But that doesn’t mean more advanced skiers and boarders will grow bored here. Pats Peak is home to the Hurricane, one of the steepest runs in New Hampshire, and five of the resort’s 28 trails are double-black-diamond. What’s more, 100% of the resort is covered by snowmaking, meaning primo conditions are guaranteed.
Crotched Mountain keeps the good times going long after the sun sets. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can enjoy several of Crotched’s slopes until midnight, with the resort grooming runs in the evenings to ensure fresh corduroy until the wee hours. The resort also stays open to powder hounds until 9pm most evenings. Whether you decide to ski during the day or night, you’ll find plenty of powder across Crotched’s 100 skiable acres, and the resort’s trails are fairly evenly divided by skill level. Crotched Mountain also features four terrain parks.
East Madison, NH
Surrounded by White Mountain National Forest, King Pine is an excellent place to learn to ski or snowboard. The majority of the resort’s trails were designed for beginner and intermediate-level powder hounds, and the resort’s ski school offers lessons for every age and skill level. Parents can also choose to enroll their youngsters in King Pine’s Ski & Snowboard Camp, where kids will learn to carve powder, as well as have access to the resort’s other amenities. King Pine also features opportunities to cross-country ski, ice skate or go snow tubing.
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