The Northeast ski region includes the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains and the White Mountains in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Vertical drops and natural snowfall are generally less than what you'd find at Western and Rocky Mountain resorts, but world-class snow-making keeps trail conditions consistent. Find information about top ski resorts in the Northeast here.
The largest ski resort in the eastern U.S., Killington encompasses seven distinct mountain areas, including the second-highest peak in Vermont. Known as the “Beast of the East” for its lofty vertical drop, this ski destination knows how to lure thrill-seekers. The Canyon area and the Big Dipper offer plenty of challenging runs for more experienced powder hounds. But that doesn’t mean those new to snow sports won’t have fun. The entire Snowshed Lodge area is designed with beginners in mind, and the resort’s ski school will have you feeling confident on your skis or board in no time.
Sugarbush caters to skiers and snowboarders who like to feel as though they have the slopes to themselves. As one of the largest resorts on the East Coast, Sugarbush encompasses around 4,000 acres of skiable terrain across six mountains. It also features three terrain parks perfect for practicing tricks. This massive Vermont ski resort caters to all skill levels, with its 111 marked trails relatively equally divided between beginner, intermediate and expert. The resort also provides top-tier instruction and an adaptive ski program, so everyone can enjoy a day on the mountain.
Considered both luxurious and family-friendly, Stowe Mountain has a lot going for it. The resort occupies the tallest mountain in Vermont, and many have said its snowpack is the best in the North East. What’s more, Stowe is known for its variety, offering everything from well-groomed, beginner-friendly trails to unrefined, high-elevation terrain. Over the past several years, Stowe has invested in renovations to its facilities, including a high-speed peak-to-peak gondola. Add to that the resort’s acclaimed ski school and dining facilities, and you can see why it’s called the “Queen of the East”.
Okemo Mountain offers a nice variety of runs across more than 600 skiable acres to suit all skill levels. This Vermont resort’s ample beginner and intermediate slopes have earned it a family-friendly reputation. Visitors with kids especially love the resort’s ski school. Some skiers lament that Okemo’s slopes are too easy, but more experienced powder hounds will find challenging terrain on the South Face. And while Okemo may not always receive as much snow as other top Vermont ski resorts, this destination’s snow-making and grooming frequently receive high praise.
This immense ski resort in western Maine caters to powder hounds who need their space. Sunday River’s 870 skiable acres are spread across eight peaks, with additional space for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. While there is no shortage of challenging runs for more experienced skiers, Sunday River also dedicates 30% of its marked trails for beginners. And the resort’s ski school provides a variety of instruction styles to build confidence on the slopes. Plus, the good times don’t have to stop at sundown. Sunday River offers twilight skiing on several runs from late December through late March.
Carrabassett Valley, ME
Maine’s most renowned resort, Sugarloaf boasts one of the largest skiable areas on the East Coast, not to mention the region’s only lift-serviced trails above the treeline. Sprawling across the towering Sugarloaf Mountain in the western part of the state, Sugarloaf’s trails offer stunning views of the Carrabassett Valley. The resort’s 150-plus trails are relatively equally divided by skill level, meaning everyone from newbies to experts will have plenty of terrain to explore. What’s more, Sugarloaf’s northern location and high average snowfall average tends to lead to longer-than-usual ski seasons, with lifts often operating until May.
Snowboarders should jump at the chance to visit Stratton Mountain, as this was the first East Coast resort to permit snowboarding on its slopes. And with nearly 700 skiable acres, this Vermont Resort provides plenty of space to carve powder, no matter how you prefer to do it. Spread across the highest peak in southern Vermont, Stratton Mountain is especially popular with New Yorkers due to its proximity to the Big Apple. But just about anyone who visits will appreciate Stratton Mountain’s finely groomed runs, as well as the ease in which they can get around the resort.
Just 20 minutes from the Canadian border, Jay Peak has an advantage over other Vermont ski destinations when it comes to snowfall, averaging around 350 inches per year. And its slopes, particularly the Headwall chutes, and tree skiing are sure to challenge even practiced powder hounds. The resort has invested a large sum of money in its facilities over the past few years. Now, Jay Peak is stacked with amenities – luxury hotels, ice rinks and even a water park, to name a few. But those solely interested in skiing won’t be disappointed by this resort.
Once overshadowed by its neighbor, Stowe Mountain, Smugglers’ Notch has stepped out into the spotlight in recent years. It has received acclaim from experts and skiers for its primo powder and welcoming atmosphere. Although only around 20% of its runs are designed for beginners, Smugglers’ Notch has earned the nickname “America’s Family Resort” for its kids’ programs and family-friendly activities. The resort also welcomes experienced skiers and snowboarders with rugged expert terrain and the East Coast’s only triple-black-diamond run, Black Hole.
West Dover, VT
Mount Snow is the ideal resort for skiers and snowboarders looking to improve their skills, with more than half of its runs designed for the intermediate level. But that doesn’t mean newbies and pros won’t enjoy themselves here. This resort has earned its moniker, boasting some of the best snowmaking on the East Coast. And regulars are quick to praise Mount Snow’s grooming. Another highlight is Mount Snow’s new Carinthia Base Lodge, which debuted in the 2019-20 season. The lodge features plenty of space to unwind, and enough of dining options to ensure everyone’s tastes are satisfied.
North Creek, NY
This Adirondack resort has four peaks and offers a great experience regardless of the skill level. From beginners to experts there’s something for everyone. Gore is best known for its long, rolling blue cruisers and is a popular location for glade skiing, but there is a wide terrain variety. It’s also one of the only places that makes snow for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. If freestyle skiing is more your thing, there are eight park areas just for that. This resort offers evening skiing activities, as well, in the historic North Creek Ski Bowl.
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.
After closing its slopes in 2015 after it was unable to secure funding to update it’s main lift, Saddleback will welcome back skiers for the 2020/2021 ski season. In addition to a new lift, the resort also features a renovated lodge and increased snowmaking (though it boasts the most natural snow in Maine). Maine’s third-largest ski area encompasses 220 skiable acres and boasts a 2,000-foot vertical drop, with enough runs to accommodate skiers of all ski levels. Saddleback will also offer a revamped ski school program that accommodates beginners of all ages.
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.
Mad River Glen caters to more experienced skiers, as it encompasses some of the most challenging terrain in the region. What’s more, this resort’s relatively uncrowded slopes allow powderhounds to move more freely than at other resorts (regulars particularly love the single-chair lifts). That said, those who still need some help getting their footing can take advantage of Mad River Glen’s renovated ski school facility, and rest their legs at the recently revamped Basebox lodge area. What’s more, Mad River Glen offers access to their slopes for a noticeably lower rate than their competitors.
Just two hours north of New York City, this resort is known as the “snowmaking capital of the world” with 100 percent coverage on the mountain’s 240 skiable acres. Hunter Mountain features three peaks that offer a variety of options for skiers of all skill levels. There’s even an entire mountain dedicated to beginners and families, not to mention off-slope activities like snow tubing on nine chutes and annual festivities. And in warmer months, enjoy the longest and highest zipline in North America, canopy rides and the Adventure Tower obstacle course.
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.
Welcoming skiers since 1937, Shawnee Peak has been a go-to resort for generations, with kids growing up on its slopes, and returning with their kids to carry on the fun. A quarter of the resort’s 43 runs are tailored to beginners, making it easy for little ones to practice their skills and boost their confidence. And a lesson at Shawnee Peak’s learning center will certainly speed that process along, whether your little one is interested in skiing or snowboarding. For more advanced skiers, Shawnee Peak’s expert terrain is sure to thrill. What’s more, Shawnee Peak offers the most night skiing in New England, with 19 trails open past sunset.
Greek Peak Mountain Resort is located in the Finger Lakes region and is central New York’s largest ski resort. The resort has 56 trails reachable by six lifts, as well as a beginner’s slope, a 10-lane snow tubing center and several terrain parks. The resort sits on 7,000 acres with a 952-foot vertical drop, and visitors can go snowboarding, skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Night skiing is also available. Meanwhile, operating all year long is an Adventure Center with a mountain coaster and zip-lines. The resort also offers an indoor waterpark.
Great Barrington, MA