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Spectacular views of Vermont’s Green Mountains on the slopes in Stowe

Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire

Your Guide to Skiing and Snowboarding in New England

By: Katrina Woznicki

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  • States:
    New Hampshire

When people think of skiing in the USA, they usually think of western states like Colorado and Montana.

But the cold winters and craggy terrain of New England, and the region’s history of self-sufficiency and independence, make this part of the northeastern USA a go-to destination for skiing. There are a number of mountain ranges dotting New England, with peaks ranging in height from 700 meters to more than 1,900 meters. The diversity offers downhill skiers a variety of experiences, from exhilarating drops to bunny hills, and some magnificent views. Here are four of the region’s finest options for a skiing or snowboarding trip.

Stowe, Vermont

Mount Mansfield, the Green Mountain State's tallest mountain at more than 1,300 meters tall, lies at the heart of Stowe, Vermont. This is where you’ll find the region’s most popular ski resorts. With an average of nearly 800 centimeters of snowfall per year, Stowe Mountain Resort prides itself on ideal skiing conditions, drawing winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world. Skiers can choose from 116 trails, with something for beginners, intermediates and daredevils. Ride the gondola to connect between different slopes, luxury accommodations, ski shops and the ski concierge. After a day on the slopes, you'll have worked up an appetite for Stowe's area fondue restaurants. Stowe Mountain Resort is about 40 kilometers from Burlington International Airport in South Burlington, Vermont.

A winter day filled with activities at a ski lodge near Mount Mansfield

A winter day filled with activities at a ski lodge near Mount Mansfield
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Sunday River, Newry, Maine

Sunday River ski resort in Newry, Maine, consists of eight interconnected peaks, blanketed by an average of 424 centimeters of snowfall each season and supplemented by an advanced snowmaking system. There are 135 trails and 15 chairlifts crisscrossing all those peaks. Ski a double-black diamond or take the longest way down, a nearly five-kilometer run. You can even ski after the sun goes down. Too advanced for you? Take a lesson at ski school. If you need a break from your skis, try snowmobiling or snow tubing. Onsite lodging at Sunday River can accommodate everyone from couples to large families. Choose from the Jordan and Grand Summit hotels, which feature standard rooms and up to three-bedroom suites; an inn, and condominiums The nearest airport is in Portland, Maine's largest city, about 112 kilometers away.

In Newry, more than 200 centimeters of snow falls each year

In Newry, more than 200 centimeters of snow falls each year
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Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Bretton Woods is the Granite State's largest ski area and home to the Northeast's highest peak: the 1,917-meter Mount Washington. With nearly 188 hectares of skiable terrain that include 62 trails and access to 10 chairlifts, Bretton Woods caters to skiers of all skill levels. The resort even has adaptive ski gear for special-needs visitors. Located in the heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains, the region gets an average of more than 500 centimeters of natural snowfall each season. The Omni Mountain Resort, with 200 rooms and suites in a stunning Spanish Renaissance building, has been hosting visitors since 1902. The largest nearby airport is in Boston, Massachusetts, but, at about 250 kilometers away, it’s not the closest. About 135 kilometers away, the airport in Portland, Maine, is the closest to Bretton Woods.

Family fun in New Hampshire's White Mountains

Family fun in New Hampshire's White Mountains
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Jiminy Peak, Hancock, Massachusetts

Looking for a scenic and child-friendly ski getaway? Jiminy Peak in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts is well known for its gentle blue peaks and for accommodating families with small children. It features a ski school for children as young as 3 years old as well as a variety of activities beyond skiing and snowboarding. The area doesn’t get as much snow as ski resorts farther north. On average, Jiminy Peak sees about 254 centimeters of natural snowfall, which is enough to create some powdery, fun terrain on 45 trails. Access the trails from nine lifts, including a six-person express chairlift that ends at the Hendricks Summit Lodge. Night skiing and snowboarding on designated, lit trails is also available. Both New York City, New York, and Boston are 250 kilometers away from Jiminy Peak.

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Know Before You Go

Interested in a ski vacation to the Northeast USA? Planning can make all the difference. Please consider these points when planning:

  • Ski resorts and the surrounding communities provide a wide range of lodging options, from offsite bed-and-breakfasts to country inns to onsite resort condominiums. Accommodations that are not on resort grounds often cost less than those at the resort, especially during peak season.
  • The winter holidays tend to be the busiest times, so be prepared for possible crowds, higher prices and longer lines at the chairlifts during those times. December through March is typically considered peak season. Winter holidays include the week between Christmas and New Year's, Martin Luther King Day (the third Monday of January) and President's Day (the third Monday of February).
  • Lift ticket prices are generally higher on weekends than on weekdays. Package lift tickets with hotel stays for increased savings.
  • Dress warmly, meaning plenty of layers and waterproof clothing. Winters can be rough in New England and upstate New York, with temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius and colder.
  • You may rent skis, boots and poles at the resort. Some also rent helmets, or helmets can be bought at resort ski shops. Items such as ski goggles, gloves and other types of accessories and clothing usually cannot be rented, but are available for purchase at resort shops.
  • Lather on the sunscreen. Even though it might be freezing cold, you can still develop sunburn because the snow reflects the sun's rays.
  • Be mindful about the weather conditions and the roads when driving. Check local weather listings for updates, because conditions can change quickly. While most northern towns are pretty good about salting the roads, be aware that roadways, from interstate highways to side streets, can be slick with ice and snow. Make sure to rent an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle. You may want to use tire chains if you are driving in the snow.
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