If you live in the northeastern United States and want to plan a family ski vacation or weekend ski trip but are unsure where to go, there are many factors that you should consider before you make plans such as ski terrain, family emphasis, nightlife, lodging, and scenery. There are many great ski resorts in New England but it is important to note that some are better than others for various reasons. Before you plan your next ski vacation, it is important to determine which New England ski resort is right for you. The following ski resorts are widely considered to be among the best in the northeast.
1. Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort is a large ski resort located in the town of Stowe in northern Vermont. This famous ski resort is a very popular ski destination for not only locals but also for individuals from around the world that are looking to get a taste of skiing in Vermont. The resort offers skiing on two mountains: Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Mount Mansfield, Stowe’s primary mountain, is the tallest mountain in the state of Vermont and offers spectacular views of the countryside. With a vertical drop of 2,360 feet, Stowe has some of the most challenging terrain in Vermont for advanced skiers while still offering a significant amount of easy terrain for beginners. The beautiful town of Stowe has some of best restaurants and lodging in the state and is considered by many people to be the epitome of quintessential Vermont.
2. Sugarloaf Ski Resort
Sugarloaf Ski Resort is the largest ski resort in the state of Maine in terms of both number of trails and skiable acreage and is located in Carrabassett Valley in the western part of the state. Compared to other ski resorts in New England, the skiing at Sugarloaf is among best with terrain for all ability levels. With a vertical drop of 2,820 feet, Sugarloaf is the only ski resort in the Eastern United States to offer lift-serviced above-treeline skiing. The ski resort as a whole has 146 trails which are accessed by 15 chairlifts. Sugarloaf’s 4,237 foot peak offers panoramic views of both Maine’s Western Lakes Region and New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The resort is located near the towns of Stratton and Kingfield and offers many restaurants and lodging opportunities for families and skiers.
3. Jay Peak Resort
Jay Peak Resort is located near the Canadian border in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. With an average annual snowfall of 355 inches, Jay Peak is home to the most snowfall of any ski area in Eastern North America. Although the resort offers skiing for all ability levels, Jay Peak is known for its glades, which are among the finest in Vermont. The mountain as a whole has 76 trails with 8 lifts and a vertical drop of 2,153 feet. Jay Peak’s resort has been remodeled with new improvements including the construction of a new lodge and hotel and the creation of more restaurants and places for other winter activities.
4. Sugarbush Resort
Sugarbush is a ski resort located in the Mad River Valley of Vermont. The resort is one of the largest in New England with 111 ski trails and 16 ski lifts. With a summit elevation of 4,083 feet, Sugarbush has a vertical drop of 2,650 feet, which is the second largest in Vermont after Killington. Sugarbush has two mountains separated by Slide Brook Basin. The south side of the ski resort is Lincoln Peak, which is the main part of the resort and where most of the real estate is located. The northern mountain is Mt. Ellen, which offers some of the resort’s most challenging terrain. Sugarbush is located in a beautiful area of Vermont with many restaurants and other winter activities.
5. Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Often nicknamed “Smuggs,” Smugglers’ Notch is located in the town of Cambridge, near Jeffersonville, VT. The ski resort consists of 3 mountains, which include Morse Mountain, Madonna Mountain, and Sterling Mountain. Morse Mountain is where the resort village is located and offers easy terrain for beginner skiers. The other two mountains, Madonna and Sterling, offer intermediate and advanced terrain with some of the steepest and most challenging trails in Vermont. The ski resort as a whole has 78 trails and a vertical drop of 2,610, which is the third largest in Vermont after Killington and Sugarbush. Smuggs is most well-known for being a family resort with plentiful activities for children and great ski instruction for beginners. The resort also has a small village area with some restaurants and many condos for lodging.
6. Killington Ski Resort
Killington Ski Resort is the largest ski area in the Eastern United States and has the largest vertical drop in New England at 3,050 feet. Killington is located in central Vermont near the city of Rutland. The ski resort has 200 trails and 33 lifts extending across 7 mountains. Terrain at Killington ranges from beginner to expert and consists of famous trails such as Juggernaut, the longest trail in the east at 6.2 miles, and Outer Limits, the steepest mogul run in New England. Killington has some of the best nightlife among ski resorts with live bands, dancing, and happy hours and is a popular destination for young skiers in their 20s and 30s.
7. Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mountain is not located in New England like the rest of these ski resorts, but is certainly worth mentioning because it is the only ski resort in the eastern United States that is outside of New England that offers skiing comparable to the previous 6 ski resorts. The ski resort is located in High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks in upstate New York and is only 13 miles from the town of Lake Placid. With a summit elevation of 4,867 feet, Whiteface has the largest vertical drop in the Eastern United States at 3,430 feet. This vertical drop is greater than some of the most famous ski resorts in the country including Aspen and Vail (Colorado), Park City (Utah), Killington and Stowe (Vermont), and Sugarloaf (Maine). Whiteface Mountain was the chosen location for the 1980 Winter Olympics and currently serves as a U.S. Olympic Training Site. Whiteface has some of the best skiing in the Northeast with terrain for both beginners and experts. In addition, Whiteface is known for its double-black diamond skiing on The Slides, a wilderness area that can only be accessed by hiking from the top of the Summit Quad. The town of Lake Placid is a beautiful village with restaurants that overlook the scenic Mirror Lake, which is frozen and snow-covered in the winter.