Best Ski Resorts in East Coast

It’s fair to say that when talking about skiing, most people think of the midwest and the Rockies, whereas the East Coast rarely, if ever comes to mind. And there are a few reasons for that. 

First off, snowfall is not nearly as intense in the east as it is in the west, and most of these resorts enhance their trails and tracks with snowmaking. That being said, the technology and machinery for this are so advanced and do such a great job, that you can hardly tell the difference. Then we have the height of the mountains which lacks in the east, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t long, challenging trails with many twists and turns. 

All in all, ski resorts on the East Coast are more family-oriented, as they offer a wide variety of ski terrain and some of the best ones in Vermont and New Hampshire are near to one another with good road connections.

If you are thinking about spending the following winter vacation on the East Coast but you aren’t sure exactly where, keep reading our comprehensive review on the best ski resorts on the East Coast.

Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont

A resort that is considered to be among the best ones in Vermont, Okemo Mountain Resort is a true gem of the Green Mountains. It’s located just 45 minutes from the Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport and has it all – from perfectly groomed trails, to great apres-ski activities and places to see. This is definitely the resort you should consider if you plan on getting your adrenaline fix on the East Coast.

Pros

  • Top of the line ski lifts
  • Great groomers that are long and provide loads of fun
  • Maximum snowmaking
  • Great ski and snowboard programs for kids
  • Loads of slopeside accommodation
  • Loads of things to do when not on the slopes

Cons

  • Gets really crowded on weekends and holidays
  • Not a lot of extreme/steep terrain
  • You can lose your group due to the many base areas and the five interconnected peaks
  • Snow conditions can vary, and you can sometimes encounter firm snow that is characteristic for speedruns, which can be dangerous for beginners

All You Need To Know

Ski Terrain

There aren’t many resorts that offer trails that are as long and as comfy as the ones on the Okemo Mountain Resort. You will be able to glide up and down with ease, but as long trails are notorious for having patches where there is a lack of snow, the trails are maintained around the clock thanks to top-notch snowmaking machines.

While there aren’t many advanced and expert slopes, there are still enough for adrenaline junkies to get their fix and enjoy riding hard down the mountain.

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

Loads of ski enthusiasts flock Okemo Mountain Resort for the holidays, and those crowds require fast and efficient transportation to the top of the trails, which is why this resort has one of the best ski lifts in the USA. Fast, efficient, and with a wide network, going up and down the mountain is a piece of cake.

Well, we’d like to say that the trails are not too crowded, but hey, the fast lift results in a lot of people at the start of the trails and on them, which is where Okemo loses a few points. The trails can get really crowded during the weekends, which requires extra attentiveness on your behalf, that is, if you don’t want to bump into someone and end with your skis in the air.

Town Area

The Ludlow village below provides a wide variety of places to eat and shop where you can spend some cash on souvenirs and gadgets. The word “Okemo” translates to “home” and the small, cozy village definitely fits the name. If you are looking for apres-ski activities, you can visit the spas, hiking and fat biking trails, hot tubs, and a whole lot of other things to do both during the day and the night.

Accommodation

A place to stay is easy to find both near the slopes and away from them. The resort is very family-friendly, so you will be able to find the right place to stay if you decide to go with your family. And the best thing is you can find the one that will suit your family budget, with prices ranging from fairly inexpensive to expensive.

Verdict

A resort where anyone can find what they’re looking for. From slopeside accommodation, great places to eat, terrain that suits their ability, Okemo has it all. Just make sure to get a good grip on the resort and how to get around, as you can lose your group easily if you don’t pay attention to the direction of the lift lines.

Bretton Woods Mountain Resort, New Hampshire

A ski resort frequently featured in top-ten lists, Bretton Woods Mountain Resort is a favorite among skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts who like to not only glide on the trails, but also spend quality time off the slopes. You can find many shops and restaurants or get mixed up with people in the various events that happen on a daily basis all over the resort and in the nearby village. There are three international airports near the resort, so getting there isn’t going to be an issue.

Pros

  • Great ski terrain condition (top-grade snowmaking and maintenance)
  • Perfect for beginners and intermediates
  • Loads to do off the slopes
  • Family-friendly
  • Breathtaking scenery

Cons

  • Not a lot of extreme terrain
  • Trails get crowded pretty often
  • Can be a bit pricey
  • Small town, not a lot to see

All You Need To Know

Ski Terrain

The ski terrain at Bretton Woods Mountain Resort is one of the best ones in the world. The slopes are regularly maintained and there are snowmaking machines working round the clock to keep the trails in top condition. There are many trails for both beginners and intermediates, but unfortunately, not that many for extreme skiers, so more experienced skiers might be a bit put off.

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

There are four high-speed lifts which will get you to the top of any slope, but keep in mind that the trails can get a bit crowded during weekends, and when the season is peaking, during weekdays too. Here at Bretton Woods the old saying “the early bird gets the worm” applies, meaning you have a good chance of having a chill and worry-free ride if you hit the slopes early in the day.

Town Area

There are loads of shops where you can buy souvenirs and memorabilia, and a lot of places to quench your thirst and get your belly full of delicious food. For example, you can try the Top o’Quad Restaurant, which offers a combination of great food and an amazing view. There are also loads of pubs to choose from, with many of them offering microbrews and local beer, and if you are into something fancier, you can always hit The Cave which is a Prohibition-era styled bar that serves ass kickin’ drinks.

Accommodation

There are plenty of lodgings available in the resort and the nearby village, but make sure you book early, as the prices can skyrocket even before the season is in full swing. If you plan on going to Bretton Woods with your family, you can easily find a place to stay for your whole family.

Verdict

Well, with all we’ve mentioned above, it’s no wonder Bretton Woods Mountain Resort is considered to be one of the best ones not just in the US, but worldwide. There are trails named after famous skiers (Bode Miller, for example), and they also had the freedom of choosing which one they’d like to get their name! Great terrain, loads to do when you’re done skiing, and cozy places to stay, that’s the Bretton Woods Mountain Resort. 

Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

A resort that comes highly recommended by its many loyal skiers that go there every year, Stowe Mountain Resort is a gem in the Vermont mountainside. Spaced on two mountains, Burlington and Spruce Peak, the resort has a spacious ski area and a cozy village for all the apres-ski activities. It’s an hour drive from Burlington Airport, so it’s easy to see why thousands flock the resort every season.

Pros

  • Fast and efficient lifts
  • A variety of trails, both easy and difficult ones
  • Free transportation from the resort to the nearby village
  • Loads of apres-ski activities
  • Great dining and accommodation options

Cons

  • Ski lift tickets and equipment are costly
  • Weather varies, can get pretty bad rather quickly
  • Gets crowded both on and off the trails
  • Getting to the resort can be difficult, as there is a lot of traffic and the resort is pretty far from big cities

All You Need To Know

Ski Terrain

Stowe Mountain Resort has 116 well-groomed trails that vary in difficulty, which means that all beginners, intermediates, and experts, can find a slope to their liking. And while the weather can sometimes stop you from hitting your favorite trail, you should be able to find another one that isn’t as affected by strong winds. 

Crowds & Ski Lifts

The trails get crowded relatively early, and it might be difficult for beginners to have fun, as only 17% of the trails are suitable for them and they get filled up first. But don’t worry, you won’t waste a lot of time looking for a suitable slope, as the lifts are fast and efficient, and you will be able to move from place to place with relative ease.

Town Area

When you get tired from cruising up and down the slopes, it’s time to recharge your batteries and fuel up on tasty food and a beer or whatever your poison of choice is. There are great places for both dining and apres-ski activities, from bar events, all the way to various cultural events held at the Spruce Peak Performance Arts Center. If you still want to burn some calories, you can try indoor rock-climbing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, and many other adrenaline-inducing activities.

Accommodation

When it comes to finding a place to stay, Stowe Mountain Resort offers mostly high-end lodgings that are located near the slopes, and if you’re looking for more budget-friendly options, you’re better off looking for a place in the village. The village is around 8 miles away from the slopes, but there is a free shuttle that goes from the village to the slopes all day long. 

Verdict

A resort that offers both luxury and budget-friendly options, Stowe Mountain Resort is considered to be one of the best ones on the East Coast for a good reason. Yes, prices may be a bit high, but considering everything it offers, it’s all well worth it.

Sugarloaf, Maine

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This list would make no sense if we didn’t include Maine’s largest and New England’s second largest ski resort – Sugarloaf. It’s a bit far off from any airports and other cities, but with the large 1,240ac of groomers, glades, and backcountry trails, coupled with great places to visit and do stuff in when you’re not skiing, one thing is for sure – you will never forget the time you’ve spent at Sugarloaf.

Pros

  • Good quality terrain
  • A variety of both groomers and backcountry trails
  • Recently expanded, so there’s more backcountry terrain
  • A large network of trails for biking, hiking, snowmobiling 

Cons

  • Accommodation and eating out can be pricey
  • Many visitors complain about poor customer service in both hotels and shops
  • Not a lot of advanced terrains and vertical-drop spots are very rare
  • Extreme weather can prevent you from hitting the trails, causing long waiting lines and power outages

All You Need To Know

Ski Terrain

There are 160 trails, so more than enough for everyone – from newbie to pro – to find the trail that will let them have their cup of snow. There is also more than enough snow during the season, and with the addition of the new backcountry terrain, it’s fair to say that the one word that comes to mind when thinking about this ski terrain is “complete”.

The only thing visitors have complained about is the very few extreme vertical-drop spots on advanced trails, but the overall vertical drop is very good.

Crowds & Ski Lifts

The trails rarely get crowded, and most of the time it’s the advanced trails that get busy. As for the ski lifts, there are good connections to all the slopes, but the one thing that might put some skiers off is the high price.

Town Area

A cozy village that has the same rugged feel as the trails, you will find the atmosphere here to be electric, as there are parties all over the place. If you are looking for something more relaxing, you can go to one of the many restaurants and shops. And for all those who still have some steam in their tanks to blow off, you can always hit the hiking, biking, or snowshoeing trails.

Accommodation

There are plenty of hotels and condominiums to choose from, but if you are looking for a budget-friendly option, make sure you book early, as there aren’t that many and the average price per night in Sugarloaf is high when compared to the other resorts.

Verdict

You have quite the drive all the way to Sugarloaf Resort, but once you get there you will know why hoards of people go there every year. From the amazing ski terrain to the many bars, restaurants, and shops, Sugarloaf is an experience that you should definitely consider if you are looking for the time of your life for your next winter extravaganza.

Killington Resort

If you’re looking for a place where the ski season lasts for over half a year, the Killington Resort is your best choice. The vast skiable terrain with challenging glades and trails that suit any level of experience and the après-ski activities mean only one thing – you’re bound to have a great time in one of the biggest and best resorts on the East Coast! 

Pros

  • Trails for all ability levels
  • A lot of après-ski activities
  • Local shuttle bus available
  • No ski lines during the midweek

Cons

  • Beginners might find it hard to navigate between ski areas
  • Can get crowded on powder days during the weekends
  • Lift tickets are pricey

All You Need To Know

Ski Terrain

The Killington Resort has one of the biggest (if not the biggest) ski areas on the East Coast, with up to 1,509ac of skiable terrain. It’s spread across seven peaks, and don’t worry if the snow gets stingy – the slopes are regularly maintained with snowmaking machines, so you’ll always find the trails in top condition. The total number of runs is 155, and you’ll find green trails suited for beginners, blue trails suited for intermediates, while those more advanced and experts will find challenging trails on top of the Killington Peak and the K-1 express.

Crowds & Ski Lifts

Even though the skiing season usually lasts from October to May, you’ll find the best weather and snow during February and March, so it’s expected that you’ll find the biggest crowds during these two months as well. The total number of lifts is 21, but having in mind the vastness of the ski area, you might sometimes encounter crowds during the weekends, but don’t expect long lift lines during the midweek. The ticket price is a bit high, with $115 for a ticket for adults, while the lift tickets for children are free.

Town Area

Besides being known as a great place for skiing, Killington is also known for having a great nightlife. With many après-ski activities and places to eat and drink, you’re sure to have fun after being on the slopes all day. During the day, you can go ice skating, go on a scenic gondola ride, visit a family-friendly brewery, go sledding, and enjoy many more fun activities. 

Rutland is another town which is only 15 miles away where you can find bars and restaurants, so if you happen to get bored with Killington and want to explore another place nearby, we highly recommend it.

Accommodation

You can stay at the Killington Grand Resort hotel which is only 220 yards from the ski area. There are other lodging options that are a few miles away from the resort, and some that offer shuttles that take you to the lifts or you can drive yourself if you happen to come by car. There are both affordable and more luxurious options, so you can choose from hotels and inns to 4 and 5 star resorts.

Verdict

All in all, Killington is an amazing resort for everyone, whether you’re a beginner in skiing or an expert, whether your priority is skiing or enjoying other activities and socializing, or whether you decide to go alone, with friends, or your family.

You can check out more on our USA Ski Resorts page.

Article by:
Abby Ward
Senior Content Writer at Bluehouse
Last Updated August 2020