Best Ski Resorts in New England

Want to go on a skiing adventure in New England? Perfect! You’ll be glad to know that this northeastern region of the United States does offer some premier skiing destinations, especially in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

As a matter of fact, skiing is now the official sport in New Hampshire, while in Maine you can find the second largest ski resort in the east. So, why not go over 5 amazing ski resorts in this area and see what New England has to offer?

Whether you’re a skier looking for the best slopes and trails or you’re looking to go on a family skiing adventure, there’s something for everyone no matter your budget or level of experience.

Let’s take a look at the best ski resorts in New England in no particular order.

Sugarbush Resort

If you consider visiting a world-class resort in New England but you want to avoid large crowds, the Sugarbush Resort is the real deal. Here you can find everything that more popular resorts offer, except for the crowds, so don’t expect to wait in long lines for the ski lifts. This great ski resort in Vermont has 111 runs suitable for all ability levels, so whether you’re a new skier or you have years of experience, you’ll be taken care of at Sugarbush.

Pros

  • Vast terrain shared between two mountains
  • No crowds
  • Plenty of runs for all ability levels

Cons

  • Busy restaurants
  • Long lift ride between the two ski areas

Famous for: the non-existent crowds; two ski areas.

Town Area

The resort is located in the town of Warren where you can find some nice restaurants, bars, shops, and a farmers market. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, the hike to Warren falls will certainly make your day. You’ll enjoy the picturesque mountain roads and find crystal clear water to dive in from some of the cliffs. When it comes to nightlife, you’re limited to the few bars, pubs, and taverns.

Ski Terrain

The Sugarbush Resort has a total of 111 runs spread over 581 acres of ski area shared between the two interconnected mountains, Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen. The runs cover all levels of skiing – 23% for beginners, 43% for intermediates, 27% for advanced skiers, and 7% for experts. If you’re an experienced skier you’ll love the fun and challenging trails and steep chutes, but there are plenty of runs for newbies as well as a ski school.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

One of the best things about this ski resort is that you won’t encounter any crowds, except when in the restaurants. The 16 ski lifts do their job perfectly which is why you won’t see any lines forming in front of the lifts. The price for a daily ticket for adults is $78 and $65 for children.

Accommodation

You can stay at the Sugarbush Inn where you’ll find all the comforts you need, and if you’re looking for something more luxurious, your best bet is the Clay Brook Hotel & Residences where you’ll find fireplaces and in-room Jacuzzi tubs, a game room, a gym, and much more.  There are also a few ski-in/ski-out condos, and a bunch of townhomes and condominiums around the resort.

Verdict

The Sugarbush Resort is a great place for both beginners and more advanced skiers, and you’ll particularly like it here if you’re actively trying to avoid large crowds. Once here, you’ll understand why this is one of the best ski resorts in New England.

Cannon Mountain

If you expect glamour and luxury, you won’t find it at Cannon Mountain. But if you’re looking for an old school feel, affordable prices, and small crowds, then this is the perfect place for you.

Cannon Mountain is not even a ski resort but more of a state park for advanced skiers and those with at least some skiing experience. Maybe it’s not the best place for families, but if you’re a more advanced skier who’s intrigued by the highest vertical drop in New Hampshire, the spectacular scenery, and narrow trails, you should definitely check it out!

Famous for: state park skiing; challenging terrain; breathtaking views.

Pros

  • Highest vertical drop in New Hampshire
  • Amazing views
  • Challenging terrain for advanced skiers
  • Affordable accommodation
  • Small crowds

Cons

  • No accommodation options in the park
  • Not great for beginners

Famous for: state park skiing; authentic old school feel

Town Area

While Cannon Mountain provides plenty of challenges on the slopes, you should look for après-ski fun and accommodation in the nearby towns like Lincoln. Besides restaurants and bars, you can visit the Whales Tale waterpark, the Seven Birches winery, and enjoy a train ride and a bear show at the Clark’s Trading Post park. The most amazing attraction here, however, are definitely the Ice Castles where you can expect to see these magnificent structures in all their glory as well as ice sculptures, tunnels, slides, and even frozen thrones.

Ski Terrain

With 95 runs in total covering a ski area of 282 acres, half of which are for intermediate and one third for advanced skiers, beginners might want to look at the other ski resorts on our list. You’ll find the highest vertical drop in the state and plenty of narrow trails and glades. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, the DJ’s Tramline trail with long and narrow black, peppered with boulders, will surprise you with some sketchy cliff steps and a lot of snow that covers everything up.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

With a total of 11 lifts covering the 282 acres area, large crowds at Cannon Mountain are a rarity. The ski lift tickets are one of the most affordable ones on this list, with only $77 for an adult ticket while children can go in for free.

Accommodation

As we already warned you, don’t expect any luxury or glamour, or even accommodation in Cannon Mountain. The closest accommodation options you can find are in the nearby towns of Lincoln and Littleton where you have some nice resorts like the South Mountain resort, and plenty of suites, inns, and cottages.

Verdict

Cannon Mountain is a great place for experienced skiers who are in search of challenging terrain and narrow trails. Beware that the closest accommodation options are 10-15 minute drive away, so it’s best if you come with your own car.

Bretton Woods

Bretton Woods offers the largest ski area in New Hampshire, some of the best groomed slopes, and the most breathtaking views on Mount Washington. In fact, SKI Magazine readers recognized it as the best resort for snow, grooming, and scenery in the east. Great for families and guests of all ages and levels of experience, no wonder Bretton Woods is on every “best ski resorts in New England” lists.

Pros

  • Extraordinary views
  • Award-winning ski resort for snow, grooming, and scenery
  • Great for families
  • Plenty of accommodation options

Cons

  • Not many options for nightlife

Famous for: great terrain for all ability levels; breathtaking scenery; Mount Washington.

Town Area

Bretton Woods is basically a village in the town of Carroll where you can find grocery and convenience stores, restaurants, and bars. The nightlife is limited to the few bars, but if you’re looking to do something fun during the day, you can visit the Six Gun City themed park where you can travel back in time to the old west, drink in an authentic Saloon, play laser tag, go-kart, ride horses, and do plenty of other fun activities. 

If you’re a fan of poetry, you’d love the Frost Place museum which used to be Robert Frost’s home and has an incredible view of the White Mountains. If hiking is your thing, climbing up Mount Washington is a must!

Ski Terrain

With a 464 ac of ski area, you can expect a total of 97 perfectly-groomed runs for all levels of experience. This makes Bretton Woods great for beginners (with 25% of the runs dedicated for this level) and intermediates (29%), but also challenging for advanced (30%) and expert skiers (16%). With a vertical drop of 1.500 feet and an average snowfall of over 200 inches, skiers and snowboarders are bound to have a great time at Bretton Woods. 

If you enjoy night skiing, you’ll be glad to know that there are 5 trails available every weekend and during the holiday period in the winter season.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

The 10 lifts do prevent the formation of crowds although sometimes this is not the case. The tickets are pretty affordable for this type of resort, with $81 for an adult ticket while children can get in for free. There are also 2 lifts available for night skiing.

Accommodation

Bretton Woods offers a variety of different types of accommodation. There’s the 4 star Omni Mount Washington Resort, the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, and various hotels in Carroll. You can also find ski-in/ski-out townhomes as well as slopeside townhomes that are only a short walk to the lifts. For something even more affordable, you can always rent a vacation home in the town of Carroll.

Verdict

All in all, Bretton Woods is one of the best ski resorts in New England due to its great terrain, the variety of accommodation options, and the breathtaking views of Mount Washington.

Sugarloaf Resort

Located in Carrabassett Valley, Sugarloaf is the second largest ski area in the east and the largest ski resort in Maine with a total of 1240 acres and 160 runs. Its world class terrain, the variety of trails, and the family-friendly environment are all responsible for the good reviews this resort constantly gets. You’ll witness some amazing glades, great snow, and breathtaking views, and have a vast terrain to explore.

Pros

  • Plenty of runs for all ability levels
  • A decent nightlife
  • Family-friendly environment
  • 2,820 feet of vertical drop

Cons

  • Can get crowded
  • Limited accommodation options near the mountain
  • Far from the airport and the city

Famous for: the only lift-serviced skiing in New England.

Town Area

The Sugarloaf village does offer some great bars and pubs where you can socialize and enjoy a few drinks after a long day of skiing. If you happen to be there during the month of April and enjoy reggae music, their annual Reggae festival is a must! You can try plenty of winter activities and lessons on cat skiing, sno-go skibiking, fat biking, ice skating, snowshoeing, and many more! You can also relax with a massage, a scenic lift ride, and if you’re looking for something more adventurous, you can try ziplining or visit the anti-gravity complex.

Ski Terrain

Due to its amazing location in the north of Maine, there’s an incredible powder and deep snowpack you can take advantage of. The large ski area of 1240 acres is filled with 160 runs where 23% are for beginners, 34% for intermediates, 27% for advanced skiers, and 16% for experts. 

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

Unfortunately, Sugarloaf is not as crowd-free as some of the other resorts on this list. That being said, compared to other popular resorts, the crowds are not as big, mainly due to the large ski area. There are 13 lifts equipped with industry-leading safety technology that do their job well, so don’t expect to wait in long lines.

Accommodation

If you’re interested in on-mountain accommodation, you’ll find some amazing condos in the Sugarloaf village that are near the trails as well as some shops and restaurants. The only ski-in/ski-out option is the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, but if you’re looking for something more affordable, the Sugarloaf Inn is only a 10 minute walk away from the lifts.

Verdict

Even though it’s a few hours away from the airport and bigger cities, this gem of a resort will surprise you with its world-class terrain and a great atmosphere for individuals, groups, and families. With so many positive reviews, no wonder Sugarloaf is one of the best ski resorts in New England.

Killington

Last but definitely not least, Killington offers the largest ski area in the east of the U.S. with 1509 acres of skiable terrain. Not only that, but it also has the longest ski season in this area (October-May) and is one of the most beloved ski resorts in New England. The vast terrain is spread across 7 peaks with trails for all ability levels, and if a good nightlife is important to you, you’re in for a treat!

Pros

  • Great nightlife
  • Largest skiable terrain in the east
  • A great variety of runs

Cons

  • Large crowds
  • Expensive lift tickets

Famous for: longest ski season in the east; largest ski area in the east; great nightlife.

Town Area

The après-ski scene is strong at Killington, with plenty of amazing restaurants, taverns, cafés, and bars. You can also enjoy snow tubing, ice skating, scenic gondola rides, or live entertainment and screened events at the Paramount theatre. Out of all resorts on this list, you’ll find the best nightlife in Killington, so get ready for some fun dance parties and music shows while there.

Ski Terrain

Due to the large ski area, there are up to 144 runs in total. The great thing is that you can find plenty of runs for you no matter your ability level as 28% of the runs are for beginners, 33% for intermediates, 24% for advanced skiers, and 15% for experts. If this is your first time at a resort of this sort, you might have a difficulty in navigating between the different ski areas, especially when it gets crowded on powder days. 

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

Due to its popularity, you can expect some crowds, but because of the large ski area and the numerous runs it doesn’t feel as crowded. There are 21 lifts in total and expect to pay a bit more when compared to the other resorts on this list which is $115 for one adult ticket. That being said, if you book your lift tickets online at least 24 hours in advance, you can get up to 40% discount.

Accommodation

There are a few ski-in/ski-out accommodation options like the Killington Grand Hotel and the Sunrise Mountain Village, among others. Some condos are only a short walk away from the lifts, while most of the other lodgings provide a shuttle to the resort.

Verdict

Killington has everything you’ll ever need while on a ski trip, from a variety of runs and great lifts to the best après-ski scene and nightlife. No wonder Killington got the nickname “the beast of the east”!

Article by:
Abby Ward
Senior Content Writer at Bluehouse
Last Updated April 2021