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While ski resorts in the West tend to get the spotlight more often, that doesn’t mean those in the East have to make a cross-country trip if they want to enjoy snowy slopes. The mountains in the region have been drawing skiers for decades, with everything from meticulously groomed cruises for beginners to spellbinding glades and dramatic steeps for the experts. Whether you’re looking for epic New England powder or something a bit closer to the South, there’s a ski resort for you on this list.
Stowe Mountain Resort is a classic; in fact, one of the first chairlifts in the world was installed here. One of the best ski resorts in Vermont, it truly offers something for everyone, making it a great pick for families and groups with non-skiers or who have a variety of skill levels. The majority of its 116 trails are for intermediates, but experts have 29 and there are 19 for beginners. Other activities here include Gentle Giants’ sleigh rides driven by gentle Percheron and Belgian draft horses that will bring you across covered bridges, along winding brooks and through the snow-covered forest. Cross-country skiing and ice skating are possible too, and after any activity, you can relax with a massage or another pampering treatment at the spa.
Killington Ski Resort is known as the “Beast of the East,” as Vermont’s largest ski resort with seven different mountain areas. It boasts 1,500 acres of skiable terrain and 73 miles of trails ranging from easy to challenging for skiers, boarders, snowmobilers and quad riders. The 22 lifts, two of which are express gondolas, will get you to where you want to go. Plus there are sleigh rides, snowshoe tours, snowmobile tours, and a tubing park.
Located in northern Vermont just five miles south of the Canadian border, Jay Peak offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the East. The season here is long too, running all the way from mid-November through mid-May. It offers a good diversity of trails for beginners, intermediates, and experts while the full-service resort at the base offers sleigh rides, ice skating, dining venues, and a spa along with a wide range of accommodation options.
Some say Bretton Woods offers the very best skiing in the East, with 446 acres of skiing and snowboarding on over 60 trails. It is New Hampshire’s largest ski resort, and with 10 lifts, including the Bretton Woods Skyway 8-Passenger Gondola and four high-speed quads, getting up is just as fun as going down. Other winter activities include ice skating, tubing, snowmobiling, and sleigh rides. There’s a full-service spa to enjoy afterward, along with multiple dining and drinking venues.
Massanutten is a family-friendly resort that’s just 120 miles from the country’s capital offering 70 skiable acres and 14 trails with something for everyone from beginners to the advanced. In addition to being a top ski resort near Washington D.C., it hosts a large area for novice skiers with a dedicated chairlift and a terrain-based learning program taught by expert instructors, making it a top spot for those still learning to master the slopes. There’s also an outdoor rink for ice skating, while the family adventure park offers snow tubing. When you’re ready for fun in the water you can head to the indoor water park, which features water slides, lazy rivers, and a water fortress.
Home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, Whiteface Mountain is one of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks and offers more vertical drop than any other ski resort on the east coast at over 3,200 feet. There’s plenty of terrain for skiers of all levels, from the novice to experts, while the advanced will appreciate The Slides, a double-black delight. At the bottom, there’s a ski learning center for beginners. Activities off the slopes include a speed skating oval and a four-person toboggan.
Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, Blue Knob All Seasons Resort is Pennsylvania’s highest skiable mountain. While there are runs for beginners and intermediates, this resort is particularly renowned for its advanced and expert runs with some of the most challenging slopes. That includes a 1,072-foot vertical drop and there are seven double black diamonds too. A full-service resort, you can buy equipment or rent your gear here at on-site shops, take private lessons, and enjoy other activities like tubing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
The second-largest ski resort in the Northeast with 870 acres of trails and the second-biggest vertical drop in Maine, Sunday River enjoys a remote location for a skiing paradise without the crowds. It might take some time to get there, about 400 miles from New York City and 50 miles of wilderness between it and the nearest highway, but you can be sure it will be worth the trip. The resort even guarantees good powder – if it doesn’t meet your expectations, you can use your lift ticket to come back another day. That’s highly unlikely to happen, however, thanks to its advanced snowmaking abilities, capable of covering all but five percent of the terrain.
Family-friendly Okemo Mountain Resort offers some of the best powder in the East, known for its unique heated lift, fun runs, and kids’ ski programs. While it’s great for beginners, intermediates and advanced skiers will find plenty too, including 2,200 feet of vertical drop with over 30 percent of the terrain black or double black diamond trails. As it’s farther south in the state as compared to Vermont’s other resorts, it’s more easily accessible from major metro areas in the Northeast too. At its base, there’s a covered ice skating rink, a tubing hill, indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, and various casual and fine dining eateries.
Located about three hours west of Washington, DC, Canaan Valley Resort is one of the most well-rounded winter resorts in the East, with 91 skiable acres that include 50 skiing and boarding trails with several black diamonds and a vertical drop of 850 feet. There are gear lessons and rentals for beginners along with all of the other essentials like a spa for soothing those sore muscles afterward and multiple restaurants.
Sugarbush is one of the most popular ski resorts in the East, with experienced skiers heading here in droves to enjoy the expert-level slopes. There are two mountain areas and six distinct peaks, including Mount Ellen with a height of over 4,000 feet and one of the region’s largest continual vertical drops at 2,600 feet. Castlerock Peak is renowned for the steep, wooded route called Rumble Woods with rocky terrain and cliff drops. In addition to the vast expanse of challenging topography, novice to intermediate skiers will find plenty of terrain with more than 100 trails to choose from. Plus, it hosts two cross-country ski areas, numerous back-country ski trails, an outdoor ice skating rink, and areas for snowshoeing.
Located in southern Pennsylvania, straddling Two Top Mountain, Whitetail Mountain Resort truly offers something for everyone with nearly an equal number of blue, green, black and double-black diamond runs. There’s a high-speed, four-person lift making it easy to get to where you want to go, and when you’re ready for a break or there’s a non-skier in your group, there’s a snow tubing park to take advantage of. It’s one of the best ski resorts in Pennsylvania, with lessons, equipment rentals, and multiple dining options on-site too.
Wisp Resort is one of the biggest ski resorts in the region, located in western Maryland, about a two-hour drive from Pittsburgh or three hours from D.C. It caters to all skiing abilities with 132 acres of skiable terrain and 32 trails, some of which provide technical challenges for the more advanced. Beginners will find plenty of options for practicing and there’s a ski and snowboarding learning center that provides a great head start, complete with a separate section for kids. All are enjoyed with a gorgeous backdrop of Deep Creek Lake, which is transformed into a huge snowmobiling course every winter.
Located in the highest elevation town east of the Rocky Mountains at 5,500 feet, Beech Mountain Ski Resort offers 95 acres of skiable terrain with trails that range from beginner to advanced. There are individual and group lessons available through expert instructors, a terrain park, and a play area for the little ones. After fun on the slopes, head to the tubing park with chutes as long as 700 feet, or spin around on the ice at the skating rink. Tasty casual bites and brews can be enjoyed at the base too, often with live music.