When it comes to winter vacations, it’s hard to beat the beauty and diversity of New England. Not only does this part of the country boast wonderful ski resorts, but accommodations range from family-friendly hotels to romantic and picturesque slopeside hideaways. By Judy Koutsky
Plus, there’s plenty to do outside of skiing-wonderful spas, great restaurants, creative kids’ programs, and plenty more. Of course, if skiing is your main focus, New England is the place to be, with varied terrain, innovative snow-making capabilities, and instructors to help, whether you’re a novice or black-diamond aficionado.
So, come enjoy the fun this winter season.
Attitash Grand Summit Hotel is a four-season resort located in Bartlett, New Hampshire, which is in the heart of the White Mountains. The Grand Summit is the only hotel in the Mt. Washington Valley to offer a true ski-in ski-out experience. And you don’t need to be worried about snow conditions. The resort operates a powerful snowmaking system that is available on 98 percent of the terrain. The hotel has a large variety of rooms and suites to comfortably accommodate individuals and families alike. If you’re a family trying to get the most bang for your buck, most rooms have full kitchens allowing you to eat in. Or you can head to the hotel’s Crawford’s Pub, where kids 12 and under eat for free. If you have never stayed at a slopeside hotel, you should try it. You can send your kids out early while you enjoy a relaxing morning. Avoid the long cafeteria lines by having lunch in your room or at the hotel’s Black Diamond Grill. At the end of the day enjoy the large outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzis or aprÃ¨s ski in Crawford’s Pub. For more information go to www.attitash.com/grandsummit.html or call 800-223-7669.
Loon Mountain Resort offers skiing & riding on three peaks and 2,100 feet of vertical, and features plenty of terrain variety, six award-winning terrain parks and a wide array of lodging and dining options. In short, it’s both easy and convenient for a New England getaway that delivers a true White Mountain experience. Plus, with a recent investment of more than $1.8 million to more than double snowmaking output, it boasts state-of-the-art grooming technology to deliver the best snow conditions. Loon’s Snowsports School has programs for every age and ability and the Adventure Center offers cross-country and snowshoe rentals and tours, ice skating and a new zipline. A great activity for the whole family is snow tubing, located at the Little Sister Chairlift on the east side of the mountain adjacent to the Octagon Lodge. Both lift-service tubing and walk-up tubing are available. It’s a lot of fun and a thrilling ride.Â For more information on all the activities, go to www.loonmtn.com or call 800-229-LOON (5666).
Located in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the Omni Mount Washington Resort has plenty to offer in addition to skiing. Having just completed $60 million in expansion and renovations, there’s now a full-service spa and a thrilling year-round canopy tour, complemented by two four-diamond dining rooms and traditional pastimes like afternoon tea and a visit to The Cave-a former speakeasy-for libations and evening entertainment. A favorite winter retreat for couples and families alike, there are plenty of outdoor activities, too, such as dog sledding, snowshoeing, tubing and ice skating. Of course, when it comes to skiing, Bretton Woods is hard to beat. The largest ski area in New Hampshire offers 101 Alpine trails and glades, including 30 acres of new back country glades on Mt. Stickney, plus a 100-kilometer Nordic trail network making for endless fun for beginners and experts alike. Renowned snow, service and family programs, enhanced by some of the most breathtaking scenery in the east, make this a truly unique winter destination.Â For more information visit www.omnimountwashingtonresort.com or call 800-258-0330.
Just three hours from the North Shore, Sunday River offers eight interconnected mountain peaks, 132 trails, abundant slopeside lodging and plenty of snow. After spending the day skiing, spa aficionados can indulge in a milk-and-honey body polish, an aroma body wrap or a maple sugar scrub at the Jordan Grand Resort Hotel or Grand Summit Resort Hotel spas. They offer a plethora of treatments, including manicures and pedicures, facials and massages. Kids can enjoy the Mini Runners and River Runners seasonal ski programs, where they’ll learn techniques from the experts while making friends and having fun in a non-competitive environment. All programs are based on building self-confidence and developing all-around skiing and riding skills. Also new this season is the “Snow Divas Weekends.” These workshops are tailored for women and coached by women to improve technical skills and thus create confident skiers or snowboarders. It’s a great way to learn, have fun, and make new friends. For more information on all the activities at Sunday River, go to www.sundayriver.com or call 800-543-2754.
The BALSAMS offers a great variety of ski options with 16 trails of varying difficulty, five gladed areas, and a terrain park. What’s not to love about 95 kilometers of groomed trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling? Families with kids will love the separate ski-play area for the younger set, while all age groups will benefit from the PSIA-certified instructors offering group or private lessons in skiing and snowboarding. The BALSAMS snowmaking system is in place with 80 percent of the trails. Of course, there’s plenty more to enjoy than just skiing. This year-around active premier New Hampshire resort/hotel features award-winning dining, golfing at the top-ranked Donald Ross-designed course, hiking, biking, white-water rafting, kids programs, and snowmobiling. There’s never a dull moment here, and with one simple rate, everything is included and nothing is added on. For more information go to www.thebalsams.com or call 800-255-0600.
Alpine Adventures opened the first, longest and highest zipline canopy tours in New England and continues to lead the way in outdoor adventure tours. Located in New Hampshire’s scenic White Mountains near Loon Mountain ski area, this is the perfect setting for outdoor fun. The award-winning, original zipline-the “Tree-top Canopy Tour”-was an instant success when it opened in 2006. The follow-up “Sky Rider” zipline tour opened in 2008 and consists of side-by-side racing zips and longer, higher lines. Wintertime is especially nice, when guests can zipline as the snow swirls around and the surroundings are turned into a winter wonderland. Of course, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy-and having fun. Try the safari off-road tours, where guests scale to the top of Barron Mountain for amazing views in this low-speed roller coaster ride. Or try the snowmobile tour. Visit Franconia Notch State Park and the White Mountain National Forest through Lincoln and beyond by snowmobile with fun, friendly, and professional guides.Â For more information on these adventure excursions, go to www.alpinezipline.com or call 603-745-9911.
When booking your winter getaway, it’s tough to know which resort to choose. So we asked each property what makes them special and unique.
“I love listening to a first-time guest talk about how much they not only enjoyed the family atmosphere, but how much they loved the direct ski-in ski-out access to the slopes. Once you’re here, there’s no more lugging equipment around. Step out the back door, put on your skis or board and head down to the chairlift. The combination of our friendly staff and slopeside location give us a high repeat guest rate.” -Steve Mannik, General Manager, Attitash Grand Summit Hotel
“Variety of terrain and great snow quality are top reasons why our guests tell us they choose Loon year after year. Combine those with our accessible location, and this year’s significant investment that raises the snowmaking and grooming bar even higher, and Loon will be an unbeatable destination in New Hampshire as well as a top destination in New England.”Â -Molly Mahar, Director of Marketing, Loon Mountain Resort
“What makes the Omni Mount Washington Resort special is the setting, this magical place located in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. We offer limitless adventures coupled with a unique combination of history, tradition and modern amenities. Where else can you scream down an 830-foot zip line, then indulge your self with a massage specially designed for skiers before enjoying a four-diamond meal and retiring to a former speakeasy?” -Craig Clemmer, Director of Sales & Marketing, Omni Mount Washington Resort
“What makes Sunday River unique is its size. The resort has a big-mountain feel thanks to eight interconnected peaks and because of its variety of terrain, there’s something for every level ranging from beginner slopes to advanced terrain and glades.” -Darcy Morse-Liberty, Director of Communications, Sunday River Resort
“The BALSAMS is one of the last remaining Grand Hotels in the Northeast and every year we welcome back generations of guests who not only enjoy the award-winning dining, but the countless seasonal activities and most importantly the special connections they make. The BALSAMS is not our resort, it’s the guest’s resort and we strive to make sure our guests feel that connection.” -Jeff McIver, President and General Manager, BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel
“The Boston Globe has described our tours as “magical, breathtaking and awesome” because of our spectacular surroundings, but we get more praise and feedback for our terrific guides than anything else.Â They really make the tours fun, entertaining and safe, and are a big reason why we have such loyal fans who come back over and over.” -Allan Guilbeault, Director of Marketing, Alpine Adventures Outdoor Recreation