Whether you like to ski, snowboard, or simply observe the action from a fireside perch in a cozy base lodge, New England has plenty for you. These three resorts offer winter sports buffs room to roam plus provide deluxe retreats in which to relax and recharge after a chilly midwinter day on the slopes.
Killington Mountain Resort & Ski Area
Killington Mountain Resort & Ski Area is the largest ski area in the eastern U.S. and has the largest vertical drop in New England. Aptly nicknamed the “Beast of the East,” Killington has an embarrassment of riches in terms of terrain, lifts, snowmaking, and grooming, plus a fan base that makes it one of the most popular resorts in Vermont.
Though sprawling (1,509 acres, 7 peaks, 73 miles of trails, 21 lifts including three gondolas), Killington is still manageable.
“I like the way the mountain is laid out because it’s easy to get around whether you want to ski the gondola area, Bear Mountain, or just do endless laps on Superstar to clock vertical,” one Killington regular says.
If you have doubts, take a free tour, or flag down one the many green-jacketed Ambassadors. One FAQ: Is there an easier way down from here? Always. These friendly volunteers will even boot pack “Will You Marry Me?” in the snow if you need help with a marriage proposal.
Which lift you take also depends on where you want to eat lunch—Jerk Jamaican Mountain Grill with island fare at the bottom of Needle’s Eye or the summit’s Peak Lodge with farm-fresh cuisine? For dinner, The Lookout Tavern in town is a local favorite.
New this year is the spectacular K-1 Base Lodge (58,000 square feet), located at the base of the K-1 Express Gondola. Boasting a three-story picture window with a 180-degree view of Vermont’s Green Mountains, the lodge has seating for more than 900, multiple bars and food stations, retail and rental shops, free bag check, and lots of outdoor seating.
Stay on-mountain at The Killington Grand Resort, a short walk over the bridge to the Snowshed Quad with a 75-foot outdoor heated pool and two hot tubs, or opt for the venerable Woodstock Inn in Woodstock, only a half-hour drive away.
In Maine’s western mountains, Sugarloaf, located deep into the Carrabassett Valley, is well loved for its remoteness. On some midwinter weekdays, when the sun is shining at the Loaf, the powder is packed, and lift lines zero, you want to weep in pity for absent friends and family.
Remarkably, when Sugarloaf gets slammed on school vacation holidays, everyone stays happy: the kids who follow Amos the Moose and Blueberry the Bear under the wood arch to Moose Alley, the Carrabassett Valley Academy racers screaming past you on Competition Hill, and the old-timers measuring turns on Narrow Gauge (impressive stats at 1,240 acres, 162 trails and glades, 14 lifts).
“Loafers” (or lifers) are devoted to their lone white-capped peak and its many options: lapping the trails on the high-speed Sugarloaf Superquad like Upper Skidder, Hayburner, and King’s Landing; meditating on summit views from the top of Timberline; or meandering amid the trees down Lower Tote Road after a stop at Bullwinkle’s for a hot chocolate or toddy. In spring corn snow, there is no finer place in Maine than Sugarloaf’s snowfields up top.
In the low-key pedestrian village, Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel with its toasty outdoor hot tub is a short boot-stomp to the SuperQuad. For sustenance, grab the famed Bag Burger at The Bag and Kettle or dine on fresh Maine seafood and wheat ales at the Shipyard Brew Haus.
Shoot up I-93, turn right on Route 3, and half a tank or an EV charge later, voila Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Pull your car up to the Omni Mount Washington Hotel. Park it until you leave, save on gas. Everything you need is now at hand.
That includes 200 cozy rooms with WiFi, upscale dining, and a full-service spa, among other comforts. Pull up a seat next to the crackling fireplace in the 23-foot-high foyer and relax in the historical vibes of this grand hotel built in 1902.
A free shuttle bus drops you across the street at the ski area (464 acres, 98 trails and glades, 10 lifts including the Skyway 8-passenger gondola, and four high-speed quads). The area consistently wins awards for best grooming in the East, has 92 percent snowmaking, wide protected slopes, and airy tree glades that you can even follow the kids into.
Located at the top of the Skyway Gondola is the new Rosebrook Lodge. Stop here for lunch and a view of Mt. Washington and the entire Presidential Range at the Switchback Grille.
Retreat to the solitude of the 95 kilometers of tracked and skate-groomed trails at the Nordic Center, fat biking and snowshoeing included.
With good reason, “Do we have to leave?” is a typical refrain at trip’s end.