With just five ski mountains, Connecticut isn’t the first northeast state you’d think of when planning a winter trip, but whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder—or looking for tubing and sledding—there are lots of activities for the cold-weather sport enthusiast in the Nutmeg State.
Snowmaking actually got its start in Connecticut, so some of the ski areas in the state are the first to open each year and the last to close. Plus, all five mountains are less than a three-hour drive from Manhattan, making the region the perfect destination for city dwellers looking for a quick getaway or day trip.
And just because the state doesn’t have as many as trail and mountain choices, as say Maine and Vermont do, that doesn’t mean it's void of après options. We’ve rounded up the tried-and-trusted spots for post-run snacks and beverages.
01 of 05
Ski Sundown’s Last Chair Tavern is always a good time and a great way to cap off a fun day or night on the slopes. With a friendly, welcoming vibe, the bar—located inside the ski area’s spacious lodge—offers up a solid selection of tipples, rotating craft beers, and standard bar eats. Think: burgers, sliders, wings, and nachos. Ski Sundown’s trails are also open until 10 p.m. each night, so the après party goes on well after sundown. In the spring, the watering hole moves outside in the form of a Snow Bar, weather permitting.
02 of 05
The 14 trails at Mount Southington have been attracting beginner and expert skiers for more than 50 years now, and for those feeling a little hungry after an afternoon of shredding, there’s the Red Barn Cafeteria for a quick nosh. Or grab a homemade waffle with toppings from the Waffle Haus, and enjoy an adult libation in The Mountain Room. The recently renovated space is the ideal place to relax après ski and listen to awesome tunes with a killer view of the action and the Drop Zone terrain park.
03 of 05
Central Connecticut’s Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort has an exciting program for skiers and snowboarders, including board and ski cross country courses, slalom gates, log-style rails, and the only full-sized half-pipe in the state. On the second floor of the mountain’s lodge, you’ll find an equally enticing menu of offerings at Fire at the Ridge and the Ridgeside Tavern. Executive Chef Kevin Cottle serves up inspired regional—and seasonal—cuisine at the full-service restaurant and classic pub fare, like the Ridgeside Burger, at the tavern. Start with half-priced muscles, wings, and $1 oysters at happy hour before moving on to braised short ribs or Atlantic salmon for dinner. Wash all that down with a Mountainside Manhattan, made with Hudson Baby bourbon and be sure to stay for the live music on Saturday nights.
04 of 05
This mid-mountain lodge on the Pine Trail at the family-friendly Mohawk Mountain is an original, dating back to 1953. It was extensively renovated after a tornado struck in the ‘80s, but its old charm remains. The ski-in-ski-out eatery is rustic and cozy with a roaring natural stone fireplace and a sizable menu of comforting favorites, but locals opt for staples like seafood chowder, hot lobster rolls, and rib-eye sandwiches.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Shopping outlets aren’t the only thing Woodbury is known for—the Woodbury Ski Area gets just as much attention. You can make a day of it at the lodge with a good book and an aperitif next to the wood-burning stove, or check out the Charcoal Chef, less than 10 minutes away from the mountain on Main Street. The landmark, open since 1956, does everything on charcoal, but signature items include: the chopped steak, whole belly clams, and specialty sandwiches, like the Big Tom, an open-faced turkey sandwich with coleslaw and cranberry sauce. The family-run restaurant also has an affordable beer and wine selection and an appealing cocktail list.