World-renowned skiing is often attributed to the French Alps and the Dolomites Mountain Range in Italy. When it comes to the United States, the West Coast gets all the praise for fluffy clouds of fresh powder and beautiful snow-capped mountains for skiing and snowboarding. But don’t sleep on the East Coast! From the tip of Maine all the way down to North Carolina (where you might not have assumed skiing was possible), there are a plethora of options for skiers. Below are 10 of the best places to ski on the East Coast.
For a Family-Friendly Mountain: Okemo Mountain Resort
Vermont is one of the best destinations for ski mountains on the East Coast, and Okemo Mountain in Ludlow is an excellent option for its family-friendly vibes and trails for all levels. It’s a nice sized mountain with good terrain, stellar grooming, and it's usually not very crowded. If debating where to stay, a nearby hidden gem is the Golden Stage Inn Bed & Breakfast. The historic property is located just 4 miles from Okemo and provides home-cooked, from-scratch breakfasts that are delicious and locally sourced.
For the Biggest Mountain: Killington Mountain
Known as “The Beast” due to its size, Killington Mountain is a well-known and versatile Vermont option for skiing and snowboarding. It’s the biggest ski resort with the longest trail running for 6.5 miles. As one of the more popular mountain options, weekdays are best to avoid crowded trails–both for new skiers that want to practice without worry and advanced skiers that want to carve freely. One of the best places to stay when visiting The Beast of the East is the Killington Grand Hotel, located right on the mountain for those that want to be slope-side.
For Snowboarders: Stratton Mountain
Stratton Mountain is a top destination with 99 trails, fast lifts, and the highest peak in Vermont. It’s also known as the birthplace of snowboarding on the East Coast—in 1983, the Stratton Mountain Resort became the first to allow snowboarders on its slopes! Snowboarders and skiers alike will enjoy this mountain in one of New England’s most cherished ski destinations, complete with a stay at The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa, which has been open for over 250 years. Hit the powder in the morning, then refuel and rejuvenate tired limbs with the Spa at The Equinox, which offers a wide range of seasonal treatments.
For the Highest Peak of the East: Beech Mountain Ski Resort
As the highest Eastern American town at 5,506 feet, Beech boasts sweeping views of snow-capped mountains and 80 inches of yearly snowfall. This mountain resort offers fun for everyone, including novice, intermediate and advanced trails for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, an ice skating rink, on-site dining, a one-of-a-kind “Skybar” facility, and an on-site brewery. With a stay at Beech Alpen Inn, visitors will feel as if they have been magically transported into a European Alps rustic lodge. Located at the top of the mountain, the rooms feature spectacular views of the North Carolina mountains.
For Olympic History: Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mountain, also known as the Olympic Mountain, is one of the High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. Thrill-seekers will enjoy the mountain’s 3,430 foot high summit, the steepest drop east of the Rockies, and shred like an Olympian on the mountain's east slope, which is home to the ski area that hosted the alpine skiing competitions of the 1980 Winter Olympics. Nestled amongst the woodlands of Lake Placid, Whiteface Lodge is the ideal winter getaway for skiers visiting this region. The all-suite resort offers guests a rustic getaway complete with cozy cast-iron fireplaces in-suite and warm homemade cookies at turndown.
For a Beginner: Mount Sunapee
Mount Sunapee's 66 trails spanning 233 skiable acres offer skiers a wide variety of terrain in Southern New Hampshire. With trails for every level skier, including the 2-mile-long Ridge Trail, you can spend the day at Sunapee and never ski the same trail twice. Mount Sunapee is one of the best places to learn to ski or ride with a designated learning area on South Peak, separate from the main mountain. For a lodging experience right at the edge of Mount Sunapee Resort, stay at Mountain Edge Resort & Spa, an Adirondack style resort with a rustic tavern and full-service spa.
For an Award-Winning Mountain: Bretton Woods Ski Resort
Located in New Hampshire’s majestic White Mountains, Bretton Woods has been recognized by SKI Magazine as #1 in the East for “Snow, Grooming and Scenery” and ranked by other publications one of the best resorts not only in the U.S. but in the world. With all of that recognition, this ski mountain is worth the trip. It is also the largest ski area in New Hampshire, with 464 acres of skiing and riding, and has the state’s only eight-passenger gondola. Omni Mount Washington Resort is just across the street from Bretton Woods for the ultimate ski-and-stay experience. It offers a variety of lodging options, a world-class spa, and multiple dining venues.
For a Black Diamond Playground: Sugarloaf Mountain
Sugarloaf is located in the heart of Carrabassett Valley, which was carved by the Carrabassett River and is surrounded by Maine's Western Mountains. With a summit elevation of 4,237 feet and a vertical drop of 2,820 feet, this mountain includes 162 trail runs that range from nice-and-easy to "OMG!" with 43 percent of the terrain being Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond trails. It no doubt will offer a challenging and exhilarating experience for advanced and expert skiers. Visitors can stay in the heart of the village at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, an upscale hotel with a convenient location, and a wonderful on-site restaurant.
For Ocean Views from the Slopes: The Camden Snow Bowl
The Camden Snow Bowl, home of the world-famous U.S. National Toboggan Championships, is the only ski area on the East Coast with ocean views! This seacoast ski resort has a friendly small-town feel yet still rivals the best mountains in Maine, with nearly 1,000 feet of vertical elevation and more than 20 recently expanded runs. For a juxtaposition of ski and sea, opt for a stay at 16 Bay View after a day of shredding the snow. This luxury property is a transformation from a 100-year-old industrial brick building into a boutique hotel with waterfront views, just eight minutes from the slopes.
For Future Olympians: Bristol Mountain Ski Resort
A training site for Olympic skiers, Bristol Mountain offers breathtaking views from the summit and 38 slopes and trails that provide various inclines for every skier and snowboarder from beginner to expert. Bristol recently unveiled a new High Point Terrain Park and Freestyle Aerial Jump Training Competition site with various features such as boxes, rails, and small jumps for Olympians in training and those who have intermediate and higher terrain park skills. During the night operating season, 97 percent of its trails have lighting, and one of the mountain's most popular features is a slope-side waffle house! For nearby lodging, The Lake House on Canandaigua is a newly-opened, high-design experience that provides the best of what The Finger Lakes region has to offer.