If cold weather has you craving fresh powder and steep slopes, you’re probably thinking of heading to West to the likes of New Mexico or Colorado. But wait! What about skiing on the East Coast? If you look hard enough, you’ll find some really awesome and challenging ski resorts on the East Coast.
Here, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for skiers of all levels, from not-yet-on-their-feet to advanced chutes and drops. Before you drop tons of hard-earned cash to fly across the country and lug your gear to the top of a mountain, check out our picks for some of the most amazing ski resorts on the East Coast.
All-Levels Ski Resorts
Stowe Mountain Resort, VT
If you haven’t heard of Stowe, do you even ski, bro? (No, I’m totally kidding…or am I?)
One of the most well-known East Coast ski areas, Stowe is a gem of a resort located toward the northern part of Vermont. Founded in the 1930’s, it’s also a classic winter getaway for East Coast dwellers and people across the United States. Recently, Stowe was acquired by Vail Resorts, which owns ski resorts all over the United States. For the obsessed skier, this means that your can use your Epic Pass here alongside a dozen other resorts around the country.
Less-experienced skiers can make their way down the more moderate slopes of Spruce Peak, and the resort offers hourly ski lessons for those wanting some hands-on guidance. For the ravenous, slope-hungry adventurers, there are over 110 other ski trails, most of which are suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers.
However, what the resort does for skiers is almost paralleled by what it offers to non-skiers. Grab some downtime in Stowe’s spa or ice rink, or simply take a walk around the charming downtown near the resort. In addition to skiing, guests can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including snowshoe lessons, sleigh rides, dogsledding adventures, and snowmobile tours.
The best time to visit Stowe is during the holidays, when the whole area is full of festivities and decorations that would make even the surliest of adults crack a childlike grin.
Address: 5781 Mountain Road, Stowe, Vermont
Book Now: Stowe Mountain Resort | Check Stowe Mountain Resort reviews on TripAdvisor
Okemo Mountain Resort, VT
Okemo Mountain Resort is the perfect example of an ‘all-levels’ ski resort. The fantastic weather conditions and well-done snowmaking means smooth slopes and a great environment for learning. It’s also home to the East Coast’s longest superpipe and 9 different terrain parks for the more advanced ski-lovers. RFID ticketing for the lifts means that lines go quickly here, so you can get on the slops much faster than other places which use more traditional ticketing methods. AKA, you can easily visit Okemo during crowded times of the year and still not be miserably waiting in lines the entire time.
And, when you get tired of skiing, there are literally TONS of things to do in the nearby resorts, including roller coasters, ice rinks, spas, pools, and amazing dining options for the post-slopes hanger.
Cranmore Mountain Resort, NH
As one of the very first ski resorts in the United States built in the 1930s, Cranmore & North Conway definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to skiing. And it shows. With 57 trails across hundreds of acres, this beautiful mountain resort area attracts skiers from all over the East Coast. Here, the resort offers fantastic ski lessons and programs for beginners. However, there are also plenty of trails and areas for more experienced skiers as well.
Nearby North Conway town is one of the most charming little ski towns in the United States, offering a cozy respite to skiers once they’re ready to dine in one of the cafes nearby. There are also opportunities for tubing for visitors wanting to experience the thrill of the slopes (minus the challenge of actually learning how to ski).
Beginner-Friendly Ski Resorts
Bretton Woods Mountain Resort, NH
So you’ve never put on a pair of skis before, much less ridden downhill on them at a frightening pace. No worries! One of the best and most beautiful ski resorts on the East Coast for beginners, Bretton Woods, is the perfect place to get hands on experience in a fairly flat and easy slope environment.
Top it all off with incredible views of Mount Washington, and you’ve got a pretty sweet deal.
Among the 62 trails in Bretton Woods’ resort area, over 50% are ranked as either beginner (25%) or intermediate (29%), and even the advanced ones – according to many first hand sources – are fairly accessible to skiers with some experience. If you’re looking for something different, cross-country skiing options are also plentiful here in this beautiful wooded region.
Smuggler’s Notch, VT
If you’re a beginner skier looking for a place to set down your skis for the first time, Smugglers’ Notch Ski Resort is a perfect place to get starter. At Smugglers’ Notch, novice skiers can take to the trails for a very reasonable price – in fact, Smugglers’ Notch boasts some of the best prices for skiing in the entire state of Vermont.
Approximately 20% of Smugglers’ Notch ski trails – around 12 trails total – are suitable for beginners. There are also plenty of opportunities to take ski lessons and practice your skills in a learning-friendly environment that’s separate from the main skiing trails.
Hunter Mountain, NY
Quite possibly the best resort in New York state to learn to ski, Hunter Mountain is a family-friendly resort located in the Catskills that has the perfect learning environment for beginners. At around 2.5 hours from New York City, it’s an accessible resort that has all of the amenities you could ever want for a weekend ski getaway. In fact, it has been acclaimed as the “Best Program to Grow the [Skiing] Sport to New Participants.”
In line with its beginner-friendly reputation, Hunter Mountain has its own learning program, Hunter One, that promotes a progressive learning sequence for skiers to want to acquire and up-level their ski skills. Beginners can also opt for the Peak Discovery Program, which offers beginners 3 lessons, 3 lift tickets, and 3 equipment rentals for just $139. Their mountain of the same name is also the mountain that houses most of the beginner-friendly slopes.
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Wintergreen is one of the southernmost ski resorts on our list that’s perfect for those who want to learn in a friendly environment. With just 24 slopes, Wintergreen Resort is a pretty small ski area compared to others, but it’s easily accessible from West Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina, as well as Virginia.
Here, beginners can find easy slopes and hands-on ski lessons (groups and individual) to get started in a less competitive environment than some of the bigger resorts. The bunny hills here are some of the perfect places to ride your skis for the first time – I know from personal experience!
Intermediate Ski Resorts
Cannon Mountain, NH
Nothing beats a ski area with over 50% of slopes that are perfect for intermediate skiers, and Cannon Mountain is no exception. Located in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire, Cannon Mountain Ski Resort boasts endless variety for experienced skiers who are ready to take on new challenges.
For intermediate skiers who are ready to take the leap to more advanced slopes, there are some pretty epic ones at Cannon Mountain as well. Cannon Mountain is home to New Hampshire’s longest vertical drop, as well as other adrenaline-infused trails. Here is as good as skiing on the East Coast gets.
One central difference about Cannon Mountain is that it doesn’t have huge resort developments like many other central ski towns. Here, their focus is on offering challenging yet accessible slopes for intermediate to advanced ski fiends, and it shows. You won’t find cushy lodges or upscale amenities here, just fine powder and the wind rushing against you as you ski these thrilling slopes.
Canaan Valley, WV
Located in a state park, you can probably imagine that the Canaan Valley Ski Resort is pretty epic. Despite being one of two ski resorts in the Canaan Valley, it is notable mostly for its incredible variety of intermediate ski trails. With 47 slopes – about 40% suitable for intermediate skiers – there’s no shortage of challenge or fun here. It’s a great resort to level up your skills or simply take on new challenges as an intermediate skier.
If you’re exhausted from skiing the slopes but still want some adrenaline-infused activities, you can head to the resort’s tubing area for over 1,200 feet of tubing excitement.
Gore Mountain, NY
It can be hard to find the perfect balance between accessibility and challenge for intermediate skiers. Luckily, Gore Mountain Ski Resort has slopes that strike a perfect chord. Over 50% of the ski trails here have an “intermediate” designation, across 4 peaks and 7 faces. Needless to say, there’s TONS of variety and variability in the types of terrain available to intermediate skiers.
Oh, and did we mention the panoramic views of the Adirondack Mountains?
To make the resort even more appealing, they’ve recently added a ton of new technology and upgrades to their snowmaking system, so the 2018-2019 season is bound to be an exciting one.
One of the best all-around ski resorts on the East Coast is Sugarloaf Mountain Resort. Why? Because there’s a near-even spread of beginner, intermediate, and advanced ski trails. Whether you were an avid skier in the past and simply need to brush up on some skills on the easier slopes, or you are ready to take your skiing to the next level, there’s a place for you on one of Sugarloaf’s whopping 162 ski trails.
Mount Snow, VT
Mount Snow Resort is a fantastic option for intermediate skiers looking for a lot of new and different trails to explore. Intermediate skiers love its variety in terrain, and more advanced skiers can enjoy several jumps and other challenges like halfpipes. The rolling terrain here will definitely keep you on your toes!
It’s also situated in a charming town that has shops and dining options for the tired snow bunny.
Advanced Ski Resorts
There are few ski resorts on the East Coast more notorious than Whiteface Mountain Resort. Aptly known as “Iceface,” the area boasts a combination of expert-level slopes and often challenging conditions.
As its name suggests, Whiteface is a fantastic place to exercise your expert-level skiing skills, as it is home to many of the best black diamond trails on the East Coast. It’s no hay ride, but expert-level and advanced skiers will find hours worth of challenge and reward here.
As an added bonus, Whiteface is located in Lake Placid, NY, which in itself is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the United States.
Mad River Glen, VT
Are you ready for some of the most difficult skiing in the East Coast? Then Mad River Glen is calling your name. There’s a reason the bumper stickers from this place say, “Mad River Glen – Ski It if You Can.” What Mad River Glen takes in energy and exhaustion, it gives in utter satisfaction that you’ve skied the most challenging slopes in the area.
Here, at Mad River Glen, the advanced trails and slopes are not supplemented with snowmaking, so prior planning is key if you want to have the best experience possible here. Be sure to check weather conditions ahead of time!
Address: 57 Schuss Pass Road, Waitsfield, VT 05673
Book Now: Mad River Glen (There’s no central resort – so you can use this resource to check local hotels and inns for availability!) | Check Mad River Glen reviews on TripAdvisor
For those of you who may have forgotten how challenging skiing in the East Coast can be, Killington Resort is yet another example of how difficult the terrain and slopes are. Killington embodies the all-about-ski mentality at its finest, and its peaks are nothing to sneeze at.
Six of the seven peaks at this resort have dedicated slopes for expert-level skiers, providing plenty of variety for the ultra-experienced ski-lover. A 3,000-foot vertical drop is just one of many surprises in store here. Experts can enjoy super-challenging slopes at Canyon or Bear Mountain.
For southern skiers looking for an expert-level option, Timberline Resort is a fantastic option located in the Canaan Valley of West Virginia. The expert-level slopes in Timberline have some serious grade to them, boasting drops similar to many of the other expert ski areas you can find on this list. And yeah, you probably never expected that from West Virginia, right? Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!
Advanced skiers can tackle the resort’s premier White Lightning trail, or Cherry Bowl or The Drop for extra thrills. But, for those looking for variety, there are 7 double black diamond trails here that you can tackle.
Tuckerman Ravine, NH
Tuckerman Ravine is not much of a “resort,” per se, but rather an expert skiier’s mecca in New Hampshire. Situated on Mount Washington, this perfectly-formed cirque has been transformed into a ski area that only somewhat daring and experienced skiers would attempt. Just to arrive here, you must walk over 3 miles to get to the starting point…with all of your gear.
Once you’re at the top, you can choose a route down to the bottom. An advanced skier favorite is the Chute, which offers steep inclines and thrill down to the bottom. Here’s a detailed post on how to ski Tuckerman’s Ravine – you’ll want to make sure you’re well prepared before taking on this feat!