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Good spots for a weekend trip in New England?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
This thread may not have much traction in the off season, but what are your favorite places for a weekend trip in New England (within driving distance of Boston)?

My father in law would like to come for a ski weekend this coming season with me and my two kids (ages 8 and 6 by that point). I'd like a resort with good trails for both the kids and adults (skiing together), not overly crowded, with kid-friendly logding available. In particular, resorts with lots of good advanced blue runs and easier black runs would be good (no need for double blacks with this crowd).

We have "Threedom" passes good at Loon, Cranmore and Waterville, and we could go to any of those. But we'll be skiiing those most of the season on day trips, so something different might be fun for this trip.

Any recommendations?
post #2 of 34
Would you consider Smuggs within weekend driving range for you? It's been a while since I've been there, but I doubt things have changed much. It's pretty renowned as a convenient and not too crowded family place even on weekends, yet has surprisingly interesting advanced terrain.
post #3 of 34
Might be a little far, but the two sugars - loaf and bush, would probably fit the bill. I think they both have as much terrain as you'd want - and more, and also fit the bill of being generally uncrowded. Maybe Canon and Wildcat in NH?
post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies!

In terms of distance, I think anything within about 4 hours of Newton, MA might be doable. (We typically drive 2 hours each way for day trips.) All the ones recommended so far seem pretty good in that regard.

I've never been to any of these places, so any thoughts on their good and not-so-good attributes would be welcome.
post #5 of 34
Okemo could also be a good choice, given the terrain you want and the age spread of your group. Should be under 3 hrs from Newton. Very kid-friendly place, good snowmaking and grooming. Good and not-so-good attributes are the same: it definitely draws a crowd, but big enough that you can get away from the crowds -- I was there with a family group on MLK weekend this year, which is supposed to be the worst crowds of all. Except for the biggest express-quad, which we avoided due to bad lines after 9 a.m, we had no problems, and really enjoyed skiing less crowded parts of the hill.
post #6 of 34
Stowe is a good summer town.. and there is Ben & jerrys there....Yum yum.

How about a walk into Tuckermans?
post #7 of 34
I would second the Okemo nomination
post #8 of 34
Based on you not wanting any extremely tough terrain I would recommend Stratton. They have good ski and stay packages. Although single day tickets will hurt your wallet. There's stuff to do in the village and the Nordic center and Manchester are not far. You could stay slopeside in a condo or in one of the hotels. I wouldnt recommend the Liftline lodge however if it's a family trip. Thats more for couples. I had a great time there. The wife got a massage at the spa and I skied all day
post #9 of 34
D'oh.. I thought you were looking for a summer get away weekend.

Winter? Okemo is a great family Mountain. As is Mt. Snow.
post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 
that's funny, Phil. I just thought you were being facetious.
post #11 of 34
Mt. Snow, Stratton, and Okemo are great intermediate destinations but on a weekend, I'd suggest you pick something that's not drivable from metro-NYC.

You might consider the Mount Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods. Super kid-friendly. It's not super steep but there's tons of gladed terrain to keep it interesting.

Sunday River has lots of intermediate and low-expert terrain.

Sugarbush has some of everything and it's far easier to get there from metro-Boston than from NYC.

Sugarloaf and Smuggs would be a loooong drive from Newton.
post #12 of 34
GeoffD and others:
Bretton Woods -I'm not familiar with it, except knowing that they've expanded quite a bit in last few years. Do they really have the most trails in NH now as I thought I saw in some promotional stuff recently? Is the vert close to 2000' now? How does terrain compare to other NH areas I'm more familiar with - Cannon, Wildcat, Waterville, Gunstock for scope, difficulty and snow quality? Thanks.
post #13 of 34
My vote would be for either Sugarbush/Mad River (ok, I'm biased cause I live there and can make Dover, MA in 3 hours) or Attitash - which would also give you the option of Bretton Woods as well, which often has fewer crowds than Att. Terrain at all covers kids, older skiers, families - albeit a bit more aggro at Mad River.
post #14 of 34

Great Family resorts in the Boston Area

OKEMO or MT. Snow are two places that would be a good fit for what you are looking for. They both have some nice lodging and neither of them have any real double blacks to speak of. There are lots of nice groomed runs and fun quirky terrain to keep kids occupied. They can get a bit crowded on the weekends however. gotamagal above mentioned Brentton Wood I would also throw in Attitash NH. Both will have much less crowds. I can't give you first hand info on the terrain as I have never skiied there but from freinds in the area, I understand that they are great family mountains with beautiful scenery and nice lodging.
post #15 of 34
I would say no on Stratton because of the high prices and if you are looking for intermediate terrain I would stay away from MRG. I would also give my vote to Okemo.

: : :
post #16 of 34
I'd have to second (or third) Sugarloaf. It's 4 hours from Newton, very kid and family friendly, with terrain for everyone and no big crowds even on holidays compared to the places closer to Boston. Very convenient with kid friendly restaurants on the mountain and nearby.
post #17 of 34
I would recommend either sugarloaf or bretton woods. Both are uncrowded and kid friendly. Sugarloaf has more acreage but bretton woods is more of an intermediate mountain.
post #18 of 34
the ski area you are looking for is Burke, VT. burke is an excellent ski area with 2000 vertical feet of awesome snow. never crowded, never more than a minute or two lift line even on a holiday weekend, burke offers up an awesome experience with pleasant and cheerful fellow skiers. a great experience.

but to the point, the trails the trails! burke is chock full of upper intermediage blue square cruisers. the mountain hosts the burke mountain academy, so it is not hard to imagine that so many of the slopes are so well designed for high speed carving. the terrain and trails are excellent, and if you get interested in a little challenge for yourself, there are a few choice bump and tree lines.

i'm unfamiliar with the lodging options, but this is a great place for kids. great place for everyone actually, check it out. an easy three hours from boston, you can't go wrong with burke for what you are looking for. inexpensive too in this era of the big expensive overly crowd generic resort.
post #19 of 34
Thread Starter 


My father in law has an inkling to go to Stowe. Would that fit the criteria we're looking for?

Thanks to all for the very helpful replies!
post #20 of 34
Originally Posted by bostonheel
My father in law has an inkling to go to Stowe. Would that fit the criteria we're looking for?

Thanks to all for the very helpful replies!
Stowe village is very lovely with lots of very good restaurants and shops -- it's 6 miles or so from the ski area. There are restaurants, hotels, and various ships pretty much all the way from the heart of Stowe village to the mountain. My wife and I love to go to Stowe at almost anytime of the year. There's very little ski-in/ski-out accomodation; the Inn at the Mountain is an exception if the Toll House Double is running. So you basically need to commute between the ski area and your accomodations. There's quite a lot of blue cruising terrain at Stowe. The blues at Stowe tend to be steeper than at many other NE areas, at least those at which I've skied. I'd speculate that some would qualify as gentle blacks at a lot of other areas. The beginner terrain is either on Spruce, where folks first get started, or on the far side of Mansfield. Spruce peak and Mansfield are not connected, but there is a bus that runs between them and it's reasonably convenient. I'm sure some of the hotels are kid friendly, but can't offer specific recommendations. Smuggler's Notch is very child friendly; we've not skied there but feel a bit like we're in Disney World when we've been in the resort -- not the feeling we're looking for but probably very good for families.
post #21 of 34
I'd guess Stowe to be at the outerlimit of your preferred drive time. Takes me over 3 hours from Southern VT, on VT rt 7. From Boston Metro you have interstate driving almost all the way.

There is also a ski museum in the town you may find interesting.
post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 
thanks! Stowe sounds pretty good. advanced blue runs/easy blacks are just about right for this group. Mapquest tells me the town is about 3.5 hours away.

does Stowe get packed on weekends? at this point it's not looking like a holiday weekend.

how accessible is Stowe from NYC, compared to other resorts? I like the idea above of finding a resort that's much easier to get to from Boston than from NYC, to cut down on crowds.
post #23 of 34
It would be 6 hrs at least from NYC.

You would drive past all the rest of Vermont skiing except Smuggs and Jay. Not to mention all the upstate NY stuff.

I'll guess that it is a bit far for NYC and southern originating points except for more than weekend trips.

I was there twice last season early (mid dec for ETU) and late march. Neither time was that especially crowded as I recall.
post #24 of 34
It's been a few years, but Stowe has always been a great place to ski. I would also recommend Sugarbush or Smugs.

Okemo/Killington, stay away from ... pricey and crowded.
post #25 of 34
I skied a off weekend at Stowe last year. The mountain is impressive for Vermont, very scenic. Good blues for the fam under the gondola. There was lots of people there from my perspective, but that is coming from a Mad River Skier. Mad has no uphill capacity so it gets lines, but no matter what the mountain is all yours. Stowe that is not the case. I was annoyed that on one bump run my skis got clipped twice by "hotshots" skiing by. It was not the fact that I got clipped that pissed me off, after all it was a narrow bump run. It was that neither of them said anything about it....

Aside from that negative experience if you want a resort that is charming stowe is it. It is not nearly as crowded as the southern Vermont hills as mentioned above. It is scenic, it has charm, it is not cheap. Ben and Jerries is nearbye as mentioned. Smuggs would be better, but is much farther. If you want less crowds and a inexpensive blue hill with nice trees I would try Burke

post #26 of 34

You've got it. Stay away from the hills accessible from NYC. If I lived 2 hours closer to VT, I would never go to Okemo or Killington. Stowe is awesome, and others have said it gets crowded on weekends, but IMHO compared to S. VT hills it's not too bad.
post #27 of 34
Sounds to me that Sunday River would be the best place for you. Plenty of ski in/ski out lodging so people in your group can come and go as they please, tons of upper intermediate terrain with a lot of up hill capacity that is so spread out that there is seldom a very long wait at the lifts except at the ones that are typically the busiest. The way their trail system is set up, there is almost always an easier way down from any lift that you take, so the whole family can ski together regardless of ability. Plus the fact that the conditions and grooming there are probably the most consistent of any place in New England, so there's less chance of getting skunked, regardless of the weather. They can really recover quickly after a stretch of bad weather. Add to the equation that it won't break the bank like most of the places in Vt, and is a reasonable drive from Boston and is seldom crowded would seem to make it a good choice for you.
post #28 of 34
I'd second (or third or fourth) the Sunday River recommendation. As noted, lots of intermediate and upper-intermediate terrain, as well as some harder stuff. Anyone who is a halfway decent skier can enjoy the whole ski from peak-to-peak across the resort experience. That can be a nice change from going up and down the same general area.

Depending on the age of the kids (I didn't notice), Sunday River and Bethel can be a bit boring. There was a big flame war on another site a few years back about that, but frankly there isn't much to do up there. The handful of clubs and teen-oriented activities are ok but pales compared to some other locations. Bethel is a nice quaint NE town but a small one, much less going on than Ludlow (Okemo) or Stowe for example.

And as a former New Yorker - yes, you won't find many New Yorkers at the Rivah. In general both NH and Maine are just too far away, so all you get are us Mass-holes :-)

Someone mentioned Mt. Snow - I used to hit that a lot when I lived in NY/NJ. Was always fun. If not staying on-mountain, a slightly-less-New York experience but with a lot to do and a bigger town might be to stay in Keene, NH. We did that a few years ago and enjoyed it - it's about 1/2 hour away if memory serves.
post #29 of 34
Thread Starter 

thanks, folks!

great recommendations! Sunday River, Bretton Woods and others sound great. My father in law has Stowe on the brain, though, so it looks like we're going to give that a try this time around.
post #30 of 34
Thread Starter 


An advantage to Stowe for us is its proximity to Burlington, which makes it easy (and cheap, on JetBlue) for my father in law to fly in and meet us there.

Should be fun!
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