10 New England Ski Resorts That Cater to Families

Conquering a New England ski trail together as a family makes for a great memory. Photo courtesy of the Stowe Mountain Resort, Facebook
Conquering a New England ski trail together as a family makes for a great memory. Photo courtesy of the Stowe Mountain Resort, Facebook

Family ski trips are tough to beat: Skiing is one of the few sports where kids can quickly learn to meet—or in our family, surpass—parents' ability, and conquering a tough slope or cruising together down an easy one are the stuff of great memories. That said, not all ski resorts make it easy for families to deal with real parenting needs while on the slopes, but we found some New England ski resort gems that do. These ski resorts in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine cater to families with plenty of beginner trails, daycare, lots of food options, condo-style lodging, ice skating, snow tubing, ski camps, and more. 

If you are looking for places to practice before a family ski vacation, these slopes near Boston and Connecticut are perfect for a short day trip or weekly lessons. Have fun out there!

Note: Many ski locations are requiring masks to be worn indoors and some may require proof of vaccination. Check locations for specific details. If you are traveling outside of your state or local area, check for any travel restrictions, advisories, or quarantine orders. More information about state COVID-19 protocol for ski areas is available from government and non-profit websites like SkiNH.com, SkiVermont.com, and the individual resorts. Many resorts have suspended daycare services for this season.  

Family Ski Resorts Under 2 hours from Boston

Sunapee's well-groomed trails are great for families looking for smooth runs. Photo courtesy of Mount Sunapee

Mount Sunapee Resort, New Hampshire
Billed as the closest big mountain to Southern New England, Sunapee is often families' first stop after conquering Massachusetts' slopes. Besides proximity, what people love most about Sunapee is its "corduroy": While powder and bumps are fun when you're zipping around solo, with kids in tow, you'll be thankful for Sunapee's ultra-smooth and uniform runs, produced by constant snowmaking and grooming.
Trails: 67 runs (26% beginner)
Ski school? Yes: Group and private lessons are available
Fave kid-friendly food spot: Summit Cafeteria off the Sunapee Express lift offers breakfast and lunch by a cozy fire.
Where to stay: Right at the entrance to the ski hill, Mountain Edge Resort and Spa offers family suites and "ski and stay deals."

Family Ski Resorts Under 2 1/2 hours from Boston

Kids love all the beginner trails they can try at Loon. Photo courtesy of Loon Mountain Resort

Loon Mountain, New Hampshire
With a wide range of terrain ranging from easy greens to challenging black diamonds, Loon typically has a lot of family programming on the calendar, but they are toned down this year. Independence Weekend in January includes fireworks and a torchlight parade (no snowcat rides though this year) on January 15. Check Loon's calendar for fun spring events like cardboard box races and theme parties.
Trails: 61 runs (20% beginner)
Ski school? Yes: Group and private lessons are available.
Slopeside childcare: Loon Children's Daycare for ages 2-6 years
Fave kid-friendly food spot: Try the Governor Adams Lodge at the west end of the Main Base parking lot.
Where to stay: Kids love the game room, indoor/outdoor pool, and other amenities at the slopeside Mountain Club.

Waterville Valley Ski Resort, New Hampshire
Waterville Valley prides itself on being more than a downhill haven, with a Nordic center, a great skating rink, lots of snowshoeing and hiking, and a charming, centrally located town square that makes it easy to keep track of multiple family members or other groups.
Trails: 60 runs (15% beginner)
Ski school? Yes: Group and private lessons, as well as a Kids Kamp for ages 4-12 are available.
Fave kid-friendly food spot: This year, there is the new Next Level Food Truck and the Waffle Cabin is back.
Where to stay: Outfitted with 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms and full kitchens, Town Square Condominums are steps from a skating rink and cross country ski trails, and a short shuttle from the downhill ski area.

Family Ski Resorts Under 3 hours from Boston

Young skiers learning the ropes at Bretton Woods. Photo courtesy of Omni Mount Washington Resort

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
New Hampshire's largest ski area is surprisingly manageable for families. A painstaking snowmaking and grooming system as well as updated chair lifts make a day on the slopes fun for all, and the amazing views make for spectacular family photos.
Trails: 98 runs (25% beginner)
Ski school? Yes: Group and private lessons beginning at age 4 are available .
Fave kid-friendly food spot: The Slopeside Pub is perfect for lunch or after skiing with a hearty kids' menu and great buffalo wings.
Where to stay: Half the draw of a trip to Bretton Woods, the storied Omni Mount Washington Resort is a true haven for children with pools, a snowmobile park, kids' apres ski parties, and plenty of family rooms and suites to choose from.

Make it a family ski and skate adventure! Photo courtesy of the Okemo Mountain Resort

Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont
Okemo has always been a magnet for families. A snowboard-friendly superpipe, a tubing park, a skating rink, a nature program, and even an indoor golf park offer extra fun for kids.
Trails: 123 runs (32% beginner)
Ski school? Yes: Group and private lessons beginning at age 3 are available.
Fave kid-friendly food spot: The Waffle Cabin at the Jackson Gore base offers outdoor dining and is one of the few dining spots at the resort not requiring proof of vaccination. 
Where to stay: Families in-the-know take advantage of the third-night-free packages at any of Okemo's lodging properties; we're fans of Solitude Village, which features indoor/outdoor pools, ping pong, and 2- or 3-bedroom options, centrally located between the Clock Tower base area and Jackson Gore ski area.

Stratton Mountain Resort, Vermont
With the highest proportion of beginner trails of all the resorts we feature here, Stratton is serious about developing young skiers. The cute village at the mountain's base features a skating rink, funky shops, and sweet stores galore for kids who tucker out from skiing on the early side.
Trails: 99 runs (41% beginner)
Ski school? Yes: Group and private lessons beginning at age 3 are available.
Slopeside childcare: Full-service childcare for ages 6 weeks to 3.5 years.
Fave kid-friendly food spot: To warm up from the cold, scope out a cozy corner booth at Grizzly's and order a pizza to share or surprisingly good grilled cheese and hot dogs off the kids' menu.
Where to stay: With hard-to-find 4-bedroom condos, the Landmark is perfect for big families or multiple groups and just steps from the mountain.

Try night skiing in Maine. Photo courtesy of the Shawnee Peak Ski School, Facebook

Shawnee Peak, Maine
In gorgeous western Maine, Shawnee Peak offers skiing for families in a picturesque setting centered in a cluster of kid-friendly Maine gems, the idyllic towns of Fryeburg, Lovell, and Bridgeton. Shawnee Peak has festive and fun night skiing, and on-slope dining options.
Trails: 40 trails
Ski school? Yes: group children’s lessons (and rentals) from age 4 and up.
Fave kid-friendly food spot: Base Lodge Cafeteria or Donut Shack
Where to stay: Shawnee Peak provides a convenient list here. Or consider an Airbnb in this lakes region and sprawl out in a rental house!

Family Ski Resorts Under 4 hours from Boston

Sunday River, Maine
At Maine's most popular ski resort, families can always find a ski-and-stay deal that's as (if not more) affordable than any in the northeast. There's fireworks and other activities for families, and a Kids' Week. A highlight: Find mascot Eddie the Yeti's home in the Enchanted Forest Trail on North Peak. Check out the Kids Guide for more details.
Trails: 135 runs (21% beginner)
Ski school? Yes: Group and private lessons beginning at age 2.5 are available for several sports.
Slopeside childcare: Someday Bigger Day Care for ages 6 weeks to 6 years
Fave kid-friendly food spot: Don't miss the famous Nachos at the Foggy Goggle on the third floor of the South Ridge Lodge.
Where to stay: The slopeside Grand Summit Hotel has 3-bedroom suites and just about the coolest hot tub, offering a view of the slopes. Additionally, there are 7 nearby condo complexes to choose from.

Take a family snow holiday this winter, complete with gondolas. Spruce Peak at Stowe Mountain Resort, photo courtesy of the resort

Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont
Considered by many to be the best all-around ski resort in the east, Stowe is just about as luxurious as it gets when it comes to New England skiing. But aside from the fancy base camp lodge and cushy gondolas, Stowe also has a terrific beginners' section that's separate from the hard stuff but still very accessible for parents who want to check in on their kids during ski school.
Trails: 115 runs (16% beginner)
Ski school? Yes: Group and private lessons beginning at age 2.5 and full day camps are available.
Fave kid-friendly food spot: The swanky Stowe Bowl is a super-fun escape with great eats and eight bowling lanes that are popular with families.
Where to stay: For the ultimate luxury experience (with your own ski valets!), check into the Stowe Mountain Lodge; for slightly less fancy, but equally family-friendly digs, Stoweflake is our pick.

Snowboarding at Smugglers' Notch is a memorable experience for all ages. Photo courtesy of the resort

Smugglers' Notch, Vermont
Ski magazine's perennial pick for the best family skiing in New England, Smugglers' Notch (aka Smuggs) is not much farther away than Stowe but feels lower key. It has the Northeast's only triple black diamond, but also plenty of well-groomed greens and—cue the kids' jaws dropping—a 26,000 square foot indoor playground facility and activities, like family snowshoe scavenger hunts.
Trails: 78 runs (19% beginner)
Ski school? Yes: Group and private lessons are available.
Slopeside childcare: Treasures childcare center is available for children ages 6 weeks to 3 years.
Fave kid-friendly food spot: Village Pizzeria for mouthwatering pizza or pasta and Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop for a treat.
Where to stay: All five condo complexes are a short walk or quick shuttle to the slopes; the North Hill condos feature access to a heated indoor pool and exercise facility with a children's Splash Grounds Water Playground and hot tubs.

Updated January 2022


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