Winter in New England can feel like a real slog, especially in the city where snow is often a major inconvenience. One way my family makes winter more fun is by skiing every chance we get. This can mean hitting local slopes or taking a trip farther afield to a true winter wonderland.
When we escape the city for a mountain vacation, our top pick is always Bretton Woods in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. While it’s only two-and-a-half hours from Boston, Bretton Woods feels a world away. And it’s perfect for families, with skiing, lodging, dining, and lots of winter activities for all ages.
Bretton Woods offers a wide variety of terrain that will suit both newbie and expert skiers.
If you’ve ever been skiing out West, you know that those mountains put most of the ones in New England to shame. Not so at Bretton Woods, which is New Hampshire’s largest ski area. Not only is Bretton Woods big, with more than 450 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain, but it has a huge diversity of trails. From easy Green bunny slopes to the long, meandering Blue runs like Two Miles Home (my personal favorite), to the wooded Black Diamond glades areas, there’s truly something for everyone.
That’s especially helpful when you’re taking the whole family to the mountain. It doesn’t matter whether you and the kids are expert skiers or if this is the first time you’ve ever hit the slopes. Bretton Woods is super welcoming to newbies, helping them learn the ropes, or if you’re ready, you can challenge yourself to take on new terrain.
Bretton Woods is well suited to having the whole family ski or snowboard together. The four high-speed quad chair lifts make it easy for the entire group to stick together. But maybe you’re ready for a little solo ski session. In that case, little ones can spend the day with others their age at two on-site programs.
Kids ages two months to five years old are welcome at the Babes of the Woods Nursery & Snowplay Program. It includes storytelling, games and crafts, as well as some outdoor play in the snow for the older children. For kids ages four to 12, the Hobbit Children’s Ski and Snowboard Program is a great introduction to the mountain. It includes ability-appropriate lessons (with lots of cocoa breaks!), supervised playtime and lunch.
Bretton Woods also offers private and group lessons for kids and adults, adaptive skiing so everyone in the family can enjoy the mountain, and even night skiing on many dates throughout the winter. Plus, you can bring your own gear or rent on-site—a big help when you have kids who are always growing and may not fit into the same boots next season.
The Omni Mount Washington Resort is beautiful, historic and kid-friendly.
Not far from the base of the mountain, you’ll the find the beautiful and historic Omni Mount Washington Resort. In fact, views of the hotel and its nearby namesake from Bretton Woods are absolutely stunning. The hotel itself is luxurious, but very accommodating to families.
The Omni even has a special Kids Crew to make staying on-site with little ones extra fun and special. Upon arriving at the hotel, kids receive a backpack packed with stuff just for them, like an activity book with stickers and binoculars for taking in all the sights. On your first night in the hotel, kids get cookies and milk delivered to their rooms.
If you’re looking to spread out a little more, check out the Townhomes at Bretton Woods. With anywhere from two to five bedrooms, full kitchens and fireplaces, these rentals are made for families. And they’re just a short shuttle ride to all of the winter fun waiting at the mountain.
Bretton Woods has a lot to offer families, including a Canopy Tour.
If you’re staying at the Townhomes, you’ll have access to a full kitchen, so prepping meals is super easy. And if you’re staying at the Omni Mount Washington Resort (or just want to eat out while you’re away), the restaurants have kid-friendly menus.
On the mountain, the best spot for an easy lunch is at Lucy Crawford’s Food Court. There you’ll find hot and hearty meals to fuel you for an afternoon on the mountain. If you’d rather have a sit-down lunch, check out the Slopeside Restaurant & Pub. Or take the Bethlehem Express Hi-Speed Quad chair lift to Latitude 44° restaurant. There you can actually dine on the mountain while taking in stunning views of the surrounding Presidential Range.
Make your stay at Bretton Woods truly magical with a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Skiing may have drawn you to Bretton Woods but the mountain offers so much for families. Take a trip back to a simpler time with a horse-drawn sleigh ride through a winter wonderland. Or leave the steep slopes behind for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. When you’ve had your fill of skiing or snowboarding, hit the tubing hill—no special skills required.
If your children have a need for speed, check out the kids snowmobile park, where little ones can experience the thrill of a North Country ride right at the base area. For families with older children, take on the Canopy Tour, a tree-top zip line ride through ancient hemlock forests. Bretton Woods even has an outdoor ice skating rink, so you can take a spin around the ice without ever leaving the mountain.
All images courtesy of Omni Mount Washington Resort.