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New Hampshire’s White Mountains provide some of the most sought-after natural skiing terrain in the East; this is why “Ski Free or Die” has been the unofficial motto of Granite State skiers for well over a decade! New Hampshire’s dramatic mountainscapes provide a stunningly scenic backdrop for skiing, snowboarding, and all kinds of other winter activities. While there’s plenty of fun to be had in New Hampshire in the winter, if you’re looking for the perfect ski getaway, check out this list of the 7 best ski resorts in NH.
Waterville Valley Resort in Waterville Valley, NH
Beautiful Waterville Valley Resort in Waterville Valley features 265 skiable acres, 62 trails, 4 terrain parks, and 100% snowmaking coverage on Mount Tecumseh that is just waiting for you to come out and play in! With a healthy mix of beginners, intermediate, and advanced difficulties, skiers of all abilities will find plenty to do here. There’s more to Waterville Valley Resort than just skiing and snowboarding, too, as snowshoeing, fat biking, ice skating, snow tubing, and even yoga are popular activities while visiting the resort.
In addition to all the outdoors fun, après ski at Waterville Valley Resort does not disappoint either! Known simply as Town Square, the beautiful ski village is located on the valley floor and a shuttle bus will take you anywhere you need to go, including up and down the mountain for easy transportation between Town Square and the slopes. Dining and shopping options abound, including one of New Hampshire’s best independent bookstores, Bookmonger. On-site child care and Kids Night Out programs mean there’s something for everyone in the family on a ski vacation at Waterville Valley Resort!
There is no shortage of lodging options, either. Choose between lodges with kitchenettes and jacuzzi tubs, luxury cottages, adorable inns, and well-appointed condos that put you right in the middle of Town Square. With so many great choices, where you stay at Waterville Valley Resort might just be one of the most difficult decisions you have to make during your New Hampshire ski getaway!
Cranmore Mountain in North Conway, NH
Located in lovely North Conway, Cranmore Mountain Resort is a historic resort that packs quite the punch in its concentrated 170 acres with 56 trails. With 16 designated beginner trails, 25 intermediate, and 15 rated advanced, Cranmore Mountain offers trails for skiers of all skill level. For boarders, 5 terrain parks offer plenty of space and interesting features to shred on, so come prepared to work on your jumps and grinds!
There is plenty more to do at Cranmore than just ski and board, too; with 10 snow tubing lanes, Cranmore Resort is considered the #1 tubing park in New Hampshire, and their Mountain Coaster will send you winding through the forest at speeds up to 25mph! If that’s not enough heart-thumping fun for you, there’s also a Giant Swing and a Soaring Eagle Zip Ride. With such an adrenaline-inducing array of activities, it’s no wonder that Cranmore has developed such a strong rep for their off-hill winter activities!
Après ski, exploring North Conway is the way to go! In fact, the New England Ski Journal even cited North Conway’s Zip’s Pub as being one of the top après ski bars in New England! If you’re looking for a little relaxation, The Soaking Pot full-service day spa is the place to go after a long day on the slopes; there’s a reason North Conway is considered one of the best winter getaways in New England!
Bretton Woods in Carroll, NH
Beautiful Bretton Woods is the largest ski resort in New Hampshire with 464 skiable acres, 98 trails, and 2 terrain parks for boarders to freestyle and shred on. Bretton Woods has snowmaking coverage over 90% of their trails and was even named the #1 Best Grooming in the East for 2018, meaning regardless of when you hit the slopes at Bretton Woods, chances are you will find some gloriously well-groomed cord to ride on.
In addition to their well-kept trails, Bretton Woods offers a full range of fun outdoor activities, including ice skating, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, fat biking, snowmobiling, snow tubing, and guided winter adventures that include backcountry skiing and ice climbing. Indoor activities include The Slopeside Climbing Wall, the fitness center, and the full-service spa at Omni Mount Washington Resort.
Après ski dining and shopping options are plentiful; check out Cave, the Prohibition-era bar that hosts live entertainment and cocktails in the same marvelously secretive space as it did when it was a hidden speakeasy! Lodging options include a high-class, elegant resort (why Bretton Woods is considered the classiest ski resort in New Hampshire), cozy, historic inns, full-service mountain lodges, and homey and well-appointed townhomes, all nestled within the stunning scenery of the surrounding White Mountains; what more could a person be looking for in a New Hampshire ski getaway?
Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, NH
With 67 trails on 233 skiable acres, Mount Sunapee Resort makes an impact with a relatively small footprint, featuring the highest vertical drop in Southern New Hampshire. There are 18 trails marked for beginners, 32 for intermediate level skiers, and 17 are designated advanced, so there are plenty of trails for skiers of all skill levels, and daily grooming keeps slopes fresh and ready for all. For boarders, there are four terrain parks full of rails, jumps, boxes, and other features so there are plenty of opportunities to work on your sick moves!
Mount Sunapee is also home to the New England Healing Sports Association, a group that offers adaptive sports opportunities for individuals and families to promote healing through activity. Mount Sunapee is known for its easy accessibility for all and it has been said that “the mountain feels small and skis big,” allowing everyone to get their ski on in a friendly and comfortable environment.
Après ski you can find eats on the mountain at Sunapee Lodge, Spruce Lodge, and Summit Lodge, but many visitors like to pack a grill and tailgate down at “the Beach,” the area at the base between Sunapee and Spruce Lodge where you’ll often find several vehicles and plenty of music at the homemade family-friendly party spot!
Lodging options include a variety of hotels, motels, and inns, including charming and amenity-filled Mountain Edge Resort & Spa for a little extra pampering after a long day on the slopes of Mount Sunapee. Accessible, comfortable, and fun, Mount Sunapee is a great choice for skiing fun in New Hampshire!
Attitash Mountain Resort in Bartlett, NH
With 311 skiable acres spread out across two mountain peaks, Attitash Mountain Resort offers some of the finest skiing in New Hampshire with 68 trails, 3 terrain parks, and 98% snowmaking coverage. Trails are split with 26% rated for beginners, 46% rated intermediate, and 28% advanced, so there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.
There are several other ways to enjoy the snow here, too, with ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even old-fashioned sleigh riding available at Attitash Mountain Village, located at the base of Attitash Mountain Resort. Après ski, there are limited dining options at Attitash Main Base Lodge and Bear Peak Base Lodge, but nearby North Conway is where most choose to go for dining, shopping, and off the trail recreation!
There are several lodging options for visitors to Attitash, including a variety of accommodations at Attitash Mountain Village, rooms at the lovely Grand Summit Hotel, and more, depending on what kind of amenities and proximity to the slopes you are looking for. Attitash Mountain Resort consistently ranks well for snowmaking, grooming, and off-hill activities; if this sounds like what you are looking for in a ski getaway, then Attitash Mountain Resort is the perfect destination for you!
Wildcat Mountain Resort in Pinkham Notch, NH
Wildcat Mountain Resort offers 225 acres of skiable terrain, 48 trails, and 1 terrain park with 90% snowmaking coverage, but the thing that really makes Wildcat stand out are the incredible sweeping views of the Presidential Range, including Mount Washington. There is a great mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails, and Wildcat also boasts the longest continuous vertical drop of any ski area in the White Mountains!
There are dining and shopping options available at Wildcat (Wildcat Pub sells a Wildcat Pub Mug with their signature slogan, “Born Wild” on it that gives you a discount with each beer purchased!) but many prefer to take their après ski party on down the mountain to Jackson, NH, considered one of New England’s “hidden gems.” Places like gorgeous Nestlenook Farm offer ice skating, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides, and Wildcat Inn & Tavern is both a fantastic place to stay and a fun place to visit, with weekly live entertainment, great food, and inviting accommodations.
Wildcat Mountain Resort is the sister resort to Attitash Mountain and passes for one will get you into the other, as well! With only a 20-minute drive time between the two resorts, you can easily move between to get the best out of both worlds. There are plenty of local lodging opportunities available that put you in prime positions to enjoy both of these resorts and the beautiful villages between them. You don’t have to be Born Wild to love Wildcat Mountain Resort!
Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, NH
One of New England’s favorite ski resorts, Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln has 370 skiable acres, 61 trails of varying ability, and a whopping 99% snowmaking coverage. Loon has 6 terrain parks for boarders to work on their sweet moves and is home to the only Superpipe in New Hampshire! The Adventure Center offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, ziplining, ice-skating, and an indoor climbing wall, meaning there will be no shortage of things for you to do both on and off the trails at Loon Mountain Resort.
Après ski, the Paul Bunyan Room is everyone’s favorite place to be! Located upstairs at Octagon Lodge, you’ll find live music, delicious grub, and a wide variety of brews on tap, just waiting for you to relax and unwind from your day on the snow. In addition to several dining options at Loon, going off-mountain to lovely Lincoln is an adventure in and of itself.
There are several quality options for lodging close to Loon, but if you’re looking for a little bit of cushy comfort at the end of the day, check out River Walk Resort at Loon Mountain, where hot tubs, fire pits, a fitness center, and the Solstice North Day Spa are waiting to help you release any physical tension you may hold after your long day on the trails. Another great option for releasing tension is visiting the tasting room for Seven Birches Winery, located right at River Walk Resort. Loon Mountain Resort is one of New England’s favorite ski resorts, and after your next ski getaway there, it just may be yours too!
Next time you’re looking to “Ski Free or Die” in the Granite State, any one of these New Hampshire ski resorts would be a great choice!
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Amy is the founder of New England with love. A proud Vermonter, she hopes to share her love of New England and help you find the best adventures in the region. Amy is also blogger/founder at Two Drifters, where she writes alongside her husband about romantic and couples travel, relationships, honeymoons, and more. When not working on websites, Amy is probably reading, cuddling with her husband and cats, & drinking a maple latte.