Resorts near Boston
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wgo
August 16, 2009
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,337 posts
Will potentially be visiting friends in Boston this winter, and would like to get some skiing in. I'll be traveling with my wife and 2 young kids (1.5 and 4.5 years old by the time we expect to travel). We think we will probably do one of two things:

Option A: Stay in Boston for a few days, then continue north and stay at a resort for 3-4 days. If we do this, we are leaning towards Smugglers Notch, based on the strength of their childcare/kids programs.

Option B: Stay closer to Boston, and make day trips to closer ski areas (with maybe an overnight stay at one of the areas thrown in).

So, what resorts are within a 2-3 hour drive of Boston? I am a pretty strong skier and would like something with a bit of a challenge, but finding a place with good childcare is an absolute must (a few years back we made the mistake of using the daycare at a mid-atlantic resort that I will not name here - it was not a good experience).

Thanks!
Denis - DCSki Supporter
August 17, 2009
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,200 posts
I grew up in Boston but have not lived there since 1965. At that time many of today's big places did not exist or were tiny places that were just getting started. Among them; Killington, Waterville Valley, Loon, Attitash. I-93, which today allows a 2 hr. trip to Loon and a 2:30 trip to Cannon, did not exist. We skied Sunapee, Mt. Snow, Hogback (now gone), Cranmore, Wildcat mtn., and Pleasant Mtn. (now Shawnee). All are withing 3 hrs. of Boston, so are Stratton and Bromley, and all the western MA places. Go 4 hrs. and you can reach virtualy everyplace in New England. On the Challenge scale, Smuggs, Stowe, Mad River, Jay, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf, and Cannon should not be missed.
Roger Z
August 17, 2009
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
If you choose Option B, what exactly would you be looking for a nearby ski area? Wachusett probably has good childcare but their advanced terrain is middling. Berkshire East, on the other hand, has solid advanced skiing but who knows with childcare. I think Sunapee has a good reputation with kids too. Gunstock is not overly challenging but it has fantastic views. How far would you want to drive?
Denis - DCSki Supporter
August 18, 2009
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,200 posts
If you want good care for kids and challenge for yourself then you can't beat Mad River in my opinion. (I am a shareholder there.)

My daughter and family (3 boys) have their season passes there. The boys all took the kids "Chipmunk" program starting at about age 3. Now they are all great skiers and can handle any on the map trail in north America. This includes the youngest who is 5. http://madriverglen.com/skischool/?Page=./2junior.html&dir=. They are not fans of Smuggs which has a big reputation for family skiing. Their issue is that there is a wide separation between where you pick up/drop off kids and the expert terrain. It takes some time and a couple of lift rides to cycle from one to the other.

Edited to add that the kids programs run 10 AM - 3:30 PM on both Sat. and Sun. with the same instructor and same small group of kids each session. you can elect Sat. or Sun. or both. The kids are well supervised and get lunch. Cost is very reasonable.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
August 18, 2009
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,200 posts
Edited to add that the kids programs run 10 AM - 3:30 PM on both Sat. and Sun. with the same instructor and same small group of kids each session. you can elect Sat. or Sun. or both. The kids are well supervised and get lunch. Cost is very reasonable.
wgo
August 19, 2009
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,337 posts
Roger:

2 hours is probably the limit for a day trip, but realistically that would probably be pushing it. What are my options in the 60-90 minute range? Like I said in my original post, childcare/kids programs and challenge are the 2 things I am looking for, but seeing as how the success of this trip will depend on keeping the kids happy, I'll consider anywhere with a decent kids program.

Denis:

I would love to ski Mad River Glen - I'll definitely look into it if we decide to do the longer trip.
Roger Z
August 19, 2009
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Wachusett is probably your best bet, good snowmaking and fairly long runs, but that said, I'm unfamiliar with the driving distances from Boston to NH. My guess though is you'd be hard pressed to get further north than Gunstock or Sunapee in two hours. Wachusett gets some big time crowds on the weekend, so be warned. Another alternative that might be in range is Pat's Peak. Kind of small but fun, couple of decent advanced slopes. Also I don't know where Ragged Mountain stands relative to the others mentioned but I've heard good things about it, particularly if there's snow (they've got a lot of glades).
KeithT
August 19, 2009
Member since 11/17/2008 🔗
383 posts
Sitting at the bar tonight at Franconia Inn, the bartender says for this part of NH Bretton is a better bet than Cannon--why??-- Snowmaking at least based on the past few winters.
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