If your family’s idea of a perfect winter vacation involves snow, skis
and plenty of speed, check out our list of nearby
family-friendly ski resorts. It includes some of our favorite resorts in the
Northeast, like Whiteface, Smuggler’s Notch, Ski Butternut and more. Many offer
fun activities and great deals for families, like parent-and-child ski lessons,
Kids Night Out programs, and even free skiing and slopeside lodging for little
ones. Click here to see our favorites.
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Thunder Ridge, NY: It’s just 75 minutes from New York City and features 30 trails of varying difficulty levels. Three-hour lessons for children ages 5-12 are offered on weekends and holidays. If you don’t have a car, ride the Metro-North Railroad—on Saturdays and Sundays through March, enjoy free shuttle service between the Patterson train station and the slopes. Patterson, New York, 845-878-4100.
Hunter Mountain, NY: With 240 skiable acres, eleven lifts, 55 trails and nine snow-tubing chutes, this resort is an exciting and not-too-far-away option for a ski-loving family. Programs are available for children 4-17 in skiing and snowboarding, and daycare is available for children 6 months through 6 years. Workshops and clinics are offered for adults as well. Hunter, NY, 800-486-8376 ext. 2200.
Kissing Bridge, NY: Head to Western New York for a chance to ski the 700-acre, 36-slope, nine-lift ski spot. Parents can enroll children in a two-hour instructional program (hot cocoa break included!). The resort also has a downhill tubing park, several restaurants and nearby bed and breakfasts. Glenwood, NY, 716-592-4963.
Holiday Valley, NY: Just one hour away from Buffalo and Lake Erie, this resort is a ski loving family’s dream. The Burton Learn to Ride Center offers lessons for both children and adults. All-day and half-day sessions are also available for children 3-12. And skiing isn’t all Holiday Valley has to offer; the resort offers tubing, mountain biking, a spa and a chance to learn the history of the areas Seneca Native Americans. Ellicottville, NY, 716-699-2345.
Belleayre Mountain, NY: Located in the Catskills just 2.5 hours outside of New York, this resort offers eight lifts and 55 trails, glades and parks. A full-day instructional program is offered for children 4-12 in which children are instructed by the talented staff of Belleayre. Workshops and clinics are also available for children and adults to hone their skiing, snowboarding and even cross-country skills. Visitors can also enjoy the lodging, dining and attractions of the nearby Catskills. Highmount, NY, 845-254-5600.
Whiteface, NY: Rated the #1 ski resort in the Northeast by the readers of SKI Magazine, this resort encompasses the slopes used at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. For a true fun-filled family ski experience, Whiteface offers a Gold Medal Games Family Edition; participants can ski, bobsled, curl and speed skate among other Olympic activities. Lake Placid, NY, 518-946-2223.
Mountain Creek, NJ: Go for just the day or spend the night. Overnight guests choose from the resort’s ski in/ski out Appalachian complex featuring a fitness center, day spa, and underground parking, and its gated Black Creek district of fully-equipped one- to three-bedroom townhomes. Triple Play Cards buy three full days of skiing for $75. Kids 6 and under ski free! Mountain Creek, New Jersey, 1-866-889-5060.
Woodloch Resort, PA: Sitting on 1,000 acres within northeastern Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, Woodloch is a four-season retreat. A few of the many winter activities guests enjoy are snow tubing, ice skating, and snowmobiling. Purchase a Woodloch VIP pass for quicker access to the 18 trails over at neighboring Ski Big Bear at Masthope Mountain. Hawley, Pennsylvania, 1-800-WOODLOCH.
Blue Mountain Resort, PA: Just two hours outside of New York, this 162-acre ski resort offers The Blue Learning Center, whose Kids Center allows children 4-12 to receive coaching by the highly-trained staff. Families will also enjoy the beautiful nearby Poconos area. Palmerton, PA, 610-826-7700.
Mohawk Mountain, CT: This spot boasts ski and snowboarding lessons for children ages 5 and up, popular junior racing programs, and women-only weekend clinics. There also are Parent and Tot Passes that let parents and 4-year-olds take lessons together. West Cornwall, Connecticut, 1-800-895-5222.
Ski Butternut, MA: Beginners on these Berkshire slopes breathe easy. Three trails are designated Slow Zones wherein speedy skiing is prohibited. Novices ages 4-12 can receive full- and half-day instruction on weekends and holidays. For longer-term vacations, mid-week ski-and-stay packages are a steal. Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 413-528-2000.
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, MA: This popular Berkshires resort boasts top-rated instructional programs, like SkiWee for children 4-6 and Explorers for kids ages 7-12 (there’s even a program for three-year-olds!). Little ones 6 months and older can enjoy indoor play in the Cub’s Den playroom while parents take on the slopes. Hancock, Massachusetts, 413-738-5500.
Smuggler’s Notch Resort, VT (pictured): Cruise any one of this award-winning ski spot’s three mountains, then trek over to the FunZone, a kid-friendly recreation center complete with an indoor playground and a mini-golf course. Condominiums come equipped with kitchens, internet access, and in-unit or nearby laundry facilities. Free lift tickets for kids 5 and under. Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont, 1-800-419-4615.
Stowe Mountain Resort, VT: This all-inclusive ski lodge is a place to be pampered. Dine in at one of its distinctive restaurants. Indulge in star treatment at The Spa. Stay in one of 139 custom-designed rooms at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, or opt for more private dwellings at the cozy Inn at the Mountain. Also available are a variety of townhome rentals perfect for families. On the mountains, kids three and older strengthen their skills in full-day ski instruction programs. Stowe, Vermont, 1-800-253-4754.
Okemo, VT: Head to Vermont to experience one of the best ski resorts in the Northeast. Featuring slopeside lodging (free for kids), free skiing and riding for children under six, a daycare center for children and private lessons for those as young as two, this resort is truly family-friendly. Okemo even offers Young Adult slopes for teens and a special Kids Night Out that indulges children in pizza parties, movies and fun activities while parents enjoy the slopes solo. Ludlow, VT, 802-228-4041.
Killington Resort and Pico Mountain, VT: This six-mountain, 140-trail, 22-lift resort offers a multitude of family-friendly activities. Programs are available for children as young as 12 weeks and up through 18 years. Parents can take a lesson with their children through Killington’s Adult/Kids program. If your teen aspires to teach, Killington offers a Coach in Training session. Vermont Killington, VT, 802-422-6200.
—Tiffanie Green and Annie Young
Photo: Courtesy of Smuggler’s Notch Resort, VT.
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