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.