skiing


Top 5 Skiing Mountains in New England

It’s going to be a gorgeous weekend to go skiing! New England is luckily enough to have some of the best ski resorts in the country.  We choose our favorites based on a variety of different criteria including largest resort, to most family friendly.  Here are our top 5 mountains within a 3 hours drive from Massachusetts!

Best Family Friendly Mountain
Loon Mountain in New Hampshire

Located in the scenic White Mountain National Forest, this mountain offers beautiful scenery and ample snowfall. Loon offers wide groomed trails, tree glades and steep moguls. At night take advantage of the variety of shops and restaurants. For those of you who need a break from skiing, the resort includes an ice castle, a winter zip-line, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, snow tubing and an adventure center.

Runs: 61

Most Terrain Parks
Okemo Mountain Resort in Southern Vermont

Okemo’s accommodates skiers of all levels. With an almost equal balance between beginner, intermediate and advanced trails, everyone is sure to find the perfect run. For boarders and freestylers, the park offers 8 terrains parks, including a Superpipe. Okemo’s trail network spans over five distinct alpine areas, and let’s not forget it has one of the highest vertical drops in southern Vermont of 2,200 feet.

Runs: 120

Biggest Mountain/ Resort
Killington Resort in Southern Vermont

The biggest resort on our list spanning 6 mountains providing 155 runs, with the longest run 6 miles. Killington’s terrain is extremely diverse, ranging from gentle groomers, learning areas to steep mogul runs and gladed trails, as well as some of the best terrain parks in the northeast. With 5 base lodges around the resort, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy Killington’s fine dining options.  By the end of the day, if you aren’t wiped out from the amazing skiing, take advantage of Killington’s awesome nightlife.

Runs: 155

Most Environmental Resort
Jiminy Peak in Western Massachusetts

Jiminy is the only one on our list in Massachusetts, and the only resort in America that generates their own energy by using alternative wind power from their Wind Turbine. A great mountain for beginners and for those who want relaxing runs with over half the runs on beginner trails. Don’t let that deter those of you advanced skiers. Jiminy peak offers advanced and expert runs on challenging terrain that you can easily get to from a ride on the six-passenger express ski lift to the summit. And if you can’t get enough skiing in during the day, stay for a night ski!

Runs: 45

Best Pricing Offers
Stratton Mountain Resort in Southern Vermont

Stratton is offering a great deal of 2 one-day lift tickets for discounted rates. Recently revamped, guests can now enjoy new snowmaking, grooming, new trails, and newly remodeled lodging and dining. With 100 acres of glades, and 95% snow making coverage, skiers and boarders are sure to be pleased. But, for some reason if you are not happy with the mountain, Stratton offers a “Great Snow Guarantee.” Ride the trails for an hour, and if you aren’t satisfied, Stratton will give you credit towards another day.

Runs: 97

ski mountain NE copy

Winter Vacation Destinations: Top New England and Massachusetts Ski Resorts

Killington by yourcoco on Flickr

Even though we are yet to see a snow storm here in Massachusetts this winter (rain, rain, go away!), the upcoming long weekend is the perfect time to hit the slopes! Skiing is a winter hallmark and although the resorts have not been getting any help from Mother Nature, they’re ready for action. The majority of New England and Massachusetts ski resorts have snow-making abilities and have opened many trails this season. Go ahead and plan that relaxing getaway on the slopes, and despite the lack of storms here in MA, you need not look any further than our list of top rated Massachusetts ski areas and beyond!

  • Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, MA is approximately an hour outside of Boston and features multiple different varieties of trails and is open until 10PM every night!  It is also accessible by public transportation and visitors who want to stay overnight are welcome to book a room in the Wachusett Village Inn.  Lift ticket prices vary. (Western MA) http://www.wachusett.com/TheMountain/AboutWachusett/DirectionsHours/tabid/56/Default.aspx
  • Berkshire East is a family run mountain that features 45 trails, 18 for night skiing, as well as tubing trails.  While there is no lodging facility on site, there are multiple B&B’s in the area.  There is also a children’s play and ski center which offers child care and a “Learn to Ski” program for children ages 2-5. (Western MA) http://www.berkshireeast.com/
  • Ski Butternut is also located within the Berkshires, however is in the southern region of the mountains. Featuring 110 skiable acres, Butternut is the perfect vacation spot for both skiing experts and beginners. There are endless activities to keep the entire family busy including terrain parks, a tubing center, a ski shop, ski lessons, and also snowboarding lessons. Afterschool lessons are also available for locals and theme days such as retro day and a Jimmy Buffett festival are scattered throughout the season. Ski Butternut is the perfect place to experience big mountain skiing while staying close to home. (Western MA) http://www.skibutternut.com/
  • Gunstock Mountain Resort is the closest major ski resort to the Boston Area. Located just two hours outside of the city, Gunstock offers a nationally recognized and award winning learn to ski or ride program, Mountain Magic, perfect for first time skiers. It also includes tubing trails, snowboarding and skiing trails, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing facilities. Gunstock is associated with multiple lodging partners in the area as well for the convenience of their guests. (Lakes Region of NH) http://www.gunstock.com/
  • Mount Sunapee Resort is located about 90 minutes from Boston and often features races, scavenger hunts, camps, contests, and clinics. Currently, 37 trails are open for business while snowmaking which is underway will allow more to open as the week goes on.  Ski and Stay packages are available for guests looking to stay overnight. (Western NH) http://www.mountsunapee.com/mtsunapeewinter/index.asp
  • Okemo Mountain resort is about a three hour drive from Boston and is a top rated ski resort in Vermont. They pride themselves on constantly improving and demand very high standards when it comes to customer service. With 96% snow coverage and 119 trails, Okemo is definitely one of the larger mountains in the area.Don’t miss their savings event going on this January offering up to 33% off lodging and kids ski and ride for $1. (Southern VT)  http://www.okemo.com/okemowinter/
  • Killington is another well-known Mountain region in Vermont which features “The Beast”, a series of six mountains, 140 trails and over 70 miles of terrain at Killington which will keep the whole family occupied for hours. They have the world’s most extensive 600 acre snowmaking system as well as 250 inches of annual snowfall! With these conditions there will be no shortage of powder on the slopes! (Central VT) http://www.killington.com/winter/index.html

Ski season in New England is already in full force!  Don’t miss your chance to take advantage of these Massachusetts winter getaways before it’s too late!

All these New England ski resorts are within driving distance. Be careful out on the winter roads! Brush up on driving in the snow and make sure your auto insurance policy is up to date. Stay safe!

Photo by yourcoco

Make the Most of It! Winter Activities in Massachusetts

Boston Frong Pond by John1710 on Flickr

As the weather gets colder and days feel shorter in Massachusetts, it can be difficult finding the energy to venture outside for entertainment.  However, what many of us forget is that we are lucky enough to live in a state where we truly can enjoy a winter wonderland right outside our doors.  Why not take advantage of these upcoming months and enjoy a few fun filled winter events, some with activities for kids in MA?

Winter festivals are a great way to do something fun with the entire family. They typically have activities specifically geared for children, 21 plus events, as well as live music, food, and sporting competitions which will excite guests of any age.  Upcoming festivals in Massachusetts include:

  • Lowell Winterfest- Taking place from February 9-11 this festival features a fashion show, soup bowl competition, micro-brew competition, as well as “Lowla’s Kids Party” featuring face painting and a magician.  If you’re looking for a good laugh you definitely won’t want to miss the National Human Dogsled Competition!  http://www.lowell.org/Pages/Winterfest.aspx/
  • Berkshires’ Contemporary Art Festival- the Berkshires’ is hosting their first ever Contemporary Art Festival featuring 10 minute plays, short films shot on cell phones, local musicians and many art displays.  The event takes place February 16-26 and is being held in downtown Pittsfield.
    http://berkshirecreative.org/2011/12/28/the-berkshires-first-ever-winter-contemporary-arts-festival/

Finding winter activities for children can be especially tough due to the fact that outdoor venues are extremely limited.  However, many attractions and activities in Massachusetts are offering exhibits geared towards children during the winter season.

  • The Franklin Park Zoo is hosting an event Saturday January 14 to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  Visitors will be able to kick off the Year of the Dragon by watching a lion dance, listen to storytelling about Chinese culture, writing calligraphy, and making Chinese lanterns. http://www.zoonewengland.org/page.aspx?pid=330
  • Old Sturbridge Village is featuring “January Discovery Days at Old Sturbridge Village” from January 14-15.  Activities include cooking a meal “1830’s style”, building an old fashioned wooden sled, arts and crafts, as well as woodworking. This is a great educational experience for children but space is limited so reserve a spot early!  http://www.osv.org/activities_events/event_calendar_more.html?ID=724&DateID=1832
  • The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is hosting a Groundhog Day Celebration Saturday January 28.  This event is perfect for families who are wondering whether or not we will have 6 more weeks of winter!  Events of the day include nature hikes, snow sculptures, crafts, a groundhog obstacle course, and refreshments.  Reservations are required so be sure to call ahead!  http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/Sanctuaries/Ipswich_River/news.php?id=1825&event=no

If you are willing to brave the cold and head outdoors there is no better place to be than New England if you want to experience the snow.  There are a variety of winter activities in close proximity for Massachusetts residents, including tubing, sledding, skiing, and ice skating.

  • Frog Pond on Boston Common is open through March 15 to ice skaters.  This family friendly atmosphere is perfect for a romantic date night or day outing with the kids. Hours vary but rental skates are available as well as homemade Belgian Waffles!  http://www.bostonfrogpond.com/info/pricing-season-passe
  • Amesbury Sports Park offers the steepest, fastest snow tubing hills in New England.  Guests can ride the conveyor belt to the top of the hills where they can choose to ride solo or link up in groups.  A full service pub is also on site serving pizza, hamburgers, and much more.  http://www.amesburysportspark.net/
  • Trustees Reservations offer sledding trails across Massachusetts where visitors can enjoy sprawling hills that are much less crowded than local parks when you want to test out your toboggan.  http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/discover-special-places/sledding-favorites.html
  • Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, MA offers the best of both worlds; they offer 17 ski trails and 18 tubing trails!  It is the perfect location for beginners and those looking to get a taste of winter sports.  http://www.skinashoba.com/

Looking for a fun way to experience the beauty of nature during the winter? Try snowshoeing one of the many trails in Massachusetts! Snowshoeing is a fun and easy way to exercise in the snow while also taking in beautiful views of the countryside.  Check out http://www.visit-massachusetts.com/winter-activities/snowshoeing for listings of the many Snowshoeing trails as well as details on renting equipment in and around Massachusetts.

Make the most out of your winter this year by enjoying the seasonal activities it has to offer!  Many of us in Massachusetts dread the winter because of the bitter cold and shorter days, but venturing outdoors and trying one of these activities will undoubtedly add some cheer to your season! Stay safe on the icy roads getting to these events, and don’t forget to check up on your car insurance for peace of mind.

Photo by John1710

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