New Hampshirites will tell you if you live in a snowy latitude, you need to learn to enjoy the outdoors in the wintertime. New Hampshire’s ski scene is a vibrant, family-friendly experience filled with fresh air, rosy cheeks, and waxed boards. When you ski the New Hampshire slopes, you will encounter friendly faces -- behind goggles, of course -- that convey a spirit of fun and adventure. You will feel like a local before you even step into your bindings.
1. Loon Mountain, Lincoln
Home to the skiing centerpiece of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Loon Mountain has the quintessentially rustic, casual atmosphere that you would expect from the “Live Free or Die” State.
The resort offers 61 trails and glades, six terrain parks, and 10 lifts across her three peaks. The expected arrival of their Kanc 8, Loon’s newest lift, is scheduled to be operational in the spring of 2021. Touting heated seats and a tinted bubble, the Kanc 8 will be capable of transporting 3,500 skiers per hour. The reward, less time in line and more time on the slopes.
The Loon App will keep you abreast of all the info you need to make your visit perfect. It tracks conditions, events, your downhill speed, and, most importantly, your mile accumulation for the day. Comparing your miles skied is the perfect apres-ski conversation starter.
If you want to learn more about Loon, check out the "9 Best Things To Do In And Around Loon Mountain."
2. Gunstock, Gilford
Gunstock Mountain Resort is located in the Lakes Region. Conveniently accessible, it is less than 2 hours north of Boston. The resort boasts a summit elevation of 2,267 feet across 227 skiable acres. Their 43 downhill and 5 glade trails are supported by seven lifts.
Gunstock offers Night Skiing, an adventurous way to take on the slopes. When the moonlight, generously supported by a multitude of floodlights, shines on the crystal white snow, the effect is magical. You can ski 22 trails after 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Your night skiing lift ticket also entitles you to two runs on the Mountain Coaster or the Tubing Area and includes rental equipment. If you have never been night skiing, this is the place to give it a try.
3. Bretton Woods, Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods is an Omni Mount Washington Resort that offers visitors 63 trails and 35 glades across a total of 464 acres for Alpine skiers and snowboarders. All this downhill fun is supported by 10 lifts including an 8-passenger gondola. Bretton Woods is a showcase skiing venue that offers exceptionally groomed trails and a variety of run options across a trio of mountain slopes surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest.
Take your adventure up a notch and join a backcountry guided adventure; the infamous Tuckerman Ravine is waiting for you to give it a try. Tuckerman Ravine is a draw for extreme skiers who hike up the steep slope on foot, typically April through June, to traverse down for a daredevil spring ski run. The Mount Washington Winter Ascent is an extreme 5-hour winter climb (plus a 3-hour descent) to a whopping 4,258 feet. This not-for-the-faint-of-heart trek can be somewhat modified, but participants need to be in very good physical condition.
Steeped in traditional luxury, The Omni Bretton Arms Dining Room offers a casually luxurious dining experience for those special occasions when you want to feel pampered and enjoy exquisitely prepared cuisine like their Millbrook Farm Venison Chop with chestnut puree, salsify, and Lingonberry gastrique. It is a welcome gastronomic indulgence after a day on the slopes.
If you don’t ski and want to feel the downhill vibe, take a ride on the Bretton Woods Skyway Gondola to the summit. Scenic rides run daily, with the last gondola going up at 3:30 p.m. Join your skiing friends at the spectacular Rosebrook Lodge for an amazing view of Mount Washington. Top of your summit visit to the Switchback Grille for some raclette and a Spritz for a little apres-ski fun.
4. Mount Sunapee, Sunapee
Mount Sunapee is part of the Vail Resorts family, so you know they have a commitment to providing their guests with a top-notch experience. This all-around, family-friendly resort will find you skiing with locals who love the great outdoors. Whether they are driving down the slopes or skating on the lake, you know they are ready to let the good times roll.
Mount Sunapee may be on the smaller side, but she packs a punch. The summit elevation is a respectable 2,743 feet, and nine lifts get you to 67 trails. The average snowfall for Sunapee is 130 inches, so you know the base is solid and ensures a long season.
5. Cannon Mountain, Franconia
Gorgeous scenery, continuous fresh powder, and a casual atmosphere are what make Cannon Mountain a great escape ski day. With 11 lifts and 97 trails, and views of Franconia Notch, your skiing and adventuring spirit will be delighted by the steep terrain.
Through Reserve American, you can make your Cannon Mountain experience an RV getaway. Staying at the Cannon Mountain RV Park during the winter is a unique, close-to-nature adventure. The seven-site park is tiny but is located at the base of the ski area, giving you access to all that the mountain and surrounding area have to offer. Since the site is small, you have a chance to get to know your RV neighbors over an evening campfire. The best place to toast s’mores, share outdoor adventures, and enjoy a nightcap.
6. Waterville Valley, Waterville Valley
Waterville Valley Resort has an impressive 4,004-foot elevation with a 2,020-foot vertical drop with a total of 62 trails and 11 lifts delivering skiers to snowy nirvana. This White Mountain resort offers low-key fun for everyone by offering a good mix of trail beginner, intermediate and advanced trails.
7. Wildcat Mountain, Pinkham Notch
Classic New England skiing conditions paired with up-to-date technology, Wildcat Mountain offers guests a memorable ski day. The summit rises to 4,062 feet showing off views of the infamous Tuckerman Ravine and Mount Washington. The snow-covered, panoramic scenery is beautiful. It is often snowing at the top even when the sun is shining at the base lodge.
Wildcat offers her visitors a more intimate skiing experience with five lifts supporting 48 runs. The mountain will test your downhill prowess but also allow for some gentle descents.
8. Attitash Mountain, Barlett
Another jewel in the New Hampshire ski resort necklace is Attitash Mountain Resort. The skiing spans two mountains where you can ski 68 trails supported by nine lifts. Attitash’s 23 miles of trails offer stunning White Mountain views that slide into tree-lined runs.
Attitash is a local favorite, and once you spend a day on her slopes, it might be one of yours, too.
9. Cranmore Mountain, North Conway
Cranmore Mountain Resort is known for its friendly slopes and family fun. Cranmore offers nine lifts to support 56 trails with a balanced mix of difficulty, ensuring there is a run for everyone. Cranmore is a fun day for a group with beginners and smaller family members in tow. It’s compact and offers lots of family options like tubing and mountain coaster rides. This is a good option for a family reunion where you have different levels of skier abilities.
Close to Cranmore, Attitash, and Wildcat, North Conway is a trendy village offering lots of shopping, charming accommodations, and outdoor adventures. A getaway at the Eastern Slope Inn Resort harkens back to the days of in-town ski lodges accessible to lots of winter fun options. Snowshoe or cross country ski from the inn’s front door down to the Saco River. Relax in the evening by the outdoor fire pit, knowing you are just steps from your room. A quick ride and you are at any number of ski resorts, making it a great option to try a variety of mountains.
New Hampshire’s White Mountains are a glorious winter playground for locals and visitors. With plenty of snow and a good dose of sunshine, skiing or snowboarding down the fluffy white slopes is a fabulous winter wonderland experience.