New England skiing has never been better. Snowmaking technology has almost eliminated the infamous northeastern patch of ice; high-speed quads take you to the peaks in record time; synthetic fibers like capilene, polypro, and polar fleece keep you as warm on the trails as you will be later reclining in a hot tub; and new skis make carving that perfect turn a cinch.
Depending on your level of experience, you have a number of runs to choose from. Try these trails for starters.
With sweeping blue runs like Upper Bobby’s Run and Tippecanoe, Waterville Valley is known as a great resort for novices. Their ski school is top-notch with an average student to teacher ratio of less than 3:1. You will be snowplowing down their bunny hills faster than you can sing the chorus to “Frosty the Snowman.” View lift tickets to Waterville Valley.
At Okemo, you can cruise down their long boulevards feeling like the next downhill Olympian. Even their black and mogul runs are challenging, yet doable for intermediate skiers. In the morning, make your way over to the western edge of the ski area to cruise down Off the Rim and Rimrock, which offer excellent vistas of the valley below. Then it’s on to Heaven’s Gate, which never seems crowded, especially after lunch at the waiter-served restaurant, Epic. End your day skiing the trails of Jackson Gore—Blue Moon, Lower Limelight, and the aptly named Tuckered Out. View lift tickets to Okemo.
Maine’s Sunday River has its legendary bump run, White Heat. Killington‘s Outer Limits has buffalo-sized moguls and gut-wrenching pitches every Type-A ski freak dreams about. Mad River Glen‘s Paradise will send shivers down any skilled skier’s spine.
Yet, if you really want to teach the brazen the meaning of respect, peer down at Stowe’s Front Four (Goat, Starr, National, and Liftline). All double diamonds, Starr has a 37-degree pitch, while Lift Line and Goat are narrow serpentine trails. But it’s National that instills panic in most skiers as they look over the lip and quiver, “I think I’m going to try something else.” Smart idea. View lift tickets to Stowe.
The nature of New England skiing is flying down serpentine trails around corners, down quick dips, through tight slots, always in the company of trees. On the best trails, the woods surround you as you whiz by a rolling tapestry of maple, oak, birch, spruce, pine, and balsam. That’s why our vote goes to Sugarbush. Paradise, Castlerock and the backcountry runs in between braid through the forest like crazed snakes. View lift tickets to Sugarbush.
What are some of your favorite New England ski trails?