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The best skiing near Boston

There are a mountain of great ski opportunities not too far from Boston

Edited by
Cheryl Fenton
Written by
Eric Grossman
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Maybe it’s balancing on skis, as a mountain vista steals your breath—two runs already in and it’s not even noon. Or maybe it’s chilling in the warmth of an aprés-ski cocktail and fire. Regardless of what brings Bostonians to the slopes, they can find perfect winter getaways at nearby ski resorts—a paradox of serene scenery and exciting outdoor adventures. Some spots have great snowboarding and awesome tubing and sledding, too. Whatever your pleasure—to relax or exhilarate—you can do it all or do nothing. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Boston

The best skiing near Boston

Day skiing doesn’t get any easier than this: the Blue Hills Ski Area is the closest skiing area to the city and the only snow sports facility in the metro area. Thus, it’s where many local youngsters learn the challenges of snow sports. Skiing and snowboarding is spread over its sixty skiable acres, 90% of which are equipped for snowmaking. The vertical drop is 309 feet and there are four lifts serving the 16 trails, over half of which are for advanced skiers. There are lessons for kids and adults to help you get there.


Canton, MA: 14 miles from Boston

This is where Olympic skier Pam Fletcher learned to her notable skills, practically growing up on the slopes after her father opened the resort in 1964. Having been expanded over the years, the facility’s base camp includes rentals, a café and the Outlook restaurant and lounge, which overlooks the slopes and is particularly fetching during night skiing sessions. There is a regular competition schedule throughout the winter, including night races. Otherwise, the 50-plus acre resort offers a 240-foot vertical drop with 17 trails, 10 lifts and two terrain parks, all of which are fully equipped for snowmaking. Don’t forget New England's largest snow tubing slope is next to the ski area.


Westford, MA: 31 miles from Boston

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Located in historic Haverhill on a mountain with a 248-foot vertical drop, Ski Bradford offers 15 trails, glades and a terrain park spread across 48 skiable acres serviced by nine lifts. All trails and terrain have snowmaking equipment. The mountain has a 248-foot vertical drop, nine lifts serving 15 trails, glades and a terrain park, all of which is spread over 60 acres. Many of the resort’s trails are more suitable for advanced skiers, but there’s plenty of room for beginner and intermediate types, and there are skiing and snowboarding lessons for both children and adults. The base camp includes rentals and a snack bar for lunch breaks and warming cups of coffee.


Haverhill, MA: 31 miles from Boston

Wachusett is the highest mountain in Massachusetts east of the Connecticut River. It has a 1,000-foot vertical drop and 25 trails, split evenly from beginner to advanced level, all served by eight lifts. For advanced skiers, it’s a thrill to see the Boston skyline from the summit. There are skiing and snowboarding lessons for kids and adults; and a lively restaurant and a café in the base lodge. Perhaps the most unique offering is the weekend “ski train” service that runs during peak season, from early December to the end of March. It involves taking the Fitchburg Commuter Rail from North Station to Fitchburg, where Wachusett Mountain’s shuttle will pick you up at the station and return you there later on.
Princeton, MA: 55 miles from Boston

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For more than 50 years, the Patenaude family has overseen Pat’s Peak’s 115 acres. Just 20 minutes from Concord, NH, the mountain boasts a vertical drop of 770 feet, 28 trails, nine glades, and three terrain parks, all served by 11 lifts, and all with full snowmaking capability. The three separate beginner areas have their own lifts, including two carpet lifts, and half of the trails are novice level. But the mountain also offers challenging terrain to test skills, including two F.I.S. race trails. The newly renovated lodge added an elevator and ski boot friendly stairs and includes a massive rental shop with self-service digital check-in. And there’s a snow tubing park, too.
Henniker, NH: 80 miles from Boston

Ski purists go mad over America’s only skier-owned mountain. Located within the Green Mountain range and the only ski area in the nation on the National Register of Historic Places, Mad River is touted as “one of the last bastions of natural snow skiing in New England.” It’s also one of only three areas in North America that prohibit snowboarding and boasts the Single Chair, America’s favorite ski lift since 1948.

Fayston, VT: 195 miles from Boston

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Gunstock has a 1,340-foot vertical drop and 227 skiable acres. There are 55 trails and three terrain parks, all served by lifts and 90 percent snowmaking capability. Most of the trails are intermediate level and only 12 percent are beginner level. Still, there are skiing and snowboarding lessons for kids and adults. Not into Alpine skiing? There’s Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and Fat Tire biking on 32 miles of cross-country trails. There’s also zip lining and snow tubing on New Hampshire's longest tubing run. The base camp has several options for dining and drinking, or head to the Panorama Pub located at the top of the mountain and soak in views of beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee in the snow.


Gilford, NH: 102 miles from Boston

With  67 trails and more than 230 acres—plus a dedicated beginner slope area and four terrain parks—it's no wonder this NH ski spot is popular for weekend getaways. Checkout weekday specials that include discounts on lift tickets and lessons. The resort has everything you need for a great weekend ski getaway.


Newbury, NH: 101 miles from Boston

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Recently making the Readers’ Choice list for Conde Nast Traveler of the 30 best ski resorts in the U.S and Canada, Mount Snow offers 80 trails spread across four mountain faces in the gorgeous Green Mountain National Forest. In addition to 467 skiable acres of developed terrain, all of the woods within the resort's boundaries are open for tree-skiing. A whopping 40 intermediate runs make it a great choice for confident-but-leisurely shredders. While first-timers will appreciate gentle slopes, like the popular three-mile Long John trail, adrenaline junkies needn't feel left out—there's plenty of ungroomed tree terrain on North Face and, in the consistently top-ranked Carinthia (the only all-terrain-park mountain face in the east), ten parks full of rails, jumps and pipes. If you're still looking for thrills after the lifts stop running at 4pm, consider some evening tubing at Mount Snow's ten-lane park.


West Dover, VT: 130 miles from Boston

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Even well-traveled snow snobs can't complain about the top-notch grooming and quality of the white stuff at this south-central Vermont favorite. High-powered snow guns cover 96 percent of the 121 trails, slopes and glades that span the resort's five mountains, and with terrain evenly divided among novice, intermediate and advanced levels, there's something for everyone (including stunt-loving boarders, who can perform tricks on six terrain parks and a 500-foot-long superpipe). Those looking for more of a cardio challenge shouldn't miss the extensive network of sweat-inducing trails, manicured especially for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.


Ludlow, VT: 137 miles from Boston

Stratton might boast the highest peak in Southern Vermont—making for some steep runs—but with 36 of its 99 trails designated green and 39 novice, it's a great choice for neophyte snow bunnies too. Plus, thanks to its four high-speed lifts, everyone spends less time waiting in line (and more time carving down the well-groomed slopes) than at other area resorts. That's especially good news for snowboarders, who have six top-rated terrain parks at their disposal, including the home of the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships. If you and your buddies can pull yourself away from the 670+ acres of skiable terrain, there's plenty more winter fun to be had nearby: Try the on-mountain tubing park or guided snowshoeing tours or cruise around the shops and restaurants of the picturesque base village.


Stratton, VT: 145 miles from Boston

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Sometimes size does matter—at least when we're talking about Killington, the East Coast's largest ski resort with 73 miles of terrain spread over seven distinct mountain areas. At 1,977 skiable acres with 213 trails, Killington Resort and Pico Mountain is one mega mountain playground that'll keep even the most active adventurers happy—especially those of the daredevil variety, who will love the 65 black-diamond runs and 500-foot-long superpipe, on which boarders and free-skiers alike can catch major air. While newbies and casual skiers can coast down the array of three- to four-mile-long cruiser trails, thrill-seekers of all skill levels can count on the resort's "snow guarantee" program, allowing you to exchange your lift pass by 10am for a return-visit voucher if the powder isn't up to par—which wouldn't be a bad thing, considering the selection of equally fun nearby activities, including Nordic skiing, guided snowmobiling and the town's lively apres-ski scene.


Killington, VT: 160 miles from Boston

If you want a powder-packed experience on the posh end of the spectrum, Stowe Mountain Resort has your number. As many as 116 trails allow you to race down Mount Mansfield (Vermont’s highest peak) and Spruce Peak, known for its graceful slopes. Stowe has some of the longest lifts on the East Coast and gives you the chance to ski above the clouds while knee-deep in soft backcountry snow. Among the various lodging options, the luxe Topnotch Resort impresses with two cozy restaurants lots of romantic, couples-friendly offerings such as spa rooms with private fireplaces.
Stowe, VT: 199 miles from Boston

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