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Photograph: Courtesy Ski Butternut

Best ski resorts near NYC for families and kids

These family resorts are perfect for seasoned ski bums and first-timers alike. Time to bundle up and hit the slopes!

By Hannah Doolin, Allie Early, Danielle Valente and Oliver Strand
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Snowy adventure awaits you at the best family ski resorts near NYC. It doesn't matter if you're new to the scene or if you and your crew spend all your on black diamonds, we have the perfect winter weekend getaways for you. 
RECOMMENDED: Guide to the best family vacations from NYC
All of these mountains have great ski schools, but remember to plan ahead: Lessons during prime weekends and holidays book up quickly.
Is the family itching to go skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing in NY, but you'd rather sit it out? No problem. Let them tackle the mountain while you hang out around the lodge and take it easy—you don't need to ski to enjoy your aprés. Besides, if you let them have this trip you can decide to go to one of the best indoor water parks near NYC for your next winter getaway.

family ski resorts

Photograph: AARON WARKOV

1. Windham Mountain – Windham, NY

Things to do Games and hobbies

Travel time: 3 hrs by car

With a 1600-foot vertical drop and 12 miles of trails, Windham Mountain is one of the biggest ski areas close to NYC. Beginner packages that include lift ticket, rental and a 1-hour and 45-minute lesson are available to all skiers ages 10 and older—that includes you, parents. There is also ski school for younger mountaineers ages 4-9 that includes lift ticket, rental and 2-hours and 30-minutes of instruction. Skiing's not your thing? Try the tubing park, or nurse a warm cup of cocoa in the lodge. A free shuttle connects the ski area to the village of Windham, where you will find comfy hotels and cozy restaurants. Who needs the Alps when you have the Catskills? (Windham, NY windhammountain.com).

Photograph: Courtesy Ski Butternut

2. Ski Butternut – Great Barrington, MA

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Travel time: 2 hours by car from NYC

One of the best family mountains in the East, Butternut has been the bunny slope of choice for generations of New Yorkers and New Englanders. The mountain has a terrific ski school for the kids, plus adult lessons if you need to brush up on your techniques—or if you need to learn the basics. The First Timer Package includes a beginner lift ticket, rentals and a 90-minute lesson for just $85. The package is for skiers ages 4 and up—start 'em young, and your little skier will always be a natural on the slopes. 380 State Road, Great Barrington, MA (skibutternut.com).

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Photograph: Courtesy Camelback Lodge

3. Camelback Mountain Resort – Tannersville, PA

Travel time: 1 hr and 30 min by car

This beginner-friendly mountain lets families hit the slopes without leaving the tri-state area. The 1,200 onsite snow machines ensure that there’s plenty of the white stuff to shred on, and affordable 90-minute group lessons help visitors of all ages perfect their turns. This is one of the best places near NYC for kids' ski lessons, as the resort offers private lessons, half-day beginner lessons, 90-minute lessons and other options to help your kid master the slopes. The kids will also love taking a break from ski school to go tubing, fly down a zip line, get a rush on the 4,500-foot-long Mountain Coaster or hit up the adventure park. Even while the snow is falling on the picturesque Poconos outside, little ones can splash around in a wave pool or brave 13 different water slides in the massive Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark. (Tannersville, PA skicamelback.com).

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Photograph: Courtesy Mountain Creek

4. Mountain Creek – Vernon Township, NJ

Travel time: 1 hr 30 mins by car

This New Jersey resort isn't one of the bigger or taller ski areas around but it's perfect for family fun, and Mountain Creek is one of the easiest ski areas to access from New York City. Reserve lessons tailored to the little ones through Mountain Creek’s Kids Kamp, which offers full- or half-day programs, while serious youngsters can join the development program and ski competitively. Don’t forget to take advantage of other on-mountain fun including snow tubing (in 30 full-sized lanes), Zoom Ziplines and the Alpine Mountain Coaster, a two-seater toboggan that slides on rails, winding through the woods at about 30 mph. If you’d rather not drive, book through NYC Snow Bus, which offers pick-ups from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn locations. For lodging, check out The Appalachian, complete with a heated outdoor pool and hot tub. (Vernon, NJ mountaincreek.com).

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Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

5. Jack Frost β€’ Big Boulder – Blakeslee, PA

Travel time: 2 hrs and 30 mins by car

A classic family resort, Jack Frost • Big Boulder is perfect for first-timers. Jack Frost has a gentle 600-foot verticle drop, and every one of its 20 trails is rated for beginners. Neighboring Big Boulder also is 100% beginner runs — these are great starter mountains, where you take your family if you're curious about skiing or snowboarding but not ready for a high-altitude commitment. Blakeslee, PA (jfbb.com).

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

6. Gore Mountain Ski Resort – North Creek, NY

Travel time: 4 hrs by car

A good mountain for intermediate skiers, Gore has a 2500-foot vertical drop and over 41 miles of ski trails. There are some beginner and expert runs, but most of the more than 430 skiable acres of these sizable mountains are blues. Take a gondola up one of four peaks, then wend your way up to the very top of Gore Mountain. The slopes are your oyster. (North Creek, NY gormountain.com).

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Photograph: Courtesy okemo.com

7. Okemo Mountain Resort – Ludlow, VT

Travel time: 4 hrs and 45 mins by car

This is a serious mountain: A 2200-foot vertical drop, 121 ski runs, 670 skiable acres. Still, it welcomes all levels of skiers, and the Ski and Ride School caters to a variety of skill levels—from first-timers to masters who are looking to perfect their moves. If your brood is anxious to spend a day in the snow but isn't too keen on skiing, try exploring the Nordic Center's offerings such as snow shoeing, hit the snow tubing park, lace up at the Ice House or try your hand at Fat Bike riding. Or go for one of the coolest kid-approved activities and let your little one take a snowmobile tour. Looks like you're going to have to pack some warm clothing—you'll be in the snow all day long! (Ludlow, VT okemo.com).

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Photograph courtesy Mount Snow

8. Mount Snow – West Dover, VT

Travel time: 4 hrs by car

Mount Snow is a classic Vermont experience. Stay at the Grand Summit Hotel for ski-in/ski-out access, or choose convenient and comfortable lodging elsewhere so that you and your family can rest up for a full weekend of on-snow activities on the more than 600 acres of skiable terrain. The ski school has programs for both adults and children, and the base area has tubing runs. For a special treat, head out on a family excursion like Husky Works Mushing, which lets the kids imagine they’re starring in Balto as you get pulled by a team of Siberian huskies, or an Adams Farm sleigh ride through scenic landscape, led by Belgian draft horses. Look for seasonal Kids Discovery Days online! (West Dover, VT mountsnow.com).

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Photograph courtesy huntermtn.com

9. Hunter Mountain Resort - Hunter, NY

Travel time: 2 hrs and 30 mins by car

Families with little ones who are just starting out on the slopes will feel comfortable at this two-peak mountain resort nestled in the Catskills, which offers an even mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain. Get first-time skiers as young as 4 years old acquainted with the snow in one-on-one lessons with an instructor, or hit the hill as a family. This upstate getaway keeps kids entertained off the slopes as well, with the largest snow tubing park in New York State. Daycare is available for kids ages 2–6, keeping them busy with indoor games, storytelling and crafts while you hit a few advanced runs just for the adults. For easy transportation from NYC, book your trip through Paragon Sports or Urban Sherpa. (Hunter, NY huntermtn.com).

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Photograph: Courtesy Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort

10. Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort – Hancock, MA

Travel time: 2 hrs and 30 mins by car

This little Berkshire jewel hits the jackpot for families with its ski-in, ski-out lodge at the base of the mountain, plus top-notch full- or half-day kids' programs of various levels. With 45 skiing trails to tackle, a mountain coaster that flies through the woods at up to 23 mph (for ages 9 and up), and a Cub’s Den indoor playroom for little ones, your brood will stay entertained on and off the slopes. Make sure to round up the troops and take the chair lift to Hendrick’s Summit Lodge to warm up with a cup of cocoa and take in the views. (Hancock, MA jiminypeak.com).

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Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

11. Thunder Ridge Ski Area – Patterson, NY

Travel time: 1 hr 30 mins by car

Snow-covered options abound at Thunder Ridge Ski Area. Spend a half-day on the slopes, partake in the six-week program or join the race team if you're looking to leave the competition far behind! Gentle trails welcome beginners and advanced areas let the pros perfect their moves. What are you waiting for? Hop on the Metro North and get ready for a winter experience like no other. If you're looking to make a night of it, Thunder Ridge recommends local lodging areas within the vicinity. (Patterson, NY thunderridgeski.com).

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