Skiing and snowboarding on the East Coast is decidedly different than out West. Although elevations may be lower, there are plenty of challenging trails to be found East of the Mississippi that boast challenging and fun terrain and a lot more of it than you may think. If you’re East Coast-faithful and looking to stack up the mileage this season, we have your winter hit list right here.
New York has its distinctive style. Rather than sleepy New England towns, you’ll find a lively crowd on—and off—the slopes. Reigning supreme here is Whiteface Mountain and Gore Mountain, both set in Adirondack State Park. The park is big and steep (if not more significant and precipitous) than many mountains in Vermont or the rest of New England. Few East Coast resorts can match Whiteface’s big-mountain challenge and none can match its tradition: Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympics twice—in 1932 and 1980. For more information on Ski New York State, visit: iskiny.com
Vertical Rise: 3,430 feet
In Lake Placid, you’ll find the towering Whiteface Mountain, which happens to have the highest vertical drop in the East. The terrain is weighted toward experts; however, less-experienced skiers have access to Runner Up and Silver, closer to the base. Families can also try out their skills at bobsledding in the town of Lake Placid. Whiteface has two significant advantages over other areas: the most prominent vertical drop in the Northeast and its proximity to Lake Placid, which offers many winter activities. Whiteface will especially please both expert and intermediate skiers looking for long trails and gorgeous views of the Adirondacks.
Vertical Rise: 2,537 feet
This small ski area has a loyal following of families who return year after year—most probably because it’s uncrowded. Besides, the comfortable layout, with all trails leading back to a medium-size base lodge is suitable for parents who might worry about losing their kids. The area encompasses four different mountains in the Adirondacks: Gore, Little Gore, Burnt Ridge, and Bear Mountain. Half the trails are intermediate, and 10 percent are suitable for beginners. In addition to alpine skiing, Gore Mountain also offers cross-country and snowshoe trails at North Creek Ski Bowl.
It’s time to shift your winter into high gear and plan your incredible Pennsylvania ski vacation to where else but the Poconos. With a history dating back to 1946, when the mountains welcomed the first commercial ski area in Pennsylvania and perfected the art of snowmaking, the Poconos have become a bona fide ski destination.
Today, the Poconos have it all—beginner slopes to the double black diamonds and terrain parks to test your skills. So, get out and experience the exhilaration when your skis start sliding down a Pocono slope. For more information on the Pocono Mountains, visit: poconomountains.com
Vertical Rise, 2,133 feet
If you ski just one place in Pennsylvania, Camelback must be it. Most resorts along this gentle mountain range in Northeastern Pennsylvania describe runs as “great for beginners” or “family friendly.” Camelback is indeed that, but it also has trails that appeal to expert skiers. It can even make a high volume of snow and has two terrain parks and two half-pipes. For non-skiers, the sizeable snow-tubing park is a pleasing alternative.
The ski day at Camelback is long—starting as early as 7:30 in the morning and going late into the night, with every trail capable of being lit. Best of all, it’s less than 90 miles from New York City.
The resort’s base lodge is a great place to get your après ski started. Friday through Sunday, live bands play crowd-pleasing covers for the happy masses downing the macro-brews on tap.
As we all know, some ski and those who don’t. If you fall into the latter camp and have never vacationed at a ski lodge, then you’ve been missing out. Camelback Mountain Resort affords non-ski activities, including zip-lining over snow-covered mountains and treetop, and an indoor water park. For more information on Camelback Mountain, visit skicamelback.com; for information on Camelback Mountain Resort, visit: camelmountainresort.com
It’s the king of New England skiing, with more major ski resorts than any other Eastern state. There are a few ways to make the most of a ski getaway here. For starters, with so many resorts in such a small state, it’s effortless to ski more than one in a single trip. And nearby resorts offer interchangeable lift tickets. Also, to get the most bang for your buck, go where the skiing best suits your ability. Southern Vermont areas (Okemo) lean toward intermediate cruising terrain, while northern resorts (Stowe) offer more advanced and expert skiers. In the middle is Killington, the biggest of all, with plenty to interest skiers of every ability. For more information on Ski Vermont, visit: skivermont.com
Vertical Rise: 3,050 feet
This sprawling property offers snow-packed trails that weave around the Green Mountains and promise the most thrilling downhill skiing this side of the Mississippi. Dubbed the “Beast of the East,” it lives up to its name: It’s the biggest resort covering seven mountains and an excellent variety of terrain. A good reason of devoted skiers who keep it as lively after hours as they do during the day. It also demonstrates that the beast is still an absolute beauty of a mountain. Beginners can trail off on Pico Peak and Rams Head Mountain while speed demons rip down Killington Peak.
Vertical Rise: 2,200 feet
Well-traveled skiers will enjoy the excellent grooming and quality of the white stuff, which has made this south-central a favorite. High-powered snow guns cover 96 percent of trails that span the resort’s five mountains—with terrain equally divided among novice, intermediate and advanced levels. So, there’s something for everyone (including acrobatic boarders, who can perform tricks on six terrain parks and a 500-foot-long superpipe). And those looking for more of a cardio workout should include a few hours on the extensive network of sweat-inducing trails, manicured especially for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.
Vertical Rise: 2,360 feet
IDon’t let the luxury hotels and vacation homes distract you—this mountain is no joke. Located on the face of Vermont’s highest summit, Mount Mansfield, Stowe has some of the most challenging runs on the East Coast. While the most famous trails are the legendary Front Four—National, Liftline, Goat, and Starr—Stowe also has access to the best-unmarked tree skiing in the east. Stowe is as close to a traditional European resort as it gets in the eastern United States.