Attitash – VERY hit-or-miss; terrain is good, conditions good with usual NE issues, and a fair variety for everyone. However, crowds, wait times, costs, and service can be bad or simply tolerable depending on your timing (and mood).
Loon Mountain – decent variety of terrain for all skill levels with a focus on greenish-blue cruisers. Boarders have a little more to choose from than elsewhere in the area, and the prices and crowds are relatively reasonable (depending on your timing).
Bretton Woods – great views and less wind than usual. Long cruising trails for green and blue, with a few okay blacks, and the cost-crowd-service level is usually better than average. Good all-around destination and great for families.
Cannon Mountain – natural terrain, reasonable prices, and not normally busy — your good time will depend very much on the weather and your skills. Not quite as hardcore as Mad River Glen, but in the same category.
Crotched Mountain – nice variety of trails, good grooming up front and natural in the back. Great for learning progression but few challenges for the black levels. Helpful and friendly staff plus low waiting and decent prices.
Gunstock – snow seems a bit better here than other VT/ NH areas, and trails are a solid compromise of natural and groomed. Perfect for blue cruisers, but not much for greens and blacks. Good park for boarders, and great views, but weather, cost, and crowds are highly variable.
Wildcat – impressive variety of terrain for NH, a bit windy and colder than average. Maybe the best views in New England. Rarely crowded, decent prices…could be a big win for you if you’re not concerned about limited apres-ski or slow lifts.
Mount Sunapee – snow conditions better than usual, long trails a good choice for intermediates, schools are very nice for beginners, and overall recommended for park boarders. Can get rather busy, but not especially expensive.
Cranmore – varied terrain, good learning mountain very suited for kids — and there’s usually plenty of them, especially boarders who seem to like the parks. More apres-ski options than usual, and only relatively expensive.
Waterville Valley – you’ll never enjoy a mediocre mountain as much as this one. Probably the best place to learn how to ski, decent terrain, and a fun and friendly atmosphere. Day trips are best, food is good but expensive.
- New York – transition from more hardcore NE conditions in the Adirondacks to the more resort-oriented Catskills down south. Belleayre, Windham, Greek Peak, and Holiday Valley are all satisfying destinations, but the top spots belong to:
Plattekill – about as hardcore as Eastern skiing gets. Given good cover to work with, the terrain and vertical make this the Mad River Glen of NY (though with decent options for beginners), and fahgettabout crowds and expensive facilities (and anything like apres-ski, if you care).
Whiteface – serious skiing and Olympic pedigree; as long as you are solid blue or better, this is the ideal NY destination…and perhaps the best Eastern skiing, period (sorry, New England!). You’ll pay a little more, but unlike many expensive resorts, it’s well worth it.
Gore Mountain – great value and some serious skiing, approaching Whiteface for quality and challenge level, though not as much for the apres-ski (but significantly less expensive overall). Downside: when busy, crowds and ice tend to go together.
Peek n Peak – a nice Western NY (almost in Ohio & Western PA, too) all-rounder with just enough quality to get your ski or park fix. Expect short, flat trails, plenty of crowds, and specifically designed to offer a solid family experience (for better or worse).
Catamount – plenty of family-friendly blue options, and instructors and lifts that deserve high marks. Good vertical to sink your teeth into, and a solid terrain park makes this a nice all-round nice Berkshire/ Poconos-style resort, though a bit on the busy side.
- Maine – some very intense terrain that can rival the Rockies, but strangely the state has yet to truly develop its skiing options beyond a handful of time-tested favorites including Mt. Abram, Lost Valley, Saddleback, and Camden. However, two stand far in the lead:
Sugarloaf – nearly ties my respect for Whiteface for serious skiing, and slightly beats it in terrain variety (though apres-ski fans will not be happy with the remoteness and the lack of local amenities). Still a bit expensive for me, and the ice and wind are frequent issues.
Sunday River – an easier trip than Sugarloaf, and much more geared for family blue skiers. Generally good snow conditions and decent variety of trails. Also more expensive than Sugarloaf, and without too much more to offer for apres-ski.
- Massachusetts — Berkshire/ Poconos skiing is less hardcore than up north, and areas such as Catamount, Wachusett, and Butternut deliver enough to keep you satisfied without offering serious skiers anything special. Our top two:
Berkshire East – busy but surprisingly little waiting and not especially expensive. Though a little icy, both vertical and variety are reasonably good, with impressive natural conditions after decent snowfall — good glades. No apres-ski to speak of, but a decent traditional lodge.
Jiminy Peak – very popular Berkshire ski-in/ ski-out resort with night skiing and a solid terrain park, good lifts, often excellent grooming and snowmaking…and usually crowded and expensive, but you can still have a very good time here.