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.