Best Ski Resorts for Families in New Hampshire
Keeping everyone in the family happy on a ski vacation can sometimes be a challenge. Experience levels and interests can vary widely, especially from toddlers to teens. The key is offering a wide variety of programs and off-slope activities, with plenty of options for kids of all ages. Family discounts and early season specials also help to coax families to the slopes. These five top New Hampshire ski resorts, located in the White Mountains region, know how to throw out the welcome mat for families.
Tucked up in the White Mountains across from the magnificent Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods makes a family ski vacation as easy and affordable as possible. Start with the corduroy-groomed runs that drop skiers off, ever so gently, at the base, free on-the-mountain ski checks, really close parking, and loads of activities. Spend a weekend here and families will begin to remember why they took up skiing in the first place
In all, Bretton Woods offers 434 acres of skiing terrain, spread across two peaks, Mount Rosebrook and West Mountain. The summit elevation sits at 3,100 feet, but no matter where skiers are on the mountain, they have jaw-drop views. Nearly every turn offers a sweeping eyeful of the expansive White Mountain National Forest and craggy mountain range.
Another nice thing about the mountain: groups of varying abilities can ski together. Bretton Woods is nicely compact; all its 101 trails and glades lead back to the main lodge. There’s little need to split up the group for long, or to worry about losing little Johnny on the slope.
The kid’s Hobbit Ski and Snowboard programs have won a slew of accolades, and theFamily Interchangeable Ticket allows mom and dad to share babysitting duties and take turns hitting the slopes.
Other winter activities include the new Canopy Tour with high-flying suspension bridges and zip lines; dog sledding, ski-jouring, tubing, sleigh rides, ice skating, snowshoeing, Eco tours, and ice climbing.
Cranmore Ski Resort in North Conway
Cranmore has been a family favorite ski area for more than 70 years, with a casual, friendly atmosphere, and 50 trails and glades spread across more than 200 acres of skiing. Tweens and teens love the Saturday night skiing, when 12 trails and two terrain parks are lit up.
The Cranmore Fun Zone opened last year and features a giant inflatable obstacle course, oversized bouncy house, and pick-up games of floor hockey, tennis, dodge ball, Twister and board games. It’s a hot spot in the evening and with young toddlers or non-skiers. There’s also a climbing wall, tubing park, and lots of special events and activities offered throughout the season. The resort offers one-hour beginners skiing and snowboarding lessons for kids as young as three and a day care for ages three months to five years.
Black Mountain in Jackson
This classic, old-fashioned New England ski resort is all about easy-does-it runs and family fun. It’s a great place for first-time and novice skiers with gentle learning slopes, and plenty of wide open terrain. Black Mountain is all about kids—and there are plenty of them on the slopes.
The Black Bear Cub daily program is offered for kids ages 4-6 years old and the Black Bear program is for kids ages 7-12. Day care is also available.
Loon Mountain in Lincoln
There’s plenty of skiing and riding– 47 trails and 6 glades across three mountain peaks—a plethora of kid-centric programs, and lots of off-slope activities, which make this resort one of the tops for families in New Hampshire.
Families can ice skate and climb the indoor rock wall at the Loon Mountain Adventure Center, go ice skating, or climb the 25-ft. indoor rock climbing wall. There’s also snowshoeing, nature tours, and snow tubing. An added perk is the free shuttle bus that goes into the town of Lincoln where visitors can shop more than 30 different stores. There’s also a movie cinema and a host of outfitters offering snowmobile tours, zip line adventures, and mountain Eco tours.
For kids who are three years old,Loon Mountain has an exclusive ski program called PK Boo to get them started off right. The A full-day Boo program includes: two hours of group lessons, lunch, games, and indoor and outdoor activities. Loon’s teen programs are also popularThe Freestyle Progression Camp is a full-day program offered on Saturdays for skiers and riders 13 years and older who want to optimize their park and pipe experience. Peak Achievers is for for skiers and riders of all abilities, ages 13-17.
If there’s a snowboarding teen in the brood or a wanna-be rider, chances are they’ve heard of Waterville Valley. The resort is well-known for its boarder-friendly slopes, including four terrain parks. But there’s plenty of easy to expert ski runs, too; in all, 52 trails spread over 259 ski-able acres.
The classic mountain village has lodging, restaurants, and other activities, like ice skating, tubing, sleigh rides, fireworks, and more. There’s a free shuttle service to the mountain so families can park their car and not have to get back into it until the end of their vacation. Other family-friendly amenities: a late 3 p.m. check out on Sundays and kids ski free weekends in January.
The unique Trail Along program allows parents to tag along with their child and instructor, and receive valuable information on how to safely learn on the mountain.
With a wide range of activities and programs, on and off the slope, these ski resorts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire are standouts when it comes to pleasing everyone in the family.