The Ultimate Guide to NH Ski Resorts

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Looking for the best NH ski resorts? You’re in luck! New Hampshire is home to the best ski resorts on the East Coast, with excellent skiing for all levels and gorgeous mountain scenery.

So which ski resorts in New Hampshire are best? I’m glad you asked, because this is a subject I know well, and the answer is different for everyone.

I’m a New Hampshire native who has spent 30 years on skis, since I was two years old! I learned my pizza and French fry ski techniques in New Hampshire as a kid, and now I do backcountry ski tours in New Hampshire as an adult.

Author Katie Pierce skiing on Mount Washington, NH.

Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to visit most of the ski resorts in New Hampshire. I’ve learned which resorts best fit my abilities and desires now and recognize which ones were better fits for me in the past. 

Not all the ski mountains in New Hampshire are the same, but there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a first-time skier or highly experienced, whether you’re traveling with kids or adults, or whether you’re looking for budget skiing or a big splurge.

The important thing is finding the right NH ski resorts for YOU personally, not anyone else. Every skier (or snowboarder) is different!

This post was most recently updated in November 2023.

NH Ski Resorts Map

Most of New Hampshire’s ski resorts are in the White Mountains. The two biggest hubs in the White Mountains are North Conway (close to Cranmore Mountain and Attitash) and Lincoln (close to Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain).

That said, you don’t have to go to the White Mountains if you don’t want to! Gunstock Mountain Resort is close to Lake Winnipesaukee, and Mount Sunapee in southwest New Hampshire is a lot of fun, too.

Most of New Hampshire’s ski resorts are within a 2.5-hour drive from Boston or a two-hour drive from Manchester. Both cities are home to major airports, though Boston has more national and international flights.

A family with a dad, mom, and two little kids standing on top of a ski mountain in brightly colored snowsuits.
A family at a ski resort in New Hampshire, via New Hampshire Department of Travel and Tourism.

New Hampshire’s Best Ski Resorts

What are good NH ski resorts for beginners?

Beginners will love Attitash and Sunapee. Lots of great beginner terrain and ski clinics available for those venturing out for the first time on skis or snowboards!

What are some nice NH ski resorts for experienced skiers?

Experienced skiers will love Loon and Cannon. These resorts have varied but difficult terrain and beautiful White Mountain views! Due to the height and frequent wind, these slopes can be icier, which is not good for those new to skiing and snowboarding.

What are the best NH ski resorts for families? 

Families adore Waterville and Bretton Woods. With one central lodge and parking area, it’s easy for families to meet up with kids of all ages. And if you’ve got some teenage rippers in your party, they can head up to more skilled terrain and find their way back to the lodge for a group lunch.  

What’s a good affordable ski resort in New Hampshire?

The best bang for your buck is Cannon. Owned by the State of New Hampshire, the pricing is competitive for the amount of mountain you get, and it’s free for NH seniors and skilled kids under 5!

Where’s the best ski mountain near North Conway?

Cranmore is right in the middle of North Conway. It’s the perfect mountain for a diverse group when not everyone wants to ski. Hit the slopes, try ice climbing, or shop til you drop at the local outlets!

Best Ski Resorts in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is home to an enormous variety of ski resorts. You’ll find some of the largest and fastest lifts in the North East, as well as quaint lodges that haven’t seen much updating in decades, but have a wonderful skiing-first vibe. You’ll find a place for everyone to enjoy themselves.

We’ve featured a handful of our favorites below that cater to skiers of all abilities, from uphill racers to families and hesitant snow bunnies.

When planning a trip to NH ski mountains, it’s best to consider what type of travel partners will be with you, what length of trip you’d like and what other amenities you’d like nearby. Not all the New Hampshire mountains are true resorts, and some may be better for day trips versus week-long vacations.

However with the range of abilities and activities these destinations offer, you’ll find something that fits your kind of winter trip!

Multi-Resort NH Ski Passes

With the emergence of the large ski passes, you’re sure to find deals if you are committed to the Epic Pass, Ikon Pass, or Indy PassAlmost all of these New Hampshire ski mountains can be found on one of these three options. 

The mega passes can be a money saver when paired with resort lodging discounts or how often you head to a resort to ski or snowboard.

From the resorts listed below, you can find Sunapee, Wildcat and Attitash on Epic. Cannon, Black Mountain and Waterville are found on the Indy Pass. Loon is the only Ikon Pass resort in the Granite State.  

Skiing Waterville Valley, courtesy of Waterville Valley Resort.

Waterville Valley Resort

Who is Waterville Valley for? Waterville Valley is a close destination for day-trippers or folks from the South, but the variety of runs and activities makes it an excellent destination for families.

I grew up on the slopes of Waterville Valley, as I would come here often as a child. It’s a special place for me. I spent some weeks in ski school looping the mountain, but also spent plenty of time exploring it on my own from making some of my first descents down double black diamond trails and starting my love affair with tree skiing!

What to expect as a skier: Skiers and snowboarders will love the variety in the 62 runs, from wide open greens to bump double black diamonds. Behind Wildcat and Cannon, Waterville Valley is the third in terms of overall vertical drop in a resort in New Hampshire, meaning the runs can be long!

Waterville Valley has an excellent ski school program, making it great for all levels from experts who want to explore on their own to newbies who’d like to be shown the ropes. A centrally located lodge and plenty of amenities make Waterville Valley a place that has something for every skier. 

Waterville Valley amps up the charm with their dining options. Although they have a standard lodge at the base, you can also find the adorable Schwendi Hutte at the top of their White Peaks Express quad that serves up fondue evening dinners and lunch fare.  

More than just skiing: For those not interested in sliding down the slopes, there’s a large skating rink, a cross-country and snowshoe trail, fat bike rentals and snow tubing. You’ll never be bored here — Waterville has seemingly endless options for winter fun.

Waterville is also a great mountain for winter hiking, although you’re unlikely to see any hikers on the trails as they’ve got their own routes up the mountain. Be sure to pack many warm layers and microspikes if you hoof it up to the top for views of the Sandwich range! 

How to get to Waterville Valley: Just a two-hour drive from Boston and a little over an hour from Manchester, Waterville Valley can get crowded, but also makes it an option for a day trip for those who don’t already live in ski country.  

Loon Mountain, via Shutterstock

Loon Mountain Resort

Who is Loon Mountain for? Loon Mountain is best for a group of seasoned skiers or snowboarders looking to immerse themselves in a bustling ski town for a few days.

What to expect as a skier: With three peaks to choose from and 61 trails, you’ll find plenty of quieter areas on this busy resort. There are beginner options that start halfway up the mountain, and separate lifts serving the North and South mountains with more experienced runs.

With new technology like the largest high speed chair the Kanc8 operating in the US and many dining options, you’ll find Loon does their best to ensure your visit to their slopes is an enjoyable experience. Loon also offers two terrain parks with 33 features.

And a trip to Loon isn’t complete without a ride in one of their gondolas! Taking you to the top of the middle mountain, you’ll have plenty of options to pick your way down to another area of the resort.  

More than just skiing: Loon is situated in Lincoln, a snow sports Mecca that is bustling at winter time. There are amenities like a skating rink, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and Ice Castles, though you’ll find that most of the population is hitting the slopes. Lincoln is one end of the Kancamagus Highway, one of New Hampshire’s most beautiful drives, and there are plenty of winter hiking and snowshoeing opportunities in thh area.

Some of the most well-known ski shops are steps from the mountain, like the iconic Lahout’s, the US’s oldest ski shop, as well as plenty of lodging options and spots to dine out in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The town is mere minutes from the resort if you splurge and stay on the mountain.

How to get to Loon Mountain: Loon is in Lincoln, a quick two-hour drive from Boston, making it one of the easiest NH ski resorts for a day trip from southern New Hampshire or Massachusetts.

Read More: 27 Epic Things to Do in Lincoln, NH

Skiing Bretton Woods, via Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

Bretton Woods

Who is Bretton Woods for? Bretton Woods is best for an upscale winter getaway in New Hampshire, complete with an impressive history, incredible lodging and spa options, and amazing coverage for snow. You come here to splurge, and enjoy 464 skiable acres, the largest area in New Hampshire.

Bretton Woods is synonymous with New Hampshire’s most luxurious winter resort, the Omni Mount Washington Resort, and offers skiing with a view of New Hampshire’s highest peak.

What to expect as a skier: The runs vary with a good amount of more challenging black diamond terrain, but there are always more intermediate trails available for those not ready for the challenge yet. Most of Bretton Woods’s lifts serve the main mountain which primarily is a mix of beginner and intermediate runs. 

West Mountain is where those ready for steeper slopes and more varied surfaces should venture.  With snow guns covering 90% of their 98 trails, you’re certain to find excellent snow at Bretton Woods, even if Mother Nature hasn’t been the most cooperative.  You’ll also find night skiing as an option, so even travel days can allow for some slope time.  

More than just skiing: You can do it all at Bretton Woods! Cross-country skiing is another ski option at Bretton Woods, as well as canopy tours, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and snow tubing. There is easy access to the Mount Washington Cog Railway, which runs partway up the mountain in the winter months.

If the outside isn’t where you want to be, the Omni Mount Washington Resort has an incredible spa and many excellent bars and restaurants. With so much to do right at the hotel, it’s all too easy to take a day to rest your legs and enjoy the finer things in life.

From beautiful Tiffany glass panels and an enormous wrap-around porch with views, the Mount Washington Hotel is a posh and delightful experience. If you’re a history buff, you’ll also be thrilled to visit the hotel, which is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

How to get to Bretton Woods: Located near Crawford Notch in the central White Mountains, Bretton Woods is a 2.5-hour drive from Boston and a 1 hour and 45 minute drive from Manchester.

Mount Sunapee has skiing with a view! Image courtesy of the resort.

Mount Sunapee Resort

Who is Mount Sunapee for? Mount Sunapee Resort is a great option for beginning- and intermediate-level skiers that want a closer option than one of the resorts in the White Mountains.

What to expect as a skier: Great for families and beginners, Sunapee has 66 trails and the majority are intermediate blue runs. A Vail Resorts property, there are designated beginner areas with their own lifts, making it easy for those beginners to find the right terrain to start on.

They have two lodges, so there are plenty of options for where to pop in for a warm-up. You’ll have lovely views of the nearby lake, which is a hot destination in the summertime months.  

More than just skiing: Sunapee doesn’t have a huge resort village right next to it like Loon or Cranmore. However, for a quick drive, you’ll find nearby New London to be a great home base for lodging and restaurants. 

Additionally, Lake Sunapee is home to plenty of summertime home rentals that may also be available during the winter, putting you closer to the mountain. If you don’t mind cooking your own dinner or heading on a longer drive to find a restaurant, this would be a scenic option to pair with your wintertime skiing.  

How to get to Mount Sunapee: One of the closest mountains to get to from southern New England, Sunapee is under a two-hour drive from Boston and about an hour from Manchester. Being this far south, it does mean they see less natural snow, focusing on man-made snow and grooming.

Cannon Mountain Resort

Who is Cannon Mountain for? Cannon Mountain is one of the best steals for skiing in the state of New Hampshire, but is best for advanced or intermediate skiers not looking for the upscale base lodge experience. 

With NH seniors and children under 5 receiving lift tickets for free, it’s a great way for the youngest and eldest to get in free turns on the 97 available trails. However, this mountain isn’t best for beginners, and those who would enjoy it most should have intermediate skills at least.

What to expect as a skier: For those who can’t wait to take a spin on the first World Cup Ski run in America, Cannon is for you. The slopes are steep, the snowmaking isn’t constant, and the wind can be frigid, but Cannon is a skier’s haven. Nothing fancy, just pure skiing!

You’ll get to experience the only tram in New Hampshire, allowing for a quick ride to the top for skiers looking to take advantage of the serious height of the mountain. 

More than just skiing: Cannon isn’t only a ski mountain, so those more inclined to winter hiking will also find Cannon to be a worthy challenge. Those hardy and knowledgeable winter hikers will enjoy getting to the top of one of NH’s 48 4,000+ footers in the winter through Cannon’s numerous trail options.

We at New Hampshire Way recommend all hikers, regardless of season, purchase the New Hampshire Hike Safe card. New Hampshire is a state that may charge you for a rescue if you’re found negligent, but you won’t be if you have this card.

Unlike many of the mountains and resorts on this list, Cannon doesn’t have ski-in condos or a built-out village nearby to entertain snowsport visitors.  So if you’re looking for a place for an extended stay, we suggest driving from nearby Franconia, which has a handful of inns and hotels as well as eateries.

How to get to Cannon: Cannon can be a popular day trip option, being two hours from Boston and 90 minutes from Manchester. Cannon is located right on Route 93 in Franconia, making it arguably the easiest drive to navigate from either city.

Snowboarding Cranmore Mountain, courtesy of the resort.

Cranmore Mountain

Who is Canmore Mountain for? Cranmore Mountain Resort is for those new to skiing and snowboarding, those who may not be as invested, or those who want to be in the heart of a cute winter resort town with lots of things to do. 

What to expect as a skier: As far as NH ski resorts go, Cranmore has a variety of easier terrain, great for beginners and young kids!  Whether it’s a hot cocoa warm up or a quick bathroom break, this shorter mountain means you’re never too far from a lodge.

Cranmore is also an excellent spot for snow tubing — one of the best spots in New Hampshire — if sliding down the hill on something inflatable is more to your liking.  

More than just skiing: Located at the heart of the beautiful North Conway village, Cranmore has so much to offer off the slopes that you almost forget there’s a place to ski mere minutes away. There’s a myriad of dining options, excellent shopping outlets, the Conway Scenic Railroad, the New Hampshire Ski Museum, an escape room, a movie theater, and so much more!

For those looking for wilder adventures, stop by the local REI for gear rental and classes or check out the local favorite IME. You can rent plenty of gear from either or browse IME’s huge selection of secondhand gear, which can be a treasure trove to those exploring new sports. The quaint town of North Conway is frequently touted as one of New England’s hidden gems. It’s easy to see why!

How to get to Cranmore Mountain: North Conway is about a 2.5-hour drive from Boston or a two-hour drive from Manchester. You can drive up, but for those without vehicles, you’ll find there are a few regular buses that run up to North Conway starting in Boston and Concord, making it a good NH ski resort option for people without cars.

Read More: Best Things to Do in North Conway, NH

A fresh snowy day at Wildcat, courtesy of Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

Wildcat Mountain Resort

Who is Wildcat Mountain for? Wildcat Mountain is best for intermediate to advanced skiers who want a ski-first atmosphere and don’t mind the cold and limited amenities. 

Wildcat is another mountain dear to my heart. As I was getting back into skiing every winter, Wildcat became my no-frills skiing home. 

What to expect as a skier: Wildcat is for experienced skiers who don’t need many amenities beyond great skiing. The lodge isn’t fancy and you’ll find no condos dotting the trailsides, but they have all the basics you need to get on the slopes.

Wildcat’s 48 trails are lengthy due to the large vertical drop you’ll find at the resort, the second largest in the state. Accessible via a high speed quad in 7 minutes, you can get in a number of laps, as long as the winds allow. 

Wildcat’s location across from the Presidential range of mountains makes it a windy and chilly spot.  Be prepared to bundle up! From almost every trail you’ll have excellent views of tallest New Hampshire peak Mount Washington and the backcountry ski Mecca of Tuckerman’s Ravine.   

For those looking for a more untamed experience, Wildcat offers an easy lift-service backcountry route that ends on cross country ski trails nearby.  If you’ve got the ski skills, a car stashed in the right spot, and have a gps map ready; taking the backside of the mountain down can be a thrill!

(If you want a family-friendly mountain or a variety of beginner runs, I recommend you head to Wildcat’s sister resort, Attitash, which is only a short drive away.)

More than just skiing: You won’t find just skiers and snowboarders at the top of Wildcat. As a 4000-foot plus peak, Wildcat is a frequent destination for winter hikers and those who want to earn their turns by skinning uphill.

You may not be sharing the trails with them (although sometimes you’ll spy some intrepid summit-bound people snowshoeing or skinning on the side of a run), but you’ll likely spy some heading up to the summit when getting off the Wildcat Express. 

How to get to Wildcat Mountain: Wildcat is 20 minutes north of North Conway, putting it at about three hours from Boston and 2.5 hours from Manchester. Wildcat isn’t an easily accessible mountain for a short trip, but those looking to stay nearby will find the drive over to the mountain rewarding. Plus, you can always jump over to the sister resort Attitash if wind holds or terrain are not to your liking. 

Skiing Attitash, courtesy of Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

Attitash Mountain Resort

Who is Attitash for? Families will adore Attitash Mountain. For the younger folks, the regular Attitash mountain has all you need, including a learn to ski program for those of all abilities. 

What to expect as a skier: Most trails are either beginner-friendly greens or intermediate blues with a handful of steeper black runs coming from the top. Attitash spans two mountains with 69 trails and has double lodges, so skiers will never be left abandoned without access to local brews and a hot meal!

If you happen to get trapped at the wrong lodge at the end of a long ski day, Attitash runs shuttles between the two locations, so you can easily get back to your vehicle without issue.  

The main mountain is where you’ll find more families and beginner areas, as well as the apres scene for Attitash. There are numerous lifts and extensive services including multiple food options within the lodge, rental area, ski shop and more. If you’re lucky enough, you can even walk right from your hotel as there’s lodging right across the street! The ease of access to the main mountain is excellent. 

For those looking for more of a challenge, Attitash’s Bear Peak is the way to go. Although it has its own parking lot and lodge, Bear Peak is smaller than Attitash in terms of amenities. More challenging trails with intermediate or expert ratings are what you’ll find here.  The runs are steeper than what you’ll find on the main mountain.  

More than just skiing: From Attitash you have easy access to North Conway with all the winter activities you can imagine. Within an hour’s drive you have everything from dog-sledding to sleigh rides to ice skating to ice and snow climbing.

How to get to Attitash: Attitash is a 10-minute drive from North Conway, putting it at almost three hours from Boston and 2.5 hours from Manchester. There are buses that run from Boston and Concord up to North Conway, making it easy to arrive close to Attitash without a personal car. You will however need to rent a car or hire a taxi between the resort and North Conway.   

Skiing at Gunstock with views of Winnipesaukee, courtesy of the resort.

Gunstock Mountain Resort

Who is Gunstock for? Gunstock Mountain is an unexpected gem of varied skiing for skiers of all levels, more easily accessible than the White Mountains.

Located in the Lakes Region of the state, where summer is the main season, Gunstock offers beautiful views of one of New Hampshire’s most prized attractions: Lake Winnipesaukee. 

What to expect as a skier: Although there are only 48 trails to choose from, Gunstock Mountain does a great job of ensuring their runs are covered. They have 90% snowmaking capability, ensuring that these southern slopes don’t go uncovered due to a bad season of weather. 

Most of the trails work are suited to those with intermediate skills. The beginner area is very small and there are a good number of more challenging black diamond runs for anyone looking to progress. Gunstock’s terrain parks have a lot of variety with options for all ski levels.

More than just skiing: For those not interested in alpine skiing, cross country, tubing and a snowcoaster are all readily available at the base of the mountain. For the avid hikers, the Belnap range is right there and offers many different trails to choose from (plus lower elevation and friendlier weather than the White Mountains). 

You can also take advantage of the nearby lakes for ice fishing or snowmobiling. If looking to go farther away for fun, you’ll find the Tilton Outlets only a 20 minute drive, and there are several excellent breweries in the area. For a great day indoors, Funspot in Laconia is the largest arcade in the world.  

How to get to Gunstock: Only an hour from Manchester and two hours from Boston, Gunstock is a reasonable day trip or locale for those flying in. You can stay right near the mountain in Gilford, which has plenty of options for accommodation and food. If you’re looking for a better deal, you may want to venture a bit further away in nearby Laconia, which should be quieter during the wintertime off season.  

Read More: Fun Things to Do in Lake Winnipesaukee

Black Mountain Ski Resort

Who is Black Mountain for? Black Mountain is a go-to for anyone wanting to learn how to ski tour or for those who want a ski mountain vacation while including non-skier friends. 

What to expect as a skier: Black Mountain is a significantly smaller mountain with only 45 trails and 1100 feet of vertical drop, but it offers unique experiences. Black Mountain many activities like a weekly ski touring night ski called Friday Night Lights and their annual Last Skier Standing competition.  

For those wishing to learn to ski tour, Ski The Whites will take care of all your needs. They have a shop on-site at Black Mountain, where you can rent equipment as well. Ski The Whites will includes an uphill pass along with your gear rental and they even run clinics for those looking for more hands-on learning from the experts.  

More than just skiing: Jackson is an adorable village that even includes the classic country store that we love in any New England town. It’s one of New Hampshire Way’s favorite winter getaways. But there’s more to see here than just a few cute restaurants and shops (don’t miss White Mountains Puzzles).

Jackson is a well-known cross-country ski mecca! You’ll find many trails that span out from the Jackson Cross Country center. We particularly love the Ellis trail with the adorable hot cocoa hut and river views. Nestlenook Farm offers sleigh rides and ice skating in an idyllic environment.

Jackson has a handful of inns and hotels to stay in, but you will also find a good number of restaurants.  We particularly love the farm-to-table Thompson House! Most of the lodging is within walking distance of Jackson’s many cross country ski trails, making it easy to navigate around the town without needing to drive.  

How to get to Black Mountain: Black Mountain is a 5-10 minute drive from North Conway, putting it at about 2.5 hours from Boston and two hours from Manchester.

Attitash’s ski lift, courtesy of Attitash Mountain Resort.

Full New Hampshire Ski Resorts List

Abenaki Ski Area, Wolfeboro, NH

Arrowhead Recreation Area, Claremont, NH

Attitash Mountain Resort, Bartlett, NH

Black Mountain, Jackson, NH

Bretton Woods Mountain Resort, Bretton Woods, NH

Cannon Mountain, Franconia, NH

Cranmore Mountain Resort, North Conway, NH

Crotched Mountain Resort, Francestown, NH

Dartmouth Skiway, Lyme Hill, NH

Gunstock Mountain Resort, Gilford, NH

McIntyre Ski Area, Manchester, NH

Mount Sunapee Ski Area, Newbury, NH

Pats Peak, Henniker, NH

Purity Spring Resort (King Pine Ski Area), East Madison, NH

Ragged Mountain Resort, Danbury, NH

Storrs Hill Ski Area, Lebanon, NH

Wildcat Mountain Ski Area, Jackson, NH

Whaleback Mountain, Enfield, NH

More New Hampshire Winter Fun:

Best of New Hampshire Way:

What’s your favorite New Hampshire ski resort?

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