New To Ski

3 Best Connecticut Ski Resorts for Beginners

by Simon Knott | Updated: October 27th, 2022
Connecticut ski resorts

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Connecticut has good travel connections by the interstate. So, if you want to get away to learn to ski for a short break or a long weekend, there are some great options. But which ski area is best suited to beginners?

Ski Sundown is our top pick ski area for beginners. It’s an easy drive from New York and a competitively priced First Timer package to help beginners find their feet. It provides everything you need as a beginner.

Our Top Picks

    3. Mohawk Mountain

    skiresort8

    Skiing pioneer, Walt Schoenknecht, created the resort of Mohawk Mountain back in 1947 when he was drawn to the landscapes of Cornwall in north-western Connecticut.

    It has remained a family business for more than 70 years.

    What’s the Skiing like?

    The beginner area at the base has a magic carpet to glide skiers to the top of the two green runs, Lower Mohawk, and Nutmeg. As you improve your confidence you need to keep on the right-hand side of the mountain where the easier runs are all located.

    The Deep Run triple chair will take you halfway up the mountain or you can take the Mohawk triple chair, which takes you right to the top of Summit Tower at 3000 ft. From here there is a good choice of green and blue runs, some of which trail down through the forest.

    The runs are well graduated at Mohawk Mountain, so you can progress onto more challenging slopes easily without having to take a big leap of faith. The snowmaking at Mohawk Mountain has been recently upgraded, which means 99% of all-terrain is now covered.

    Learning to Ski

    If you’re skiing at Mohawk Mountain as a beginner family, it’s useful to enroll your kids in the Snow Hawks program. Kids aged from 5-13 can take part in the program, in small groups.

    The aim is to improve skills, provide challenges, and build confidence but overall to have fun. Parents can watch their kids progress from the nearby Perch, where they can buy drinks and snacks.

    Older kids, aged 12 and up, can sign up for ski and snowboard lessons, which are available for all ability levels. For everyone’s advantage group lessons are sorted by students’ age and ability.

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    Lessons can be booked online, and you can choose from different times during the day and week. Group lessons last for one and a quarter hours.

    You can also take private lessons at Mohawk Mountain, starting at three and older. The distinct advantage of a private lesson is that it can be adapted to the requirements of the student. Private lessons last for one hour.

    Off the Slopes

    Mohawk Mountain is close to numerous family inns, hotels, and motels in the greater Cornwall area. Several of them have negotiated reduced ski and stay packages with the resort.

    What we love about Mohawk Mountain

    • It’s been a family resort from the outset and still feels that way
    • It’s a compact resort that will entertain a range of abilities
    • The Snow Hawk’s ski program for youngsters introduces fun and working in a group

    Mohawk Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:1600 ft / 488 metres
    Skiable terrain: 107 acres
    Lifts:9
    Runs:26

    2. Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort

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    Powder Ridge Ski Area found new owners in 2012, who were willing to put up the investment to improve the amenities helping the resort on its way to its current state.

    See Also:  The 5 Oldest Ski Resorts In The United States (107 Years of Skiing)

    The resort is close to the town of Middleford, halfway between Hertford to the north and Newhaven to the south. Traveling throughout this part of Connecticut is straightforward with good interstate connections.

    What’s the Skiing like?

    The beginner area at Powder Ridge is in a quiet spot just in front of Market Place.

    There is a conveyor lift to get you started on two green runs at the base, and then a double chairlift to take you higher to a tree-lined area and two more green runs.

    When you feel like spreading your wings you can take your choice of the two triple chairlifts, 747 and Middlefield lifts to the top of Besek Mountain.

    Keeping to your left at the top you can choose between green and blue runs, which take you down to the base past the tubing park. When you’re feeling more proficient you can take the Festival Lift to the top and follow the blue runs back down again.

    Powder Ridge is a good beginner area, where 42% of the runs are classed as easy. Additionally, the runs are all reasonably close together, so there is little chance of anyone getting lost. Snow coverage is an issue occasionally at Powder Ridge with only 60 in annual snowfall.

    Learning to Ski

    The instructors at Powder Ridge use the Terrain Based Learning system which employs innovative snow-shaped features.

    As new skiers negotiate these simple features, they understand better how the skis function on the snow, reducing anxieties and speeding up the learning process.

    Lessons start for kids 6+ years and graduate to adults. They can be taken as a group or privately and are priced accordingly. It’s possible to add the cost of a lift ticket and ski rental to the price of the lesson.

    Statistics show that you are much more likely to continue skiing or snowboarding if you start off with a few lessons, to get you over the initial problems of confidence that most beginners experience.

    Off the Slopes

    Powder Ridge has negotiated discounted ski and stay packages with several local hotels and inns, which are in Middlefield or in nearby local towns. You can also find some on-resort accommodation on the website

    What we love about Powder Ridge Ski Resort:

    • Numerous easy runs to let beginners have a varied practice
    • The instructors use the Terrain Based Learning system, which improves learning
    • The local hotels and inns offer good ski packages

    Powder Ridge Ski Resort Stats

    Summit Elevation:720 ft / 3254 metres
    Skiable terrain: 80 acres
    Lifts:5
    Runs:20

    1. Sundown

    Sundown
    Photo by WalkingGeek licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Ski Sundown resort relaunched in 2014 and equipment upgrades has created a compact ski area, which is ideal for beginners. State-of-the-art snowmaking has now been extended to cover all the runs, so any concerns about poor coverage are now unfounded.

    The ski area is close to the towns of New Hartford and Springfield and only a two-hour drive-by interstate from New York State.

    What’s the Skiing like?

    The season at ski Sundown generally lasts from early December to late March. There are 16 runs altogether across one face of the hill with a total of 70 acres of skiable terrain.

    See Also:  9 Best Ski Resorts For Families In The Rocky Mountains (All Ages)

    The skiable terrain is on one face of the mountain, which makes it easy to orientate if you are new to the resort. The beginner area is just to the side of the Ski School, where you will find two shorter conveyor lifts, Big Easy and Little Easy, which will give you access to the green run, Little Joe.

    Further along, you’ll find the triple chair, Sunnyside Express, giving access to 3 slightly harder beginner runs, including a short blue through the trees.

    When you’re feeling ready for a bigger challenge you can take the Exhibition Triple Chair to the top of the mountain, where you’ll find access to 4 green runs towards the back, as well as a couple of blue runs which take you back down to the base.

    The longest run extends for 1.6 KM and night skiing is extensive, across 15 of the runs.

    At the base of the resort, you’ll find all the usual amenities including, The Lodge, which offers hot food for winter days including homemade chili, fresh salads, sandwiches, and sometimes even a BBQ. Ski rental, lessons, and lift tickets are all administered nearby.

    Learning to Ski

    The Sundown website has a section for first-timers, where you can pick up all sorts of useful tips, such as the First Timer Package for ages 7 to adult. This provides you with a free 8-hour lift ticket in the Sunnyside area, equipment rental, and a 1.5-hour ski or snowboard group lesson. The package is even cheaper if you take the night skiing option.

    If you want more conventional tuition, then group lessons are split into 4-6 years and 7+. They last for 1.5 hours and are scheduled regularly throughout the week and weekend. All lessons can be booked online and there is a useful online test to measure your experience.

    Sundown’s private lessons are for all skiers and snowboarders from 3 years to adult.

    Sundown also operates a lesson schedule for adaptive skiing.

    Off the Slopes

    The resort website details hotel and accommodation partners that are all within 35 minute drive. Depending on the party size ski packages can include lift tickets and discounts on rooms. Check with the accommodation when booking to make sure you don’t lose out on discounts.

    What we Love about Ski Sundown

    • It has a larger than usual beginner area, offering a good variety
    • Comprehensive floodlighting extends the skiing day
    • The resort is available to a huge catchment in New York State

    Sundown Stats

    Summit Elevation:1075 ft / 502 metres
    Skiable terrain: 70 acres
    Lifts:5
    Runs:16

    Why Choose Connecticut for Skiing?

    For sheer convenience, Connecticut is hard to beat for a skiing trip. Good road connections cut traveling time and our three recommended resorts are all only just over a two-hour drive from New York. The resorts we’ve reviewed are on the smaller side but that makes them ideal for beginner groups or families who want a short break or long weekend as a tryout.

    How Did We Order This List?

    To help rank our top selection of ski resorts for this list we compared the following ranking factors:

    👨‍👩‍👦 Ranking Factor📈 Power to affect Rank
    Amount of Beginner Trails (Mi) 4x
    Amount of Skiing Area (Mi) 3x
    Cost of two adult tickets + child ticket1x
    How many magic carpet lifts1x

    We gave each factor its own weighting depending on how important we feel it is for family fun across all ages. For example, a resort with more beginner trails is higher ranked than a resort with a lower-priced family ticket – with all else being equal. That’s because while cost is a factor, it’s not a primary one. We may also use our editorial judgment to remove or add resorts that we believe should make the list.

    When taking all of this into account, it gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.


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    Best Ski Resorts for Beginners In Connecticut

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