3 Best Connecticut Ski Resorts for Families
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So, you’ve decided on the East Coast and you want to travel only about two hours from New York. What are the best options for family skiing in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, any problems associated with snow coverage are taken care of with comprehensive snowmaking in the majority of resorts. On the plus side, communication is easy with several interstates connecting the metropolis of New York and the larger towns in the State.
Our Top Picks
3. Mohawk Mountain
The rugged beauty of Cornwall in north-western Connecticut caught the eye of skiing pioneer, Walt Schoenknecht way back in 1947. He created Mohawk Mountain resort and it has remained a family business for families for more than 70 years.
Fun for Kids
Kids aged from 5-13 can take part in the Snow Hawks program, in small groups. The lessons are designed to improve skills, provide challenges to build confidence, and hopefully start an enduring love of snow sports. Parents can watch their kids progress from the nearby Perch, where they can buy drinks and snacks.
For slightly older kids aged 12 and up, ski and snowboard lessons are available for all ability levels. For everyone’s advantage group lessons are sorted by students’ age and ability. Lessons can be booked online at numerous times throughout 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 fully to the requirements of the student. Private lessons last for one hour.
At the base of the resort, the beginner area has two magic carpets to glide skiers to the top of the two green runs. This is also the area where beginner kids take their lessons.
The three main triple-seat chair lifts then transport skiers to the summit of Mohawk Mountain from where they can make their choice of green and blue or black runs to the base. The summit elevation is 1600 ft (487 m) giving an adequate vertical fall of 650 ft (198 m).
There are 26 named trails altogether with an equal spread between green and blue, along with a handful of black runs spread across the resort.
Snowfall can be problematic in Connecticut but the recently upgraded snowmaking facilities at Mohawk Mountain now mean 99% of all-terrain is covered. 16 of the trails are additionally set up for night skiing.
The resort covers 112 skiable acres but extends much further to 350 acres, into Mohawk State Forest. This area is ideal for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at the top of the mountain but is distinct from the resort and not controlled or maintained by either.
In 2019, Mohawk Mountain also introduced snow tubing to its list of amenities.
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|
2. Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort
Powder Ridge Ski Area had something of a chequered past until it was bought out by an exploration company in 2012. Since then, considerable investment has improved the resort to its current state.
The resort is located in the town of Middlefield in lower Connecticut, halfway between Hertford to the north and Newhaven to the south. Good interstate connections make travel north and south straightforward.
Fun for Kids
Lessons start for kids 6+ years and graduate to adults. They can be taken as a group or privately and priced accordingly. It’s possible to add the cost of a lift ticket and ski rental to the price of the lesson. The resort also has experienced freestyle instructors who offer a longer course spread over eight weeks.
Out of a total of six, the three main chair lifts take skiers to the top of Besek Mountain at an elevation of 800 feet (240 m), and the 19 named trails run down through lightly wooded terrain.
There is a good selection of beginner runs, 42%, along with 37% intermediate and 21% classed as advanced. The vertical drop is 417 feet (127 m) from the summit.
An annual snowfall of just 60 in coverage can be an issue sometimes, although snowmaking has been improved to now cover 68 acres. Similarly, better floodlighting on the runs now means 40 acres are lit for night skiing.
The total resort area extends to 255 acres, which includes a freestyle area, with rails, jumps, a half-pipe, a multi-chute tubing park, and an area for snow biking. The resort can get busy during the holidays, so check beforehand or aim to go midweek.
Off the Slopes
Powder Ridge has negotiated discounted ski and stay packages with several local hotels and inns, which are located in Middlefield or in nearby local towns.
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|
Ski Sundown resort started life as the sinister-sounding Satan’s Ridge Ski Area in 1963. Over the years equipment upgrades have created a compact ski area for beginners and intermediates. The sometimes limited snowfall has now been addressed with the installation of state-of-the-art snowmaking across all runs.
The resort is close to the towns of Hartford and Springfield and only a two-hour drive from New York State.
Fun for Kids
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.
You can also book additional lessons for ski racing, freestyle, intro to the terrain park, moguls, and even telemark skiing. Sundown also operates a lesson schedule for adaptive skiing.
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.
Eight of the runs are classed as easy, four as intermediate, three as difficult, and one, Satan’s Stairway is a double black diamond. The longest run extends for 1.6 KM and night skiing is extensive, across 15 of the runs.
Ski Sundown has two terrain parks, one, Tom’s Treat, with simpler features, while the more advanced park is adjacent to the black diamond run, Stinger.
At the base of the hill, you can find all the usual amenities including, The Lodge, which offers hot food for winter days such as homemade chili, fresh salads, sandwiches, and even a BBQ. Ski rental, lessons, and lift tickets are all administered nearby.
Off the Slopes
The website details hotel and accommodation partners that are all within 35 minute’s drive. Depending on the party size ski packages can include lift tickets and discounts on rooms.
What we Love about Ski Sundown
- It’s a compact resort with a good spread of trails
- Comprehensive floodlighting extends the skiing day
- The resort is available to a huge catchment in New York State
|Summit Elevation:||1075 ft / 502 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||70 acres|
Why Choose Connecticut for Skiing?
For sheer convenience, Connecticut is hard to beat for a family skiing trip. Good road connections in Connecticut cut traveling time and our three recommended resorts are all only just over a two-hour drive from New York.
Many of the resorts started out in the 60s or earlier as family businesses and many retain that same welcoming feel.
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 ticket||1x|
|How many magic carpet lifts||1x|
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.