9 Best New Hampshire Ski Resorts for Families
If you’ve been searching the Eastern States for a ski vacation, then don’t forget to check out what New Hampshire has to offer. The height of the White Mountains and the northern latitude shouldn’t make snow a problem, while most resorts make kids’ lessons a priority. Take a look at what New Hampshire can offer you and your family.
All the resorts have an identity of their own, Cannon Mountain with its wild, rugged scenery to Pats Peak, which is still family-owned and runs. Most resorts now have good coverage with snowmaking and they frequently offer ski and stay packages to keep lodging costs affordable.
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More and more of the resorts also offer programs of adaptive lessons and experience. Whatever your requirements New Hampshire will provide a solution for your ski vacation.
Our Top Picks
9. King Pine - Purity Spring Resort
East Madison in New Hampshire hosts King Pine Ski Area, which has a proven tradition of entertaining families with kids throughout the year. King Pine is part of the Purity Spring Resort, located on private Purity Lake. Although the resort is rurally located it is still only a 1.5-hour drive from the towns of Portland, Scarborough, and Portsmouth in Maine.
Fun for Kids
Lessons for three-year-olds are purposely kept shorter and the private half-hour lesson employs games, entertaining tasks, and play to familiarise a child with the snow conditions and equipment.
For slightly older kids the Junior Ski Package is aimed at ages 7-12 or 13+. It introduces simple skiing and using the surface lift. Equipment rental and surface lift tickets are included in the price
King Pine is an ideal resort for beginners both young and old. With a total of 17 trails, 44% are beginner, 31% intermediate, and 25% advanced. Snowmaking is comprehensive, covering 100% of the trails. Advanced skiers can try out Pitch Pine, one of the steepest trails in New England.
There are six lifts, three triples, and two surface lifts along with the tubing tow. The resort also offers ice skating, snowshoeing and Nordic trails.
Off the Slopes
The nearby village of Conway features a local inn and there are numerous private rentals in the locality including lodges, cabins, and chalets.
What we love about King Pine Ski Area
- Plenty of easy trails for beginners to cut their teeth
- Snowmaking covers 100% of the trails
- The rural location makes it a relaxing family destination
King Pine Ski Area Stats
|Summit Elevation:||850 ft / 259 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||48 acres|
8. Attitash Mountain Resort
Attitash Mountain Resort is located in North Conway among the White Mountains. The resort has a typical New England feel with the runs spread over two separate mountains, Attitash Peak and Bear Peak. There is extensive resort lodging providing plenty of ski-in and ski-out access.
Fun for Kids
Private ski and snowboard lessons are offered for all ages and for all abilities. The lessons can be half-day, either AM or PM, or for a full-day duration.
Kids ski and snowboard lessons are also organized in small groups for ages 3-14 for all abilities and again either in half-day, either AM or PM, or for a full-day lesson.
Attitash Mountain Resort also partners with Mount Washington Valley Adaptive Sports (MWVAS), to promote their adaptive ski program to individuals and families with physical and cognitive disabilities.
Attitash Mountain Resort extends over 307 acres, with 68 trails fanning across the two mountains. The highest elevation of Attitash Peak reaches 2350 ft (716 m) which equates to a healthy 1750 ft (533 m) vertical fall.
There are traditional New England runs through the wooded mountainside, wider cruising runs as well as enough black runs for those who like a challenge. Broken down into difficulty 20% of runs are beginner, 47% intermediate, and 33% difficult.
There are 11 lifts, two high-speed quads, seven other lifts, and two surface lifts. Snowfall for the season is 142 in and the upgraded snowmaking means 98% of the runs are covered. There is one terrain park with a half-pipe and a superpipe
For stoking up, Attitash Main Base Lodge offers breakfast and lunch options in a cafeteria setting, while in the same building, The Cantina offers Mexican-themed meals and drinks.
Off the Slopes
Attitash Mountain Village offers plenty of resort lodging with over 350 rooms of different types. The village is in a scenic setting on the banks of the Saco River, surrounded by the pine and white birch-covered mountains.
The lodging is adaptable depending on the party size and includes suites, townhouses, as well as trailside lodging.
What we love about Attitash Mountain Resort
- Everything you need for a ski trip is available on one family-friendly site
- This is a particularly scenic part of New England
- There is a good variety of runs at the resort
Attitash Mountain Resort Stats
|Summit Elevation:||2350 ft / 716 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||311 acres|
7. Whaleback Mountain
Whaleback Mountain ski resort runs span over one side of the mountain. It has an authentic New England feel and the difficulty of the runs means there is enough variety to make it an affordable family-friendly destination.
Fun for Kids
At Whale Mountain you can opt for private lessons for any age to gain one-on-one tuition. Other members of the same family or traveling group can also opt to join in creating a semi-private lesson at a slightly reduced cost.
There are also Learn to Ski or Snowboard packages which can be adapted for adults or children but are aimed at beginners. For keeping costs down there are two group lessons, the Beluga Whales, and the Mountain Explorers Group, which are aimed at ages 4-6 and 7-14 years respectively.
The Board of Directors at Whale Mountain still prioritizes affordable, family-friendly skiing, as well as the promotion of after-school groups, lessons, and the adult race league.
The face of the mountain is wooded so there are numerous glades and runs cutting through the trees. From the top of the main lift, Summit Chair, green runs span either side down onto blues, with a selection of the diamond and double diamond blacks down the centre.
There are 30 trails in total with a good spread of difficulty. Overall, 28% were classed beginner, 39% intermediate, 23% difficult, and 10% expert. Annual snowfall averages at 110 in and the recently upgraded snowmaking capability now cover 80%. Trails for backcountry skinning and snowshoeing are available at the person’s own risk.
What we love about Whale Mountain
- Whale mountain works to keep costs down for families
- Good concessions for season passes and discounts for students and military
- Enough runs for beginners and intermediates, as well as some challenging blacks
Whale Mountain Stats
|Summit Elevation:||1800 ft / 549 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||85 acres|
6. Mt. Sunapee
Mt. Sunapee is close to the town of the same name on the southern shore of Lake Sunapee. It’s an area of natural beauty that is only a 90-minute drive from Boston. In 1998 a couple leased Mt. Sunapee ski resort from New Hampshire State and they have invested a considerable sum to improve the terrain parks and facilities for younger skiers.
Fun for Kids
Kids and adults can take part in a range of ski and snowboarding lessons, which can be adapted by age and the number in the group. Individual private lessons are also available. The recently updated Children's Learning Center Facility supports all learning programs for youngsters, as well as childcare.
The design of Mount Sunapee's layout has always pitched the importance of family-friendly as a high priority. All trails from the highest elevation at 1513 ft (461 m) lead down to the central base area.
The resort covers 230 acres and has the largest vertical fall in southern New Hampshire at 1510 ft (460 m). There are 66 runs in total, 26% classed beginner, 48% classed intermediate, and 26% classed expert.
The Ridge Trail is the longest run trailing down the mountain for more than 2 miles. There are 11 lifts altogether, six chairs, and five surface lifts. Snowfall at 100 inches is on the low side but snowmaking covers 97% of the terrain. There are four terrain parks, four mogul runs, and nine glades
Off the Slopes
The Mount Sunapee Ski Resort website lists plenty of choices for lodging. These include B&Bs, motels, hotels, and whole-home rentals. As a year-round tourist destination, some of the lodgings can be booked on the shores of nearby Lake Sunapee.
What we love about Mount Sunapee
- A good variety of different runs
- The design of the resort is family-friendly
- The snowmaking covers 97% of the terrain
Mount Sunapee Stats
|Summit Elevation:||2743 ft / 836 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||232 acres|
5. Pats Peak
Pats Peak owes its origins to four brothers, from Henniker, who were enthusiastic skiers in 1962. Putting their heads together they created a popular, family-owned ski area, which it remains to this day. The resort is compact enough for parents to comfortably leave their kids on their own, while they enjoy something steeper.
Fun for Kids
Lessons are well organized at Pats Peak with the Cub’s Club ages 3-6 yrs and the Bear’s Club 7-14 yrs. Lessons can be in the morning, afternoon, or all day and include the cost of the lift ticket. Individual lessons are also available.
There are three separate beginner areas for kids with their own lifts and kids under five ski for free when accompanied by an adult.
There are two terrain parks at Pats Peak:
Microburst Park for younger skiers which has smaller features including jumps, boxes, and rails Turbulence Park with a total of 15 more challenging features, such as jumps, rails, boxes, and spines.
Pats Peak tops out at 1460 ft (445 m), giving a vertical fall of 770 ft (230 m). 14 trails are rated beginner (50%), six trails are rated intermediate (21%), three trails are rated advanced (12%), five trails are rated expert (17%). So, there is plenty of scope for beginners and intermediates.
There are 11 lifts in total including four triple and two double chairlifts. A total of 80 snow cannons ensures 100% snowmaking coverage.
The mountain is floodlit for night-time skiing and Pats Peak claims to have the most floodlit double diamond terrain and glades in northern New England.
If you fancy a change from skiing, Pats Peak offers a six-lane tubing park with chutes of over 600 ft. Or you can take snow bike lessons, which are for rent along with snowshoes.
Off the Slopes
Pats Peak offers several partnered ski and stays packages in hotels, motels, and inns in local Henniker and the surrounding towns. Henniker is roughly a 90-minute drive from Boston and the nearest airports are Manchester-Boston and Nashua.
What we love about Pats Peak
- Pats Peak is still family-owned and managed and that appeals to families
- There is plenty to keep kids occupied with a smaller terrain park, tubing, and snow bikes
- Kids under five ski for free when accompanied by an adult
Pats Peak Stats
|Summit Elevation:||1460 ft / 445 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||115 acres|
4. Loon Mountain
Loon Mountain Ski Resort is in Lincoln, Grafton County, New Hampshire. Access is easy via I93, and Boston is only two hours to the south. Recent upgrades to the resort include better snowmaking and hospitality at the Paul Bunyan Room.
Fun for Kids
At Loon Mountain they like to get the kids on the snow from an early age. Their 45-Minute Quick Start lesson is for ages 2-3 and aims to help kids understand the elementary equipment and posture.
For older kids between 4-7 years, Loon Mountain offers group lessons outside the Children’s Center. There are dedicated warmup and learning areas on the snow.
Loon Mountain is also home to a not-for-profit organization, New England Disabled Sports (NEDS). It provides adaptive sports instruction to adults and children throughout the year.
Weekends at Loon Mountain can get a little hairy but that’s the price you pay for good communication, so arriving midweek is the obvious solution. Ranging over 370 acres the resort takes in plenty of tree skiing down from the highest elevation at 3050 ft (930 m), with an overall vertical fall of 2100 ft (640 m).
The terrain at Loon Mountain is well designed and improves over the seasons. Now with extensive snowmaking and grooming on even steeper runs. There are 61 runs in total allocated as 20% beginner, 60% intermediate, and 20% advanced.
There are 12 lifts in total with a gondola and a high-speed eight-seat chair lift. Loon Mountain is well known for its progressive terrain parks.
The Gondola Skyride operates year-round and is New Hampshire’s longest scenic ride. You can take in the panoramic views from Herbert’s Observation Tower across to Mt Moosilauke and Mt Washington.
Off the Slopes
There is no on-resort lodging but nearby the Mountain Club close by does. Additionally, the resort has partnered with local Lincoln hotels and cabins. There are also private local condos and home rentals.
What we love about Loon Mountain:
- Access to the resort is easy from the north and south via I93
- Can get busy at weekends but helped by the gondola and high-speed eight-seat chair lift
- The resort offers adaptive skiing training for those with disabilities
Loon Mountain Stats
|Summit Elevation:||3050 ft / 930 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||370 acres|
3. Cranmore Mountain Resort
Cranmore Mountain Resort is in North Conway, New Hampshire, operating since 1937. It is especially popular with families and has a reputation for being sheltered when winter weather occasionally closes in on the region.
Fun for Kids
Lessons are a big part of the activities on offer, where the Terrain Based Learning Method is used. Aiming to reduce the anxieties of beginners, shaped snow features are used, which naturally control students’ progress.
KidsRule Mountain Camps are for kids aged 4-14, which offer 4-hour beginner ski and snowboard lessons for kids including a lift ticket.
Also popular are the I Wanna Ski or Snowboard Beginner Lessons, aimed at ages 4-6 and available daily. Beginner ski packages include a 60-minute private beginner ski lesson, rental equipment, helmet, and Beginner Basin access.
The ski area is across one side of the mountain with one high-speed quad chair and three others feeding the runs higher up. There are blues and blacks coming down through the trees and even one green, trailing all the way down from the top.
The highest elevation is 2000 ft (609 m) giving a 1200 ft (366 m) vertical fall. The runs are evenly split for difficulty with 28% beginners, 45% intermediates, and 27% advanced. Snowfall at Cranmore Mountain Resort can be lower and without any snowmaking, it’s best to contact the resort prior to visiting.
Cranmore Mountain Resort is spoilt for choice when it comes to terrain parks. Tschol’s is the beginner park, Reed’s is intermediate, while Morton’s is the largest. Cranmore tubing hill offers up 10 chutes of lift-serviced mayhem for kids and kids at heart.
On the slopes, Zip’s Pub is open daily and until 8 PM on Saturday nights and holidays. The pub offers just what you want after time spent on the runs including appetizers, burgers, salads, mac and cheese, and wings.
Off the Slopes
There is no resort lodging at Cranmore Mountain Resort but the nearby town of Conway has a selection of hotels, and lodges to rent. Similarly, there are plenty of condos and homes available on Airbnb and VRBO.
What we love about Cranmore Mountain Resort
- Cranmore is a family resort with friendly customer service
- The trails are varied enough to offer interest to all levels of skiers
- Instructors use the Terrain Based Learning Method to aid beginners
Cranmore Mountain Resort Stats
|Summit Elevation:||2000 ft / 610 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||200 acres|
2. Cannon Mountain
Cannon Mountain is located within Franconia Notch State Park. Home to panoramic and rugged scenery it’s one of the few larger North American resorts to be run by a public body. The variety of runs is spectacular too, ranging from an extensive beginner area to expert.
Fun for Kids
If you have a head for heights, you can take the Aerial Tramway right to the top of Cannon Mountain in just under 10 minutes. If it’s clear on the 4080 ft summit you will be able to spot the mountains of four States and even Canada. You can take in the sights on the 360° observation deck.
Childcare at Cannon Mountain comes courtesy of Brookside Learning Center. Ages from six months and older are welcome and the center offers all-day and part-day youth programs for older kids.
For skiing lessons, the Cannon Mountain Snowsports School uses qualified instructors. Lessons are broken down into Cannon Kids, aged 5-7, and Mountain Explorers, aged 8-12. These are two-hour lessons, and the first-time package includes the lesson, rental, and a Tuckerbrook lift ticket.
The aim of the lessons is to graduate from flat snow to a gentle slope. Ideally, most students should be able to ski down the beginner slope and then take the lift back up. Private lessons are also available for children aged 3 and up and adults. These lessons can be adapted to take up to five students.
Cannon Mountain has the greatest vertical fall of any ski area in New Hampshire. The highest elevation at 4180 ft (1274 m) gives a vertical fall of 2330 ft (710 m).
Covering 265 acres the terrain spreads across two mountains, Cannon and Mittersill. The runs are varied with some blues running from the top, while several blacks trail through the forest lowdown.
Overall, 21% of runs are beginners, 47% of runs are intermediates, and 32% of runs are advanced. There are 73 trails in total and a backcountry area around Mittersill of 86 acres. The lower 160-inch annual snowfall is made up for by snowmaking which covers 168 acres.
Lower down the Tuckerbrook family area is aimed at beginners, with several gentler slopes for parents to coach youngsters. Cannon Mountain also has three freestyle areas.
Off the Slopes
Cannon Mountain has partnered with local hotels, inns, and B&Bs, which are convenient to the slopes. Larger affordable, hotels and inns are also available in Lincoln, just 10 mins drive away.
What we love about Cannon Mountain
- Cannon Mountain is set in some amazingly rugged and scenic country
- The beginner area is well designed
- The terrain is diverse but easy to navigate
Cannon Mountain Stats
|Summit Elevation:||4080 ft / 1244 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||285 acres|
1. Bretton Woods
Nestling in the heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains, Bretton Woods, is a slick operation offering quality accommodation, well-organized skiing, and a welcome for families. The resort wins numerous annual awards, proving its popularity.
Fun for Kids
Lessons for skiers at Bretton Woods are aimed to be adaptable. There are private one-on-one lessons, where the instructor can concentrate on goals, or the lesson can be opened out to include family and friends who want to learn together.
For nippers, aged 4-6 years, the Snow Play private lesson introduces youngsters to equipment and movement. The instructors understand all students are different, enabling them to guide kids at their pace. The lessons last for 60 min and then parents are updated on progress.
As New Hampshire’s largest ski area Bretton Woods trails across three mountains and 464 acres. Widely wooded there are 63 trails and 35 glades to choose from. The resort has 23% of runs for beginners, 28% for intermediate, and 49% for advanced.
With the highest elevation of 3100 ft (944 m), the vertical drop of 1500 ft (457 m) provides plenty of variety on the trails. Average snowfall is around 200 inches, while extensive snowmaking covers 92% of trails.
Considerable investment means Bretton Woods has New Hampshire’s only eight-passenger gondola, as well as four high-speed quads. During vacations, the resort can get busy, but this extra uphill capacity will keep queues down.
Bretton Woods has extensive Nordic skiing, for classic or skate skiing across varied terrain. Ski rental and repair are located on-site.
Getting a bite to eat on the mountain can be as leisurely or quick as you like. The newly opened Rosebrook Lodge at the top of the Skyway Gondola gives some great views across to Mount Washington.
Larger appetites can follow with salads, soups, and gourmet burgers. There are two additional cafes, Peaks Café, and Crystal Hills, for meals on the go.
Off the Slopes
Bretton Woods offers plenty of on-site upmarket lodging. This can be in the grandeur of the Mount Washington Hotel, the Bretton Arms Inn, or The Lodge and Townhomes. Outside of the resort are hotels and inns, as well as numerous condos and homes for rental.
What we love about Bretton Woods
- A well thought out and managed ski and snowboard resort
- Great food variety on the slopes but a bit pricey
- Busy during the vacations but fast lifts keep skiers moving
Bretton Woods Stats
|Summit Elevation:||3100 ft / 944 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||464 acres|
Why Choose New Hampshire for Skiing
New Hampshire has a long history of family skiing, where the northerly latitude and comprehensive snowmaking of most resorts ensure reliable snow.
Although some resorts are quieter and more rural road connections to Boston, Rochester, and Portland make travel quick and easy. Most resorts offer lessons, from the youngest beginner to the more advanced.
The White Mountains in the White Mountain National Forest offer some of the most natural and scenic settings for a New Hampshire winter vacation.
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, gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.