While Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York may be better known for their skiing options, southern New England offers some less crowded, less remote options that are just as friendly and just as exciting. Whether you are looking for packed powder, groomed trails, or back-country tracks you will find downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, tubing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and more at these 10 best ski resorts and areas for families in and around Rhode Island.
Yawgoo Valley is the only skiing area in Rhode Island. Established in 1965 season, Yawgoo is one of the southernmost ski areas in New England, and so it relies heavily on artificial snowmaking. Yawgoo Valley offers 14 skiing trails served by two chairlifts and also offers a snow-tubing park with eight lanes. In the summertime, this resort offers a 32-foot rock wall and a water park with 750 feet of water slides.
One of the best mid-sized mountains on the east coast, Berkshire East is a lot like Vermont resorts, only a bit smaller, less pricey, and less crowded. Originally called "Thunder Mountain,” Berkshire East is no joke. It has the steepest expert terrain and longest beginner trails south of Vermont. Berkshire East features a mountain resort, snow tubing park, 45 runs, and white water rafting in the summertime.
Catamount Ski Area, located on the Massachusetts/New York state line, was founded in 1939. One of the original Berkshire ski areas, Catamount still has an old-school feel, and it is a must-ski for advanced skiers and beginners alike. Fans praise Catamount for it's challenging terrain, including the self-proclaimed steepest and longest runs in the Berkshires.
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Jiminy Peak is a full-service resort that opened in 1948. With fantastic condos, 24-hour snowmaking, and three terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders, this is the largest ski resort in southern New England. But, it is also the summer home to Mountain Adventure Park, and Jiminy Peak is the self-proclaimed only mountain resort in North America to generate its own energy using alternative wind power.
With a 309-foot vertical drop, 16 trails, and one terrain park on 60 acres, Blue Hills Ski Area is part of the Blue Hills Reservation. Offering night skiing with state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly lighting, snowboarding, and tubing, they also have great kids' programs, an on-site cafeteria, and an active U.S.-certified ski patrol.
In 1947, Skiing Hall of Famer, Walt Schoenknecht, created Mohawk Mountain Ski Area amidst the rugged beauty of a formerly undeveloped northwestern Connecticut. In 1948 Walt developed the so-called first snowmaking system ever used at a resort. With great snow (real and homemade), well marked trails, new lifts, an excellent ski school for children, and an on-mountain restaurant, this is a wonderful place to ski with the family.
Ski Sundown is a true teaching mountain, with over 50 percent of its trails suitable for beginners. Sundown has 16 trails, 15 of which are lit up for night skiing, which are sprawled out over 70 acres of skiable terrain. Skiers can access trails via three triple chairlifts, a double, and a conveyor. The mountain has 100 percent snowmaking capacity and a 1,075-foot summit.
Opened in 1959, Powder Ridge ran continuously until the 2006-2007 season. When it reopened in December 2013, it had been restored and upgraded to its current operation and features a massive 500-foot vertical drop with 80 skiable acres and 19 named trails. Four terrain parks supports freestyling and a tubing option is included with every lift ticket purchase.
Woodbury Ski Area offers downhill skiing, boarding, and tubing serviced by a chairlift, two magic carpets, a rope tow, and a handle tow. With a good ski school and several racing programs, Woodbury also offers night skiing and day camps. Plus, enjoy cross-country and snowshoeing opportunities.
With 14 trails suited for all levels, this former farm property began its life in 1964. It is spread out over 50 acres and has a 425-foot vertical, offering affordable skiing and riding, night skiing, lessons, racing programs, and more. Plus, enjoy a beverage and a meal in the Mountain Room, or treat yourself to a warm homemade waffle with your favorite toppings at the Waffle Haus.