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Resort Guide 2022

The 10 Best Resorts in the East for Grooming

According to the 2022 SKI Reader Resort Survey, these resorts are getting it right when it comes to snow maintenance.

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Many skiers consider snow quality the most important aspect of any ski resort, but others know that grooming can go a long way in making up for what a mountain may lack in the snow department. And these days, resorts are pulling out all the stops when it comes to snow maintenance. Midday grooming, anyone? According to SKI readers, these 10 Eastern resorts are getting it right in the grooming department.

Top 10 Resorts in the East for Grooming

No. 10: Holiday Valley, N.Y.

Score: 8.38
Other Strengths: Lifts (#10), Dining (#1)
Weaknesses: Challenge (#16), Terrain Variety (#13)

"Holiday Valley, New York ranks 10th in the East in SKI Magazine's 2020 Resort Guide"

What Readers Say

‘This is my favorite resort in my area. Grew up skiing here and it grew with me. It is like family with the people who work there and the friends I ski with. Awesome “lake affect” snow, meticulous grooming, and a good variety of terrain. Not the most vertical but the most for the vertical it has! It is the gold standard that I use for comparison and recommendations to others.”

“Management puts a generous return yearly back into on- and off-hill improvements. Excellent snowmaking and grooming systems.”

No. 9: Sugarloaf, Maine

Score: 8.39
Other Strengths: Service (#1), Family-Friendly (#1)
Weaknesses: Snow (#20), Challenge (#19)

Sugarloaf Grooming
(Photo: Jamie Walter)

What Readers Say

“Great local hill vibe with superb terrain and snow conditions (for the North East). Great grooming crew. Wonderful “old school” lifts keep the mountain uncrowded.”

“Wish there was more grooming of some of the harder terrain. Great après ski, you just have to drive down the street to the Brewster River Pub. On the mountain the Black Bear is great until about 4:30/5 p.m.”

“Great value for seniors. Excellent job grooming and using whatever snow falls. Authentic skiing vibe.”

No. 8: Mount Snow, Vt. 

Score: 8.41
Other Strengths: Nightlife (#10), Family (#11)
Weaknesses: Service (#19), Overall Satisfaction (#19)

Sundance Lift Mt. Snow
(Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts)

What Readers Say

“Closest mountain to home. Great snowmaking and grooming. However, the Epic Pass has resulted in big crowds. You have to get your skiing in before 10.”

‘To crowded. Even this past winter with supposed COVID restrictions there were long lines to load the lift. Too many people on the mountain leads to too much mayhem.”

“Great views from the mountain top, very family-friendly with tons of activities. We would stay slopeside if we could afford it.”

No. 7: Killington, Vt. 

Score: 8.52
Other Strengths: Snow (#3), Nightlife (#3)
Weaknesses: Family (#19), Local Flavor (#15)

Killington, Vermont
(Photo: Chandler Burgess)

What Readers Say

‘Best grooming, snowmaking and variety of terrain in the East. The size of the mountain means you do not get bored skiing it all season. Lift lines are rarely a problem. Easy parking and good roads to get there. Groomed steeps.”

“Killington is the best in the East. Fabulous terrain for all abilities. Consistently good snowmaking and grooming. And the bumps there are the best. Not much nightlife because of Covid-19 this year. But the Beast will be back next season!”

No. 6: Wachusett Mountain, N.H.

Score: 8.56
Other Strengths: Access (#1), Lifts (#3)
Weaknesses: Lodging (#20), Challenge (#20)

Wachusett night
(Photo: Rob Bossi)

What Readers Say

“Wachusett does everything right. What it lacks in pure vertical, it more than makes up for in access, efficiency, and operational quality.”

“Just a great place to go to. They treat the kids so well, after all, they are the next money makers. Great staff and great owners who seem to care about everyone. Best move I ever made, coming here!”

“Tends to get icy, but hey, that’s winter! Great learning area, staff is very friendly and they handled the pandemic flawlessly!”

No. 5: Stratton Mountain, Vt. 

Score: 8.68
Other Strengths: Dining (#4), Service (#6)
Weaknesses: Value (#18), Terrain Variety (#18)

Stratton Mountain, Vt.
(Photo: Courtesy of Stratton)

What Readers Say

“Great location from the NYC tristate area. They make the best of whatever mother nature provides. Great grooming and snowmaking.”

“There’s a reason this place has the nickname “Flatton:” it’s the cousin of Shawnee in PA; both are best described as lunch trays on a slight tilt. Where Stratton has some glades to provide amusement if they have enough snow, Shawnee has the Clocktower drop, where spectators can watch novices smack into ski racks or the lodge. If someone tells you their favorite ski area is Stratton, ask them if they ski Telemark or downhill on the edgeless cross-country skis. That’s what it takes to make this VT novice hill challenging. Good for using up IKON pass extra days, and getting fresh air, but not much else.”

“Customer service is great, grooming is excellent, amenities are great. It’s always a pleasure to ski at Stratton Mountain!”

No. 4: Okemo, Vt. 

Score: 8.7
Other Strengths: Snow (#5), Family (#6)
Weaknesses: Après (#16), Challenge (#15)

Okemo, Vermont
(Photo: Brian Mohr/EmberPhoto)

What Readers Say

“Best in the East for terrain, snowmaking, terrain variety, and length of season. It has excellent grooming and few match its natural snowfall, especially its lake effect snow, which can make for surprising powder days. Crowds used to be a problem, but now that all mountains price out the masses and provide amenities that cater more to the rich only, it is hard to compare it to what I would call a real crowd. Fun as hell, in any case.”

“Great cruisers, lifts are spread out enough that you can get away from the crowds. Some of the best grooming in the East and enough glades to keep it interesting.”

No. 3: Sunday River, Maine

Score: 8.72
Other Strengths: Snow (#6), Lifts (#8)
Weaknesses: Family-Friendly (#18), Local Flavor (#18)

"Snowcat at Sunday River, Maine"
Photo courtesy of Sunday River

What Readers Say

‘Top notch grooming, a sprawling network of trails, and spectacular views! Did I mention it’s surprisingly easy to get to?”

“I have been a 10-year skiier at Sunday River. Wonderful people and snowmaking. Unfortunately, there has been little to no investment in the dining and lodges. The place is really run-down. I was disappointed to see investment in new high-end properties that won’t help the community of skiers at Sunday River.”

“It’s a long trip, but it’s really worth the trip. I love the expansive layout. And the lack of crowds is awesome. I waited on exactly one lift line in four days of skiing.”

No. 2: Smugglers’ Notch, Vt. 

Score: 8.75
Other Strengths: Value (#2), Lodging (#2)
Weaknesses: Snow (#20), Variety (#19)

"No. 1: Smugglers' Notch, Vermont"
Photo: Courtesy of Smugglers’ Notch

What Readers Say

“Fantastic value, the condo is just a short walk to the lift at Morse. Great variety of terrain for all levels, all accessible from Morse Mountain. Great experience for families.”

“It is extremely family-friendly with great kids’ programs and instructors. Our children learned to ski and snowboard there, and now they bring their kids who are learning to ski and snowboard. It is a family trip that we cherish each year.”

No. 1: Hidden Valley, Pa. 

Score: 8.79
Other Strengths: Family (#2), Snow (#7)
Weaknesses: Variety (#19), Challenge (#19)

Hidden Valley

What Readers Say

“Exceptional snow quality! They make snow at every opportunity and the level of grooming is fantastic. Great resort for families, retirees and church groups! Hidden Valley is a hidden gem in Mid-Atlantic downhill skiing!”

“Friendly atmosphere, great grooming, no aggressive ‘hot-dog’ skiers!”

“Hidden Valley makes the best effort to prep their slopes for the best conditions possible considering the weather. They have excellent snowmaking equipment, and they truly seem to care about grooming to enhance a skiers’ experience.”

More from the SKI’s 2022 Resort Guide

The Best Eastern Resorts for Snow 
The Most Challenging Resorts in the East
These Eastern Resorts Offer the Best Value