Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Resort Guide 2022

The 10 Best Resorts in the East for Terrain Variety

These Eastern resorts offer a little bit of everything, from groomers to steeps, for skiers of all ability levels

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Outside, Climbing, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including Bump Like Glen Plake and How to Ski Powder
  • Access to the SKI Gear Concierge service
  • Access to the Warren Miller film library and first access to annual film tour
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+
Ski Mag

Digital + Print
Intro Offer
$2.99 / month*

  • Annual subscription to SKI magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on SKImag.com
  • Ad-free access to SKImag.com
Join SKI

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

The East doesn’t have the vertical or skiable acres that the resorts out West have—that’s just a fact. But what Eastern ski resorts lack in size, many make up for in terrain variety. After all, skiing below tree line, on mountains with dense glades, can make things more interesting than skiing wide open bowls in the high alpine. And then there’s beginner and intermediate terrain to consider. A great ski area offers something for everyone, and according to readers who voted in SKI’s 2022 Reader Resort Survey, these Eastern ski resorts fit the bill by serving up the best terrain variety.

Top 10 Resorts in the East for Terrain Variety

No. 10: Stowe Mountain Resort, Vt.

Score: 8.47
Other Strengths: Après (#5), Lodging (#5)
Weaknesses: Local Flavor (#19), Value (#20)

"Stowe Mountain Resort"
(Courtesy of Vail Resorts)

What Readers Say

“Stowe is as good as you’ll get in the Northeast. The mountain is large and varied in terms of terrain. There are enough classic Vermont trails to make the experience challenging, and skiing in the trees can be a joy. The cruisers are variable enough to hold your attention and can be easily distinguished from one another. Like the rest of Vermont, the weather and the conditions are probably the most challenging aspects of skiing at Stowe. You just never know what is coming and it can change fast. The off-mountain scene at Stowe has enough variety to keep all sorts happy; from down and dirty dive bars to fine French dining; dormitory lodging to presidential suites. Stowe has tradition; something that every serious skier ought to experience at least once, if not regularly.”

“I only go to ski, I don’t drink or get high, I’m on my own diet, and I have a condo nearby so I do not spend any time at the resort other than to ski.”

“It’s a trip to get to Stowe for me, and its very pricey, but I do enjoy the trails. There are also a lot of restaurants, lodging, and eclectic shops nearby, which makes it worth the trip.”

No. 9: Whiteface Mountain, N.Y.

Score: 8.5
Other Strengths: Challenge (#4), Nightlife (#4)
Weaknesses: Grooming (#19), Service (#18)

Terrain Variety Whiteface
(Photo: Whiteface Mountain)

What Readers Say

“Host of two Olympics, that’s all you need to know. But there is so much more here. With the Bear Den lodge you are set for kids and beginners. Often known as IceFace it can be fast, but when the snow is great you will have about the best day you can have on any slope, anywhere. Everything flows into the main valley, but when the Summit lift is open, you can spend all day on a variety of trails with limited lift lines. The combination of Olympic history, views forever, and all the off-mountain activities for the entire family only 15 minutes away in Lake Placid, make Whiteface a perfect winter ski trip destination.”

“Whiteface—the Olympic Mountain, dammit! Ski it if you can: groomed, powder, ice, crud, more ice, more crud—this ain’t no Disneyland, Jim. Lake Placid is a real ski town!”

No. 8: Gore Mountain, N.Y.

Score: 8.73
Other Strengths: Lifts (#7), Value (#5)
Weaknesses: Service (#20), Local Flavor (#20)

Gore Mountain
(Photo: Courtesy of Gore)

What Readers Say

“Great resort for skiing with a lot of trail variety for the East Coast. Doesn’t get too crowded.”

“Gore gets more natural snow than most any other NYS ski area most winters. And they need it, first to cover the acres and acres of long, wide cruisers, and second, to fill up the glades and minimal expert terrain. Atmosphere is halfway between Catskill ratbag at Belleayre and Lake Placid posh at Whiteface.”

“Gore is a hidden gem in the Adirondacks. Very little infrastructure—there’s no night life or big resort hotels. Lodge is from the 1970s, but the skiing is some of the best in the East.”

No. 7: Sugarbush, Vt.

Score: 8.85
Other Strengths: Challenge (#6), Local Flavor (#9)
Weaknesses: Value (#17), Grooming (#15)

Skier on Paradise at Sugarbush
Morning tracks on Paradise, a classic, widely spaced gladed run. (Photo: Courtesy of Sugarbush/Hans Jonathan Von Briesen)

What Readers Say

“Our favorite mountain in Vermont! Fantastic variety of terrain, all sorts of challenge, good lift coverage. The only complaint is that ticket prices have skyrocketed—if you don’t have a season pass, the prices are exorbitant. We will have a pass for 2022 so we will be back, but if we didn’t, we would go elsewhere.”

“Great mountain with awesome terrain. Lots of variety if you want to be challenged or just ride the hill. Absolutely love the Bush.”

“Sugarbush accommodates a wide variety of interests. It’s got groomers, bumps, park, racing. Good slopeside lodging. The restaurant selection isn’t what it used to be in the ’80s and ’90s— maybe that’s something new ownership can encourage.”

No. 6: Jay Peak, Vt.

Score: 9.08
Other Strengths: Snow (#1), Challenge (#2)
Weaknesses: Grooming (#17), Access (#19)

"Air at Jay Peak"
(Photo: Courtesy of Jay Peak/Tim Fater)

What Readers Say

“Ja-POW is a real saying and when you can get to Jay Peak on a powder day, you won’t be able to walk the following day. I have never skied so hard as I have done at Jay Peak. Miles of terrain, amazing glades, and the tram is truly unique.”

“Terrain is excellent. People are friendly. Resort is remote. It can get very cold and windy with many wind delays/lifts closed. It gets a huge amount of snow.”

“I love this resort. It’s my home resort, and the people that work there are super special. Lifties say hello and get stoked on powder days. Lots of whooping and yelling on the runs down the lift lines. It’s a special place.”

No. 5: Killington, Vt.

Score: 9.11
Other Strengths: Snow (#3), Nightlife (#3)
Weaknesses: Local Flavor (#15), Family-Friendly (#19)

Terrain Variety Killington
(Photo: Killington Resort)

What Readers Say

“Killington is a great spot for skiing and après-ski. Great nightlife, challenging terrain, and huge variety of terrain—it has it all. Maybe not as kid friendly as Okemo, but does have areas for beginners as well.”

“A good alternative to my regular resort when I want a change of scenery. Not as friendly as some of the other resorts in Vermont and lacks the ‘village’ vibe.”

“Killington made the season happen with a smile, despite all of last year’s challenges. The season is long for us who are ready to ski early season and into the spring. It is usually easy to avoid long lift lines if you just head to someplace other than the K1 or the Snowdon Six on the weekends. Terrain variety is a plus. Don’t miss Sushi Yoshi for a Goombay Smash at the end of the day.”

No. 4: Sugarloaf, Maine

Score: 9.14
Other Strengths: Lifts (#6), Challenge (#6)
Weaknesses: Access (#20), Dining (#16)

Sugarloaf Terrain Variety
Location: Sugarloaf Skier: Spencer Lee (Photo: Jamie Walter)

What Readers Say

“For its size, Sugarloaf offers a variety of skiing for all skill levels. Overall, the snowmaking and grooming is well above average, especially during marginal conditions.”

“Huge mountain with great variety of terrain and lots of challenge. Not for snow bunnies but for people of all experience and levels who like to ski!”

“I have been a LOAFER since 1972. While the ride from Mass. is about 3:45, it is a quiet, comfortable ride. The mountain is secluded and can be cold and windy quite often but the terrain is unmatched, along with the mountain’s commitment to their clientele. The LOAF is a huge mountain and it all centers around one large base area, without a lot of cross-cuts, poling, connecting lifts, etc. The loyalty of its skiers is unmatched.”

No. 3: Mad River Glen, Vt.

Score: 9.22
Other Strengths: Local Flavor (#1), Value (#1)
Weaknesses: Grooming (#20), Lodging (#17)

Mad River Glen Terrain Variety
(Photo: Matt Kiadaisch)

What Readers Say

“Since there are only single and double chairs, the slopes are uncrowded and I can relax and enjoy skiing without always looking over my shoulder for out-of-control snowboarders on slopes that are too crowded. I love NO snowboarders allowed (like Alta). Great variety of terrain, I never get bored. Natural snow skis so much better than manmade. Still has that small area feel and family-friendly vibe that I’ve enjoyed for the past 65 years.”

No. 2: Smugglers’ Notch, Vt.

Score: 9.29
Other Strengths: Service (#1), Overall Satisfaction (#1)
Weaknesses: Challenge (#19), Snow (#22)

Smuggs Terrain Variety
(Photo: Smugglers’Notch)

What Readers Say

“Smugglers’ Notch is the perfect mountain for any age and any ability level! Smuggs is your favorite craft beer’s variety pack: terrain for all ability levels, entertainment for the kids as well as adult-only entertainment, all while the lodging is ski-in/ski-out, keeping you close to all the action night and day. Yeah the lifts might not be high-speed, but in this world of cell phones, computers, TVs, take the time you have on the chair to take in the beauty of Smuggs, the beauty of Vermont and take it all in!”

No. 1: Cannon Mountain, N.H.

Score: 9.45
Other Strengths: Lifts (#2), Value (#3)
Weaknesses: Grooming (#18), Nightlife (#20)

Cannon Terrain Variety
(Photo: Cannon Mountain)

What Readers Say

“Cannon is tops in New Hampshire, from the vertical to terrain variety, the views, historic vibe, and quality snowmaking. It’s only one of two ski areas in New England with an iconic tramway, and with the completion of upgrades at Mittersill and snowmaking 10 years ago, Cannon has raised the bar for its N.H. brethren. Plus, they did a superb job meeting the challenges of operating through COVID. And yes, the weather can still be quite nasty, and there’s no nightlife and hardly any nearby lodging, but there are plenty of cool places to stay in the White Mountains.”

“The best ski resort in New Hampshire, Cannon has it all. It has a great variety of terrain—from first-timer stuff to some of the hardest lines at any Eastern resort, to its own wonderfully contained family area of Tuckerbrook, to the awesome old school vibes of Mittersill.”

 

promo logo