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Resort Guide 2022

These 10 Eastern Resorts Offer the Best Bang for Your Buck

In this area of the country, many resorts are still independently owned and operated, and their prices reflect that.

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Skiing’s not cheap, and the price of lift tickets and season passes are a big reason why. But, believe it or not, you can still find ski resorts with reasonable ticket window prices and great deals on equipment rentals, ski school lessons, and lodging—especially at ski areas out East. In this area of the country, many resorts are still independently owned and operated, and their prices reflect that. According to SKI’s readers, these 10 Eastern resorts offer the best value.

Best Value in the East

No. 10: Wachusett Mountain, Mass. 

Score: 7.66
Other strengths: Family-Friendly (#3), Grooming (#6)
Weaknesses: Terrain Variety (#20), Challenge (#20)

Wachusett Value
(Photo: Wachusett Mountain)

What Readers Say

“This is my home hill. There are two other areas that are closer, but Wachusett has more variety of slopes, longer runs, and more terrain. The season pass is reasonable, and the women’s clinic is great.”

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

No. 9: Hidden Valley Resort, Pa. 

Score: 7.76
Other strengths: Grooming (#1), Family-Friendly (#2)
Weaknesses: Nightlife (#18), Terrain Variety (#19)

Hidden Valley Value
(Photo: Hidden Valley Resort)

What Readers Say

“Hidden Valley IS what it says IS! A family-friendly resort, plus some. The staff throughout are awesome and treat you like family. The ski school is top shelf. If you want to go bigger, their sister resort Seven Springs is around the corner. The local town and residents are happy to see you. There is tons to do around the resort area. A great vacation spot to relax. The staff there creates that easy-going vibe.”

“It’s a nice low-key resort with great conditions and I would recommend it to families and beginners. It’s special because it offers some expert skiing with short lift lines and always has the best conditions.”

No. 8: Whiteface Mountain, N.Y. 

Score: 7.9
Other strengths: Après (#4), Challenge (#4)
Weaknesses: Snow (#18), Grooming (#19)

What Readers Say

“The season pass price is a great deal. It’s only a 75-minute drive on nice roads. Prior to this year, it was uncrowded on weekdays.”

“Whiteface used to be referred to as “Ice-face”. In the past few years they have upgraded their snowmaking, grooming, and added a new chalet at mid-station. I don’t know if they hired some genius or Mother Nature has just cooperated, but the skiing has been fantastic. My family skied over 40 days this year and never was there a bad day. Whiteface is worth every penny. The food has drastically improved as well. The beer selection has always been good.”

No. 7: Sugarloaf, Maine

Score: 8
Other strengths: Snow (#4), Terrain Variety (#4)
Weaknesses: Access (#20), Dining (#16)

Sugarloaf Value
Sugarloaf at Sunrise Skier: Garrett Morrow (Photo: Jamie Walter)

What Readers Say

“Finally made my first trip to the ‘Loaf. An absolute A+ for how the trails were cut. No flash, all about the skiing/riding.”

“In my opinion it Sugarloaf can not be beat when comparing East Coast resorts. Great terrain, good snow, good lifts, and not crowded. Plus, no East Coast resort has anything compared to Bracket Basin and Burnt Mountain.”

No. 6: Holiday Valley, N.Y. 

Score: 8.34
Other strengths: Lifts (#1), Dining (#1)
Weaknesses: Challenge (#16), Terrain Variety (#13)

Holiday Valley Value
(Photo: Holiday Valley)

What Readers Say

“One of the few ski resorts in New York State with an associated ski town with restaurants, places to stay, etc. Pricing is much more affordable than, say, White Face in Lake Placid.”

“Great resort with something for everyone, from beginner to advanced. Probably the best ski resort in southwest New York and the best day/weekend trip for someone like me from Ohio who wants good skiing without a flight or day-long drive. Ellicottville, NY is a great place with small town feel while maintaining a relatively large selection of nightlife and restaurants. Everyone is so friendly, too!”

No. 5: Gore Mountain, N.Y. 

Score: 8.5
Other strengths: Lifts (#5), Terrain Variety (#8)
Weaknesses: Dining (#20), Après (#20)

What Readers Say

“Gore is the closest mountain to where I live so I can get away for two days to ski. It’s affordable and offers a lot of terrain. For those who know Gore well, the Sagamore trail is a true leg-burner and nearly always empty. If you like going fast, try Twister.”

“The variety of trails is what makes Gore great. Having four different peaks makes lift lines short and almost non-existent on weekdays. With no lodging and a small town nearby, Gore is all about skiing and riding first, second, and third. The snowmakers and groomers are amazing. With almost no snow after March 1st, we were still going into the middle of April.”

No. 4: Jay Peak, Vt. 

Score: 8.64
Other strengths: Local Flavor (#5), Overall Satisfaction (#5)
Weaknesses: Access (#19), Grooming (#17)

Jay Peak, Vt.
(Photo: Courtesy of Jay Peak)

What Readers Say

“They get the most snow of any New England resort. Lots of woods and off piste ski options. No nonsense ski crowd. Greet value at $87/ticket and easy access from Boston. Love Jay! No pretense—it’s all about the skiing.”

“Great prices for families.”

“Steepest, deepest, cheapest. Some of the best snow conditions on the East Coast, and my favorite glades. Great local vibe.”

No. 3: Cannon Mountain, N.H. 

Score: 8.95
Other strengths: Terrain Variety (#1), Lifts (#2)
Weaknesses: Grooming (#18), Lodging (#18)

What Readers Say

No. 2: Smugglers’ Notch, Vt. 

Score: 9.18
Other strengths: Guest Service (#1), Overall Satisfaction (#1)
Weaknesses: Dining (#9), Lifts (#14)

Smugglers' Notch Value
(Photo: Smugglers’ Notch)

What Readers Say

“Lift tickets are a fair price for amazing terrain, tree skiing and great for families. Both of my kids started at Smuggs at 2 years old and these teens are now very advanced, lifelong skiers.”

“Perfect for families. Well priced. Great comfortable lodging slopeside. Beautiful scenery. Wonderful staff. Fiercely independent…not a corporate clone.”

“I’m a Vermonter with five different ski resorts within easy driving distance. Smuggs is the friendliest and easiest to get to for the value. The staff in every aspect is GRRREAT!”

No. 1: Mad River Glen, Vt. 

Score: 9.2
Other strengths: Challenge (#1), Local Flavor (#1)
Weaknesses: Grooming (#20), Lodging (#17)

Mad River Glen Value
(Photo: Dave Trumpore)

What Readers Say

“Low stress, easy to be myself, no fancy people. My kids found it to be a wonderful and challenging playground and found plenty to challenge them as they grew up year after year. Same people there every year feels like family. Kids don’t get lost with only one base lodge.”

“Mad River is the best in the East. It is considered it among the hardest. But it has easy and intermediate terrain that is beautiful. I love the Vt. vibe, the single chair, and the simple but great lodge. Do you you want to go to Vermont or to a slick resort? Vermont’s where it’s at.”

“Such a classic that hasn’t lost its charm nor its skiing adventure since I first skied there 50 years ago.”