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Resort Guide 2023

Top 10 Resorts in the East for Snow

According to the results of SKI's annual Reader Resort survey, these resorts have the best snow conditions in the East.

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People call it the Ice Coast, but savvy Easterners know that you can find good snow in this corner of the country, too—if you know where to look. We asked readers which ski resorts in the East have the best snow quality, and the opinionated public weighed in via our annual Reader Resort Survey.

Resort Guide 2023: Top 50 Resorts in North America

The resorts on this list not only benefit from more natural snow than some of their neighbors thanks to their prime geographic location, but their resort operations teams also know how to wield snowmaking guns to the best effect. So if you’ve got limited days to chase pow this winter, head for one of these snow-sure hills to make them count.

Top 10 Resorts in the East for Snow

No. 10: Holiday Valley, N.Y.

Score: 7.48
Other Strengths: Lifts, Family-Friendly
Weaknesses: Challenge, Value

Holiday Valley Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Holiday Valley/Ashley Baron)

What Readers Say

“Close to home but still offers a variety of terrain. Good snow thanks to Lake Erie. This resort had NO issues this season due to staffing. Hours and days open remained the same along with no lift problems.”

“Holiday Valley is a true gem of a resort. What they lack in overall vertical they make up for in snowmaking, grooming, and the village of Ellicottville!”

“Holiday Valley maximizes the available terrain. Excellent snowmaking and grooming. Ultimate White Pass is a great deal. I ski there mid-week so crowds are non-existent.”

No. 9: Wachusett Mountain, Mass.

Score: 7.80
Other Strengths: Access, Guest Service
Weaknesses: Challenge, Lodging

Groomed ski run at Wachusett
Wachusett doesn’t mess around when it comes to grooming. (Photo: Courtesy of Wachusett)

What Readers Say

“I discovered Wachusett two years ago and it’s been my home mountain for the last two seasons. My riding ability at this point is too advanced to have a lot of fun at Wachusett for more than a few hours at this point, but holy cow I cannot say enough good things about that mountain. They consistently have some of the best conditions, even on the worst days when there’s no business for the mountains to even be open. I love going to them for early and late season riding because their snowmaking really makes for fun terrain.”

“Wachusett does an excellent job of grooming and making snow. It does get crowded on the weekends and on days after snowstorms.”

“Wachusett ski resort is as solid as they come. The Crowley’s and staff get the absolute most out of their terrain and are committed to providing a great guest experience. Case in point: When many New England Vail properties had poor snow coverage, Wachusett was nearly 100% open all year. This crew loves skiers and it shows.”

No. 8: Mont Tremblant, Que.

Score: 7.81
Other Strengths: Après, Family-Friendly
Weaknesses: Access, Challenge

Skier at Mont Tremblant
Cold temps means snow stays fresh longer at Mont Tremblant. (Photo: Courtesy of Mont Tremblant)

What Readers Say

“It is a European skiing experience you can drive to! The village is fantastic, lodging options are endless, food is fantastic, and you cannot beat Petite Caribou for the après scene! Nightlife is outstanding and the people are extremely kind. Just a happy vibe from the moment you arrive.”

“Great value. Mountain is not huge but it’s enough to have some enjoyable days, hotels are affordable, town is super charming.”

No. 7: Smugglers’ Notch, Vt. 

Score: 7.85
Other Strengths: Terrain, Challenge
Weaknesses: Dining, Nightlife

Skier jumping at Smugglers' Notch
You can always find fun terrain and a few snow stashes at Smuggs, even if Mother Nature hasn’t cooperated in a while. (Photo: Courtesy of Smugglers’ Notch)

What Readers Say

“Bad weather hurt everyone in Vermont last season but I’m really happy with how hard Smuggs worked to keep as much varied terrain open as possible. They also do a snow report the night before so you know what will be open and they groom almost every night.”

“Great terrain and grooming. Excellent snowmaking where covered. Great local following and family friendly. Upper parking lot is unique and a great attraction.”

“I’d give it the ‘Best Resort on the East Coast’ because of its snow, how challenging it is, and how cozy the place feels. I think Smuggs has the best snow on the East Coast—powder for days.”

No. 6: Loon Mountain, N.H.

Score: 7.91
Other Strengths: Access, Lodging
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Value

Loon Mountain ski area
When Mother Nature doesn’t deliver, Loon’s mountain ops team delivers with phenomenal snowmaking and grooming. (Photo: Courtesy of Loon Mountain)

What Readers Say

“Best NH early, middle, and late season snowmaking/snow conditions.”

“It could snow a little more but terrific grooming makes up for it. Mountain bars are overcrowded but fun, a decent amount of varied restaurants but they do get crowded quickly.”

“Top tier product and professional services. Building and grounds are well maintained as well as the snow surfaces.”

No. 5: Killington Resort, Vt.

Score: 7.96
Other Strengths: Terrain, Challenge
Weaknesses: Family-Friendly, Value

Skier at Killington ski resort
Not for nothing does the Best of the East claim the longest ski season in the East—its natural snow and snowmaking lasts until end of April. (Photo: Courtesy of Killington)

What Readers Say

“Best terrain, snowmaking, and grooming in the East without question!”

“Considering there was heavy rain on the night we arrived, the ski conditions the following two days were very good. Hats off to the grooming crew!”

“I ski here 80-100 days for the last 5 seasons. Weather swings from powder to rain to freezing, but within a day Killington gets the mountain back for enjoyable skiing. Some days when the mountain only got an inch or two of new snow, the grooming team brought the mountain back to great skiing as long as you got on the hill early. They also don’t hold back on snowmaking—any time the temps go down they fire up the guns, even into early April.”

No. 4: Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine 

Score: 8.02
Other Strengths: Challenge, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Value, Dining

Sugarloaf Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Sugarloaf Resort)

What Readers Say

“Sugarloaf is the ultimate skier’s mountain with great snow, variety, challenge and character. A testament to their grooming, snowmaking and snow maintenance is that on April 20, 2022, the ‘Loaf still had wall to wall trail coverage on all man-made trails with several natural trails still open as well. They have limited the skiing simply due to the lack of skiers, not lack of terrain. Last season was a down year with natural snow, yet the ‘Loaf had the most open and best quality conditions in the East.”

“This is one of the best—if not the best place—in the East (I know there’s some tough competition in Vermont). Despite very rough weather/limited natural snow last season, snowmaking and grooming were quite impressive.”

No. 3: Sunday River, Maine

Score: 8.11
Other Strengths: Grooming, Terrain
Weaknesses: Value, Dining

Skiers on chairlift Sunday River
If you catch Sunday River on a snowy day, you won’t be disappointed. But thanks to great grooming, you won’t be disappointed even during dry spells. (Photo: Courtesy of Sunday River)

What Readers Say

“Always dependable snow conditions. A wide variety of terrain to suit all abilities. Great ski-in/ski-out lodging at the Jordan Hotel.”

“I go to Sunday River when I’m looking for a wider variety of terrain and more challenge than my home mountain offers. The snow quality is usually very good, although firmer and faster than my home mountain. I believe this is because they groom early in the evening and it sets up overnight. The mountain is also affected frequently by wind conditions, so I also monitor the forecast and pick my days.”

“I’d recommend to anyone who lives in New England. There is not a mountain you can count on more for snow conditions. Great lift system, therefore able to avoid crowds most of the time.”

No. 2: Bretton Woods, N.H.

Score: 8.71
Other Strengths: Grooming, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Challenge

Powder skiing at Bretton Woods
Readers agree: You’ll find good snow and good grooming at Bretton Woods. (Photo: Courtesy of Bretton Woods)

What Readers Say

“Aesthetically, it is the best in the East. Scenery, snow conditions, variety of tree skiing, and upscale look and feel make this a very appealing place. Condo choices are high end to very high end. It’s the Deer Valley of the East.”

“Bretton Woods is always enjoyable, great snow and grooming, best views of the White Mountains, super lifts. Food on the mountain is great and the new summit lodge is super duper.”

“It’s a long trip but it’s worth it for the great snow, lifts, variety, lack of crowds, and scenery. Full ‘resort’ feel, but still some soul—I wasn’t the only one booting up in the parking lot.”

No. 1: Jay Peak, Vt. 

Score: 8.86
Other Strengths: Value, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Access, Nightlife

Jay Peak Snow RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Jay Peak)

What Readers Say

“Best and most snow in the East each year. Awesome glades, and terrain. Mountain has a great vibe and plenty to do if you’re not skiing.”

“Great local vibe with a very welcoming attitude towards new visitors. Staff love their guests. Conditions and snow is the best.”

“I haven’t had the chance to get out to Colorado and Utah, but I have had the opportunity to go to Whistler Blackcomb. Primarily a skier in the East. If I had to choose my last day on a pair of skis or snowboard, I would choose Jay Peak, Vt. A combination of chutes off the top, endless options in the trees, and great pitched groomers, this mountain is an expert skier’s paradise. Let’s also not forget that this resort gets the most snow on the east, by far, and also can compete with other places like Colorado and Wyoming on a yearly basis. So you can expect multiple powder days throughout the year. The mountain won’t have your extravagant town or amenities like Stowe Mountain, for example, but gives that perfect balance of good lifts, great snow, and a local’s mountain vibe.”