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Resort Guide 2023

Top 10 Resorts in the East For Guest Service

In a world where good customer service is harder and harder to find, these resorts feel like a home away from home.

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We skiers don’t ask for a lot from resorts when it comes to guest service. Considering the price of lift tickets (or season passes) and the amount of planning and schlepping it takes to get to the resort in the first place, we just want to be greeted by friendly faces in parking lots, lift lines, rental shops, and ski schools. We won’t say no to complimentary pancakes on powder days or après hot chocolates and cookies, but great guest service is more about how you’re treated at the resort than what amenities the resort offers. According to readers who voted in SKI’s annual Reader Resort Survey, these are the ski resorts on the East that treat their guests best. See the entire survey results here.

Top 10 Ski Resorts in the East for Guest Service

No. 10: Killington Resort, Vt.

Score: 8.28
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Challenge
Weaknesses: Value, Family Friendly

Killington Lifts
High-speed lifts are just one aspect of the type of guest service you can expect at Killington. (Photo: Killington Resort)

What Readers Say

“It has a long season and the snowmaking is ample even late in the season. Good variety of terrain. Lodging options at a reasonable price. Friendly staff.”

“It’s been our home resort since 2019 and we just love the mountain and the vibe from the staff.”

“Generally good experience at Killington. They host the Women’s World Cup races! Great fun. Killington does a great job. I have had a season pass the last few seasons. Great customer service.”

No. 9: Waterville Valley, N.H.

Score: 8.48
Other Strengths: Access, Family
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Lifts

Snowcat Waterville Valley
Great grooming is just one aspect of how Waterville Valley serves its skiers. (Photo: Courtesy of Waterville Valley)

What Readers Say

“Staff are always in a good mood and learn your name quick if you’re there enough. Locals are super chill and make it feel like a community, not a mega resort.”

“I’ve been a pass holder at Waterville for 2 years now but I’ve also skied here a few times before then, love it every time I come. I never get tired of the terrain, plenty of steeps for the advanced skier or rider, that being said there is also a plentiful amount of intermediate and beginner terrain! The staff is also very friendly, every time I would come the staff would greet me with a ‘hello’ and also asked me ‘how are you?’ Overall this is a great mountain and I would definitely recommend to families of all abilities, everyone can have fun here!”

“Super staff, well-maintained mountain. Everyone was very friendly. Terrain was excellent.”

No. 8: Mont Tremblant, Que.

Score: 8.49
Other Strengths: Lodging, Après
Weaknesses: Challenge, Value

Mont Tremblant après ski
Beer, wine, fondue—it’s all on tap when you après at Mont Tremblant. (Photo: Courtesy of Mont Tremblant)

What Readers Say

“It is 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 après scene! Nightlife is outstanding and the people are extremely kind. Just a happy vibe from the moment you arrive.”

“One of the my favorite ski resorts ever. I just love the overall vibe and sophistication of the village. The best service of anywhere I’ve ever been, from the waitstaff at restaurants to the lifties.”

“You’ll never meet a more welcoming and friendly staff than at Tremblant. I always feel like I’m coming home when I visit.”

No. 7: Holiday Valley, N.Y.

Score: 8.64
Other Strengths: Lifts, Family
Weaknesses: Snow, Challenge

Holiday Valley ski lift
Holiday Valley doesn’t boast the biggest vert, but it has an impressive number of lifts to shuttle skiers up the vert it does have. (Photo: Courtesy of Holiday Valley)

What Readers Say

“Outstanding snowmaking. High number of high-speed lifts. Friendly staff, customer oriented. Great resort town for après-ski. Varied train, something for everyone and every ability.”

“There is a little it for everyone, and these guys keep putting in new big speeds every few years. I imagine it will be all high speeds with at least one new six pack (coming 2023) by 2026. Seems absurd, but it’s the only way to deal with the immense crowds that form at the base. The town is small, quaint, and great après.”

“The guest service, lift system, snowmaking and grooming are top notch. The nearby town of Ellicottville has a ski history dating back to the mid-1930s and Holiday Valley respects that history as an independent ski resort in this day of megaresorts.”

No. 6: Jay Peak, Vt.

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

Jay Peak Family RG23
Jay Peak goes to great lengths to serve their guests on and off the slopes. (Photo: Courtesy of Jay Peak)

What Readers Say

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

“Good natural conditions can make this resort one of the best mountains for challenging terrain. Combined with the great on premise facilities for dining, drinking, swimming, and other fun make this mountain an unbelievably great time.”

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

No. 5: Wachusett Mountain, Mass.

Score: 8.72
Other Strengths: Grooming, Access
Weaknesses: Lodging, Challenge

Groomed ski run Wachusett
Wachusett takes grooming seriously—it unleashes its snowcats on ski runs twice daily. (Photo: Courtesy of Wachusett)

What Readers Say

“Each and every time me and my family visit Wachusett Mountain, the staff from kitchen help to parking lot attendants to equipment rental staff and slope side staff are outstanding. They go well beyond to help and assist each and every guest. I’ve received this outstanding customer experience year after year.”

“Easy access and reasonable rates. I’d recommend it to families and local enthusiasts. It is special due to helpful staff, consistent good conditions and friendly skiers.”

“Wachusett has great customer service. It is a wonderful, easy place to come for families with children. Ski school is great. There is a full-service ski shop at base with knowledgable boot fitters and staff. You can demo skis right there.”

No. 4: Magic Mountain, Vt.

Score: 8.83
Other Strengths: Challenge, Local Flavor
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Lifts

Magic Mountain ski resort
It’s hard to beat Magic Mountain’s indy vibe and interesting terrain. (Photo: Courtesy of Magic Mountain)

What Readers Say

“A little mountain with a ton of character. Friendly, professional staff and a great vibe among other skiers/riders.”

“A unique experience where you feel and are treated like you were invited as a guest. Never crowded and great value.”

No. 3: Bretton Woods, N.H.

Score: 9.06
Other Strengths: Grooming, Lifts
Weaknesses: Challenge, Nightlife

Bretton Woods ski area
Readers love the family-friendly vibe and iconic setting of Bretton Woods. (Photo: Courtesy of Bretton Woods)

What Readers Say

“Bretton Woods is the perfect family destination for skiing! The mountain has trails for all levels of skiing. All of the staff from the parking lot, to ticketing, to the lifts, and all of the services are incredibly friendly and helpful.”

“It’s a family friendly resort with owners and staff that truly love the resort and do their best to make it a top quality ski resort, starting with best grooming and ending with seamless operations (most staff, very good organization of car and lift line traffic, investing into resort through better lifts, etc.).”

“The customer service is great. The staff are friendly and helpful. And the facilities are always clean.”

No. 2: Smugglers’ Notch, Vt. 

Score: 9.11
Other Strengths: Family Friendly, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Lifts, Dining

Ski slopes Smugglers' Notch
Smuggs has it all: challenging terrain, great grooming, and a family-friendly atmosphere. (Photo: Courtesy of Smugglers’ Notch)

What Readers Say

“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. Definitely wasn’t my favorite season in terms of conditions but I still had a lot of fun, and Smuggs works hard to provide guests with something to do even when the lifts are down for whatever reason (wind/cold hold, etc.)  It’s good seeing how hard they tried to give everyone a good time, and that makes me love going there.”

“Friendly considerate staff. Very good communication regarding ski area operations—lift status, open, close, etc. Excellent grooming and snowmaking! It seems like the groomers and snowmakers really take pride in the snow quality.”

“I have considered Smuggler’s Notch my home for the past 20 years of my life (and I am only 24 years old). The staff continuously make me feel welcomed, and as if I am their number one priority. The snowmakers and groomers work endlessly to ensure the best snow possible with the given conditions.

No. 1: Mad River Glen, Vt.

Score: 9.15
Other Strengths: Challenge, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Lodging, Grooming

"Mad River glen"
Smaller, independent ski areas are where it’s at when it comes to guest service and a great overall ski experience. (Photo: Courtesy of Mad River Glen)

What Readers Say

“I skied here the most this past season and had a season pass. The staff were much friendlier than last season and the ski conditions were markedly better this year than last, thanks to Mother Nature. The ‘Ski It If You Can’ mantra holds true, and they let you get on the mountain any time it’s white and we love it. The grooming here is way under the radar, but can’t be beat in New England!”

“The staff is happy and helpful from the greeters and parking guys on in. The ski school is special, with kids skiing lines like no where else and adult programs that you can afford and learn from even after 65 years of skiing. The food is real and reasonably priced. No where else compares to Mad River Glen!”

“Uncrowded during the week. Avoid weekends as kids programs (which are great) make for long liftlines. When the snow is good it is the best in the East. When the snow is bad it is interesting.”