Travel

The 11 Best Ski Slopes and Resorts in New England

Plus, some cozy accommodations for the ultimate apres-ski experience.

Killington Resort
Killington Resort
Killington Resort

Boasting one of the top destinations for skiing, New England has its fair share of mountains worth scaling and slopes worth conquering. With plenty of resorts not too far from Boston, we’ve rounded up the top spots to check out this winter, from the nearby hills of Canton to Stowe, which is probably one of the most famous ski towns, well, ever. Keep reading to find out how you can secure your spot this ski season along with some cozy spots where you can rest up and have the ultimate apres-ski experience afterward.

Blue Hills Ski Area
Blue Hills Ski Area
Blue Hills Ski Area

Blue Hills Ski Area

Canton, Massachusetts
Distance from Boston: 20 minutes
Less than half an hour from the city, Blue Hills is easy to get to and doesn’t require a lengthy road trip to get your shred (or wipe out) on. Since 1950, this ski area has welcomed local Boston families looking to venture out, featuring 60 acres, 16 trails, and four ski lifts. You can pick up your season pass online now or check back on their website for more information on daily passes.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Canton, Massachusetts.

Monika Salvan/Shutterstock
Monika Salvan/Shutterstock
Monika Salvan/Shutterstock

Wachusett Mountain

Princeton, Massachusetts
Distance from Boston: 1 hour and 20 minutes
As one of New England’s most accessible ski resorts, Wachusett Mountain has everything you need for a successful day on the slopes, with more than seven trails and four lifts currently open. The resort also has some special events on the calendar like the Polar Express Celebration on Saturday, December 18. The annual party features festive music, decorations, and more. Plus, if you show up in a Santa or elf costume, you can earn yourself a treat. Season passes or daily lift tickets can be purchased online.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Princeton, Massachusetts.

Cannon Mountain
Cannon Mountain
Cannon Mountain

Cannon Mountain

Franconia, New Hampshire
Distance from Boston: 2 hours
Located in Franconia Notch State Park, Cannon Mountain holds the name for the highest ski area in New Hampshire. That means it’s the perfect spot for some serious skiing or snowboarding. Sadly, registration for season passes has come to a close. but you can still purchase a lift ticket online.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Franconia, New Hampshire.

Berkshire East
Berkshire East
Berkshire East

Berkshire East Mountain Resort

Charlemont, Massachusetts
Distance from Boston: 2 hours and 20 minutes
When it comes to making quintessential New England plans, the Berkshires are a go-to destination. With a mountain range that is exceptionally breathtaking all year round, both the elements and sights set you up for a top-tier ski trip. One of the area’s beloved ski resorts, Berkshire East, has the terrain you’re looking for and the Berkshire Summit Pass provides a perfect combination with access not only to Berkshire East but also to Catamount and Bousquet (both less than a two and a half hour drive from the city). What more could you ask for?
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Charlemont, Massachusetts.

Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods

Bretton Woods

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Distance from Boston: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Featuring 464 acres of skiing and snowboarding on 63 trails and 35 glades, the award-winning Bretton Woods has plenty of space for skiers to enjoy this snowy paradise. Since opening day has already come and gone, you can purchase lift tickets or season passes online now. Even better, coming soon, you can book a ride on the Bretton Woods Skyway Gondola for views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.

Ski Butternut
Ski Butternut
Ski Butternut

Ski Butternut

Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Distance from Boston: 3 hours
In the quaint town of Great Barrington, you’ll find Ski Butternut, a family-focused resort offering affordable rates and rentals. With season passes now available online, you can also book a variety of lessons from group to private classes if you’re looking for a solid gift to give this year.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Okemo Mountain Resort
Okemo Mountain Resort
Okemo Mountain Resort

Okemo Mountain Resort

Ludlow, Vermont
Distance from Boston: 3 hours and 10 minutes
With new and improved chair lifts ready for the 2021-22 season, Okemo might just be worth the snowy drive. And with passes currently 20% off, you can spare some cash for gas. As an FYI, guests ages 12 and over will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations to dine at their indoor restaurants. Dining reservations are also required ahead of time.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Ludlow, Vermont.

Killington Resort
Killington Resort
Killington Resort

Killington Ski Resort

Killington, Vermont
Distance from Boston: 3 hours and 15 minutes
As the largest ski and snowboard resort in the East, spanning more than 3,000 acres, Killington is the real deal. They also have a robust selection of top-notch rental gear so you can spend time on the slopes instead of ordering (and anxiously awaiting) new gear. To guarantee a spot for the 2021-22 season, go to the website to purchase lift tickets or season passes.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Killington, Vermont.

Jiminy Peak
Jiminy Peak
Jiminy Peak

Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort

Hancock, Massachusetts
Distance from Boston: 3 hours and 20 minutes
Jiminy Peak, yet another favorite ski destination located in the Berkshires, is also the largest ski and snowboard resort in southern New England. Lift tickets and season passes are now available online, and you can also make lodging reservations at the Country Inn and available vacation homes.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Great Hancock, Massachusetts.

Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe, Vermont
Distance from Boston: 3 hours and 20 mins
A picturesque winter wonderland, Stowe is known as one of the best ski towns in the US-and in the world for that matter. Surrounded by Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, and Spruce Peak, there’s no doubt you’ll fulfill your winter activity dreams by setting foot in Stowe. Since lift tickets are a hot commodity, you can purchase them online in advance if you’re not already a season pass holder. The mountain also offers an Epic Day Pass that is also worth looking into, so you can ski for only $73 with access to all 29 local resorts.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Stowe, Vermont.

Mohawk Mtn Ski Area
Mohawk Mtn Ski Area
Mohawk Mtn Ski Area

Mohawk Mountain

Cornwall, Connecticut
Distance from Boston: 3 hours and 30 mins
Mohawk Mountain, which has been a longstanding family business for more than 70 years, is ready to welcome skiers for the 2021-22 season. With 12 skiable acres on 350 scenic acres of state forest, this mountain tucked away in Connecticut does not disappoint. You can purchase a season pass online but daily lift tickets aren’t available to purchase just yet. Keep an eye on their website for updates.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Cornwall, Connecticut.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Jillian Hammell is a contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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