Boston can be a tad chilly in the wintertime. And that's putting it mildly. The snow-laden sky seems to trap everything indoors and securely within the city limit signs. Wintertime also brings one of the great pleasures of living in the Hub, as from its borders New England’s best ski mountains can all be reached within a three-and-a-half-hour drive. From the soaring steeps of Killington and the many peaks of Sunday River, to the family friendly drives and drops of Wachusett and Blue Hills, here's a selection of five mountains easily accessible from Boston.
Over the course of eight separate peaks that reach up to 3,000 feet in elevation, Sunday River in Maine is one of the largest and most skied resorts in New England. Far north of the city, the resort is coated early in the season with a base of natural snow that only grows deeper throughout the winter, leaving little need for snow-making machines that sting your face and stick your skies to the slopes. At three and a half hours north of the city, day trips are possible, but many people settle in for a few nights and partake in one of the best après ski scenes in New England.
Known as “The Beast of The East,” Killington is a mountain that lives up to its nickname. Looming large as the second tallest peak in Vermont, the resort boasts the largest vertical drop in New England. It's classic New England skiing at Killington, and the wind whips you raw as you carve down the exposed faces of the resort’s soaring peaks. As with any mountain, Killington is adaptable for skiers of all levels, but the mountain is a favorite among seasoned New England ski enthusiasts.
Stratton has something for everybody: there are diving black diamonds that feel like vertical drops, and there are green circles that wind lazily back and forth from the peak of the mountain down to the base. Stratton Village is a great little trip to Switzerland for shopping, drinking and dining, and up and down the mountain there are bars and restaurants aplenty. At three and a half hours from Boston it makes for a fine Vermont day trip, and there are often great deals to be had on passes.
Instead of heading north, consider going west. You don’t need to go to Colorado though, just take route 2 as far as Leominster and stop off at Wachusett Mountain for a quick fix of skiing. Wachusett doesn’t have the most slopes or the largest drops, but it’s ideal for a few hours. When the sun goes down, Wachusett lights up the trails and offers cut rate lift tickets until the resort closes. A quick 45-minute drive, Wachusett is ideal for a night out on the slopes.
Don’t go looking for Olympic glory at this snow-covered hill in Quincy, but if you aren’t confident enough to test your metal on the mean slopes of Maine, Blue Hills is just for you. With one lift, nighttime lights, and a location mere minutes from the city, Blue Hills is ideal for the non-skier passing through Boston to get a flavor of what all the fuss is about.