Thrilling Winter Escapes for a Weekend Away
There’s nothing like a weekend winter jaunt to get your adrenaline pumping. The next couple of months mark a perfect time for activities like skiing, skating, snowboarding and snowtubing… and a trip to a nearby winter resort is something everyone in the family can get behind. We’ve reviewed popular spots across the country to give you the following suggestions for winter retreats that won’t take you forever to reach. Keep reading for some ideas on slopes to hit near you.
Believe it or not, residents of sunny Los Angeles and San Francisco can find plenty of resort options in just a few hours’ drive. Los Angeles residents can look east to the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountain ranges.
For instance, Mountain High sits just 83 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Considered Southern California’s closest winter resort, it offers 59 trails, sky chair rides, snowboarding and tubing. Alternatively, Snow Summit is about 100 miles to the northeast and offers 31 trails across 240 acres of skiable terrain.
San Francisco residents, meanwhile, are about 200 miles from the iconic Lake Tahoe, where there is no shortage of winter sports. Two well-known (and well-reviewed) options in Lake Tahoe are Sugar Bowl and Sierra-at-Tahoe. They also happen to be among the closest, at 176 and 177 miles away, respectively.
In chilly New England, Boston-based residents are encircled by a host of action-packed resorts. "Boston is accessible to numerous amazing ski mountains and resorts across New England," explains Molly Somers, an avid skier who oversees our Boston properties as a manager for Related Beal, our national development arm. "The ability to get out of Boston quickly and into the mountains is part of the appeal of living here.”
Case in point: Vermont, home to some of best mountain resorts in New England, neighbors Massachusetts. These top Vermont resorts are only around 200 miles away. As an example, the popular and well-rated Stowe Mountain Resort has over 100 trails serviced by 12 lifts, multiple terrain parks and an on-site spa for the perfect après-ski massage.
Even closer is another ski haven, New Hampshire. The well-known Mount Sunapee Resort sits about 100 miles northwest of Boston. It has 66 trails and 11 trails spread over 233 acres of skiable terrain.
Additionally, novice skiers may enjoy a quick day trip to nearby Wachusett Mountain, situated 65 miles northwest of Boston. Wachusett has 25 trails to choose from, for all comfort levels.
Living in Washington, D.C., doesn’t have to mean you’ll never see snow again (especially recently). And great ski mountains do exist a few hours inland. Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia offer some of the closest resorts.
About 120 miles west in Virginia, Massanutten Resort offers 14 trails with 7 lifts and 70 skiable acres. For a change of scene, it also offers a 42,000-square-foot indoor water park. The family-friendly resort also has ice skating, snowtubing, dining and shopping.
Another family-friendly mountain is about 175 miles away in Maryland – Wisp Resort. About half of its 33 trails are rated for intermediate skiers and one-quarter are rated for beginners. There is also snowtubing, and a ski-and-snowboard learning center for kids.
In Illinois, Chicagoans can head across the border into Wisconsin or up into Northern Michigan, albeit resorts in the latter region prove a longer trek.
Two Wisconsin resorts – Cascade Mountain and Alpine Valley – are popular for their diversity of trails and ski lifts. Alpine Valley’s ski area stretches 90 acres, including 12 lifts and three terrain parks, while being just 90 miles away. Not to be beat, Cascade Mountain offers 47 runs, 11 lifts, and a 900-ft. long snow tube attraction that is a hit with all ages. However, it’s a bit farther out, about 177 miles away.
Villa Olivia is a smaller resort option that benefits from its close location, about 40 miles northwest from Chicago in the village of Bartlett. But its offerings may not be interesting enough for more experienced skiers and snowboarders, according to reviews.
Benefiting from its Northeast geography, this state has no shortage of mountaintops to entice residents of the Big Apple. A personal favorite of this editor is Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon, New Jersey, about 65 miles to the northwest.
Another popular option is Windham Mountain, though it’s a further trip, about 180 miles north into the Catskills of upstate New York. Windham’s 47 trails range from novice-friendly to double black diamond, and there’s also on-site ice skating, snowshoeing, and tubing.
Or consider heading over to Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, a bustling resort about 92 miles northwest west of the city. Camelback is home to 34 trails and a 20-acre terrain park; it’s also a short distance away to indoor water parks, outlet shopping and casinos, for a fully rounded weekend trip.
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