As we’ve demonstrated, Massachusetts’ north shore has quite a bit to offer in the realm of cross-country skiing. However, the area is also known for its proximity to wonderful alpine skiing opportunities. The mountains are just across the New Hampshire/Massachusetts boarder, while others are right in our own backyard. These established downhill institutions are great for everyone—from beginners needing to rent equipment to experienced skiers looking to improve their skills. Below, we have included our four favorite North Shore-area alpine ski destinations.
Ski Bradford—Haverhill, MA
Ski Bradford is a popular beginner slope among North Shore residents. Most of us grew up taking weekend ski lessons at the mountain; those lucky enough to live nearby participated in one of their many after-school programs. With a 248-foot vertical drop, 12 trails, 48 skiable acres, 8 lifts, and an uphill capacity of 9,600 skiers per hour, this is the perfect backyard ski destination. The mountain also offers 100% snowmaking capacity and a terrain park. Around 17% of the trails are for novice skiers, around a third are for intermediates, and about half are designated “advanced”. You might, however, want to take these ratings with a grain of salt; Bradford is truly a family mountain, and limited vertical drop means most trails are beginner-friendly.
Nashoba Valley—Westford, MA
Nashoba Valley is very similar to Ski Bradford, but it is in a better location for those on the western part of the North Shore. Sporting a 240-foot vertical drop, this family-friendly destination has 17 trails, 53 skiable acres, 9 lifts, 2 terrain parks, and 100% snowmaking capacity. Like Bradford, Nashoba offers dozens of weekend and after-school lesson programs for skiers and riders of all ages. Lift tickets are a bit pricey for a mountain this size, but this is the best option in the area for novice skiers—over half the mountain is designated for beginner and intermediate riders.
Mount Sunapee Resort—Newbury, NH
Slightly farther away than Bradford and Nashoba, Mount Sunapee is one of the closest ski resorts to Massachusetts’ north shore. Though family friendly, this mountain is geared more toward intermediate and advanced skiers—they even have a NASTAR racing program. Mount Sunapee boasts a 1,510-foot vertical drop, 66 trails, 230 skiable acres, 11 lifts, and 97% snowmaking capacity. 26% of the trails are for novice skiers and riders, while 49% is designated intermediate terrain and 25% is advanced. The resort offers generous discounts for local college students. They also boast some of the best night skiing around.
Pats Peak—Henniker, NH
Smaller and closer than Mount Sunapee, Pats Peak is just over the New Hampshire/Massachusetts boarder in the tiny town of Henniker. The mountain boasts a 710-foot vertical drop, 22 trails, 7 gladed areas, and 72 skiable acres. Additionally, skiers and riders can enjoy 10 lifts, three terrain parks, and 100% snowmaking capacity. The longest run is around 1.5 miles, making this an excellent destination for fast and easy coasting. Lift tickets are on the expensive side, but the resort offers great skiing and snowboarding lessons, equipment rentals, free WiFi in the lodge, and three separate beginner areas with their own lifts.