Here’s a handful of family-friendly New England mountains that I can say from experience are an absolute blast to ski and ride.


I spent the bulk of the 2010’s hosting apres-ski parties all over the White Mountains. Chances are, if you were at the Wildcat Pub or Ptarmigan’s or T-Bars or the Cannonball Pub at some point in that decade, you caught me with the RadioBDC or indie617 Drafters. Ice-cold Coors Light beer, tons of prizes for kids and adults, and games like Cheeto-head. The Drafters are still out there, so keep an eye peeled.


Throughout that decade of all-ages debauchery, I had access to some of the best riding money can buy in the Whites (I’m a snowboarder). And I almost always had my kids along with me (they’re skiers), so I can offer a pretty well-informed and well-rounded perspective on which New England mountains offer the best all-around experience, whether you’re 4 or in your 40’s.


4 Family-Friendly New England Mountains to Ski & Ride

My list of four focuses on the White Mountain region. I’ve chosen three New Hampshire spots and one in Maine. I’m telling you this ahead of time so you don’t give me any flack about Vermont not being on the list. The skiing and riding in Vermont is fantastic, and I’ve been to Smugg’s during the offseason, so I can attest to their family-friendliness. But my expertise lies in the Whites.


One more thing: support your indie mountains first and foremost. Black Mountain (who made my list) had a close call and almost closed at the end of last year. It’s up to us to keep skiing and riding to keep them alive for generations to come. But make sure to show love to all these mountains and also your faves throughout New England. A lot of people’s livelihoods depend on us continuing to shred.

  • Black Mountain

    I’ll start with Black, since I was just talking about them. They’ve been open since 1935, and were the first in the country to boast an overhead cable lift: the Shovel Handle. They’re independent, family-owned, and as far as I’m concerned they’re the best pure skiing and riding experience in the Whites. Quintessential New England. Visit them here.

  • What To Know

    Skiing and riding Black is like having a friend who owns a ton of mountain land and was kind enough to put in some lifts and lay down some trails for you. The terrain speaks to all ages and abilities, the Lostbo Pub is a great hang with a cozy, rumpus room vibe and a great bar, and I can’t remember a time I’ve ever waited in a lift line. Families everywhere, which tells you all you need to know.

    An old map of Black Mountain, NH

  • Pleasant Mountain

    Pleasant Mountain has become my family’s home mountain, thanks to the fact that my folks own a log cabin about a half-hour away. I was a little nervous when the former family-owned Shawnee Peak was purchased by Boyne Resorts in late 2021 and rebranded as Pleasant Mountain, but the overall experience has only improved in recent years. Visit them here.

  • What To Know

    The Mountain has robust lesson programs. I know this because I took a one-time snowboard lesson years ago to get my legs back under me after being off the mountain for years. And my youngest took the bulk of their lessons here and has turned out to be a fine skier. Pleasant is in Bridgton, in Maine’s Lake Region, and the town of Bridgton itself offers a number of dining options and activities for families of all shapes and sizes.

    A young skier checks the trail map at Pleasant Mountain in Maine

  • Croctched Mountain

    I had to put Crotched on the list because it’s my youngest’s favorite mountain. Once a year, every winter, the two of us make the hour-and-twenty-minute trek (that’s a selling point, by the way: it’s close by in Bennington, NH), have a great day on the slopes, then make our way a few miles down the road for dinner at Alberto’s: “Best Food by a Dam Site.” Home-style Italian with a hometown vibe. Visit Crotched here.

  • What To Know

    Night skiing! Crotched has a 3 p.m. to midnight pass you can buy if you’re a night time skier or rider. They’re owned by Vail Resorts now, but have still managed to keep that small-mountain feel so far. You’ll see lots of families and college kids on the slopes, and the terrain parks are plentiful and great for all ages. A good beginners mountain, whether you’re a kid or a grown up just starting out.

    A young skier checks the trail map at Crotched Mountain, NH

  • King Pine

    East Madison’s own, the gem of the Ossipee Region. King Pine bills itself as “The all-ages ski area with all kinds of winter fun” and they fit that bill. Plenty of kid-friendly lifts and trails, and snow tubing for kids that don’t want to ski or ride. And the terrain is diverse enough to keep adults occupied and challenged. There are tons of family lodging options in the area, too. Visit them here.

  • What To Know

    Let’s see, we covered skiing and riding. And snow tubing. Oh, there’s ice skating, too. And cross country-skiing as well. And did I mention snowshoeing? Because that’s an option at King Pine as well. They really do a great job of catering to the “family-friendly” crowd. Things get a little crowded at the Trails End Tavern apres-ski, so make sure you get there early.

    Trail signs at King Pine

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