Winter ski vacations at popular destinations can provide more of a headache than relaxation with price gauging, commercialized resorts, and over-crowding. By staying in a vacation rental, you’ll save money, gain privacy, and have much more space to lay out your snow pants to dry after a hard day on the slopes. Some rentals even come with special amenities like a jacuzzi (for sore muscles) and a fireplace (to stay warm the natural way). We looked at pricing for two bedrooms for a week’s stay at fifteen of the top ski destinations on the east coast, and ranked them by affordability. Here are the results, along with a bit about why each town & mountain is a must-visit according to their website:
2BR Avg Weekly: $850
About Windham, NY: This town has two apt nicknames “Gem of the Catskills” and “Land in the Sky”. Beautiful Windham serves as a city-slicker’s haven in all seasons as many New Yorkers leave their boroughs to enjoy country living here. Under 2000 residents call Windham home year-round though. Treat yourself at many of the town’s spas, play a round of golf at the Windham House, or ride 4-wheelers at the Adventure Park. Ride bikes on the Windham Path, visit the 200+ year old Hull Farm, or see the surrounding tri-state area from Point Look Out.
About Windham Mountain: “Windham Mountain Resort is the Northeast’s year-round outdoor lifestyle destination! We are known for our convenient location, family-friendly atmosphere, and impeccable customer service. Closer than Vermont and with more vertical than the Berkshires, Windham Mountain Resort offers big mountain skiing & riding so close to home. We are an easy drive from metro New York, New Jersey, Westchester, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $975
About Carrabassett Valley: In Franklin County, Maine you’ll find the small town of Carrabassett Valley with a population of under 1000. That number swells of course as visitors swarm in to experience Sugarloaf Mountain in the winter. Fly fishing, hiking, and over 30 miles of back country trails are available for your outdoor adventures. The Ski Museum of Maine is in nearby Kingfield. Poplar Stream Falls has a swimming hole and over 50 foot drops to witness, while the town has an official park & pool that can be used in the summertime. Narrow Gauge Pathway is a 6 mile long ascending trail with plenty of picnic spots for use.
About Sugarloaf: “Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Maine, USA is one of the top year-round destinations in New England. Sugarloaf is the largest ski area east of the Rockies. Our trails and glades spread across Sugarloaf Mountain, Brackett Basin and Burnt Mountain. Additionally, the resort offers many winter activities including skiing, snowboarding, tubing, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, concerts, slopeside lodging and terrain parks.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $983
About Ludlow: Ludlow, VT was named after its cousin of the same name in Ludlow, MA, less than 100 miles away. Located at the base of Okemo Mountain in Okemo Valley, Ludlow is a four-season getaway that seduces skiers with galleries, shopping, fine dining and more when they’re done on the slopes. This 150+ year-old village began life as a classic mill town powered by the rushing Black River. Sample treats at the Green Mountain Sugar House, take in the breathtaking Buttermilk Falls, and have fun by the lake at the Camp Plymouth State Park.
About Okemo Mountain: “With 96% snowmaking coverage and consistent top rankings for snow quality amongst the Vermont ski areas – it’s hard to argue Okemo doesn’t have the best snow in the East. The best part about our mountain is that we listen. Aside from providing our guests the best possible Vermont ski conditions, we’re here to serve you – and that is our top priority. Thirty years ago Tim and Diane Mueller designed Okemo Mountain with their two young children in tow – and it shows! Fast forward to today, and they still maintain one of the best Vermont skiing resorts with that same personal touch.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1040
About Rangeley: This fisherman’s paradise is 99% forest & water. Enjoy the gorgeous views at Height of Land, swim the Small Falls, or hike the Cascade Stream to get your outdoor fix when you aren’t on the slopes. Bald Mountain, Coos Canyon, and Angel Falls are three more stops on your Rangeley tour. Not only is winter popular here, Rangeley’s year ’round population of approximately 1,500+ inhabitants swells to almost 10,000 during the popular summer tourist season, too. There are scenic highways and hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail, and bountiful game including moose, deer and birds that welcome the advent of the hunting season. In the winter, snow blankets the region, signaling the start to alpine ski season. Groomed snowmobile trails are open by December, offering snowmobilers some of the best riding in the Northeast.
About Saddleback: “Saddleback provides an affordable and fun outdoor experience for guests of all ages and abilities. As one of only seven ski mountains in New England with a top elevation of over 4,000 ft, Saddleback is distinguished from other Maine mountains because of its one-of-a-kind high elevation alpine experience that includes a 2,000 ft. vertical drop overlooking the Rangeley Lakes. We invite you to come breathe the pure mountain air among snow-frosted evergreens. With five lifts to 66 diverse trails and glades, we make it easy to carve down our classic New England terrain. Come find your “sweet spot” on the gentle slopes: rugged double black diamond trails and glades, or our Freerider Terrain Park.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1043
About Bartlett: In the White Mountains, surrounded by the national forest of the same name, you’ll find Barlett, New Hampshire. Made up of 3 distinct villages (Glen, Bartlett Village, and Intervale) Bartlett has a few rivers running through it, the most known being the Saco River. You’ll have a blast with the kids at Storyland, there are both mountaineering and snowmobiling tours available, and of course, the jaw dropping views at Bear Notch. Bartlett is also an attraction for rail-fans. The Conway Scenic Railroad, a heritage railway in nearby North Conway, operates a train to the town daily for sightseeing.
About Attitash: “Attitash Mountain Resort is more than just a ski area, it is the essence of skiing, snowboarding and the winter lifestyle. Attitash Mountain Resort offers 68 trails and 11 lifts across two big, connected mountains (Attitash & Bear Peak) that combine traditional New England runs and challenging terrain with modern, wide-open cruisers suited for all abilities. Located in the heart of the White Mountains, Attitash Mountain Resort is considered New Hampshire’s premier year-round vacation area.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1094
About Waterville Valley (town): You’re only two hours from Boston, but you’ll feel much more at peace in this fun resort town than you would have ever expected. This “playground in the mountains” will keep adults and kids entertained for your entire stay. With a golf course, a pond, three 4000′ mountains, and more you can see why Waterville Valley is a monster of tourism.
About Waterville Valley (ski resort): “Waterville Valley Resort is a unique New Hampshire destination, nestled in a natural snow pocket in the White Mountains and surrounded by other 4000′ footers. Offering a variety of terrain for every skier or rider, whether a first-timer or an expert.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1150
About Hunter: The Town of Hunter contain two villages, one named Hunter and the other called Tannersville. The ski resort is the largest employer in the village, which is run by the Slutzky family in the heart of Hunter. The mountain peak is the second highest in the Catskills. Grab drinks and burgers at Ronni MacGregor’s Pub or the Hunter Mountain Brewery. The zipline adventure tours are a must-try for the whole family when visiting Hunter, as well.
About Hunter Mountain: “As Upstate New York’s premier winter destination for skiing and snowboarding, Hunter Mountain celebrates renowned terrain, award-winning snowmaking, luxury mountainside accommodations, and being a true four season resort! As an ideal family ski destination, a couple’s getaway, or just a day for friends and fun, Hunter Mountain has you covered! Discover Hunter’s impressive array of mountainside amenities, including ski and snowboard programs for adults, children, and families, lodging at the Liftside Condominiums and the slope-side Kaatskill Mountain Club, unique mountain eateries, two full service retail stores, and New York State’s largest snowtubing park!”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1172
About Killington (town): Killington, Vermont is a town in Rutland County, located on VT Route 100 in the “Crossroads of Vermont” region, just 35 minutes from the Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport. Perfectly situated in the Green Mountains, Killington has some of the highest and most varied mountain terrain in all of New England. Killington is home to some of the most scenic areas of the Appalachian Trail – one being Thundering Falls. The town has 10 weather stations and sees over 200 inches of natural snow per year.
About Killington (ski resort): “Killington provides skiers and riders of all ability levels a choice of wide-open groomed cruisers, narrow classic New England runs, moguls steeps and trees all serviced by 22 lifts including two express gondolas. The Resort offers multiple terrain features for snowboarders and freeskiers in six terrain parks, including The Stash: an all-natural terrain park with more than 50 features, as well as a 500-foot long Superpipe with 18-foot walls. Killington always hosts a jam-packed schedule of bands, festivals, and competitions from Rails 2 Riches to the Dirty Girl Mud Run. Plus there’s plenty to do off the mountain including tubing, dinner excursions to the Ledgewood Yurt, snowmobile tours, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, spa treatments, shopping and more than 100 restaurants and bars in the region. After the snow melts, Killington features an 18-hole championship golf course as well as 35 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, plus the new Snowshed Adventure Center and Killington Bike Park.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1216
About Jeffersonville: Derived from the name of Thomas Jefferson, this town in New York is a charming, older village in the western part of the Catskills. Head down Route 52 in town to visit all the shops, restaurants, and other small businesses. Near the scenic Delaware River, Jeffersonville is a mecca for the arts and antiquing. A fire destroyed most of the main drag in 1918, but the town was rebuilt better than ever afterwards. You can spend your days playing golf, fishing or take a canoe or tube down the Delaware River or simply take a drive and count the cows. Canoe, kayak, horseback ride, try fly boarding or zip lining, or visit a distillery.
About Smugglers’ Notch: “Smugglers’ Notch Resort is a very special vacation destination. It’s nestled right in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, surrounded by more than 3,000 acres of pristine forest, spectacular mountain vistas, and postcard-perfect scenes just waiting for you to discover. It’s the perfect playground in which to recreate, regenerate and relax in a family-friendly atmosphere where you will feel completely at ease … and at home. Your family and friends will love all the skiing and snowboarding our 3 big mountains have to offer. No matter what your skill level – we have terrain for all abilities, ranging from gentle cruisers for beginners to more advanced trails for intermediates, all the way to the East’s only triple black-diamond trail, The Black Hole, for the most experienced skiers and snowboarders. Regardless of your ability or age, we have a world renowned ski and snowboard school, our own Snow Sport University that will help you take your skills to the next level. And, we have so much more than just alpine activities! Other outdoor activities include such adventures as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and snowmobile touring.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1253
About Lincoln: Lincoln is home to the New Hampshire Highland Games and to a portion of Franconia Notch State Park. Set in the White Mountains, large portions of the town are within the White Mountain National Forest. Walk around The Basin at Franconia Notch State Park for babbling brooks and forest scenery. Clark’s Trading Post and the Central Railroad is a fun trip to take with kids. There’s a waterpark, play house, mini golf course, moose tours and more to pass the time when you’re off the mountain.
About Loon Mountain: “Loon Mountain is New England’s most accessible big mountain resort. Located just two hours from Boston and three miles off Interstate 93, Loon offers 61 trails and 2,100 vertical feet of unparalleled skiing and riding. Although it’s close to home, Loon offers the kind of varied terrain and possibilities that you would find at a more remote resort. It’s a mountain that has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to ski the steeps or take your first snowboard lesson.After riding the Lincoln Express Quad to the 2,450-foot summit of South Peak, take a minute to enjoy the views of Mount Moosilauke to the west, Franconia Notch to the north, and Mount Washington to the east. Once you’ve worked up an appetite on the slopes, hit up the Pemigewasset Base Camp for a Boom Run Panini or killer burrito. At 3,050 feet, North Peak is the resort’s high point. On a powder day you’ll see skiers and riders make a beeline to expert trails like Upper Walking Boss and Upper Flume, which collect some of the best snow on the mountain. Experts will love glades like Walking Boss Woods and Buck Saw, while intermediates will enjoy Sunset and its panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1412
About Dover: Near the southern tip of Vermont you’ll find quaint, quiet Dover. With a history of tourism, Dover has served as a summer getaway since the early 1900s. For those who appreciate an active, outdoor, four-seasons lifestyle but also crave fine restaurants and night life, Dover may be the community for them. A top attraction is the Valley Trail, connecting Mount Snow with the West Dover Historic District. This pedestrian and biking walkway links town shopping areas and recreational amenities. You can also visit the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum in nearby Marlboro, go snowmobiling, or take the Green Mountain Adventure Challenge. Eat cake at the Sticky Fingers Bakery or grab a burger at the Valley View Saloon.
About Mount Snow: “Mount Snow is a premier four season resort located in the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont featuring four mountain faces of downhill skiing and snowboarding – including one of the East’s best terrain parks, Carinthia – slopeside lodging and golf at the acclaimed Mount Snow Golf Club as well as flexible wedding and conference facilities. Other activities include snow tubing, ski & snowboard lessons, downhill mountain biking and a full schedule of festivals and events. Mount Snow is a member of the Peak Resorts family.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1413
About Stowe: About 5 miles away from the cascading ski trails on Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, you’ll find the town of Stowe. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in Stowe like the Smugglers Notch State Park, Stowe Recreation Path, and the Sterling Falls Gorge. At the Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center you can drink, eat, hike and learn about the famous family that runs the attraction. You’ll find a fantastic hike in Wiessner Woods and you’ll be in awe of the bucolic beauty of the Gold Brook Covered Bridge. The Vermont Ski Museum is nearby as well. The community comes alive with festivals, shopping and dining opportunities with activities for everyone in all seasons. Stowe has made the most out of its natural setting– Mount Mansfield, the forests and fields, clear mountain streams and fine air carve out an appealing, enduring, distinctively New England style of life.
About Stowe Mountain: “Stowe Mountain Resort, is the definition of the luxury Eastern resort, and provides quality skiing and riding for all levels of family abilities. The area’s lift system includes a gondola to shuttle guests between Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, and its “sister” mountain, Spruce Peak. This inter-mountain transfer lift provides transportation to and from the slopes at the bases of Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak – formally linking the two. The Poma ten-person standing gondola spans Vermont’s Route 108. Stowe benefits from its location on Mt. Mansfield with 333 inches of average annual snowfall that falls over it’s 2,360 foot vertical drop and 485 acres of skiable terrain.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1780
About Lake Placid: Lake Placid has done an admirable job with Olympic arena upkeep and related tourism. The still-operational Herb Brooks Arena (site of the “Miracle on Ice”) still hosts many youth and international ice events each year. Visit the Olympic Sports Complex to take a real bobsled ride! For non-Olympic related attractions, Lake Placid has much to offer. The Whiteface Golf Club is one of the most gorgeous courses in the area. If you can, hike up Mount Jo which has high peaks where you can see for miles. Explore the frozen waterfalls at High Falls Gorge, or take in a family-friendly show at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. With many fresh water rivers for fishing and lakes for canoeing, Lake Placid is an outdoorsman’s dream.
About Whiteface Mountain: “When you get to the top of Whiteface Mountain, you’ll be at the top of Northeast skiing. No ski mountain in the east reaches higher than ours. Around you, dozens of Adirondack peaks jut into the horizon. The fresh air filling your lungs has just blown over a protected park larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite, combined. And below you lie trails that have led Olympic athletes to glory. American Phil Mahre won silver here in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Andrew Weibrecht, a Lake Placid local who grew up skiing at Whiteface, earned a Bronze Medal in Super G at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and a Silver at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics! It’s your turn. Whiteface opened in 1958 and has earned its place in the annals of big-mountain skiing. It has the greatest vertical drop in the east, which means if pointing the boards downhill is your thing, you’ll have plenty of opportunities. We regularly stage major national and international skiing events, yet welcome first-time skiers and riders every day. We have 87 trails (a third of which are rated for expert skiers), 11 lifts including the Cloudsplitter Gondola, terrain parks, adrenaline-pumping glades skiing, and six Whiteface restaurants. Whiteface is the Olympic Mountain, which means not only can you carve the same turns as the world’s best racers, you can visit the other Olympic facilities, like the Olympic Jumping Complex and the Olympic Sports Complex, just down the road in Lake Placid. This is a place that has brought the best out of world-class athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, all-mountain skiers and riders and beginners for years. It’s your turn.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $1800
About Jay: At the extreme northern end of Vermont, you will stumble upon Jay. The northern Vermont area is a bit more wild and wooly than the postcard-ready southern end, especially since it shares a border with Canada. Jay is in an area of the state known as the “Northeast Kingdom” and is one of the last “undeveloped” towns where you still find peace and serenity while enjoying the world-class recreational opportunities that exist within the borders. Seek out a remote border town and you might stumble upon a barn museum, winery, or swimming hole. The Jay Peak Pump House, a super cool indoor water park, might be the perfect relaxation area or thrill ride for those who want to spend some time off the mountain. The Jay Challenge is a combination adventure race and triathlon that occurs yearly in and around Jay. It is a three-day event comprising a 26-mile kayak trip on Lake Memphremagog, a 30.5-mile run over rough terrain and 65 miles of mountain biking. There is no better time to visit Jay than during President’s week and winter school vacations. You can discover an Ice Fishing Derby on Lake Memphremagog, “Fat Bike” Riding, and experience snowshoeing & snowmobiling at their best.
About Jay Peak Resort: “If you’ve been to Jay Peak, you know our reputation is deserved – the most snow in eastern North America and a liberal in-bounds policy that ensures you can enjoy it. 78 trails, slopes and glades wait for you but the nooks and crannies are what really set Jay Peak apart. If you haven’t been here, come experience the reality behind the legend. From the far-out corners of the backcountry, to the close-at-hand convenience of The Zone learning area, there’s a little something for everyone at our larger than life mountain. Poke around and make some moments of your own.”
2BR Avg Weekly: $2041
About Ellicottville: At the far western end of New York lies Ellicottville. A simple town with a long name, Ellicottville plays host to thousands of Canadian skiers and snowboarders every year and is 55 miles away from Buffalo. If you’re looking for a glitzy, glamorous, fake ski resort town, you’ve come to the wrong place. Ellicottville has retained its charm despite growing sizably in winter tourism. With brick-fronted stores and Victorian-era homes lining the streets, Ellicottville can hold its own in the northeast ski discussion. There are nearly two dozen restaurants in and around the village with a handful of bars and breweries continuing the party into the night with live music throughout the week. The village, although it is only 1 square mile, is full of fun, activities, shops and restaurants to please folks of all ages and interests.
About Holiday Valley: “Holiday Valley offers fifty-eight slopes spread over four different faces with a 750-foot vertical drop and 13 lifts. Four terrain parks plus a half pipe, several glades and a wonderful children’s program provide fun for skiers and riders of all ages.”