With above-normal snowfall in the Northeastern United States this year, the skiing -so far!- hasn't been half bad, something aficionados haven't necessarily been able to take for granted in recent times. Eager to get out there? New to the sport? Try your hand (and foot) at these five old-style, unpretentious hills that characterize East Coast skiing at its near best.
Plattekill, the Catskills
Wish you could experience skiing as it used to be, before every hill suddenly needed luxury condominiums and a village of chain shops at its base? This family affair in New York's Delaware County is for you. Here, you'll find offers everything from black diamonds to inner tubing on 1,100 vertical feet.
Daily lift ticket: $45-$63
Apres ski: Get cozy in the softly-lit tap room at the seriously good Peekamoose restaurant, open late on weekends (8373 Route 28, Big Indian).
Stay: From standard rooms to imaginative themed suites, the Roxbury is not only Plattekill adjacent, it's also one of the best hotels in the region.
Mad River Glen, Northern Vermont
This stubbornly old-fashioned and very challenging hill hidden away in one of Vermont's most magical valleys is the only cooperatively-owned ski area in the country.
Lift ticket: $65-$82
Apres ski: Hang around for burgers and beers at General Stark's Pub, inside the popular Basebox Lodge.
Stay: For the perfect contrast, book the plush Pitcher Inn, a Relais & Chateaux member. Steep rates, sure, but unrivaled in this neck of the woods.
Butternut, the Berkshires
Ski, board, tube – it's all good at this low-key, family friendly hill just outside one of the Northeast's most picturesque small towns, Great Barrington.
Lift ticket: $25-$65
Apres ski: Mosey on into town and post up at Camp Fire, an unpretentious, carne-centric restaurant dreamed up by the Berkshires' best butcher shops, The Meat Market (389 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington).
Stay: A classic motor lodge receives a smart update at the attractively priced Briarcliff Motel, just a short drive from the slopes.
Elk Mountain, Northern Pennsylvania
Leave the overcrowded Poconos hills to the amateurs and drive north of Scranton to one of the Keystone State's oldest – and best – commercial ski hills, with 1,000 vertical feet and plenty of good night skiing.
Daily lift ticket: $54-$66
Apres ski: Be like a local and head just up the road to Chet's Place, a terrific tavern with rooms – try the fried chicken and the pierogies. If you're around, show up for the reasonably priced Friday night dinner specials (1778 East Mountain Road, Union Dale).
Stay: Fiddle Lake Farm is a 130-acre organic farm with an on-site bed and breakfast.
Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire
With some of the East's most highly regarded snow and a ton of trails to choose from, here it's completely about the skiing. Being ninety minutes from Boston means a lot of Red Sox fans – happily, there's room for everyone.
Daily lift ticket: $74-$84
Apres ski: Head upstairs at Spruce Lodge to Goosefeathers Pub for drinks, afternoon munchies and live music starting at 2pm every day.
Stay: The straightforward Mountain Edge Resort & Spa is just a mile or so away from the slopes – a shuttle service is provided.