After a jaunt to warm waters last week with cruise deals, it’s time to change with the seasons, because winter is coming.
Houston is a fairly active town, but despite Houstonia’s recent pitch for the Winter Olympics, you won’t be getting your winter sports fix in Texas any time soon. Instead, a weekend stay at a ski resort on a mountain requires hopping on a plane.
Rest assured, the totality of North America will eventually be featured here (looking at you, Rocky Mountains), but for this week we kick things off with some deals to the Northeast.
Here’s a brief overview of flight options to get your plans in motion.
Albany, from $398
The state capital of New York is uniquely situated, in that it is one of the few major cities near most of upstate New York’s fine ski resorts. Though any trek there will require a layover, it’s worth it for a weekend skiing in the Adirondacks. January is primetime for most of the Northeast, as snow can be a little more fickle than it is at the high peaks out west. Your best options all require a little driving, but there’s no shortage of them. Gore Mountain is the closest and has an elevation of 3,600 feet with over 100 trails, while Whiteface Mountain is a little further north but played host to skiing in the 1980 Winter Olympics and has a summit where you can see most of the Adirondacks, Canada and Vermont.
Bangor, from $408
Maine is no joke in the wintertime, but that also makes for some of the fluffiest slopes for skiing or snowboarding. Contrary to the state’s seeming remoteness, it’s surprisingly easy to get up there, as Portland, Augusta and Bangor all feature reasonable flight options during the colder months. Bangor is best for our purposes here, since New Hermon Mountain is located right outside of town and the famed Sugarloaf Mountain Resort is just a few hours west. New Hermon is much more of an urban ski experience, with lodging available in Bangor and shorter runs on a gently sloping mountain — there’s even lighting for night runs. Sugarloaf is the largest ski resort east of the Mississippi River and features the second highest elevation in Maine. Aside from skiing, the Anti Gravity Center at the base of the mountain features rock climbing, a skating rink, a gym and Olympic-sized trampolines to keep families entertained.
Burlington, from $397
The Vermont-New Hampshire corridor is perhaps the most popular area for winter outings in the Northeast, and that’s partly thanks to its voluminous amount of ski resorts. Just across Lake Champlain from the Adirondacks sits Burlington, which is an easy gateway to Vermont’s offerings. There are seven resorts within roughly an hour of Burlington, which is also just 40 minutes from Montpelier. In between, you’ll take a turn to Mt. Mansfield State Forest's northern end to the first-class Smugglers’ Notch Ski Resort. The runs tend to be for more experienced skiers, but a heated pool and luxury condos offer plenty of respite, either for children or your muscles after a long day on the slopes.