Connecticut’s location in southern New England makes it an attractive one-day or weekend winter ski trip destination, especially for families and beginners learning to ski. Indeed, Connecticut takes its snow seriously and lets no winter weather go to waste; a little known fact, snow making was actually invented in Connecticut at Mohawk.
Within Connecticut, winter warriors can find four areas for skiers and snowboarders as well as two destinations that cater to those who prefer cross country skiing. Each locale is within reasonable driving distance for residents traveling from Pennsylvania, the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) and Massachusetts.
“Connecticut is a great destination for skiers of all levels, which is why we attract many families comprising of different age groups,” said Randy Fiveash, Tourism Director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. “Our ski destinations are conveniently located in areas that are short drives from great historical and cultural attractions, as well as high-end boutique-style shopping, fine dining and live entertainment for continued activities off the slopes.”
Highlights of Connecticut ski areas include:
Mohawk Mountain, set in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, is the state’s oldest and largest ski area, located in the Northwestern Connecticut town of West Cornwall. This family owned and operated resort offers daily night skiing (except on Sunday) with 25 ski trails, seven ski lifts and snowmaking coverage on 95 percent of the mountain. Target opening day is early December, weather permitting. Daily adult ski or snowboard packages for ages 16 and older cost $39 in the morning and afternoon and drop to $31 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Junior ski or snowboard packages for ages five to 15 run $31 for morning/afternoon periods and drop to $27 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Lodging choices in the area include The Cornwall Inn, Fife ‘n Drum in Kent and The Yankee Pedlar in Torrington. Visit www.mohawkmtn.com or call 860-672-6100 or 800-895-5222.
Mount Southington in Plantsville (near Hartford) features ski and snowboarding on a choice of 14 trails and seven lifts on 51 acres of scenic property. Season passes begin at $540 and $100 for children five and younger. Beginner or first-time ski and snowboard packages include a 90-minute group lesson, rental equipment and an eight-hour lift ticket priced from $77 (daytime) down to $67 for night skiing or snowboarding. Visit www.mountsouthington.com or call 860-628-0954.
Ski Sundown is located two miles northeast of New Hartford with 15 trails (14 for night skiing), allowing for 65 skiing acres from five lifts. Programs are offered for first timers, novices, intermediates and advanced skiers. The Snowsports School at Ski Sundown employs over 150 dedicated staff members who teach daily lessons to kids and adults of any skill level ages 4 and up. Daily weekday, weekend and holiday lift tickets run $16 for children six and younger, $31 to $47 for juniors 17 to 14, $35 to $55 for adults 15 to 64 years old and $28 to $33 for seniors 65 and older. All Mountain Ski or Snowboard Packages are also popular for $95 or $74 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Visit www.skisundown.com or call 860-379-SNOW.
Woodbury Ski Area in Woodbury is a unique, year-round ski destination that also offers snow tubing, snow boarding, cross country skiing and skateboarding. It is the closest Connecticut ski area to New York City and the largest tubing park close to Manhattan. Known as the first ski mountain to open in New England, the 100-acre property is ski-able on 12 trails from five lifts and has expanded with a new lodge and five new tubing runs for a total of twenty and four lifts, two of which are magic carpets. Former summer/fall tubing and zorbing (rolling downhill inside an inflatable, transparent plastic ball) is now offered year-round at Woodbury. Adult full-day ski rates run $49 and $37 for juniors ages 10 to 17, while half day rates run $37 and $35, respectively. New Discount Savings Cards are also now available, offering a $50 daily savings for the entire winter ski season and 50 percent off lift tickets. The Woodbury Ski Area provides plenty of nearby lodging, including Longwood at Merryvale and Curtis House, both in Woodbury; Crown Plaza and Heritage Southbury, both in Southbury; Mayflower Inn in Washington; and Boulder Inn in New Preston. Visit www.woodburyskiarea.com or call 203-263-2203.
Winding Trails Cross Country Ski Center is Connecticut’s full-service cross country ski center, nestled among 350 acres of forest and centrally located in the beautiful Farmington Valley, just 10 miles southwest of Hartford. The completely mapped, 13-mile network of groomed, gentle-rolling and wide, double-tracked trails provide cross country skiers, especially beginners, with hours of easy scenic traveling through prime woodland accented by bubbling brooks and spring-fed ponds. For non-skiers, Winding Trails offers sledding, ice skating and snow shoeing. The property’s Ski Center features a lodge with a continuous fire burning, as well as a rental and retail shop, a daily ski school and a snack bar. The season runs from mid-December through mid-March and hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. For rates and other information, visit www.windingtrails.org or call 860-677-8458.
White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield features 35 miles of roads and trails located on 4,000-acres open to the public for free cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The un-tracked and un-groomed trails range from easy to moderate. For more information, visit www.whitememorialcc.org or call 860-567-0957.
Connecticut Office of Tourism, 888-CTvisit (888-288-4748), www.CTvisit.com