Top Cheap Ski Getaway: White Mountains, New Hampshire - My Family Travels

The White Mountains of New Hampshire is a winner of FTF’s Top 10 (Cheap) Getaways For Family Travelers 2008 award.

Ski vacations can be expensive and difficult to plan if you don’t know where to look and ways to save.  A snowsports holiday is not usually considered a cheap family vacation because of all the components:  lift tickets, equipment rental, lessons and accommodations — not to mention airfares, rental car and hot chocolate.  Determined to scope out which popular mountains give families the best value for their dollar, FTF did extensive research to find the 2008 pick for FTF’s Top (Cheap) Ski Getaway and found two: Lake Tahoe in the West and the Western White Mountains in the East.  Here’s a look at what New Hampshire offers.

Western White Mountains, New Hampshire

Skiing is New Hampshire’s official sport and it’s easy to see why, as the state has 18 alpine resorts, most of which are family-friendly and surrounded by affordable lodging. The White Mountains, whose western region is home to five great, budget-friendly ones:  Bretton Woods, Cannon, Loon, Tenney and Waterville, has the most steeps and the most snow.

The Western White Mountains are gorgeous and, even better, much less developed than Lake Tahoe. Drive from home or rent a car at the Lebanon Airport and, for the best value, visit more than one resort during your snowsports getaway.

There are family-welcoming cozy cottages, simple hotel rooms or homey inns in the vicinity, all of which will save you a bundle over the resort lodges. The Carroll Motel & Cottages offers nightly rates for four from $77, and small homes that sleep six begin at $135. Finding accommodations with kitchens can really cut down your spending since you can pack slopeside lunches and, mom willing, cook breakfast and dinner.  The Beacon Resort has cottages complete with kitchenettes, multiple bedrooms and living areas for just $100 a day.

As far as the mountains go, all of them have plenty of trails to chose from and good prices on lift passes. Tenney Mountain has 48 trails, tubing for the non-skiers and is the most affordable; adult day passes are $40 weekdays, $49 weekends, and passes for kids from 6 to 17 are a full $10 less than that. Cannon Mountain ($64/adult, $45/teen) has been called “one of the best places to ski with your kids” and was rated the #1 in the East for value by SKI Magazine readers.

Bretton Woods is the best-known resort in New Hampshire’s western region and there’s a reason; it has 52 trails, six terrain parks and snow-making on 250 out of 259 skiable acres (almost guaranteeing a perfect vacation). An adult lift ticket is $65, but you can add a second day for only $55, the teen rate.

When it comes to equipment, think global and buy local. Franconia Sports near Cannon offers daily rentals of the top brand performance skis for as low as $25. Lincoln, home to Loon Mountain, has the Village Ski and Snowboard Shop, where rentals are only $15.  Near Tenney, Plymouth Ski & Sports offers rental packages starting at $22.  It pays, or rather saves, to learn about other options than just what the resort offers.

The New Hampshire Tourism website has tons of information on all the ski resorts and lodging options in the area, as well as the many other ski regions in the snowy state.

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