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Where to camp lift-side at some of the best ski resorts in New England

Hit the slopes early—and ski under the stars—by staying overnight in resort parking lots or at nearby campgrounds

Killington Mountain views. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

While New England attracts droves of tourists during the summer and fall foliage seasons, in the winter months, skiers and snowboarders seek places to shred in the East Coast snow. Ski resorts are sprinkled throughout the Northeast, with some of the best slopes located in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Each resort opens and closes depending on the weather, but the season typically runs from late November to early April. 

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East Coast resorts are different from resorts out West, which are often expansive with more difficult terrain and deeper snow. Most ski resorts in New England overlook sleepy, quaint towns and offer charming scenery, night skiing, and increased accessibility. Lift-side camping is ideal in this region because it sets you up for first tracks in the morning, keeps you closer to bed after skiing at night, and it’s usually cheaper than staying inside a resort. 

While winter lift-side camping in New England is worth it for the first chair, here are some extra precautions you should take when camping in frigid East Coast temperatures: 

  • No matter how cold it is, crack a window in your car to avoid waking up with a frozen sleeping bag and wet interior. 
  • Bring a washing line to hang your ski clothes on at the end of the day so they have a chance to dry before you hit the slopes again. 
  • Invest in a warm sleeping setup, with a sleeping bag that has a rating of zero degrees or lower. 

Here are some New England ski resorts that offer camping, either lift-side or nearby.

snow covered pine trees in a valley against blue skies
Bolton Valley. | Photo: Rob Friesel/Flickr

1. Bolton Valley Ski Resort, Vermont

Take advantage of Bolton Valley Ski Resort’s night skiing for views of the sun setting over the Green Mountains. Tickets vary from $19 to more than $100, depending on the length of time, time of day, and peak periods. This resort offers 71 trails, six lifts, and backcountry access with a majority of beginner and intermediate runs. There are also cross-country and snowshoeing trails in the vicinity. 

If you’re interested in activities beyond skiing and aprés, this family-owned resort is close to Burlington and Lake Champlain.

2. Green Mountain Family Campground, Vermont

Another way to camp near ski resorts on the East Coast is to stay at an all-season campground like Green Mountain Family Campground in Vermont. Located in the shadows of the Green Mountain National Forest hugging Bristol, Vermont, this area is close to Sugarbush and Mad River Glen Ski Resorts, and is also an access point for snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and snowmobile trails. 

While parking lots won’t have many lodging amenities, this campground has WiFi and full hookup sites for RVs through the winter. 

3. Killington Ski Resort, Vermont

Cruise through the clouds when you visit Killington Ski Resort, a pinnacle of East Coast skiing with expansive terrain, epic views, old-school vibes, and low-key pubs and restaurants. Killington is known as the “Beast of the East” for its 21 lifts and 155 trails for intermediate and expert riders. Prices range from $90 to $156 during the winter months, and multi-day options are available. The mountain is also part of the Ikon pass system

While some resorts offer unwritten lift-side camping options, Killington lays out its rules and regulations online. Overnight parking for campers is only allowed in the Skyeship overflow lot for 2 nights per week. The only services available are in Skyeship Lodge during normal operating hours. 

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aerial view of a snowy mountain ski resort
Gunstock Mountain Resort. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

4. Gunstock Mountain Resort, New Hampshire

As you’re cruising the corduroy at Gunstock Mountain Resort, you’ll have picturesque views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the looming White Mountains. The mountain is situated on 227 acres with seven lifts and 49 trails; tickets range from $63 to $99. The resort offers night riding, tubing, uphill access, and cross-country opportunities. 

This New Hampshire resort also offers a complete camping experience. From December to April, its campground is open for RVs and cabin rentals, offering hot showers, laundry, plow services, and discounted lift tickets. Be sure to call and make reservations before your visit.

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a snowy ski resort with a red ski lift outbuilding surrounded by pine trees and blue skies
Sunday River Resort. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

5. Sunday River Resort, Maine

Maine is an outdoor mecca all year long, but it’s worth the drive in the winter, especially to Sunday River Resort in Newry. Tickets start at $49 for a day pass and grant you access to 870 acres with 18 lifts and 135 trails weaving and winding through eight interconnected peaks. The mountain is also part of the Ikon pass system.

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According to Campendium, this ski area permits overnight parking for lift-side campers in the back row of Parking Lot 5, located on the right side of Skiway Road. Nearby you can find the town of Bethel, which Gilmore Girls fans will appreciate—it resembles a real-life Stars Hollow with its idyllic feel and slow way of life.