Take the Train to These East Coast Ski Resorts

Newsroom Uncategorized Take the Train to These East Coast Ski Resorts

When most people think about taking a ski trip in North America, they likely think of flying to their ski destination or taking a road trip. However, there are a number of ski resorts, especially on the East Coast, where skiers and riders can travel to by train. In some cases, ski resort shuttles offer pick-up and drop-off at train stations, while some ski areas are a little further away, and require a short ride via taxi, rideshare, or rental car. It makes for an accessible, affordable option, and in some cases, can be quicker then driving when factors like inclement weather and rush-hour traffic come into play.

Skiers and snowboarders who live in Boston, New York, and many other East Coast cities will find train routes that get them close to some of the best ski areas in New England and beyond. The following guide shows you how to travel to a number of East Coast ski resorts by train.

Travel To These East Coast Ski Resorts By Train 

Wachusett Mountain, Massachusetts

Wachusett Mountain is one of the closest New England ski resorts for those who live in the Greater Boston area. While it’s a short drive to the mountains from Boston, it’s also a short ride on the MBTA Commuter Rail. On the Fitchburg Line, travelers can start at North Station, right in the heart of downtown Boston, and take the train to the Wachusett stop, which takes just over an hour. From there, shuttle buses run every 30 minutes to the mountain. Ski Magazine has labeled it the most accessible ski area in the Eastern U.S. Wachusett has a 1,000-foot vertical drop with day and night skiing on 27 varied trails.

MBTA train, Wachusett ski area.

Killington and other Vermont resorts on the Ethan Allen Express line

Amtrak has multiple lines designed to help travelers on their way to popular outdoor recreation areas on the East Coast like Killington. The Ethan Allen Express provides daily service between New York City and Burlington, Vermont, passing through Albany, New York. On this route, passengers enjoy picturesque views of Lake Champlain, the Hudson River Valley, and Vermont’s famed Green Mountains on the way to Burlington. Those looking to ride at the famous Beast of the East can get off at the Rutland, Vermont stop and hop on a half-hour shuttle straight to Killington Resort. The same goes for skiing Killington’s sister mountain, Pico

Stay on the Ethan Allen Express for one more stop and get off in Middlebury, Vermont for quick access to Middlebury Snowbowl. Additionally, Mad River Glen is a 40-minute drive from this stop and will introduce you to Mad River Glen’s unique ski experience. Die-hard New Englanders know Mad River for its famous “Ski it if you can” motto, as Mad River is home to some difficult and often ungroomed terrain. However, Mad River Glen is just for skiers and not snowboarders.

Further afield, Stowe, Sugarbush, and Smugglers’ Notch are all within an hour’s drive from the Burlington stop and make great vacation spots for those looking for large resorts with a wide variety of terrain. Lastly, Willard Mountain is a small New York resort that’s just 30 minutes south from the Saratoga Springs stop. Willard is home to 16 runs serviced by 5 lifts and has mainly beginner terrain. 

Sugarbush Valley female skier powder bluebird day.
©Sugarbush Valley Resort

Stowe, Vermont via the Vermonter

Another popular rail line for skiers looking to go carless is the Vermonter. This Amtrak railway connects Washington D.C. to Northern Vermont, providing a great network of routes for much of the northeast coast. Skiers and riders from Washington, D.C. to New York City to Boston can access the mountains on the Vermonter with a scenic ride. Get off at the Waterbury-Stowe stop and you are a quick 25-minute ride from Stowe Resort. Explore the quaint town or head to the resort for an unforgettable experience at one of New England’s most acclaimed mountains.

The Brattleboro stop, a little ways before the Waterbury-Stowe stop, is 40 minutes from Mount Snow. An Epic Pass mountain, Mount Snow is the perfect getaway for families, while also boasting an impressive park scene at Carinthia. Just south of Brattleboro, the Greenfield stop in Massachusetts will put you 30 minutes away from Berkshire East, the no. 1 small ski area in Massachusetts, according to OnTheSnow’s users. And from the Essex Junction stop, Bolton Valley is a 30-minute drive. Bolton Valley, rated the no. 2 small ski area in Vermont by OnTheSnow users, has 71 trails spread across 300 acres.

Travelers can also get to Smugglers’ Notch from the Essex Junction stop. From Essex Junction it’s just a 40-minute rideshare to Smugglers’ Notch. Once there, guests staying at any of their mountainside accommodations have access to the complimentary on-call shuttle that operates within the resort village. It’s perfect for travelers looking to go car-free. At the end of the line is Saint Albans City, where Jay Peak, the snowiest ski resort in New England, is just an hour ride away. 

Thunder Ridge, New York

Thunder Ridge Mountain has partnered with the Metro-North Ski Train to provide New York City residents with access to skiing without the hassle of driving. The train leaves from Grand Central Station, and stops at the Patterson train station, which is the closest stop to the resort. On weekends and holidays, a free shuttle is provided for the mile ride to Thunder Ridge. During the week, travelers can call from the train to have the shuttle pick them up at the station. This service is available through the Thunder Ski Package, which provides a discounted train and lift ticket combo to experience its 100 acres of skiable terrain.

Thunder Ridge Ski Area ski train Metro-North.
©Thunder Ridge Ski Area

New England has some of the finest access to public transportation that will take you from home to the slopes swiftly and safely. Be sure to check what train policies are for traveling with skis and to stow them in the proper car. Read on for more information about resorts and the best places to travel from major metropolitan areas.

Additional Reading

Where to Ski Near Boston

Where to Ski Near New York City

Where to Ski New Philadelphia

Header image: ©Sugarbush Resort/Audrey Huffman

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