3 Kid Friendly Ski Resorts in North Conway, NH
Updated: Oct 14, 2022
East coast skiers are a tough bunch - even the kids! I hear all my west coast friends serenading “powder days” and even the occasional comment that they don’t ski unless there’s at least a foot of powder! People that hail from North Conway, NH have never dreamt of such nonsense.
No matter what the North Conway weather is, you will see the chair lifts packed with us die-hards making our way to the top for just “one more run”!
Freezing temperatures, blowing snow or icy conditions will still bring out most everyone for a great day on the hill!
BUT... if my kids were going to ski on sub-perfect snow condition days, I'd want to make sure they would be safe. Skiing lessons are a great value when you think about the risks associated with your child making their way down a mountain without the knowledge of how to do so safely!
Here's my take on the best family-friendly ski resorts in North Conway, NH.
I'm a local and have skied all the local mountains for years.
Check out this video for some tips about which North Conway ski resort would work out best for your family vacation.
I have lived and skied in in North Conway, NH for most of my life. When I started skiing here I was a beginner skier and with lots of great lessons and help from talented instructors I progressed in my skills enough that I became an instructor with the Eastern Slopes Ski Club (ESSC) Homeschool Ski Program!
During my journey I skied and took lessons at every mountain within 30 minutes of North Conway including; Cranmore Mountain, Attitash Mountain, King Pine, Black Mountain, Wildcat, Bretton Woods and even a private lesson at Tuckerman Ravine.
Although they all have their strong points I always refer my guests at Four Seasons Lodge to my favorite three kid friendly ski resorts:
I love all 3 for completely different reasons and hope you will enjoy them too!
Cranmore Mountain Resort (18 minutes from Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch) opened in 1937 with one rope tow servicing the mountain. The following year they added Skimobile, a new lift with small cars capable of gliding up a wooded track to about mid-way up the mountain.
Cranmore Mountain is south-westerly facing causing ice to form on the surface overnight making it one of the first mountains to dabble in trail grooming. The south facing exposure of the mountain is also one of my favorite things about it! It's always much warmer skiing there than other mountains!
With 200 acres of ski-able terrain, 9 lifts and 54 trails, Cranmore is not the largest mountain in my list of favorites but what it lacks in size it makes up for in personalized service, lower lift ticket prices, great apres ski music on weekends and of course, a great kids ski program!
If you are lucky enough to be able to ski mid-week during non-holiday times you will be treated to lots of personal attention: the chair lift operator will greet you with lots of comments about different trails to try or where the nearest bathroom is!
Lift ticket prices here are the lowest of the large local mountains.
Lots of local school kids get to ski and board for free at Cranmore because of the Easters Slope Ski Club. The program was founded in 1935 and the mission is to provide the opportunity for children in the Mount Washington Valley to learn to ski and board. You'll see many of those kids in later years working and teaching there!
Vertical drop is 1,200 feet and the terrain is rated as 24% is deemed easy, 46% is rated intermediate and 16% is expert! Every trail has snow-making capability and the longest continuous trail is almost one mile.
Ski Magazine has dubbed Cranmore Mountain’s Family Programs #2 in the East an awarded Best of NH 2014 for Skiing Lessons!
Kids Rule Mountain Camps – Cranmore takes the extra step in their kids programs; they created Arlberg Children’s Center, a Play Room for Young Children, a children’s ticketing and reservation center, lesson drop off areas and children’s rental services.
The center is conveniently located in the Beginner Basin, the new home of the C-more Double Chairlift which provides a selection of varied terrain. C-more opens up access to a secluded area of gently sloping, beginner only terrain. This area is designed specifically for beginner skiers intent on learning without the intrusion of advances skiers sharing the trails.
The Beginner Basin has 2 carpet style lifts geared specifically making it easy to get on and off a lift while practicing their turns and runs.
There are several ways you can reserve a spot in one of their fantastic children’s programs; online, over the phone or in person.
Booking Online: If you’re ready to book reservations in advance you can SAVE up to $30 on lift tickets by vacationing at Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch.
Phone: You can call 1.800.786.6754 to make a reservation for the Kids Rule Mountain Camps. Reservationists are available extended hours
In Person: The Arlberg Children’s Center is open
Friday 8 AM – 6 PM
Saturday 8 AM – 6 PM
Mid-weeks (Sunday thru Thursday) 9 AM – 4 PM
Vacations 8 AM – 6 PM
You are welcome to stop by to make a reservation OR the night before your confirmed reservation to get fitted for rental equipment. Getting equipment fittings done the night before allows you to be ready to go the day of the lesson!
The hours for full day Kids Rule Mountain Camps are as follows:
Ages 7-14 9:15 AM – 3:15 PM
Ages 4-6 9:15 AM – 3:15 PM
3 year olds 9:15 AM – 3:15 PM
You should consider the following factors when determining if Kids Rule ability:
-Is it their first time skiing/riding for the year?
-Will the weather and snow conditions influence your child’s ability? Is it icy? Did we get fresh snow? Is it a warm day?
-Has is been multiple years since your child has skied/boarded?
-Has your child had a growth spurt that necessitated longer ski or board length?
When your child first starts skiing they may progress quickly up the color levels. The higher you go on the color level the longer it will take to graduate to the next color.
The Kid’s Rule’s goals are to build strong basic skills in a fun and positive environment. They want each child to be challenged, as well as feel confident and successful at the end of each day.
According to Cramore Mountain’s website, expectations for ski school's color levels are as follows:
RED - Ski
Never Skied Before
RED - Snowboard
Never Snowboarded Before
YELLOW - Ski
Has had some experience
Comfortable on Cranmore’s Magic Carpet
Can make a gliding wedge and stop
YELLOW - Snowboard
Has had some experience
Comfortable on Cranmore’s Flying Carpet
Can do a heel/toe slide, traverse
GREEN - Ski
Can make wedge turns
Has ridden a chairlift
Can follow a group down Beginner’s Luck from South Quad Chairlift
GREEN - Snowboard
Can make basic C turns
Starting to link turns
Started riding C’Mor’s Double Chairlift
BLUE - Ski
Beginning to match skis in turn
Is comfortable skiing most blue terrain from the top of the mountain
BLUE - Snowboard
Riding South Quad Chairlift
Riding Green and Easy blue terrain
BLACK - Ski
Parallel skiing on most terrain in all conditions
Making dynamic parallel turns
BLACK - Snowboard
Always linking turns
Riding Skimobile Express Quad
If you'd like more insider information about Cranmore Mountain please feel free to phone us at 603.662.5391.
What can I say? I love almost everything about King Pine!
First, it's a family owned business and I love the down-home and kind spirit of the Hoyt family. They are quietly philanthropic in our beautiful valley, run a fun and friendly ski hill and their prices are very family friendly.
They are located a short 15 minute drive from North Conway, down Rt 153 past the beautiful Crystal Lake and the Eaton Village Store in East Madison, NH. Bring your cameras and a few buck for breakfast at Eaton Village Store along the way.
King Pine runs Ski and Snowboard Camp for kids and it's the longest running ski camp in the country!
I'll admit that I was hesitant to ski at this smaller mountain at first but once I joined their race program I was HOOKED!
It's a small mountain located on the south-east side of the White Mountains so if you ski there regularly you get to know most of the staff, and I must say they are really helpful and very nice too! The layout of the lodge, ski racks, seating inside the lodge and the parking is very convenient. You don't have to walk a mile to do anything, it's all right there.
Most folks that stay at Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch mention how affordable King Pine is! They offer skiing, boarding, ice skating, cross country skiing, tubing and have a cafeteria and bar, all with affordable prices.
Ski and Snowboard School
I even like the layout of their ski and snowboard lessons page on their website. Designed in kind of a Pinterest style, it makes it so easy to click and go where you think your child might fit.
The choices include; First Time, Group Lessons, Private Lessons, Knee-Hi Program, Cross Country Skiing and Adaptive.
King Pine's different tiers of abilities include:
Never ever skied before OR
Has been skiing before AND
Working on speed control on learning center terrain (Magic Carpet)
Already able to wedge turn both ways to a. stop on green circle terrain (learning center terrain and/or green circle trails)
Working on speed control on green and easy blue terrain
Working on moving from wedge to parallel skiing
Ready and/or able to ride a chair lift
Already able to make parallel turns on green terrain and blue terrain
Working on blending skills to enhance consistency on a variety of terrain using turn shape, turn size and poles
Already able to ski confidently and in control on all black diamond terrain
Working on advanced skills such as carving, glades, bumps and racing
Has it been a while since you've skied and not sure which lesson to choose?
Did you take a skiing hiatus?
Do you have a physical challenge?
Would you like to try out some new equipment?
You have two choices: You can start as a beginner and review and improve on everything you know or you can choose a novice class and take off from there on a green trail.
Be honest about your capabilities to get the most of your lesson and to have the best time possible!
Feel free to phone us if you'd like more information about King Pine lesson programs and trails at 603.662.5391
Attitash Mountain combined with Bear Peak is the largest of my favorite mountains! Being bigger means there is more selection for cafeteria items, parking lots, bathrooms, lodges, and lesson packages. If you're looking for a well run mountain that gets it done right, this is it!
Plus, Attitash in only a 14 minute drive from North Conway! It's just right up the road on route 302.
All of the Children's Programs start at the Adventure Center located adjacent to The Learning Center with beginner friendly terrain and chair lifts reserved for the Children's Programs. Having its' own set of chair lifts is a major plus for the program because it keeps the student skiers away from the hustle and bustle of the adult chair lifts!
Don't know what to bring on your child's first day of lessons? The Children's Program at Attitash Mountain has a guide for what to bring and other helpful hints.
The Children's Programs are age specific and designed for all abilities of skiers. It doesn't matter if this will be your child's first skiing experience or if they are skilled enough to be on their school's race team, Attitash will provide a fun, challenging and safe experience whilst instilling confidence along the way.
All lessons include a full day lift ticket to ski and student discounts on equipment rentals.
The different programs* are broken down in the following way:
Adventure Kids - (Ages 7-12) Kids Ski SchoolLoRiders – (Ages 7-12) Kids Snowboard School
Buddy Bears - (Ages 4-6) Kids Ski SchoolRiglet – (Ages 3-6) Snowboard Private Lesson
Ski and Play - (Ages 4-6) Half Day Ski School & Half Day Nursery
Tiny Turns - (Ages 3-6) Ski Private Lesson
*Reservations are suggested for ALL programs
Overview of their Children's Programs
No matter the skill level of your child, Attitash Mountain Resort has a program that will help to improve their skills, gain confidence and have fun!
Adventure Kids (Ages 7-12) Kids Ski School
Buddy Bears (Ages 4-6) Kids Ski School
Ski and Play - (Ages 4-6) Half Day Ski School & Half Day Nursery
Tiny Turns - (Ages 3-6) Ski Private Lesson
LoRiders – (Ages 7-12) Kids Snowboard School
Riglet – (Ages 3-6) Snowboard Private Lesson
Discounted rental equipment is available to children enrolled in a program. The rental includes boards, skies, poles (for skiers) and boots plus helmets are available for an additional $5 per day fee. Helmets are not required but strongly suggested.
If your child has their own equipment, label it with the child's name and place it on the rack marked "Children's Programs Only". Do not bring it into the Adventure Center. Have your child dressed warmly and in their ski pants and skiing/riding boots.
Advanced Reservations are strongly recommended! 1.866.376.4293
Race teams and seasonal lesson programs are offered as well. Check out Attitash.com for more information.
Check out the Attitash Mountain trail map below:
Attitash Mountain Trail Map
You'll notice by looking at the trail map of Attitash Mountain that it's really two peaks joined together to make one ski resort called Attitash Mountain Resort.
My favorite trails are on Bear Peak, which is the mountain to the right. I think it's less icy, warmer, and the trails are gently sloped the whole way down.
Don't forget to grab a map of the trail of Attitash Mountain before hitting the slopes. You can get lost with all the criss crossing of the trails.