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Skiing and Riding Within Two Hours of Boston

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Sure, the big ski areas and resorts of northern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine offer skiers and riders fantastic options for a weekend getaway, but you don't have to drive four, five hours to settle your itch for downhill adventure. There are plenty of quality ski areas within a two-hour drive of Boston that are more than adequate for abilities of all levels.

Here are some of the best within a two-hour drive of the city. Note, rates quoted are weekend or holiday rates. Most area prices are lesser during the week, as well as during early and late seasons. See individual web sites for details.

Wachusett Mountain, Princeton
Approximately 57 miles taking Route 2 West.
Vertical: 1,000 feet
Trails: 22
Weekend Rates: $51 adults, $37 children ages 6-12
Website: www.wachusett.com

Massachusetts' biggest skiing destination boasts a nice variety of terrain for all abilities. It is also the most accessible area for Bostonians, with the MBTA providing a "ski train" that leaves North Station on Weekends.

Blue Hills Ski Area, Canton
Approximately 17 miles taking Route 93 South
Vertical: 309 feet
Trails: 12
Weekend Rates: $36 adults, $26 children ages 12 and under
Website: http://ski-bluehills.com/

The closest ski area to the Boston area, Blue Hills offers 12 trails and night skiing. The 309-foot vertical area serves as a fine feeder hill, as well as a nice destination for local skiers seeking an after-work fix.

Pats Peak, Henniker, N.H.
Approximately 82 miles taking Route 93 North
Vertical: 710 feet
Trails: 22
Weekend Rates: $56 adults, $48 children $48 juniors (ages 6-17)
Website: www.patspeak.com/winter_fun.php

Night skiing is a big deal here, with 100 percent of the terrain lit up for various abilities, including the most expert skiing options available in the Northeast at night.

Ragged Mountain, Danbury, N.H.
Approximately 105 miles taking Route 93 North
Vertical: 1,250 feet
Trails: 45
Weekend Rates: $68 adults, $54 teens (ages 13-18), $34 juniors (ages 6-12)
Website: www.raggedmountainresort.com/default.html

Two peaks, 45 trails, and an excellent base lodge make Ragged an ideal spot for a day trip. Popular for glades including Not Too Shabby and Misbehavin'

Gunstock, Laconia, N.H.
Approximately 101 miles taking Route 93 North
Vertical: 1,440 feet
Trails: 55
Weekend Rates: $69 adults, $56 teens, $44 children 6-12
Website: http://www.gunstock.com/

One of the closet major resorts to Boston, the historic Gunstock offers a host of options for skiers and riders with a picture-perfect view of Lake Winnipesaukee to boot.

Nashoba Valley, Westford
Approximately 33 miles taking Route 93 North to 495 South
Vertical: 240 feet
Trails: 17
Weekend Rates: $46 adults, $34 children 12 and under
Website: http://www.skinashoba.com/

A great spot for beginners new to the sports, as well as local racing leagues.

Ski Bradford, Haverhill
Approximately 40 miles taking Route 93 North
Vertical: 248 feet
Trails: 13
Weekend Rates: $43
Website: http://www.skibradford.com/

Olympic medalist Scotty Iago started his snowboarding career at this feeder hill in Haverhill.

Crotched Mountain, Bennington, N.H.
Approximately 49 miles taking Route 93 North
Vertical: 876 feet
Trails: 17
Weekend Rates: $54 adults, $44 juniors (ages 13-17), $39 children (ages 6-12)
Website: http://www.crotchedmountain.com/

Saved from prior extinction, this ski area is most noteworthy in that it offers skiing and riding until 3 a.m. on weekends during January and February.

Mount Sunapee, Newbury, N.H.
Approximately 102 miles taking Route 93 North
Vertical: 1,510 feet
Trails: 65
Weekend Rates: $70 adults, $58 young adults (ages 13-18), $40 children (6-12)
Website: http://www.mountsunapee.com/mtsunapeewinter/index.asp

There's a lot to like about Sunapee, which offers good bang for the buck. The largest vertical you're apt to find this close to Boston.

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