The king of the hill in New Hampshire  is Attitash New Hampshire (Rte. 302, 3 mi. west of Rte. 16, Bartlett, 800/223-7669 or 603/374-2600, www.attitash.com , $62–69 adults, $48–54 youth 13–18, $39–48 seniors and youth 6–12, free children under 6), a monster ski resort with almost 300 rideable acres, 12 lifts, and 70 runs between two peaks: the more traditional New England trails at Attitash, and the wide-open cruisers of the newer Bear Mountain.
Attitash is known for its grooming, and often has snow when other area mountains don’t—and its relative inaccessibility makes the lift lines shorter than Loon or Waterville Valley . The only criticism is that by trying to be all things to all people, it doesn’t have the really tough double-diamonds that more-advanced skiers crave.
The same can’t be said of Wildcat Ski Area (Rte. 16, Pinkham Notch, halfway between Jackson and Gorham, 603/466-3326, www.skiwildcat.com , $65 adults, $55 youth 13–18, $39 seniors and youth 6–12), which is as close to the natural state of the mountain as you can get. This is a raw experience, with dizzying views of Mount Washington and Tuckerman Ravine , and no apologies for its difficult terrain or lack of grooming.
Wildcat’s exposed location means lots of fresh powder—but it also means lots of cold wind, so be sure to pile on the layers. But for the sheer joy of skiing, you can’t do much better in the east.