Neither flashy nor fusty, Attitash is a plugger. Boston-area families flock to this mid-size resort just outside of North Conway, N.H., drawn by its children's programs, snow quality and service-oriented employees. "A ski area I always know will be good," says one reader. Located partially in the White Mountain National Forest and with views of Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range, Attitash Bear Peak offers a true sampling of New England skiing, from the classic narrow trails on Attitash to the wide-body cruisers of Bear Peak. The peaks are distinct, with separate base areas, yet are connected by trails. Though neither Attitash, with a 1,750-foot vertical drop, nor Bear Peak, with a 1,450-foot vertical, ranks as a big mountain, together they add up to a lot of variety and a lot of skiing. The downside of Attitash is getting uphill. "Take out the triple and put in a quad," advises a reader. That's wishful thinking, as the resort is owned by the cash-strapped American Skiing Co., which in better days developed adjacent Bear Peak. With two high-speed quads and wide fall-line trails, Bear Peak is the yin to Attitash's yang. Bear Peak's calling card is four top-to-bottom cruisers that ski longer than they appear. Here, too, are 30 acres of gladed terrain and the slopeside Grand Summit Hotel. Attitash Bear Peak's location in the Mount Washington Valley means plenty of lodging and dining options, as well as more than 120 tax-free outlet and specialty stores. -H.N.
(-) "Not much challenge." "Trails are short."