Massachusetts day trippers have long known about southern New Hampshire's Mount Sunapee.
The owners of Okemo in Vermont and Colorado's Crested Butte have invested more than $14 million in the ski area since leasing it from the state in 1998. Improvements in service and grooming are noticeable.
The high-speed detachable quad outside the lodge takes you to the 2,743-foot summit with more than 1,500 feet of vertical. Though there are no green circle trails accessible from the summit, top-to-bottom intermediate Ridge is the easiest trail down the mountain. From the summit you can see Mount Washington to the north and Vermont's Green Mountains to the west.
Sunbowl, with its own quad, is blessed with cruising terrain on standouts such as Wingding and Skyway with frozen Lake Sunapee below. A quick turn down Kartwheel finds a sweet narrow island with a couple of trees, a nice diversion to the buffed boulevards. Good old New England black diamond runs, such as Upper Flying Goose, are off the North Peak Triple. Lower mountain terrain is found by the Spruce Lodge. There, snowboarders and twin-tippers have a free-ride zone on two trails -- Pipeline and Jet Stream -- with a halfpipe, quarterpipe, jumps, rails, and boxes.
The South Peak Learning Area is equipped with slow-moving surface lifts and a quad servicing decent warmup runs -- Explorer and Paradise -- with a fine look at Sunapee's trails.
Sunapee is also easy on motorists. The parking lot has a rare regional treat: pavement.