At christmastime in New England, the first blizzards, like the one at right swirling around the holiday-red lodges of Big Bromley, Vt., bring out bustling crowds of family skiers. For, unlike the old days, when an Eastern ski area was likely to be little more than two icy trails and a warming hut, there are a host of resorts where parents and kids can enjoy their own kind of skiing. Bromley, for example, has gentle, manicured slopes, special ski classes for children, a cluster of warm, attractive lodges and a nursery where the baby can be stashed until the ski day is over. Below, holiday skiers will find a sampling of eastern resorts that emphasize skiing in the family style and have nearby lodges that are fitted to a family budget.
BROMLEY, VT. has sunny, southeasterly slopes; J-bar LIFTS easy for children to ride; a gentle, open beginners' slope separated from the advanced trails; Thruway, a beginners' run served by a 5,700-foot double chair to the top of the mountain. Madeline Mettey in nearby Manchester (tel. 192) baby-sits infants for 50� an hour; the nursery at the area will amuse 3- to 5-year-olds by the day for $1 an hour; there is a special instructor for the 6- to 9-year-olds. Slopes all funnel down to base lodge and cafeteria to make it easy to keep track of the family. Lifts $5.50 per day; for under 16, $3.50. Skating, movies and community dancing in Manchester. Distance from New York, 210 miles; from Hartford 130; from Albany 70. ACCOMMODATIONS for families (lodges listed will provide setups for after-ski drinks): Kandahar Lodge. Walking distance from slopes. Rate for family of four, $30 to $50 a day with two meals. Fireplace, hi-fi, games, cards, children's books. Cribs supplied free. For reservations phone Alex and Sue Zoesch, tel. South Londonderry, Valley 4-5811. Palmer House Lodge and Motel. 7 miles from slopes. Self-contained units for families of four to six; from $12 without meals, breakfast $1 per person. TV in eight of 10 units (and in main house). Owners: Hans and Jean Palmer, tel. Manchester 225. Willey Inn. One mile from area. $44 to $48 for family of four with two meals. Two fireplaces, TV and game room. No charge for cribs. Bill and Joan Johnson, tel. South Londonderry, Valley 4-6600.
MT. SNOW, VT. has six double chair LIFTS, including a baby chair lift only 700 feet long for rank beginners, and another 2,000 feet long for novices. This year Mt. Snow just opened the only outdoor heated pool at any eastern area. Pool is at base of slopes, surrounded by spacious sun deck and glass walls. Base lodge hard by pool has plenty of room inside for family lunches and a ski shop with children's rental section. There are eight cafeterias at area. No sitting service, but Little Sitzer in Dover nearby entertains children ages 1� through 5 by the day for $4.75 including lunch. Ski lifts $5; under 16, $2.50. Special children's ski classes for ages 5 to 10. Dancing at the Red Mill, movies in Wilmington, 9 miles away. New York, 205 miles; Hartford, 98; Albany, 65. ACCOMMODATIONS for families (lodges listed arrange sleigh rides for a fee, charge extra for baby-sitting, also supply setups for tired parents): On the Rocks. 4 miles from slope. $40 to $60 for family of four (price includes two meals). Fireplace, TV, hi-fi, game rooms with ping-pong, skating. Orla and Marge Larsen, tel. Wilmington, HO 4-3354. Snow Den Lodge three miles away. $25 to $35 for four, includes two meals. Fireplace, TV, game room. Frank and Marie Smith, tel. Wilmington, HO 4-3344. Snow Mountain Inn. One-quarter mile from ski mountain. $28 to $44 for four with two meals. Two fireplaces, game room with ping-pong and trampolin. Win and Phyllis Lauder, tel. Wilmington, HO 4-3336.
SNOW RIDGE, N.Y. has large uphill capacity: two T bars, Pomalift and rope tows serve wide-open slopes, running down from single ridge. Snow conditions exceptionally reliable. Slopes well packed. Four beginners' slopes, one of them served by 1,800-foot Poma. LIFTS $4.25, $3 for kids under 12, $2.50 for novice day-ticket on rope tows. Ski school has special classes for 5- to 10-year-olds, supervised nursery in base lodge for those under 5. Skating and movies in Boonville, 10 miles away. New York is 250 miles away; Rochester, 60; Buffalo, 180; Albany, 125, all on the N.Y. thruway. ACCOMMODATIONS for families: Towpath Lodge. Within walking distance of slopes. Family of four, $31 to $36 with two meals. Fireplace, TV, game room with ping-pong, cards, checkers. Staff at lodge will watch toddlers while parents ski. Cribs free of charge. Service bar, setups. Klaus and Mignonne Heuser, tel. Lyons Falls 3900. Holiday Lodge. Within walking distance of slopes. $30 with two meals for family of four. Special $30 rate for family of six. Box lunches 75� extra. TV, game room. Will arrange for baby sitters, supply cribs free. Mrs. Calista B. Thomas, tel. Lyons Falls 2792. Pioneer Lodge. Two miles from area. $22 to $26 with two meals for four. TV, piano. No baby-sitting supplied. Sherman and Arlene Marmon, tel. Lyons Falls 3693.
CATAMOUNT, N.Y. Area open Saturday through Tuesday only; has three easy novice rope-tow slopes, including one 50-footer for tots. Big hill has an 1,800-foot T bar. Daily LIFT ticket on T bar $4, ropes $2.50. Kids under 6 ride free; up to 12, half price. $5 for full day of instruction, with reduced rates for children. Half-price rentals for three or more children. Compact layout (85 acres on single hill) makes it easy to keep family in sight. New York 110 miles; Hartford 60; Albany 45. ACCOMMODATIONS for families: White Stallion (fairly fancy lodgings). A quarter of a mile from area. Family of four $40 to $60 with three meals (tots under 2 get free lodgings). Four fireplaces, TV, game room with ping-pong, cards, children's books. Will arrange for baby sitters while parents ski; but bring your own crib. Sleigh rides, ski-joring parties, ice skating. Western barroom. Kids' slope with flying saucers supplied. George and Joy Kastner, tel. Hillsdale, Fairview 5-6762. Egremont Tavern. One and a half miles from slopes. Family of four, $16 to $20. Price does not include meals, which are served at Tavern's a la carte restaurant. Box lunches $1. Three fireplaces, TV, game room with ping-pong. Big cocktail lounge. Skating pond, will arrange sleigh rides. Will take charge of children able to walk. Arthur Connors, tel. Great Barrington, Mass. 827. Holiday House Motel. One mile from slope. Units with two double beds $12, rollaway beds $2 each. Breakfast $1.25, dinner $2.50. Box lunch 75�. Can take up to seven guests in adjoining rooms. No bar, but setups available. Lodge has own slope for kids, and anyone who likes to ride a flying saucer can borrow one for nothing. Mrs. Grace Drach, tel. Hillsdale, Fairview 5-6511.
SUNAPEE, N.H. has two fine novice trails served by chair LIFT, a Pomalift for low intermediates and a gentle rope tow slope, plus some good intermediate, slopes and one expert trail. Big new base lodge just completed. All lifts $4.50, kids under 14, $2; $18 package plan gives five lessons, all lifts and 20% discount at inns Monday through Friday. Children's ski school teaches youngsters from 6 up. Baby-sitting service (Mrs. Richard Perkins, 60� an hour) in South Newbury, five miles away. Movies, skating, dancing in nearby towns. Sleigh rides $1 per person at Wilcox stables, six miles from area. Boston is only 98 miles off, Hartford 142. ACCOMMODATIONS for families (lodges listed will arrange baby sitters for a fee, have no bars but serve setups): Four Seasons Lodge. Three miles from slope. Family of four $30 to $40 with two meals, box lunches $1.25. Fireplace, TV, game room, ping-pong, cards, children's books. Kids' slope with toboggans and flying saucers. Cribs free, $1 for linens. Jim and Ann Torney, tel. Newport, Rogers 3-4444. Russell's Inn, seven miles from slopes; family of four, $30 to $40 with two meals, box lunch $1.25. Two fireplaces, TV, games in lounge. Cribs free. Burt and Mary Gould, Newport, Rogers 3-9279. Knollwood, three miles from slopes. Family of four $26 to $28 (with two meals) if children under 10, otherwise $28-30. Box lunch $1.50. Fireplace and TV. Bring your own crib. David and Thelma Butterfield, Newport, Rogers 3-2916.
CRANMORE, N.H. has 40 acres of novice territory served by Skimobile LIFT and Pomalift. Novice slopes can be monitored easily through windows of base lodge. Fine cafeteria and observation sun deck. North Conway, a half mile away, is largest ski village south of Stowe. Dancing in community center on Saturdays, community skating rink, movies in town. Night, skiing Saturday. Lifts $5; under 14, $3. Boston is 143 miles away; Hartford 243. ACCOMMODATIONS for families: Holiday Inn. Three and a half miles from slope. Family of four $26 to $40, including two meals, with special deduction of 50� per person per day if you stay three days or more. Two fireplaces, TV, setups. Will arrange sitters. Kids' slope with toboggans, saucers. Ed and Winnie Houghton, tel. North Conway, Fleetwood 6-9772. Birchmont. One and a quarter miles from slope. Family of four $32 to $52 with three meals. Six fireplaces, TV, game room, ping-pong, piano. Will arrange sitters. Own practice slope with saucers, toboggans, sleds. Skating pond. Bob and Betty Knapp, tel. North Conway, Fleetwood 6-2991. New England Inn. Four and a half miles from slopes. Family of four $32 to $50 with two meals. Four fireplaces, TV, game room with ping-pong. Barroom. Will arrange for sitters. Cribs $2. Thomas and Anna Martin, North Conway, Fleetwood 6-5541.
OTHER GOOD FAMILY AREAS:
Stowe, Vt.; Bousquet's, Mass.; Cannon Mt., N.H.; Black Mt., N.H.; Pleasant Mt., Me.; Belknap, N.H.; Whiteface, N.Y.; Sugarloaf, Me.