Ski Ward in Massachusetts is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Ski Ward, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsLess than 40 miles due west of Boston, Ski Ward in Shrewsbury is a relatively small ski hill, making it an ideal destination for beginner skiers and intermediates who want to improve their skills. The closest major airport is Boston's Logan International Airport. The ski area's family-friendly reputation and its proximity to eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island are key factors in Ski Ward’s popularity. Known as Ward Hill Ski Area when it first opened in 1939, Ski Ward is today a year-round resort, featuring tubing, skiing and snowboarding on artificial surfaces during the summer months.
The MountainWith a summit elevation of 420 feet and a base elevation of 200 feet, Ski Ward's vertical drop is a modest 220 feet. Its winter sports season typically runs from Thanksgiving weekend until mid-March, with surface conditions that vary depending on the weather. Annual snowfall in the Shrewsbury area averages 80 inches. With 100 percent snowmaking capabilities, Ski Ward is able to open early and stay open even when Mother Nature fails to cooperate. The area's longest ski trail, White Out, runs 2,000 feet.
Trails And LiftsSki Ward has 45 acres of skiable terrain, which are crisscrossed by nine trails. On the Snow's profile of Ski Ward’s trails classifies 30 percent as suitable for beginners, 50 percent for intermediate skiers and 20 percent for advanced skiers. Ski Ward's terrain park challenges snowboarders and freestyle skiers with a variety of features, including rails, jumps, boxes and the "Cannon." Four lifts, including a triple chair, T-bar and 250-foot carpet lift, serve the ski area's nine trails, and an additional two surface lifts provide access to Ski Ward’s five snow tubing lanes.
In The NewsAlthough Ski Ward has hosted no national skiing or snowboarding competitions, it maintains a full schedule of local and regional contests for skiers and boarders. The Ski Ward Race Team, a member of the Eastern Massachusetts Buddy Werner League, offers a competitive skiing experience for junior skiers between the ages of 5 and 17. Ski Ward holds its Adult Night Race League on Wednesday nights. Ski Ward's trails are open to skiers and snowboarders until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; the slopes close down at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
CostWeekday lift tickets (good from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.) to all areas are $27 for skiers and boarders who are aged 6 or older and $10 for those 5 and younger. Lift tickets that provide access to only the beginner areas are available for $15 for either time period. Basic equipment rental packages are $30 on weekdays and $35 on weekends, holidays and vacation weeks. Helmets rent for an additional $10. The rental shop stocks Head ski equipment, as well as other brands. Ski Ward's Snow School offers hour-long private lessons for $70 for a single student; group lessons run $35 per hour.
Apres-SkiSki Ward’s apres-ski scene features cafeteria-style food service and a pub that serves beer and wine. Adding to the lodge's ambience is a large stone fireplace, a cozy place to warm up after a chilly day on the slopes. Guests seeking a bit more action can try JJ's Sports Bar and Grill, which straddles the line between the towns of Shrewsbury and Northborough and is only three miles from Ski Ward.
WATCH: Ski Ward
The Ski Ward Race Team offers fun and excitement for junior skiers.