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If you’re looking for great family skiing, close to Boston Massachusetts, consider the small resort at Ski Bradford. Catering to local families and teaching kids to ski, Ski Bradford gives easy access to skiing at incredibly affordable prices.
If you’re looking for skiing with kids near Boston, this is one resort you need to add to your list. Below, Boston ski mom, Michelle shares her family experience learning to ski at Ski Bradford Massachusetts.
Visiting Ski Bradford
Ski Bradford has easy access from Boston and the surrounding area. Ski Bradford is located approximately 40 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. The driving time between Boston and Ski Bradford typically takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour to drive from Boston to the resort.
My family lives close to Ski Bradford, located in Haverhill, Massachusetts. We’ve been to the mountain 6 times in the 2023 season. This mountain is well suited for families and beginner skiers and snowboarders due to the large learning area. Affordable lift tickets make it even more appealing!
We visited the mountain twice before our kids started ski lessons at Bradford (more on that below). The first time we visited this season, my six year old son and I visited on a weekday afternoon and were easily able to find parking. We had our own equipment, so we got our lift tickets and headed straight to the slopes.
We did a few runs on the magic carpet to warm up our legs, then headed for the chairlift. The red chairlift (Hornet) in the center of the mountain allows you to access all trails from the top. It’s a 3 seater and usually it was just the two of us with no wait. It’s a quick ride up to the top. We did probably 10 runs after being at the mountain for 3 hours with a quick break for fried dough and hot cocoa.
Our second visit we did another weeknight pass, and brought my 4 year old son to get him ready for lessons. It really helped visiting the mountain before lessons started so he was familiar and more comfortable on skis after not having skied in a year. This time we stayed in the learning area. It’s small enough that I was able to focus on my younger child. The kids had a blast skiing and also getting some fried dough and cup of hot chocolate for a reward at the end of trip
Location & Parking at Ski Bradford
Ski Bradford is a great small family mountain in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Parking is free and abundant. There is a small lot right at the base of the mountain. We were usually able to drive right up to this small parking lot which helped with hauling the kids gear. We usually put boots on at the car, and walked right to the mountain.
There is a larger parking lot that is less than 5 minute walk to the base lodge. There is a pedestrian sidewalk.
Ski Bradford Lift Tickets
If you purchase lift tickets before you leave, you can save a few dollars per ticket. However, when you arrive, you’ll still need to pick up your ticket and wicket at the ticket window. There’s never been a long line or wait.
Tip: For those new to skiing, a wicket is a small metal loop that you thread through your jacket zipper and attach the lift ticket sticker around it.
For our family, we did half day or 4 hour tickets which was great for the ages of my kids, especially since we tended to visit on weeknights. A half day pass is plenty of time to see the whole mountain even with young kids. Many of the lift ticket options are under $50 which is affordable.
Rentals and Gear at Bradford Ski Resort
In previous seasons we have utilized rental equipment at Bradford with no issue. This year we bought second hand skis and boots through Facebook Marketplace and then had everything tuned up at a local ski and snowboard shop in the fall. Having your own gear makes the process significantly easier. Especially with young kids as you can get on the slopes much faster.
Where to Ski at Bradford
There are two lifts that go to the top of the mountain with a mix of blue trails and a couple black diamonds. Snow here is man made and conditions are good. It is not very busy at the times we visited which is great, especially teaching our children to ski.
Caption: View from the top. Night skiing is fun. All the trails are well lit.
I’d say the downside of the blue trails are that they are all a little steep at the top, which makes the transition from the learning area to the chairlift a little intimidating for new skiers. But overall for value and proximity to greater Boston, Bradford is a great place for families learning to ski, or who would like to get in some additional weeknight skiing.
The 2023 season has been tough for skiers in Massachusetts with unseasonably warm weather. When we visited the mountain, some of the lifts were not open (a black diamond lift for the skate park). They advertise this clearly on their website and it was not an area of the mountain we’d utilize.
Learning Area at Ski Bradford
The greatest advantage of Ski Bradford is for beginners and young families is the large learning area. The is a small magic carpet, and a bigger learning area/bunny hill with a rope tow and magic carpet. All these smaller lifts were operating each time we visited this season. There was no or minimal wait to access these areas.
Ski Bradford Amenities
The lodge has cubbies and gear storage, restrooms, and a cafeteria with typical lodge food (burgers and fries, hot cocoa, snacks). There is a big fireplace for getting warmed up.
Outside there is another area with picnic tables and a second snack shack to get some fried dough, chicken fingers and fries and hot cocoa. They accept credit cards.
Since Bradford is a small mountain, everything is a short distance apart. It’s easy for families to navigate and get around, and get skiing quickly.
Ski Lessons at Bradford
Ski Bradford has lots of different ski school options available for kids starting at age 4. Here are some of the highlights of the ski school programs at Bradford:
Private Lessons: Starting at $140/hour for one person or $230/hour for 2 people
Group Lessons: Beginner 1 hour lessons: $75
Little B 4 Week Program, 45 minutes per lesson: Starting at $170
School Break 2-day Ski Clinics: $190
We participated in ski lessons in February 2023 in the Little B’s program. This was our first experience with multi-week lessons and my two children, aged 4 and 6, enjoyed their time. The instructors were young, energetic and my kids had fun.
Multi week lessons are great for kids learning to ski since kids develop a relationship with the teacher and they can build ont heir skills week after week.
Ability Levels & Instructors:
My four year old was in their level one group. He skied once last season, and one time the week prior to lessons starting.
Level 1: No experience. The student is new to snow sports.
My six year old was in their level 4 group.
Level 4: The student can link turns, ride lifts independently, and make large & small turns.
My oldest was busy at the top of the mountain and he went on the lifts, but loved his instructor! At the end of the lesson hour the instructor brought him back to the lesson meeting place. He was pumped the instructor also gave him a sticker.
Getting To Ski School At Bradford
For kids in lessons that take the chairlift, you need to stop at the lift ticket window. They provide a card to get a new lift ticket each week. There was never a line so this took 5 minutes. For the young kids on the bunny hill, you pick up a bib the 1st week, and they wear that each week.
Head over to the learning area. There is a big sign indicating the lesson meeting area, and smaller numbered signs where each group meets. Your child is assigned a number and you meet there at the start and end of class.
My six year old child who rides a chairlift I didn’t really get to see during the lesson time, as they were riding the chairlift. But he loved it. I waited outside to stick by my four year old in the learning area the entire time, as did the rest of the parents.
My four year old learned alot, and is working on turning. He can ride the rope tow on his own.
Overall, this was a great time to take lessons. The mountain was not crowded at all, no lines for chairlift or rope tow. The mountain is mostly busy with middle-school aged kids who are in ski club, but all those groups seem to be packing up and getting on buses at the same time as the lessons start.
Due to our proximity to home and affordable lift tickets, we will be back, Bradford!
About The Author: Michelle Wright is ski mom to 3 boys. By day she’s a marketing manager. She’s not an advanced skier but trying to get on the slopes often in the greater Boston MA, area. Michelle also was married at a ski area and rode the chairlift in her wedding dress!