Register for upcoming trips on our Trips and Events Calendar webpage

For those who haven't yet tried it, downhill skiing or snowboarding is a fun experience with a bit of adrenaline! Each person attaches skis or a snowboard to their specialized boots, rides a lift up to the top of a mountain (or partway), and then glides back down to the bottom! As a beginner, you can usually start on the "bunny hill" which is an easy, short slope. Often, there is the "magic carpet" which is essentially a conveyor belt to stand on to bring you uphill a short distance. With practice, you will learn to gently turn right and left as you descend, as well as use the chair lift. As you get better, you may decide to ski faster and on more steep areas. It is one of the great thrills of winter in a place like New England!

Click on the links below to jump on the page:

Also, visit our Partners and Discounts webpage;for more information on skiing on your own, including the Ikon Pass!

A group in downhill skiers smile at the top of a snow covered run.

locationsPats Peak

Pats Peak is an independent alpine ski resort in Henniker, NH, with a top elevation of 1,460 feet. It has 28 trails and 11 lifts and drops 770 feet to the base lodge. With its high-capacity snowmaking, there is always snow coverage on the mountain. There are 3 separate beginner areas with their own lifts. With 50% beginner runs, 21% intermediate runs, 11% advanced runs, and 18% expert runs, it has something for everyone from UMass Lowell (UML).

For Winter 23-24, we are offering two day trips to Pats Peak, one of which is their Pay One Price  (POP) evening special under their lights. This POP event includes your lift ticket, rental gear (ski or snowboard), plus lesson tips from 4-6 p.m., with 100% of their trails lit up. Pats Peak is New Hampshire's largest night skiing facility with the only beginner run in the state open day and night. 

UMass Lowell's OAP is able to offer a variety of tickets for your level of need: a lift ticket plus Rental Gear (skis, ski boots, poles, or snowboard and boots, along with a helmet), and/or a Lesson in either Skiing or Snowboarding. If you consider yourself a beginner, consider the full deal for beginners - a great price! Everyone in the UML group will have helmet rentals provided for no extra cost. 

Remember, lessons are not just for beginners! See below under Skill Levels for descriptions if you want to improve, even if you're already pretty comfy on snow. 

All UML downhill ski/snowboard trips include UML transportation only. If you wish to go on your own in a personal vehicle, you may purchase a special UML voucher separately at the Bike Shop. 

Register from the Trips and Events Calendar page. You can choose:

  • Lift Ticket Only: $82
  • Combo Lift Ticket with Rental Gear: $117
  • Combo Lift Ticket with Lesson (ski or snowboard): $122
  • Beginner full package: Combo Lift Ticket Lower Mountain Only with Rental Gear and Lesson (ski or snowboard): $115
  • Full package: Combo Lift Ticket with Rental Gear and Lesson (ski or snowboard): $157 
  • SATURDAY NIGHT All Inclusive Pay One Price (POP): $90 This includes lift ticket, rental gear and lesson tips, plus all trails are lit by lights. *specific dates only

Additional bonus skiing on your own! 

Pats Peak is offering some great discount vouchers for UMass Lowell students, faculty and staff to go on their own all throughout the season. More details are available on our Partners and Discounts webpage. Please feel free come by the Bike Shop & Outdoor Center for more details or to purchase!

Mt. Wachusett

Mt. Wachusett is a 2,006-foot mountain near Princeton, Massachusetts with 1,000 feet of vertical drop. Mount Wachusett's downhill ski area has 27 trails and 8 lifts. The mountain is also home to Wachusett Mountain State Reservation for hiking and mountain biking in warmer weather. On clear days, you can see to Mt Monadnock to the north in New Hampshire and even a far-off glimpse of Boston to the east. The name Wachusett is derived from a Native American Algonquin term meaning "mountain place."

Panoramic view of Ragged Mountain ski runs in winter.

Ragged Mountain

Ragged Mountain in Danbury, N.H., has 57 trails across two peaks with a vertical drop of 1,250 feet. Ragged also has New Hampshire's only high-speed six-person chairlift, as well as a high-speed quad lift. OAP enjoys going to Ragged for reliable snow conditions and trails good for beginners and advanced skiers alike.

skill-levelSkill Levels

Each person should have a fitness level suitable for continued physical activity for 3-4 hours. Warming breaks are available in the lodge.

No previous downhill skiing or snowboarding experience is needed. Beginners are welcome!

Remember, lessons are not just for beginners! Consider a lesson if you want to improve, even if you're already pretty comfy on snow. If you register for a lesson at Pats Peak, you will be asked your skiing level to place you with the appropriate group. The lesson is usually run during the first part of the day for those who choose it, followed by skiing on your own later. Skill levels:


  • Have never skied before.
  • This level will acquaint you with equipment, snow terrain and basic balance drills on snow with and without skis; introduce a straight glide in a balanced stance while sliding down a soft terrain incline; introduce muscle movements that will assist with slowing down and stopping with two skis on (the wedge position).

Green "Plus"

  • Have tried snow skiing but need more training of basic skills, wants a refresher and simple "start over" introduction.
  • Practice basic wedge turning; wedge turns at varying shapes; learn to ride surface lift.


  • Learn skills to enhance wedge turns and using chair lifts.
  • Learn to ride the chair; practice with wedge on steeper green circle or easy blue square trails; begin matching skis at bottom of turn (short and long radius turn shape); introduce skating on flats; work on skills that will assist with matching skis earlier in the turn.


  • Develop skills to match skis on Blue trails.
  • Work toward matching skis above the fall line on easy and advanced blue square terrain; poles are introduced and begin to assist with the rhythm and flow of turns; develop more flexing and extending to enhance bending the ski; introduce upper and lower body separation.


  • Practice parallel skiing and improve edge use.
  • Can match skis above the fall line; more body movements "down the hill" are practiced which will encourage early edge management/engagement; learn to initiate turns with a correctly timed pole swing/touch on the snow; develop a separation of upper and lower body; learn speed control with a round skidded arc; can perform hockey stops and side slipping skills.


  • Carving on advance Blue and easy Black trails.
  • Carving on most black trails; work on turning the legs under the upper body; short, medium and long radius turn shape; practice skill blends on all terrain and variable conditions (bumps, powder and crud snow)


  • Freestyle, terrain park features. Must be level Blue or Above.
  • Skier must be at or above a "blue+" level skier; free ski the entire mountain in a safe manner while controlling speed; go over safety protocol in the park; switch, 180 rotations, slight air off small to medium jumps; mogul and glade skiing.


As you may guess, downhill skiing and snowboarding is snow-dependent. Most downhill ski resorts "blow" snow, so they have a reliable snow cover on their slopes. Depending on recent temperatures and forecasts, our trip locations may be changed if necessary. When Massachusetts does not have sufficient snow, the White Mountains in New Hampshire usually does. People can ski in extreme cold temperatures, but it is dependent on the individual's desire. Below certain forecast temperatures, our program may cancel the day (with full refunds).

A wide ski trail leads to a view of a mountains with ski trails visible beyond as low clouds hang on the side.

Packing List

It will be colder at the top of the lifts, and even on "warm" days, learning to ski or waiting in lift lines can make a person quite chilly. Be prepared for cold weather by dressing in warm non-cotton layers and wearing a warm outer layer, not forgetting your extremities (feet, hands, head). Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated; we recommend filling it with hot water and carrying in a small backpack with you at all times. Remember, we do have some extra layers you can rent for free with your reservation on our downhill ski trip.

The items on this list are strongly recommended for your trip. The weather forecast should be considered when packing.

  • Outdoor Adventure Online Waiver
  • Base layer non-cotton top and bottom, wool recommended for cold days
  • Warmth layer fleece or wool top and bottom layers, may wear two or more of these if they are not tight fitting
  • Outer layer top and bottom outer layer, wind resistant or windproof, winter coat and snow pants recommended
  • Gloves and/or mittens
  • Wool socks high socks up your shin to go above ski boot
  • *Hat for when you are not wearing a helmet
  • Ski Goggle or sunglasses
  • *Water bottles recommend filling with hot water
  • *Day pack to carry your extra layers and water bottle
  • Camera (or camera phone) A protective case is highly recommended
  • Personal environmental supplies Sunscreen, lip balm
  • Personal Medications
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Money for food ;at the mountain and/or possible souvenirs
  • Ski boots/Snowboard boots (available to rent from the mountain)
  • Skis (available to rent from the mountain)
  • Ski poles (available to rent from the mountain)
  • Helmet (included in your trip cost, rented from the mountain)

*All items with an asterisk are available and included in the cost of your registration.

OAP and the mountain itself will provide all the necessary group items, including first aid kit.

Register for upcoming trips on our Trips and Events Calendar webpage.