It’s arguable to determine what “the best” of anything is, let alone trying to apply that logic to ski resorts. But it’s a burden we are willing to bare, though we have to say any location you choose in New York is going to be the right one. Now that winter is here, it’s time to start planning where you and your family will play in the snow!
In New York State, there are 32 ski resorts to choose from, meaning there are 32 ways to reach incredible powder opportunities! We chose four we think are either a bang for your buck or topnotch destination overall for you to visit. Whether you’re visiting or live just a few hours away, these resorts will meet your requirements for an incredible ski experience.
Sure, you’ve probably heard of the big names in eastern New York like Whiteface, with it’s stunning 3,166 vertical feet of lift-serviced hills. This resort has been the site of two Olympic Games, has an Olympic village with offers impeccable groomed Nordic skiing that is unmatched anywhere else.
Their astounding snowmaking abilities allows them to cover 98% of the entire resort; no small task considering there are 288 acres of skiing area. This includes 35 in-bounds, off-piste double-black diamond wilderness terrain and plenty of tree skiing and extreme adventure terrain. Talk about an epic winter getaway! The surrounding area is quite impressive as well, with shops at every corner and, according to them, “more hotel and dining options than you’ll find in any hamlet in other regions.” If nothing else, Whiteface is a prime example of comfort and convenience, where guests can find world-class service and a 5-star ski and snowboard school that’s truly ahead of the game.
Holiday Valley is nestled in the resort town of Ellicottville, New York. The resort is often called the “Aspen of the East” because of its dedication to all things winter: the slopes are lit until 10 pm, there are trails for downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, Alpine racing, and there’s even a mountain coaster for the adventurous. But the fun doesn’t stop there!
Guests will find the resort’s terrain park located on Fiddler’s Elbow to be one everyone can enjoy! You can check out the jumps on lower Foxfire, and a Boardercross Course on Moonshadow. For family members looking for something a little less intense, snow tubing or snowshoeing services are available. After a long day of outdoor adventures wears you out, you can make a much-deserved stop at one of their spas for those all important rest days.
When you’re not on the slopes, Holiday Valley has a great ski shop on the resort. If you’re up for a short trip into town, there are twenty-three different shops to visit in the downtown area. Besides the expected ski and board stores, the downtown area has a surprising range of shopping options. There are consignment shops for the trendy fashionista. Or perhaps you’re dying to try out one of the local beauty and hair shops, many of which feature natural or organic products. A quilt and fabric shop is nearby because you never know when you might be able to find a good sale, right? If all else fails, there are plenty of shops to help satisfy your sweet tooth and you wouldn’t want to miss out on that!
Right off of state Route 28, you can find Belleayre Mountain and the adjacent town of Highmount. Before the area became the resort as it’s known today, people would hike or travel 3,000 feet to trek down woody trails and roads that were actually far less traveled! Once dubbed the “Forever Wild,” this resort has been tamed a little and features some pretty incredible views and trails for both new and expert guests. One of the more wallet-friendly resorts, Belleayre is comparably less crowded than others in the state.
This fact alone makes people excited, especially if they enjoy slow-paced ski resorts during the season. Those seeking a more serene way to experience the mountain and the Catskill Forest Preserve can head over to the nearly 6 miles of quiet trails by strapping on some cross-country skis. It’s a pretty great deal to just let you go with the flow.
When you arrive at Belleayre you’ll notice the beautiful B&B Alpine Osteria at the base of the mountain where you can indulge a little on your accommodations. You’ll enjoy Jacuzzi tubs, culinary meals and unwind in opulent settings. If you’re looking for a more casual stay that’ll save you even more money you can choose from an assortment of cozy, relaxing options to complete your getaway experience!
Powder enthusiasts, rejoice! Because when you come to Windham Mountain you not only have 732 acres of terrain to venture on but you can also become part of the First Tracks program at the resort. What does the program do exactly? Well it only gets you skiing on the mountain before the lifts open to the public! It’s one of the best perks about the resort; you can get there early, enjoy quieter trails and then come back later in the day after you’ve had a bite to eat or found an event to go to.
To add the figurative cherry on top, guests have the chance to try night skiing on both Friday and Saturday until 8 pm on several of its trails (8 to be exact)! Less travel and more time on the mountain makes skiers and snowboarders a happy bunch. Guests can also take on one of Windham’s 54 trails, 6 terrain parks and 1,600 feet of vertical rise while you’re there as you take in how breathtaking the land is.
If you’re interested in getting the full experience at Windham, then you have to make a stop into town, which is just a short 2-minute drive from the base of the mountain. Filled with historic charm and friendly people, you can find specialty shops, delectable eateries and additional lodging options that are family owned and operated. Tying into the vibe on the mountain, the town of Windham offers incredible views, outdoor activities and an atmosphere that will make you want to stay longer. There’s nothing better than feeling right at home and Windham makes sure everyone always feels welcomed!