K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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While you might guess that Colorado’s ski resorts outnumber any other state, it’s actually New York with more than 50, which means you’ll never be far from a day on the slopes. There aren’t many with lodging right on-site, but most have plenty of options very close by, along with rentals, lessons, and opportunities to switch things up with activities like tubing and ice skating. Whether you’re looking for a great place to learn, a ski resort with a variety of terrain, or something perfect for the experts, you’re sure to find it in New York, with these options being some of the best.
Windham Mountain is a family-friendly year-round resort in the Catskills, just a few hours’ drive from New York City. It offers 1,600 feet of vertical drop spread over two mountains with over 50 runs on 285 skiable acres. The terrain ranges from novice trails to double-black runs, with about half of them rated intermediate. On Friday and Saturday nights, enjoy night skiing until 9 p.m. There are also six terrain parks for snowboarders with bumps, humps, and rails, along with opportunities for tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. You’ll also find several restaurants and a charming inn for lodging.
Home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, Whiteface Mountain is one of the high peaks in the Adirondacks and one of the most renowned ski resorts on the East Coast, with more vertical than any other in the region at more than 3,200 feet. It offers terrain for skiers of all levels, from beginners to experts. There’s a ski learning center at the bottom where new skiers of all ages can learn to tackle the slopes, while the very advanced will love The Slides, a double-black. It includes 87 trails lined with trees, with 53 of the 288 skiable acres being glades (off-trail skiing through the trees). There’s also a speed-skating oval and a four-person toboggan. While there are no ski-in/ski-out accommodations, many lodging options can be found nearby, including cabin rentals.
One of the best ski resorts near New York City, Hunter Mountain is located in the Great Northern Catskills, prime terrain for skiing while offering 1,100 snow guns that have earned the slopes a reputation as the “Snowmaking Capital of the World.” You’ll never have to worry about a shortage of powder here, and you’ll find 58 trails with everything from easy to adventurous, serviced by a dozen lifts. With a summit elevation of 3,200 feet and a vertical drop of 1,600 feet, the downhill skiing is great all winter long. Plus, there are great ski and riding schools and other activities to enjoy, including snow tubing on nine 1,000-foot-long chutes. You’ll also find a variety of lodging options, including hotels, vacation homes, and ski-in/ski-out condos, along with a wide range of dining options with après-ski activities.
Swain Resort is the longest, continuously running independent ski area in the Western New York area, located just an hour south of Rochester. Opened in 1948, it has a local atmosphere with 35 trails for every ability as a family-friendly mountain. Plus, there are two terrain parks, multiple dining options, live music, and plenty of kids’ activities, regularly featuring performances by some of the best local musicians in the area. Accommodation includes everything from budget-friendly bunkhouses and stand-alone suites to spacious condos for families with convenient access to freshly powdered slopes.
Holiday Valley is like multiple ski areas in one, with 60 slopes spread over four different faces, including steep but short black diamonds, long cruisers, and winding routes that snake down through soaring evergreens. It has a 750-foot vertical drop with 13 lifts, including the new Yodler high-speed quad chairlift, and four terrain parks, along with a great learn-to-ski program for the kids. Ski-in and ski-out accommodation is available, and there is a wealth of bars, restaurants, art galleries, and unique boutiques. Wine enthusiasts can enjoy tastings at the Winery of Ellicottville, and there’s even a Himalayan salt cave at the Ellicottville Salt Cave & Spa.
Belleayre Mountain Ski Center is the least crowded of the Catskill resorts, eliminating the worry about long lift lines and jam-packed slopes. It’s affordable and offers nearly four dozen trails for a range of skill levels, including 11 beginner-friendly slopes at the mountain’s bottom half, 27 intermediates, and nine double-black runs at the top. The terrain park is made up of two progression parks with rails, boxes, and jumps, plus snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are available on nearly six tranquil trails. You’ll find vacation rentals available in nearby Fleischmanns, just a couple miles from the resort.
Bristol Mountain offers some of the highest vertical rise between the Adirondack Mountains and the Rockies, with 138 acres of total skiable terrain. It hosts 39 runs for all ability levels, including Upper Galaxy, that is sure to please those who enjoy long, wide-open cruisers. Speed demons will love Morning Star with its Nastar Race System. Cross-country skiers enjoy it too, with trails that wind their way around the top of the mountain, while the Highpoint Terrain Park is the perfect place for thrill-seekers. Lessons are available for all experience levels and ages, and there are many facilities here, including a full snow sports retail store, an equipment tuning center, and a wealth of dining and drinking options from the Satellite Lounge to Carver’s Kitchen, the Cannery, and a slopeside waffle house.
Straddling the New York/Massachusetts border, Catamount Mountain Resort in Hillsdale is a favorite destination among families, with a third of its 44 trails for beginners and plenty of terrain for intermediate skiers with a 1,000-foot drop. It’s also renowned for its double black diamond-rated Catapult run, one of the steepest in the entire Northeast, and it boasts the longest run in the Berkshires, totaling 2.5 miles. There are eight lifts, a summit quad, and two wonder carpets, with night skiing available. Group and private lessons are on offer, along with rentals and childcare.
Just north of Rome, Woods Valley Ski Area offers affordable skiing and boarding with all the essentials, including three lifts and 14 trails with plenty of variety for beginners and experts, along with three terrain parks. There’s a snowsports school, a large rental shop, and a dining area with a massive fireplace, a bar, and an outdoor patio. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, a brewing company, and accommodation options in Rome.
Only 75 minutes from New York City, Thunder Ridge Ski Area is a great destination for those looking for a quick trip from the Big Apple. It offers something for every member of the family, from the kids to the grandparents, with 30 ski trails served by seven lifts, gondolas, and trams, with a vertical drop of 500 feet. Plus, twilight and night skiing are available too. For beginners, it’s truly hard to beat, with 40 percent of the trails rated for beginners. There’s a recently revamped terrain park, and thanks to the monster snow machines, the runs are guaranteed to be open all winter, although most of the time, this area gets plenty of powder. There are numerous options to stay at Thunder Ridge around the resort.
A favorite for family skiing for more than 60 years, the Dry Hill Ski Area offers great value with fun for all ages. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Watertown, night skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowshoe trails are all available. It also offers skiing and snowboarding lessons, gear rentals, dining options, and the Fireside Lounge with a fabulous après atmosphere for relaxing next to the warmth of a roaring fire. It’s a small area that packs in the fun with seven trails on 42 acres, 300 feet of vertical drop, and 1.5 miles of terrain, with one lift to serve it. There are extensive snowmaking capabilities, so you won’t have to worry about Mother Nature cooperating either.
Maple Ski Ridge is a family-owned ski area just 25 miles from Albany that’s been open since 1963. It’s the place to go for families who want to bring the kids to learn to ski or snowboard with a 270-foot vertical hill that’s ideal for its outstanding six-week ski school program. Each lesson program comes with a pass for the day to allow students additional time to practice newly learned skills. There’s also a Nordic Night Pass available for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing after the lifts close. The cozy base lodge offers cheap eats and a few dozen picnic tables for outdoor dining.
Gore Mountain is the largest ski resort in New York. The ski area features four Adirondack peaks with a vertical drop of over 2,500 feet, 109 ski trails, and plenty of terrain for all types of skiers, including the most demanding. It’s easy to get to the top with 14 lifts, including an eight-passenger gondola and two high-speed quad chairs. Plus, there are trails for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Rentals and lessons are available, and you’ll find a half-dozen on-mountain dining venues, too, from casual après-ski at the Tannery Pub and Restaurant to a mid-mountain break with a garnet fireplace at the Saddle Lodge Snack Bar. To make it even more affordable for families, free skiing is available for kids six and under. There are a ton of lodging options around, too, from resorts and hotels to lodges, cabins, townhouses, and vacation homes.