You may be surprised to learn that New York state is home to more than 50 ski and snowboard areas – more than any other state in the U.S. Many of the larger resorts reside in the scenic Adirondacks, Catskill Mountains and Finger Lakes. Some of these destinations, such as Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, sit less than a three-hour drive from Manhattan, positioning them perfectly for a quick getaway from New York City.
Whether you’re planning on a day of hitting the slopes or a romantic weekend away, the Empire State’s ski resorts are sure to have something for every age and ability level. From bunny hills to double black diamonds and off-slope activities such as snowshoeing, snow tubing and cross-country skiing, New York state is a winter wonderland for skiing and more. Here are the state’s top ski resorts for your next ski vacation.
(Note: Some of the following ski resorts and locations may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. New policies may be in place, including requirements for proof of vaccination, capacity restrictions, reservation requirements or mask mandates. Check with your chosen establishment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before your visit.)
HoliMont Ski Club: Ellicottville, Chautauqua-Allegheny
HoliMont is America’s largest private ski club. The mountain features seven chairlifts and 56 trails that cover 135 skiable acres, as well as a state-of-the-art snowmaking system. During the weekends in winter, the mountain is open for members only, which means far fewer skiers and snowboarders on the slopes. Previous visitors can’t say enough great things about the grooming of the runs and the lack of crowds. On-mountain amenities include gear rentals, a cafeteria and a mountain shop. You can enjoy cold weather activities like downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at this New York ski resort.
Annual membership includes access to the lifts for skiing and mountain biking with no lines, exclusive perks and events, country club reciprocals, ski clinics taught by Olympic skiers, and more. HoliMont Ski Club also offers a ski school for beginners or those who want to take their skills to the next level. For students who need extra assistance, the resort’s adaptive ski and snowboard program caters to individuals with disabilities.
Belleayre Mountain Ski Center: Highmount, Catskills
(Courtesy of Belleayre Mountain)
Located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, Belleayre Mountain Ski Center has 64 trails over 175 skiable acres. With more than half of the trails geared toward intermediate skiers and snowboarders, Belleayre is a good mountain for visitors who particularly enjoy blue square or black diamond runs. Trail coverage is typically good, with snowmaking that covers 96% of the mountain. A highlight for some visitors is the gondola, which they call fun for kids and a great way to stay warm while getting up to the top during cold weather. If you’re not into downhill skiing, you can enjoy nearly 6 miles of scenic cross-country trails.
The resort has plenty of on-site dining to keep you fueled throughout the day, including grab-and-go food, deli soups and sandwiches, pub food, and waffles. Prior to heading up, check the snow report or get a lay of the mountain by viewing the trail map on Belleayre’s website. You can also skip the ticket window and head straight to the slopes with a reloadable SKI3 Card that allows access through the RFID direct-to-lift gates.
At and around the resort, there are a variety of lodging options, from cabins and bed-and-breakfast inns to internationally acclaimed hotels and private home rentals. While making your way to or from the mountain, stop to explore the quaint villages and towns along the way.
Whiteface Mountain: Wilmington, Adirondacks
Located in the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain has a summit elevation of 4,867 feet with a massive vertical drop of 3,430 feet. So, if you prefer it steep, this ski resort is the place to go. Expert skiers will particularly love the narrow chutes known as The Slides. For those who like long downhill runs, the 2.1-mile Wilmington Trail is one of the longest intermediate runs in the Northeast. The mountain has 90 trails covering more than 22 miles with a variety of chairlifts and a gondola. Families in particular love taking little ones to the top on the scenic gondola, which is open year-round. The eight-seater Cloudsplitter Gondola whisks guests to the top of Little Whiteface in 15 minutes with dramatic views of the Adirondacks and Lake Placid. Even non-skiers can pack some snacks to enjoy at the top, where there’s a picnic area and observation deck.
This historic ski area is part of Lake Placid’s Legacy Sites, having been a venue for the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. While in the area, the impressive Olympic Jumping Complex about 20 miles away is worth a visit to witness ski jumpers training. Thrill-seekers can also try out bobsledding at speeds of up to 50 mph at Mount Van Hoevenberg. With so much to do around Whiteface Mountain, the Lake Placid area makes a great weekend getaway destination. Spend a night or two at the rustic yet luxurious Whiteface Lodge to enjoy multiple on-site restaurants and the relaxing spa.
Gore Mountain: North Creek, Adirondacks
(Courtesy of Gore Mountain)
With the most skiable terrain in New York state, Gore Mountain is a popular ski and snowboard area that includes four peaks. Visitors appreciate the variety of runs to choose from for varying ability levels, ensuring the whole family can have fun on the mountain. In addition to downhill skiing, there are plenty of other activities at Gore Mountain, such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, terrain parks and glade skiing (skiing off-trail in the trees). And the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down: Twilight skiing is offered at the Ski Bowl, where the slopes are lit up at night. In between runs, grab a casual, cafeteria-style lunch at the food court in the lodge. For nearby accommodation, The Alpine Lodge offers mountain-chic guest rooms and suites with amenities that range from fireplaces and hot tubs to full kitchens.
Bristol Mountain: Canandaigua, Finger Lakes
Come day or night to Bristol Mountain to ski or snowboard in the Finger Lakes region of New York. If you’re a first-time skier or snowboarder, take advantage of the resort’s group lesson packages for customized instruction in a small group with your lift ticket and rentals included; you can also opt for a private lesson or a multiweek program for either children or adults.
The mountain features 138 acres of skiable terrain – all covered by the snowmaking system – with 39 slopes and two high-speed quads to get you to the top with haste. The quick lifts and long runs were two highlights for recent travelers at Bristol Mountain. If you’re an advanced skier or snowboarder seeking a taste of racing, the Morning Star Race Park is free for nontimed open-gate runs. Cross-country skiers can explore almost 2 miles of Nordic trails. If you’ll be enjoying the mountain for multiple days, stay slopeside at one of North Star Village’s townhouses.
Holiday Valley: Ellicottville, Chautauqua-Allegheny
(Courtesy of Holiday Valley)
Located in Ellicottville, Holiday Valley offers downhill skiing (day and night), snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. This family-friendly ski resort is good for both beginners and experts, and lift tickets for children ages 6 or younger are free. Get a feel for the mountain through the interactive map online. Recent ski school participants praise the certified instructors for being patient, experienced and friendly. In addition to offering ski school for little ones (as well as adults), Holiday Valley can also provide day care for kids who aren’t ready to tackle the slopes. Other kid-friendly activities include searching the mountain for the Seneca Clan Rocks that represent the eight clans of Native American nations from western New York.
If cross-country skiing is your thing, there are free trails for varying ability levels. Beginners can stay near the bottom, around the golf course, while more advanced skiers can journey along the top ridgeline of Holiday Valley. Non-skiers can zip down the mountain on the popular two-person Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster, which is a thrilling ride through the snowy woods; go snow tubing; or enjoy some relaxation at the Ellicottville Oasis Spa at the Tamarack Club. For ski-in/ski-out accommodation via the Sunrise Chairlift, the Inn at Holiday Valley is a convenient option that offers spectacular views.
Kissing Bridge: Glenwood, Greater Niagara
With 700 skiable acres, there is a lot of terrain for all ability levels at Kissing Bridge. Downhillers can speed down the 39 slopes, while visitors who want a bit more of a workout can travel up the slopes with skins or snowshoes. The mountain offers rental equipment, lessons, children’s programs, terrain parks, on-mountain dining and nearby lodging. Families can save money with a Family Season Pass and take advantage of Kissing Bridge’s many activities, such as a guided group snowshoeing tour or the “Family Fun Adventure” package that includes a private ski or snowboard coach to work with your entire family. Visitors highly recommend this resort for its reasonable prices.
Hunter Mountain: Hunter, Catskills
Located in the Great Northern Catskills with a base elevation of 1,600 feet and 320 skiable acres, Hunter Mountain is known as the “Snowmaking Capital of the World” and says its snowmaking capabilities cover 100% of its runs. Take your skills to the next level at this ski resort: The mountain offers private and group skiing and snowboarding lessons for everyone from toddlers to senior citizens with a range of ability levels. Note, though, that some visitors said the wait in the lift lines was long.
Even though Hunter Mountain is one of the big mountain resorts closest to New York City, after hitting the slopes all day, why not stay the night? Guests can rest at one of the inns, hotels, motels or luxury slopeside lodges in the area, or at least pop in for an après-ski beverage. If you’d rather skip the slopes altogether, book a room at the Hunter Mountain Hotel & Spa for a weekend escape and pamper yourself with a relaxing massage at the spa. Another overnight option is Scribner’s Catskill Lodge – a modern take on a rustic lodge.
Windham Mountain: Windham, Catskills
(Courtesy of Windham Mountain)
This upstate New York ski resort offers incredible skiing in a relaxed atmosphere. With 285 skiable acres, 54 trails and a vertical drop of 1,600 feet, Windham Mountain is ideal for all ages and skill levels. The resort also has six terrain parks with more than 80 features for those who want to freestyle. Other common winter activities at Windham include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snow tubing and snowmobile riding. Some reviewers have felt that the customer service is lacking, though.
If you want to earn your turns, the Uphill Program allows visitors to use designated routes to ascend the mountain on skis, splitboard (which is a snowboard that splits into two “skis”) or snowshoes. Windham Mountain also offers a ski simulator in partnership with the Adaptive Sports Foundation for a fully immersive virtual reality experience that can make you feel as though you are flying down the mountain even if a disability prevents you from physically doing so. Windham is part of the Ikon Pass, a season pass that offers access to a number of ski resorts nationwide. Some overnight lodging options include Winwood Inn and Condos at Windham Mountain, Wylder Hotel Windham and Eastwind Hotel.
Dry Hill Family Ski & Tubing Area: Watertown, Thousand Islands-Seaway
Dry Hill is a popular resort for families with young kids since it’s not extremely large or steep. With less than 10 trails and three lifts at this winter destination, less experienced skiers can easily navigate the mountain. The prices are also relatively low compared to larger resorts. First-time skiers or snowboarders can save money with the “Never-ever” lesson package, and there’s also a lesson package especially designed for children ages 3 to 6. If the kids get tired of skiing, head to the tubing park for some off-slope fun. Families comment that it’s a great place for a first ski lesson for youngsters and for adults to warm up by the fire in the bar.
Titus Mountain Family Ski Center: Malone, Adirondacks
(Courtesy of Titus Mountain Family Ski Center)
Since it is spread across three mountains, the Titus Mountain Family Ski Center provides skiers and snowboarders plenty of space on the trails. This setup also means the lift lines are typically shorter since there’s more area to explore. No matter what skill level you’re at, with Titus Mountain’s 36 trails, 11 glades and three parks you’ll find plenty of terrain to suit all abilities. Whether you want to take it easy on green runs or get an adrenaline rush on a double black diamond, there’s fun to be had at this alpine resort. Recent visitors attest that there is something for everyone. If you’re planning to stay overnight here to take it all in, consider a “Ski & Stay” package with Holiday Inn Express & Suites Malone.
Greek Peak Mountain Resort: Cortland, Finger Lakes
As central New York’s largest ski resort, Greek Peak Mountain Resort boasts a wide array of terrain. With 20 beginner trails, 31 moderate and difficult runs, and five expert trails, as well as four terrain parks, every skill level is covered. The steepest run sits at a 40 degree angle, while the longest trail is 1.5 miles. If you can’t make it to the mountain until the sun goes down, don’t worry: Greek Peak offers after-dark skiing seven nights a week. Other snow-centered activities available include snow tubing, snowshoeing and telemark skiing.
Many recent visitors recommend dining at the on-site Trax Pub & Grill, noting that the food and service were excellent. As if that’s not enough, this New York ski resort boasts off-slope adventure too with a year-round mountain coaster, guided zip line tours November through March, and the Cascades Indoor Waterpark. Attached to Hope Lake Lodge, this indoor water park is a balmy 84 degrees and open every day; its features include a wave pool, rapids, waterfalls, swimming pools, hot tubs and even an arcade. With so much for you and the kids to do at this Finger Lakes destination, you might never want to leave.
Plattekill Mountain: Roxbury, Catskills
(Courtesy of Plattekill Mountain)
Family-owned and -operated Plattekill Mountain offers 38 trails for all ability levels and has a laid-back mountain vibe. You can experience a gentle 2-mile trail or other beginner runs, but 40% of the mountain trails are blue diamonds, with another 40% at the black diamond or double black diamond level. The resort offers skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. Visitors say they appreciate that Plattekill is generally less expensive and less crowded than larger resorts. New improvements to the resort include upgraded snowmaking infrastructure to keep the runs in peak condition and streamlined equipment rentals.
Maple Ski Ridge: Schenectady, Capital-Saratoga
If you’re just starting out or looking for a kid-friendly resort in New York where children can learn to ski or snowboard, Maple Ski Ridge is an affordable family-run mountain for novices. Recent visitors love the multiweek ski school program for kids and are thankful to have a resort close to home. The resort also offers a Nordic Night Pass for those who want to go cross-country skiing, skinning (climb up, ski down) or snowshoeing after the lifts close. Keep in mind that cross-country rental equipment is not available here.