New York State has more ski resorts than New Hampshire, Vermont, or even Michigan or Colorado. Ski NY says the total is 50-plus, and that means once you get an hour or more out of New York City, you can be pretty sure there's a ski mountain worth conquering nearby. Some of New York's ski areas remain fiercely independent. Others are now part of big, well-known operations like Vail Resorts. Whether you're treating your family to a ski weekend or meeting friends on the slopes, looking to take up a new winter sport, or capable of dominating a double-black diamond, this guide will help you choose from New York's wondrous bounty of ski resorts. Even if you have no intention of skiing, these destinations' add-on attractions, from snow tubing hills to indoor waterparks, may tempt you to plan a trip to a New York mountain where crisp, clean air and snowy scenes are practically guaranteed.
You may not have gold-medal skills, but you can ski the New York mountain that has hosted Olympic skiing competitions twice. Located near the village of Lake Placid, home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, Whiteface looms large among the Adirondack High Peaks, and it offers skiers the highest vertical of drop of any lift-serviced mountain in the U.S. Northeast, as well as the region's longest run for intermediate skiers: the 2.1-mile Wilmington Trail. Stay, dine, and play in this picturesque and storied region, where more Olympic attractions await, including bobsled rides at Mt. Van Hoevenberg.
New York's largest ski resort is an unpretentious destination for old-school, awesome skiing on four distinct peaks. With breathtaking views of the snowy Adirondacks and new quad lifts that take you farther up the mountain to conquer even more terrain, Gore is a resort you can make your own, whether you're taking your first lesson or skilled and experienced enough to brave The Rumor: one of the steepest trails in the East. Eight terrain parks make this the domain of snowboarders, too. Your lift ticket includes access to Gore's original 1934 base camp, where there's more than nostalgia on offer. Here at the North Creek Snow Bowl, snowmaking and grooming ensure good conditions for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and twilight skiing or snowboarding at night under the stars and the lights is magical.
Located an hour's drive due south of Buffalo in a region that receives abundant natural "lake effect" snow, Holiday Valley has that "just right" feel for weekend warriors who want to hit the slopes. The resort is relatively small, but its 58 trails offer various scenery and challenges on four mountain faces. And its small-town home, Ellicottville, is the sort of charming winter village that looks like a Christmas movie set. With lively pubs and restaurants, including its own brewery and winery, Ellicottville's après ski scene is reason alone to consider a visit.
In the Catskills, where Rip Van Winkle slept away 20 years, Hunter Mountain attracts most of its ski crowd from the city that never sleeps. Not only is Hunter the closest major ski mountain to NYC, but it's also the only New York property that is part of the Vail family of resorts, which means pass holders here have access to a world of top-notch skiing. Famous for its expert-level trails and extensive snowmaking that provides 100% coverage across 240 acres of skiable terrain, Hunter has evolved since its 1960 opening to offer wintertime activities for nonskiers, too, including lift-serviced snow tubing and high-flying, year-round thrills on North America's highest and longest zipline canopy tour.
Home to the Gwen Allard Adaptive Sports Center, Windham is truly a mountain for everyone, where families bond not only on the ski slopes (there are 54 trails and 6 terrain parks) but on slick rides down the six-lane tubing hill, guided snowshoe treks, and even on the indoor Ski & Ride Simulator. This Catskill Mountains resort, just over a two-hour trip from NYC and typically less crowded than Hunter Mountain, is also the rare ski resort that is so confident in its snowmaking capabilities, they offer a snow guarantee. One of Windham's most unique offerings is a kids-only fleet of Arctic Cat snowmobiles, which riders 6 and over (and under 120 pounds) can take for a spin around an oval track. Another perk for serious skiers is the Boot Lab, where master boot fitter Marc Stewart customizes ski boots for comfort and performance.
Catamount's entrance is in Hillsdale, New York, but this small ski area with some spiffy new upgrades is actually partially in Massachusetts: It's one of only four ski resorts in the country that spills across state lines. Recently purchased by sister resort Berkshire East, it's an ideal place for beginner and intermediate skiers to get in a full day's worth of runs, as it's an easy, scenic drive from population centers in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Expert skiers will find seven trails that are their speed, too, including Catapult: a double black diamond that is the steepest downhill trail in the Berkshires.
Located in the Catskills in Highmount, New York, on land preserved by the state all the way back in 1885, Belleayre Mountain attracted skiers even before New York's first chairlift was installed here in 1949. Located a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Manhattan, it's a smaller, less crowded alternative to nearby Hunter Mountain with 50 trails, 5 glades, a terrain park for snowboarders, and 9.2 km of cross-country trails. Belleayre's strength is in its instructional programs for those who are new to skiing or riding. Beginners have their own area of the mountain with various trails, so there's no boredom as they build their skills.
Once New York's Adirondack Mountains are in your rearview mirror, 2,200-foot Bristol Mountain in the Finger Lakes region is the tallest peak you'll encounter until you reach the Rockies. So, if you're looking for exhilarating skiing in western New York, this resort's 1,200-foot vertical rise and 38 slopes and trails across 138 acres are the end to your search. Two terrain parks and two cross-country skiing loops add to your winter sports options. You'll love starting your day with homemade Belgian waffles topped with New York maple syrup at the slopeside Morning Star Café and perhaps ending it with a glass of wine at one of the region's many vineyards.
If your kids get a vote, you're going to wind up in Cortland at central New York's largest ski resort. Even in darkest December, Greek Peak offers a mix of winter and summer fun. Its Cascades Indoor Waterpark is always a balmy 84 degrees. Outside, you'll find a family-friendly ski area with 56 trails and four terrain parks, a Nordic Center with more than 15 km of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails, a mountain coaster, and zip line tour that operate year-round, and a massive snow tubing center with more than 15 sledding lanes.
The closest ski area to New York City is also the state's oldest, and that means when you ski Mount Peter, you'll be helping to sustain a beloved landmark that has welcomed skiers for 85 years. Located an hour north of the George Washington Bridge in New York's Orange County, this rare family-operated ski area has 14 trails and a snowmaking system that ensures the slopes are well-covered. If you're new to the sport, why would you go anywhere else when Mount Peter famously offers free beginner ski and snowboard lessons? If you're still reluctant to give skiing a go, try snow tubing instead on Mount Peter's lift-serviced hill.
One of the most unique places to ski in New York State is at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's own ski area, which is open to the public on a limited basis: Purchase your tickets online in advance. Located just outside the Academy's gates, this family-friendly hill has 100 percent snowmaking on its handful of trails that offer majestic views of the Hudson Highlands. With day and night skiing options priced as low as $19 for a twilight adult lift ticket, you'll love the affordability and the history of this ski area named for Capt. S. Victor Constant, a skiing pioneer who was instrumental in developing this hill in the 1940s and coaching the cadets who blazed these trails.
Known for an annual pile-up of nearly 180 inches of natural snow thanks to Lake Erie's proximity, this Chautauqua region resort has 130 acres of skiable terrain, geared mostly toward beginner and intermediate skiers and riders. Those looking for a bigger challenge will find the glade skiing here excellent. Those looking for something less challenging can hit the 14-lane snow tubing hill or slow things way down at the Serenity Spa, where the menu of treatments includes many designed for couples. The resort's most unique winter offering is its nighttime Lunar Lights Tubing sessions, featuring hot music tracks and thousands of pulsating LED lights.
The Snowkidding program at this independently-owned family ski destination in Roxbury, New York, makes learning a fun game for the littlest beginners, ages 4 to 6. They can graduate to three more levels of confidence-boosting instruction. At the same time, older siblings and parents have their pick of 38 trails, including black diamond and double black diamond runs that take advantage of Plattekill's 1,100-foot vertical. The resort's loyal following knows this is the place to find quality skiing in the Catskills with a laidback, small-town vibe.
Much closer to Montreal, Canada, than Albany, this small but mighty ski mountain in Malone, New York, has trails that start all the way up near its 2,025-foot summit. Head here when you want to feel away from it all in the northern wilds of the Adirondacks. All-day lift tickets include night skiing under the lights: You won't find a longer ski day in New York State. With its own conveyor lift, the newly renovated tubing hill adds a fun diversion to break up your day.
Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Queensbury, West Mountain is close enough to Lake George to design your own "all forms of water" winter escape. The mountain's 31 ski trails and 10 tubing lanes are fun when the water's in its powdery snow form. Stay at Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark, and you'll get to enjoy the year-round steamy warmth of White Water Bay and its slides and attractions.