Even for people in the Northeast, New York doesn’t always come to mind when it comes to skiing, with many choosing to visit New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. But New York has more ski resorts than any other state! We checked with the locals, and here are the 8 best ski resorts in New York!
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by the State of New York which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included travelers needing to self-quarantine for 10 days or for 4 days with a negative COVID-19 test, and mandatory mask-wearing in public areas. At Hunter Mountain located in Greene County, all transactions were cashless and face coverings were required except when skiing or snowboarding. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
The largest resort in New York, Gore Mountain offers a variety of terrain and 100 trails spanning four peaks. With over 2,500 ft of vertical, Gore Mountain doesn’t just hold its own in the northeast, it compares favorably with the likes of Northstar, Grand Targhee, and Arapahoe Basin out west! Take in the 360-degree views of the Adirondacks – on a clear day, you can even see Vermont’s Green Mountains and peaks in Canada! True, it’s far from the big cities – but that makes for fewer crowds. Best of all, the relaxed atmosphere and variety of terrain at Gore Mountain come at a relatively low price, making an excellent value for your skiing dollar!
Close to the big city, Hunter Mountain draws more of a hard-skiing and partying crowd (including weekend warriors). With almost half the trails rated for advanced and expert skiers, the mountain makes a convincing claim to the best challenging skiing in the area. The 240 ac are spread out across four faces, which keeps the beginners’ slopes separated from the faster traffic. Also worth mentioning are the award-winning ski school and impressive 100% snowmakin. Hunter Mountain doesn’t have a traditional base village, but you’ll find a nice selection of restaurants and even some slopeside lodging – not to mention an après scene worthy of a place so popular with a “city that never sleeps!”
Windham offers breathtaking views and an authentic ski experience conveniently close to New York City. With a dedicated beginners’ area, some of the region’s best intermediate skiing, and off-the-slope activities at the Adventure Park including tubing, kids snowmobiles, and ice skating, it’s a great place for families to visit. The lack of a real village limits some of the amenities, but there are condos conveniently near the slopes and a range of options within 5 mi of the resort. Windham also offers a relatively pampered ski experience with everything from custom boot fitting to fancy dining but if your budget allows, Windham is an ideal choice in the Catskills!
A state-owned ski area close to New York, Bellayre is a reasonably priced mountain, ideal for day-trippers from the big city. The mountain is one of the largest in the Catskill Mountains. Once you’re here, you’ll find a laid-back setting and usually decent snowfall and variety of terrain.The lower half is primarily set aside for beginners to have a relatively quiet place to learn. The après scene or on-site lodging is limited here and it can feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but within 10-15 minutes you can find places to eat and sleep if you want to enjoy a longer visit.
Whiteface may be located further away from New York City than other resorts on this list, but the resort offers something for everyone, from a dedicated beginner ski area to steep groomers, bumps, race runs, and trees for experts. While there are plenty of blues and blacks coming down each of the three peaks, the trail layout has not been designed with intermediates in mind. Whiteface has loads of charm and rich heritage but there's no accommodation at the base of Whiteface Mountain, so the town of Lake Placid, just 20 minutes away, is your best bet for accommodation and off-mountain dining.
At just 290 ac, Holiday Valley may be small but don’t let that fool you – the resort makes the most of what it’s got to deliver something that feels like a big-mountain experience with modern lifts, slopeside lodging, an vibrant après scene that other mountains envy and much more. Due south of Buffalo and 30 mi from the shores of Lake Erie, Holiday Valley benefits from “lake effect” and gets more natural snow than most ski areas in New York. It’s location does draw crowds not just from Buffalo but the friendly staff helps to maintain a welcoming, small-town atmosphere in the comfy village. Night skiing is also available.
In the western Finger Lakes region of New York, south of Rochester and east of Buffalo, Bristol Mountain boasts 1,200 ft of vertical descent. That’s the biggest between the Adirondacks (think Lake Placid) and the Rocky Mountains. Yes, those Rocky Mountains! It’s a nice option for those folks from Albany and Syracuse who are looking to get further from it all. The terrain is well suited for beginners and intermediates and the 100% snow-making make up for the lack of natural snowfall. The local area, including the town of Canandaigua, maintains a relaxed, authentic vibe. You can’t go wrong staying there, or you can choose townhouses at the base of the resort for ski-in/ski-out access.
Set right on the Massachusetts state line and easily accessible from both New York City and Boston, Catamount offers a family-friendly experience nestled in a picturesque bowl in the Berkshires. In addition to its children’s programs, part of Catamount’s family-friendly cred comes from it’s beginner terrain which is off to a side where novices can practice in peace. For advanced and expert skiers, one of its two double blacks claims to be the steepest run in the Berkshires. Admittedly, it’s a small mountain that lacks vertical and doesn’t always have the best snow but Catamount makes up for it with a relaxed and friendly vibe, both on the slopes and in the nearby town of Hillsdale.