New York Ski Resorts: Find the Perfect Spot
With over 40 destinations spread across the state, New York ski resorts offer the most ski areas in the U.S. You’re never far from the slopes when you’re in New York. The major resorts are located in the Adirondacks and Catskill Mountains with some only a couple of hours from New York City. The following is a list of the top twelve New York ski resorts with a short description of each.
New York Ski Resorts
- Belleayre Mountain
- Buffalo Ski Club
- Catamount Ski Area
- Gore Mountain
- Greek Peak
- Hickory Ski Center
- Holiday Mountain
- Holiday Valley
- Hunter Mountain
- Kissing Bridge
- Maple Ski Ridge
- McCauley Mountain
- Mount Peter
- Oak Mountain
- Peek ‘n Peak
- Plattekill Mountain
- Snow Ridge
- Song Mountain
- Thunder Ridge
- Titus Mountain
- West Mountain
- Whiteface Mountain
- Willard Mountain
- Windham Mountain
Belleayre Mountain is located on the northern edge of the Catskill Mountains. This resort sprawls out over 171 acres, 164 of which have snowmaking coverage. The vertical drop is a thrilling 1403 feet, serviced by two quad lifts, a triple, and two double chair lifts. There are also three surface lifts that cover the learning area close to the lodge and parking area. There are 50 runs with two terrain parks. Belleayre is the only one of the New York ski resorts in the Catskills to offer CAT-access skiing, letting advanced skiers get a taste of wide-open and ungroomed runs. The longest run in the park is a gentle cruiser that loops around the right side of the resort for over 2 miles from peak to base.
Buffalo Ski Club
Buffalo Ski Club, formerly known as Tamarack, is a short drive southeast from Buffalo. This ski area was formed through the combined efforts of three separate ski clubs: Buffalo, Sitzmarker, and Tamarack Ski Clubs. Even though membership is encouraged, non-members are welcome to ski, although members do enjoy a substantial discount on mountain prices. The ski area has 225 acres of skiable terrain with 43 runs and one terrain park. The difficulty mix at the ski area is 20 percent beginner, 46 percent intermediate, and 34 percent advanced. This breaks down to 13 novice, 16 intermediate, and 12 expert trails. The mountain has a modest vertical of 500 feet, with six lifts serving to ferry skiers up and around the mountain.
Catamount Ski Area
Catamount is located near the corner of the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York borders. The resort straddles the Berkshire and Taconic Mountains, so skiers get the best of both worlds. This ski area rarely has a wait for its six lifts, so skiers can get to the 35 runs quickly. There are 132 acres of skiing with 55 acres (almost 4 miles of runs) lit for nighttime skiing. In addition, over 99 percent of the resort has snowmaking coverage. The mountain has a 1000-foot vertical with three terrain parks. One of the terrain parks has a 400-foot half-pipe reserved just for snowboarders.
Gore Mountain Ski Resort is located in the Adirondacks just northwest of Wevertown. This resort sprawls over four mountains: Bear, Burnt Ridge, Gore and Little Gore. In total, there are over 446 acres of skiing to explore. Gore has a vertical of 2537-feet from the summit of Gore Mountain, with the longest run stretching out over 4.4 miles. There are fourteen lifts for skiers. Four quads, three triples, two doubles and four surface lifts can ferry over 8000 skiers per hour around the mountain. They are kept plenty busy with the 107 trails, including 27 glades and six terrain parks.
Greek Peak is located in the Finger Lakes Region of Central New York and is a favorite tourist destination all year. The Greek has a 952-foot vertical over 220 skiable acres. There are 17 novice, 9 intermediate, 7 advanced, and 5 expert trails along with three terrain parks. The longest run is just over a mile and a half long, while the steepest run has a 40-degree pitch. Night skiing is available all week, with almost 80 percent of the park available after hours. There are eight lifts, including one high-speed quad and two surface lifts.
Hickory Ski Center
Hickory Ski Center has a saying. “Mad River Glen – Ski it when you can’t ski Hickory”. Comparing an 18 trail, 225-acre ski area to a Vermont legend like the Glen may seem a little presumptuous, at least until you ski Hickory for the first time. Hickory has an advertised difficulty mix of 30 percent novice, 30 percent intermediate, and 40 percent advanced, but don’t let that fool you. The advanced trails feature some of the hardest terrain in the east. This is because Hickory has no snow making coverage. Instead, you’re left with what Mother Nature provides; on days when the snowfall is good, Hickory is amazing. On another note, Hickory Ski Center doesn’t groom their slopes either, so when you’re zipping down the Winfall steep, watch out for rocks.
Holiday Mountain may be one of the smaller resorts in New York at only 60 acres, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer, especially to families and parents. Holiday Mountain has seven trails, 2 novice, three intermediate, and 2 advanced. There are three lifts on the mountain; a tow rope services the beginners ski area, a double ferries up to the left ski area, and the triple heads up to the right. Holiday Mountain has 100 percent coverage for snowmaking for the days when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating. For those inclined, there is also night skiing on the entire resort.
Located about an hour from Buffalo, Holiday Valley is considered by many as the premiere destination for New York ski resorts in the western part of the state. The resort features a vertical drop of 750-feet with 290 acres of skiing. Nighttime skiing is available, with 189 acres lit for after dark fun. There are 58 trails for skiers to explore including five terrain parks, several glades, and one double black diamond steep. Thirteen lifts take skiers to five different starting points. With a ferrying capacity of almost 24,000 skiers per hour, there is never a long wait for any lift at Holiday.
HoliMont is a private ski resort located in the Alleghany Mountains near Ellicotville. Many New York ski resorts are known for their exclusivity, but this resort is reserved for members-only on the weekends. Non-members are welcome to hit the slopes during the week. There are six lifts including one high-speed quad that take skiers to four different starting points. A 700-foot vertical and 52 trails ensure that there is plenty to explore including one terrain park, steeps, and several glades. The resort spans 135 skiable acres with full snow coverage. HoliMont is also expanding westward this ski season with a new set of trails and a dedicated beginner area under construction, expected to open for the 2015-2016 season.
This ski resort is found in the northern Catskill Mountain range, just a short day trip away from New York City. Hunter Mountain has a 1600-foot vertical, with 240 acres of skiing with full snowmaking coverage. There are 58 runs that start from one of three peaks. Hunter Mountain is renowned for its Empire Park terrain park and the freestyle competitions held regularly throughout the season. For expert skiers, Hunter West has four double black diamond runs (including a thrilling glade) serviced by a high-speed quad. Hunter One has three chairs and four surface lifts to provide access to a series of gentler runs designed for beginner to intermediate skiers. The primary mountain has four ski lifts including a six-passenger high-speed lift, so there’s never a wait to hit the slopes.
Kissing Bridge Ski Resort is located about fifteen minutes south of Buffalo along SR-219. The ski resort is very wide with seven lifts providing access to the ridge. There are 36 trails heading down to the base including three terrain parks, two double black diamond steeps and several cruisers. The ski area covers 700 acers of skiable land with 550 acres of snow coverage to supplement the snow that comes in from the Colden Snowbelt. Kissing Bridge also offers night skiing over 90 percent of the park lit.
Maple Ski Ridge
Maple Ski Ridge is located just outside of Albany near the intersection of I90 and I88. This is one of the smallest ski areas in New York, covering a tiny 15 acres of skiable territory and 7 named trails. There is one novice run, three advanced trails, and three expert rated trails. The base elevation is at 750 feet and the summit is 450 feet above at 1200 feet. Average snowfall over the mountain is about 24 inches per year, but there is snowmaking over roughly 95 percent of the mountain.
McCauley Mountain Ski Area is located in central New York near Old Forge on SR-28. With only 70 acres of skiable terrain, this is one of the smaller resorts in the state. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that McCauley is a one-trick pony. This area has 22 runs with a difficulty spread of 36 percent beginner, 45 percent intermediate, and 18 percent advanced. McCauley also has a mid-sized vertical drop of 632 feet; the base is at 1562 feet and the summit towers over surrounding peaks at 2250 feet above sea level.
Mt Peter is located in the Hudson Highlands portion of the Appalachian Mountains, just about an hour’s drive north of New York City. This is a small mountain, suitable mainly for day excursions and families with kids who are just getting their ski legs under them. 14 named trails stretch out over 69 acres, with a fairly even difficulty mix of 30 percent novice, 35 percent intermediate, and 35 percent advanced. It’s important to note that this difficulty rating is according to the mountain, so an advanced trail here might only be equal to an intermediate at another resort. The vertical is 450 feet with the base lodge at 750 feet and the summit at 1250 feet.
Oak Mountain is a smaller resort located in the Southern Adirondack Mountains, just north of the small hamlet of Speculator. This resort is much smaller than the larger resorts in the Catskills or in the northern Adirondacks, with 22 named trails over 230 acres. The difficulty mix across the ski area is 45 percent novice, 27 percent intermediate, 18 percent advanced, and 9 percent expert. Oak Mountain’s base lodge is located at 1750 feet, while the peak stretches up to 2400 feet. This gives the ski area a medium vertical of 650-feet.
Peek ‘n Peak
Peek ‘n Peak is located on the Pennsylvania-New York border just east of Erie. The park features a 1400-foot vertical and 27 runs spread out over 110 acres. There are five terrain parks including a recently installed bag jump on the eastern side. There are 16 intermediate trails, six expert, and three novice runs with four different starting zones. Ten lifts with a capacity of over 12,000 skiers per hour provide some of the shortest lines and most reliable slope access for any of the New York ski resorts. Plus, Peek ‘n Peak has full night-time skiing with most trails open until 10pm.
Plattekill Mountain is a small family-owned ski resort located in the midstate New York Catskills about 4 hours from New York City. The ski area is only open from Friday to Sunday, but remains intensely popular despite the limited hours. The lodge is located at 2400 feet with the summit at 3500 feet. This gives Plattekill a decent vertical of 1100 feet. There are only 110 skiable acres on the mountain, but there are still an impressive number of features packed in. Average snowfall comes out to 190 inches (4.8 meters) per year. In years when Mother Nature doesn’t provide, there is snowmaking coverage over 75 percent of the slope.
Snow Ridge is located in Northwestern New York, just north of Turin along SR 26. It is a mid-sized resort, covering just over 130 skiable acres across three peaks, with snowmaking coverage over about 50 percent of the park. There are 20 named trails and 3 terrain parks at the ski area. The difficulty mix for the trails breaks down to 10 percent novice, 30 percent intermediate, and 60 percent advanced. Numbers-wise, this equals 2 novice runs, 6 intermediates, and 12 advanced trails. The base lodge rests at 1350 feet, while the highest peak rises to 1850 feet, giving Snow Ridge a modest vertical of 500 feet.
Song Mountain is a smaller resort located just south of Syracuse in central New York. 93 acres of skiing host 24 named runs with a modest 700-foot vertical. Difficulty mix on the mountain is slanted toward easier skiing with a full half of the trails rated for novice skiers. Intermediate trails make up 29 percent with the other 21 percent rated at black and double black diamond. There are five lifts that cover the mountain, one triple, one double, and three tows. There is snow making coverage over 70 acres, so when Mother Nature doesn’t provide, Song Mountain has you covered. Night skiing is available for most of the mountain, so long as weather allows it.
Swain has been running since Dave and Bina Robinson first cleared Clark Slope by hand in 1947. That single tow rope operation has since blossomed into a 120 acre ski area with 33 runs. A modest 650-foot drop and 3 terrain parks bring in locals and visitors from both Buffalo and Rochester for weekends of great skiing. Because the slope faces north, it doesn’t get as much natural snow as other resorts in the area, but with 90 acres of snow making coverage, Swain supplements what Mother Nature provides. The difficulty mix for the resort spreads out across 9 novice trails, 12 intermediates, and 9 expert runs. Night skiing is available for the majority of the runs in the middle, from 80 Acres to Upper Robinson, encompassing about 80 acres.
Located just an hour’s drive from New York City, Thunder Ridge has long been a haven for weary New Yorkers looking to get away from it all. Access to the Ridge is as easy as taking the Metro-North via the Harlem Line to Patterson and then hopping on the free shuttle to the ski area. Thunder Ridge has 100 acres of skiing with complete snowmaking coverage for the days when Mother Nature gets lean with her snow. The mountain has a typical 500-foot vertical with 6 lifts total. 1 triple, 2 doubles, and three surface lifts all ferry skiers to 30 runs and 1 terrain park, split up into 40 percent novice, 40 percent intermediate, and 20 percent advanced. Best of all, Thunder Ridge has night skiing over its entire area, so there’s no reason to stop skiing just because the sun goes down.
Titus Mountain is located about a half hour from the Canadian border and just west of Plattsburgh. There are three peaks to choose from, with the highest peak resting at 2025 feet with a 1200-foot vertical. The park features 200 skiable acres with nighttime skiing in Moon Valley. One of the big draws for Titus is the ungroomed terrain that is located over nine runs, ensuring a once-in-a-lifetime experience for skiers. There are three terrain parks as well as twelve glades included in the 42 trails at Titus. Ten ski lifts make sure that there is never a wait and snow-making coverage over 75 percent of the resort ensures the trails always have fresh powder.
Toggenburg is a small ski area located in Fabius, New York, just south of Syracuse. The ski area has a modest base elevation of 1300 feet and a summit elevation of 2000 feet, giving Toggenburg an elevation of 700 feet. Snowfall on the mountain averages out at 160 inches (4.1 meters). Toggenburg’s location in upstate New York means that the snow is never cement-quality, but it does vary between fluffy and damp. Check the forecasts for the best result, but be prepared to see a lot of locals after a good storm.
Ironically, West Mountain Ski Resort is located on the eastern side of New York, just west of Queensbury, and a comfortable drive from Albany. It’s this close location to Albany that makes West Mountain a popular resort in the area. There are 30 named trails that spread out over 126 acres. While the acreage may seem small, West Mountain is a wide resort with the peak elevation occurring over a ridge. The difficulty mix across the resort breaks down into 36 percent novice, 55 percent intermediate, and 9 percent expert. The vertical at West Mountain is just over 1000 feet, with the base lodge resting at 460 feet and ridge elevation at 1470 feet.
Whiteface Mountain is most famous for being the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics. This resort features one of the highest verticals on the east coast at 3429 feet with 86 groomed runs over 288 acres. 11 lifts including a gondola provide access to one of four starting areas. From there, skiers can explore glades, thrilling steeps, or settle back for some cruisers with amazing views. One of the biggest draws for expert skiers are the 35 acres of double black diamond open country found in the Slides. The resort has seven terrain parks. You could cover the ground of three smaller New York ski resorts and still find new stuff at Whiteface. Snowmaking coverage is provided over 75 percent of the resort.
Willard Mountain is located about an hour’s drive north of Albany along SR-4 near Greenwich. One of the smaller resorts in this area of the Adirondacks, Willard nonetheless possesses a charm that draws skiers back season after season. The summit at Willard sits at 1415 feet above sea level while the main base lodge rests at 910 feet, 505 feet below. There are 14 runs across 50 acres, with a difficulty spread of 30 percent novice, 40 percent intermediate, and 30 percent advanced. Night skiing is also available at Willard, with 35 acres of trails illuminated. Average snowfall comes in at about 80 inches per year, but snowmaking covers 35 acres when Mother Nature will not provide.
Windham is found in the northern Catskill Mountains, just a short trip from New York City. 97 percent snow coverage across 278 acres of skiing ensures fresh powder throughout the season. With an amazing 1600-foot vertical, Windham attracts skiers from all over the state who explore the 282 acres of skiable terrain. There are 53 trails at Windham, totaling over 12 miles of runs. Six terrain parks and night skiing over the resorts most popular trails just add to the draw. The park is serviced by seven chair lifts and five surface lifts, providing access to two different peaks at the resort.