Ski Resorts in Upstate New York

Lisa Marie Mercer
learn to ski

According to an article on the I love New York website, in 2009 the ski resorts in upstate New York had over four million skier visits. This record-breaking number moved New York ahead of Utah and into the category of the most popular ski destinations.

New York State as a Skiing Destination

In his book entitled Winter's Tale, author Mark Helprin creates a mythical New York City, which is embedded under layers of clean, glistening, pristine snow. In the real New York City, this would be a fantasy. However, in upstate New York, this is a reality. In fact, Governor David A. Paterson has designated January as "learn a winter sport month" in upstate New York. As such, many ski areas have "jumped on the ski lift" to escalate the cause of ski instruction. Additionally, the state has a special program which allows 4th graders to ski for free, as well as a New York Ski license plate.

Ski Resorts in Upstate New York Recent Improvements

Gore Mountain, which is located in North Creek, New York has begun construction on the mountain's interconnect to the North Creek Ski Bowl. The project will create new trails, as well as new terrain, and is scheduled for completion in the 2010/2011 seasons.

Holiday Valley, located in Ellicottville, New York is in the process of building the Tamarack Hotel. Additionally, they are renovating the Champagne Mountain Top Warming Hut, improving their snow-making capabilities and rebuilding the main lodge.

Greek Peak, located in Cortland, New York is a popular resort for Syracuse and Cornell University students. The Hope Lake Lodge and Indoor Water Park is its exciting new feature. This indoor water park is scheduled to open in October of 2009, and is the first of its kind at any ski resort. The park will offer a wave pool, a tubing water slide and indoor and outdoor hot tubs.

Bristol Mountain Winter Resort in Canandaigua, New York will be building the Galaxy Express. This new quad lift will be completed for the 2009/2010 season, and will allow skiers and snowboarders to ride from the base to the top of the mountain in approximatly four minutes.

Hunter Mountain Ski Resort

Because of its easy access to residents of New York City and New Jersey, Hunter Mountain is often jokingly referred to as "Huntah Mountain." The mountain has a base elevation of 1,600 feet above sea level and a summit of 3,200 feet. The resort boasts 240 acres of skiable terrain, and its 11 lifts carry skiers and snowboarders to its 55 trails. With 30 percent of Hunter Mountain terrain rated beginner, another 30 percent rated intermediate, 27 percent rated advanced and 13 percent rated expert, Hunter has terrain for all levels.

Hunter Mountain is located in Hunter, New York. While it's a two hour drive from New York City, there are a number of bus companies that offer day trips to the mountain.

Whiteface Mountain

Whiteface is located in Lake Placid, New York. The resort is operated by the New York Olympic Regional Development Authority. It's interesting to note that Whiteface Mountain's 3,430 foot vertical drop is the highest vertical drop in the east. In fact, it is even higher than Aspen in Colorado and Park City in Utah. Of the 80 Whiteface Mountain trails, only 20 percent are suitable for beginners. The rest of the mountain is divided into 43 percent intermediate terrain and 37 percent rated expert. Lifts at the Whiteface Ski resort include:

  • One eight-passenger gondola
  • One high speed quad
  • One fixed quad
  • Two triple chairs
  • Five double chairs
  • One conveyor lift

Ski Windham

While Whiteface might be known for its terrain, Ski Windham is famous for its highly unique ski school programs. For example, the Power Learn clinic is taught by Mermer Blakeslee, who is the author of Yikes! Zone: A Conversation With Fear. Although the $5400 price tag might sound a bit steep, it includes:

  • 48 hours of expert instruction
  • A Ski Windham season pass
  • Valet Parking
  • A Power Learn jacket
  • Free breakfast and lunch on clinic days
  • Unlimited ski tunes
  • Custom boot fitting by Green Mountain Orthotic Labs
  • Free demo days

Windham also offers a three-day on the snow fear workshop for women. The $700 price tag includes indoor lectures, five hours of daily small group lessons, breakfast, lunch, yoga, and a wine and cheese reception after the workshop.

Ski Resorts in Upstate New York