December 2, 2013

Powder Power: Great Places To Ski Near NYC


Sweet ski escapes near NYC for the family.

By Danielle Kraese


Killington Resort

Killington Resort

As the temperatures creep below freezing, it’s tempting to crawl under the warmth of the covers and hide out until spring. But we encourage you to embrace the cold with a weekend excursion to one of the Northeast’s top ski resorts, where you can take in the fresh mountain air, gorgeous summit views that stretch for miles, and the kind of quiet serenity that just can’t be found in a big city. With plenty of locations geared toward little ones—some just a mere 47 miles from New York City—there’s a suitable adventure for every family.

Thunder Ridge Ski Resort (Patterson, NY)
This icy escape is a short 75-minute drive from New York City, close enough to ensure that cranky complaints and requests for bathroom stops will be at a minimum. Thunder Ridge boasts 30 different trails with three chairlifts and four kid-friendly magic carpet lifts, making it suitable for skiers and boarders of every age and skill level. For an alternative to driving, you can take the Metro-North Ski Train to the Patterson station and enjoy free shuttle service right to the resort. About 1.5 hours from NYC, thunderridgeski.com

Hunter Mountain (Hunter, NY)
Tucked away in the Catskills, this is the perfect destination for novice skiers. The vast mountain is nationally recognized as a prime resort for those who are learning to ski, and it has 14 distinct trails made specifically for beginners and families. After a grueling day on the snow-coated slopes, parents can kick back and give those muscles a break at the resort’s luxury spa center while the kids enjoy one of the mountain’s newest offerings: heavenly waffles made fresh to order with your choice of topping! About 2.5 hours from NYC, huntermtn.com

Windham Mountain (Windham, NY)
Windham offers the most skiing and snowboarding within 200 miles of New York City, with roughly 1600 vertical feet of trails. In addition to the slopes, the resort has an assortment of great restaurant options, including an outdoor barbecue and bar. If you enjoy the royal treatment, become a member of the 3500 Club for access to a private locker room that boasts its own restrooms, boot dryers, big screen televisions, an exclusive slopeside entrance, and oversized lockers for conveniently storing your family’s equipment. About 2.5 hours from NYC, windhammountain.com

Whiteface Mountain (Wilmington, NY)
The tallest ski mountain in the Northeast with the most substantial vertical drop, Whiteface Mountain has a rich history along with a stunning 360-degree view of the Adirondacks. Follow in the ski tracks of Olympic greats like Phil Mahre, who earned a silver metal on this same mountain in 1980, or Andrew Weibrecht, who took home the bronze medal in 2010. But if your family has first-time skiers, don’t let this scare you off! Lessons are available for both kids and adults, led by some of the best instructors around. About 5 hours from NYC, whiteface.com

Mountain Creek Mountain House (Vernon, NJ)
This excursion is a quick and painless journey from the city, clocking in at just 47 miles from the George Washington Bridge. At Mountain Creek, you’ll find that the offerings go way beyond exhilarating trails and top-notch learning programs for skiers and boarders—it’s also home to one of the largest snow tubing parks in the nation, not to mention guided zipline tours and a new Alpine Mountain Coaster. Best of all: The mountain stays open late, so the fun doesn’t have to end once the sun goes down! About 1.5 hours from NYC, mountaincreek.com

Camelback Mountain (Tannersville, PA)
Situated in the Poconos, Camelback has it all: 34 sprawling trails, kids and adult lesson packages, diverse dining choices, and lodging to fit every budget. An especially unique draw is the Graffiti Terrain Park, a snowboarding haven that features custom murals painted by professional graffiti artists. At the end of a rigorous day on the slopes, the grownups can retire to the Thirsty Camel or the Glen Lodge to unwind with some live music.  About 1.5 hours from NYC, skicamelback.com

Jiminy Peak (Hancock, MA)
The largest ski resort in southern New England, Jiminy Peak is the only mountain-based resort in North America that uses alternative wind power to create its own energy. It strives to reduce carbon footprints—leaving behind only snow boot footprints. The mountain is carved with 45 trails, nearly half of which remain lit at night to allow for skiing beneath the stars. For beginners or those who have yet to master the slopes, learning programs are available for adults and children as young as 3. About 3 hours from NYC, jiminypeak.com

Stratton (Stratton Mountain, VT)
Breathe in the brisk Vermont air while exploring Stratton’s 94 different trails, ranging from the meandering and scenic to the steep and adrenaline-pumping. The mountain operates 11 lifts and one high-speed gondola to transport you to the top of the mountain, as well as a magic carpet lift for those who prefer not to stray from the bunny slopes. After the last run of the day, retire to the cozy, rustic lodge or venture into the quaint village at the mountain’s base for an evening of shopping and dining. About 4 hours from NYC, stratton.com

Killington Resort (Killington, VT)
Located at the heart of Vermont, Killington offers 140 trails spread across seven different mountain peaks with ample lifts to get you where you need to be. While the mountain may hold the record for the greatest vertical drop in the New England region, the excitement doesn’t end once you kick off your skis. Off-mountain attractions include a tubing park, sleigh rides, snowmobile tours, snowshoeing, spa treatments, live bands, festivals, and more than 100 restaurant and bars to explore—certainly enough to make the drive worth your time! About 4.5 hours from NYC, killington.com

Okemo Mountain Resort (Ludlow, VT)
Find 119 thrill-inducing trails—the longest of which spans 4.5 miles—woven throughout Okemo Mountain. Rated Top U.S. Family Snow Resort by Parents Magazine, the resort offers a range of lesson programs to ensure your little one will be gliding down the slopes with confidence in no time. If you’re feeling adventurous, test your skills at one of ten terrain parks. With chilly weather challenges, like rails, jumps, and pumps, these parks range in difficulty from beginner-friendly to daredevils-only. When night falls, take a tour of the mountain with a tranquil Snowcat Ride. About 4.5 hours from NYC, okemo.com

Waterville Valley Resort (Waterville Valley, NH)
Nestled in the vast expanse of the White Mountain National Forest, the trails comprising Waterville Valley Resort suit every level of skier, from the slow learner to the speed demon. The resort’s Adaptive Snowsports program offers children and adults with physical and mental challenges to experience the mountain with the assistance of dedicated volunteers. After the lifts have been put to rest for the day, you’ll find another way to traverse the snowy terrain with a Twilight Dogsled Excursion, in which a team of friendly sled dogs will lead single riders through the breathtaking valley. About 5.5 hours from NYC, waterville.com

Belleayre (Highmount, NY)
This popular snow haven has 55 different trails for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, the longest of which stretches on for 2.3 blissful miles. This resort came from modest beginnings, but over the last 15 years it has grown to attract thousands of slope enthusiasts from all around the world.  For little ones who are still learning, the Kidscamp caters to ages 4 through 12 for skiing and 7 through 12 for snowboarding. About 2.5 hours from NYC, belleayre.com

Blue Mountain (Palmerton, PA)
Stationed within the gorgeous Little Gap Valley, BlueMountain offers 39 trails, 6 terrain parks, 21 tubing slides, a luge track, plus an incredible view of the Pocono Mountains. Head here for Pennsylvania’s highest vertical drop and a variety of terrain to suit every skill level. When dinnertime rolls around, stay near the slope with one of many on-site restaurants or venture out into the town for a memorable meal! About 2 hours from NYC, skibluemt.com

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