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Family-Friendly Ski Resorts in Upstate New York: Plan Your Next Getaway

snowboarders sitting down at family-friendly ski resort new york

Need a winter getaway? Take a ski trip with your family in Upstate New York. There are a ton of ski resorts and ski slopes to choose from, so we rounded up our top picks. Many of the resorts have gentle slopes and “ski school” for kids and adults, so no prior ski experience is necessary to have some family fun. We’ve even included the updated COVID-19 policies for each resort so that you can know ahead of time what to expect. Start packing your bags for your next weekend stay at a New York ski resort! 

Psst…Looking for holiday activities in NYC? Check out Bryant Park Winter Village 2020: Guide for Kids and Families in NYC

Family-Friendly Ski Resorts in Upstate New York

Kissing Bridge 

10296 State Road, Glenwood, NY 14069 

Kissing Bridge Snow Sports has 39 slopes spread out over 700 acres. It offers a variety of courses perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers, as well as courses designed to test the skills of advanced skiers. Although Kissing Bridge has plenty of space and slopes, it isn’t a resort. It has four on-site dining options, but it doesn’t have a lodge or on-site accommodation. However, the sheer size of this ski area coupled with easy access to local dining and lodging might make it worth the drive from New York of just over six hours.

There are also new policies in place due to COVID-19. Masks and social distancing are required, and all ticket sales will be pre-sale/online. Daily lift ticket sales are limited. All lessons including children’s instruction and school ski clubs will be required to secure advanced online reservations, and there are a reduced number of spots available. Ski and snowboard lessons will only run Thursday through Sunday, and there will be no indoor breaks or hot cocoa. To read more about COVID-19 policies, head to their website at kbski.com/updated-covid-mission/

Thunder Ridge Ski Area

137 Birch Hill Road, Patterson, NY 12563

Thunder Ridge Ski Area offers skiing options for beginners as well as advanced options for those with a little more slope time under their belt. With 22 trails, three chairlifts, four magic carpets, a variety of levels of difficulty, lessons for children and adults, and local dining and lodging options, it’s worth the one and a half-hour drive north of the city. For those looking for a day or weekend outing, the close proximity makes Thunder Ridge a great choice.

Thunder Ridge is looking forward to their winter ski season, and they are preparing for it safely by following COVID-19 protocols. Given the large size of the outdoor area, Thunder Ridge is confident that they can still bring friends and family together through winter recreation in a fun and safe way with social distancing guidelines in place. 

Hunt Hollow Ski Club 

7532 County Road #36, Naples, NY 14512

Hunt Hollow Ski Club is just under five hours from New York City, but it’s almost exclusively interstate driving, which makes it much easier. In addition to being an easy drive, Hunt Hollow has the slopes and amenities that more than make up for its distance from the city. Their 300-acre winter sports area features 80 acres of trails, 2.5 miles of cross country trails, and slopes ranging from The Gauntlet, a double black diamond, to six beginner courses. Hunt Hollow also features a lodge, ski shop, and dining. There are no accommodation options on-site, but plenty can be found in the area, making this a great ski getaway for families.

Hunt Hollow Ski Club follows Ski Well, Be Well: Ski Operating Best Practices in response to the global pandemic. Face coverings are required in both indoor and outdoor spaces, and several measures are in place to ensure social distancing. Nobody will be required to ride a ski lift with someone they do not know, and cleaning and disinfecting strategies will keep high-touch areas safe. 

Mount Peter Ski Area 

51 Old Mt Peter Road, Warwick, NY 10990

Mount Peter Ski Area is just over an hour from NYC! It offers slopes ranging from basic to advanced black diamond trails along with snow tubing. They offer skiing and snowboarding lessons for both adults and children, including the popular Pete’s Pals, designed to introduce skiing to the youngest of future slope riders. They’re famous for their FREE beginner lessons on weekends and holidays. Although it’s not a resort, there are plenty of lodging and dining options available nearby. 

Clear guidelines have not yet been outlined regarding COVID-19 policies, but Mount Peter is aware of their important responsibility to keep all guests and employees safe and healthy. As they parse through the document of restrictions and guidelines that came from NY government, they’ll be making some decisions about what their winter season will look like, so stay tuned at mtpeter.com/covid-19-updates

Maple Ski Ridge 

2725 Mariaville Road, Schenectady, NY 12306

For those looking for family-friendly ski resorts in Upstate New York, the biggest selling point for Maple Ski Ridge is its simplicity. It will never be an upscale, high-difficulty ski mecca, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than okay for our purposes! Maple Ski Ridge offers simple slopes, simple pricing, and a great introduction to skiing and snowboarding for all ages. It’s a two and a half-hour drive from NYC, but at almost all interstate driving. With lodging availability nearby, the family and beginner-friendly slopes of Maple Ski Ridge might be just the thing for many New York families. 

How will Maple Ski Ridge keep your family safe and healthy? They plan to limit indoor access to food purchases and restroom visits, and they will be monitoring the number of guests at Maple Ski Ridge. They will be operating at 33% of hourly uphill lift capacity. Daily area use passes will be sold online this year. Though they will still offer them at the window, it is highly recommended that you purchase online because there will be a limited number of daily passes available. Masks are required at all times, and only one parent/guardian can accompany their kiddo to drop off at their lesson. Read more at mapleskiridge.com/covid-19

Titus Mountain Ski Center 

215 Johnson Road, Malone, NY 12953

Located just north of Titusville Mountain State Forest and at five and a half hours from NYC, Titus Mountain Ski Center is a bit of a trek. However, all that driving pays off once you finally arrive. Although it’s not as fancy as Whiteface (see below!) the skiing is good, the prices are far cheaper, and it offers slope-side accommodations and dining. When you factor in slopes ranging from double black diamond to green beginner courses and ski lessons for kids and adults, Titus Mountain makes for one of the best valued family-friendly ski resorts in Upstate New York.

Masks are required at all times, except when eating/drinking or skiing. Lifts are restricted to members of the same party, and ski lessons have no more than 10 people. There is thorough disinfecting and cleaning of rented equipment, and outdoor capacity on the mountain is reduced to 25% during “peak” days or if multiple trails are closed due to unseasonable conditions. 

Toggenburg Mountain Ski Center

1135 Toggenburg Road, Fabius, NY 13063

With twenty-one trails to fit every level of skier, Toggenburg Mountain Ski Center makes for an excellent getaway for ski lovers of any age. There are instructional classes for both children and adults and delicious dining at the Foggy Goggle. Be aware that there is no lodging at the center itself. However, it’s not difficult to book a place to stay in the nearby area. Although it offers excellent skiing, between the four-hour drive and having to book external lodging, it might not be everyone’s travel cup of tea.

Face coverings have to be worn at all times, except when eating, skiing, and riding. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures have been implemented throughout the facilities and all staff members are required to complete a temperature and health check at the beginning of each shift. Capacity in all food service areas will be limited to 50%. They plan to add a “Grab & Go” shack at the South end of the Base Lodge as well. Lesson sizes will be limited, and reservations will be required by all guests. 

Oak Mountain Ski Center

141 Novosel Way, Speculator, NY 12164

Oak Mountain Ski Center focuses on great skiing and affordable pricing. It’s called a center and not a resort because it has no dining or lodging options, but in this case, that’s completely acceptable. After all, when you’re on a skiing trip, you want great skiing. Oak Mountain has that in abundance. With four lifts, 22 trails, four snow tubing lanes, and miles of snowshoeing trails, Oak Mountain has something for everyone. They also offer top-notch ski instruction for both kids and adults. Although it’s an almost four-hour drive from NYC, Oak Mountain has several excellent dining and lodging options nearby. 

There is reduced capacity in all buildings in response to COVID-19. Masks are required at all times, except while hiking, biking or seated while eating or drinking. The Acorn Pub & Eatery is open for dinner service with limited capacity to allow for the appropriate physical distancing. It is highly recommended that you make reservations in advance. 

Windham Mountain

19 Resort Dr., Windham, NY 12496

At about a two and a half-hour drive from New York City and under an hour from Albany, Windham Mountain Resort makes for an easily accessible family ski trip. It combines the welcoming comfort that the Catskills area is known for with the amenities skiers usually only find at big mountain resorts out west. With a variety of slopes, lessons for all age groups, available ski-in/ski-out lodging, great dining options, and even a spa, Windham Mountain practically guarantees a great experience for every skier.

Things will definitely look different this season. The Children’s Learning Center will be closed for the whole season, so no daycare or nursery facilities will operate. Capacity restrictions will be in place and on-site ticket purchases will not be available on capacity-restricted days. You can follow the “red” day, “green” day calendar and plan accordingly! Indoor lodge capacity will be restricted to 50% and you must get ready at your vehicles because no lockers or cubbies will be available at the base lodge and no bags may be left at the building. Advanced registration for rental equipment will be required.  Read more at windhammountain.com/covid19

Greek Peak Mountain Resort 

2000 NY-392, Cortland, NY 13045

Located north of James Kennedy State Forest and south of Tuller Hill State Forest, Greek Peak Mountain Resort is an outdoor adventurer’s dream. As the name implies, Greek Peak offers a variety of skiing options and opportunities. This family-friendly resort getaway also has an Adventure Center, indoor water park, and even a spa. At around three and a half hours from NYC, it’s a bit of a drive but still close enough to make a weekend trip out of it.

The water park is open, but all guests will have their temperatures taken and recorded. The area will be vacated between time periods so they can clean and sanitize before the next group of guests is allowed into the pool areas. Similarly, at the Adventure Center, guests will be asked to complete a short health questionnaire including temperature screening upon arrival, and masks will be required. The spa is temporarily closed, but will likely open during the winter season. 

Willard Mountain

77 The Intervale Road, Greenwich Historic District, NY 12834 

Willard Mountain is a no-frills downhill ski area. An ideal start mountain for kids or adults, Willard Mountain offers beautiful views, excellent pricing, and lights for night skiing. In addition, this off-the-beaten-path ski area is low on crowds, which makes it even better for newbies. Although it’s a simple place, it still has a nice lodge with dining and drinks in the lounge for warming up after a day of skiing. It’s a three-hour drive from New York City, and it has no lodging so you’ll need to do a bit of extra planning if you plan to visit this gem.

Willard Mountain says: “Consider the 2020-21 Ski Season as a new ski trail, with new terrain, never ventured before.” Here’s what we love: if for any medical reason you are unable to use your pass or state mandates require them to close, Willard will roll over credit to the 2021-2022 season! Social distancing measures are in place and indoor capacity is reduced. 

Hunter Mountain

64 Klein Ave, Hunter, NY 12442

One of the best family-friendly ski resorts in Upstate New York, Hunter Mountain has so much more than just skiing. While the resort is home to plenty of trails, it also offers skiing lessons for children and adults of different skill levels, and beautiful on-site lodging including their lodge, the Kaatskill Mountain Club. With so many activities and excellent accommodations, it’s worth the just over two-hour drive to get there. 

Only related parties will be seated together on the ski lift, maximum class size for Ski & Ride School will be six people, and group lessons will only be available for ages 7 and up this season. Kids ages 4 to 6 can take one-on-one lessons. Restaurants will be opened with reduced capacity, and all transactions will be cashless. Equipment rentals will be available, but capacity will be monitored in the rental shop, so there may be long lines. 

McCauley Mountain Ski Area 

300 McCauley Road, Old Forge, NY 13420

What McCauley Mountain Ski Area lacks in size, it makes up for in great skiing and a variety of slopes. Located in the heart of the Adirondack mountains, McCauley offers big mountain skiing without the big mountain lines and high prices. McCauley has skiing options for every skill level, from advanced double black diamond runs to blue and even green circles for beginner adults and kids. It’s a solid, four and a half-hour car ride to get there, but the quality of the slopes makes it more than worth it.

McCauley is open for the 2020-2021 season, but there are guidelines in place to ensure every family’s safety and health. Their website also links to a handy list of restaurants in the area that offer indoor dining at 50% capacity so that you can plan out your stay. 

Whiteface Mountain

5021 Route 86, Wilmington, NY 12997

Located north and east of Lake Placid in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness, Whiteface Mountain is one of the best ski resorts in all of New York. This resort offers plenty of downhill and cross country trails – all beautifully maintained – to suit a variety of skill levels. In addition, they offer ski lessons for kids, teens, and adults, as well as private lessons and an adaptive ski program. Visitors can enjoy the bobsled experience, Lake Placid Olympic Museum, and Olympic Center Tour. It’s a four and a half-hour drive from the city, but it’s well worth the road trip to get there.

Advanced purchase online is required for all lift tickets, lessons, and rentals. Employees have daily health screenings prior to each shift, and there are cleaning procedures in place. Masks are required if you are within 6 feet of others or you are indoors. Winter may look different this year, but you will still have the same adventures, scenic vistas, and snowy terrains at Whiteface Mountain! 

Belleayre Mountain

181 Galli Curci Road, Highmount, NY 12441

Belleayre Mountain’s excellent skiing, reasonable pricing, and year-round activities make it one of the best family-friendly ski resorts in Upstate New York. We love their heated gondola that keeps us nice and warm on the slopes. With a variety of downhill courses, a snowsports school offering classes for kids, teens, and adults, and summer activities like biking, hiking, and Belleayre Beach, this resort has something for everyone at almost any time of year. Located just north of Big Indian Wilderness, it is just over a two-hour drive from NYC. 

Belleayre required that everyone wears a mask when within 6 feet of others or when indoors. Employees have daily health screenings prior to each shift, and there are plenty of cleaning procedures in place to ensure your health and safety. Advanced purchase online is required for all lift tickets, lessons, and rentals, and indoor storage space is limited, so you’re encouraged to leave personal belongings in your vehicle. All indoor food and beverage locations will adhere to a 50% reduction in capacity. 

Plattekill Mountain

469 Plattekill Road, Roxbury, NY 12474

Located in the northwestern Catskills, Plattekill Mountain is a different breed of ski resort. This privately owned and operated resort, affectionately called “Platty” by the many ski enthusiasts who visit regularly each year, offers a unique family vibe that visitors love. Skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing fun can all be found on the mountain, but visitors will also find a welcoming atmosphere, plenty of smiles, and unique experiences. At just about a two and a half-hour drive from the city, it’s a great option for getting in some great skiing and feeling like you found a second home.

Plattekill has been working hard to prepare for the upcoming season. Lift tickets will all be sold online this year to control capacity. You will still be able to purchase tickets at the mountain, but only through the online system and if tickets are still available. Rentals will also ALL be sold online and will require renters to fill out their form in advance. Advanced registration will also be required for lessons, so it will be best to reserve them as early as you can. Stay up to date with their COVID-19 page to see the latest updates and policies. 

Holiday Valley

6557 Holiday Valley Road, Ellicottville, NY 14731

Holiday Valley is best described as a four-season ski resort. During the winter, enjoy skiing, tubing, cross country, and snowshoeing fun. Visitors can also take advantage of the classes offered. With plenty of upscale lodging, dining and activities, Holiday Valley really does offer everything anyone could ask for in a resort. It’s more than worthy of the six-hour drive it takes to get there.

Guests must wear masks or face coverings at all times unless eating or drinking or while skiing or snowboarding down the slopes. Holiday Valley encourages you to purchase your tickets in advance online. There may be some busy holidays or weekends where they may need to restrict ticket sales. Indoor seating will be extremely limited. You should gear up at your car, limit your time spent indoors, and go straight to the lift where possible. Lift lines will also be reworked to allow for social distancing. 

Gore Mountain 

793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek, NY 12853

Located on the eastern edge of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness, Gore Mountain has something for everyone all year round. In the winter months, visitors can take advantage of 110 trails and 14 lifts on New York’s biggest mountain. The resort also offers classes and private lessons for kids, teens, and adults. With a variety of beautiful accommodation options and delicious dining choices, the mountain is an all-season resort destination that’s widely considered to be the best in all of New York and in the upper echelon of the northeastern US. It’s well worth the drive of just under four hours from NYC to get there.

Advanced purchase online is required for all lift tickets, lessons, and rentals in response to COVID-19. Indoor storage space is limited, so Gore Mountain encourages you to leave personal belongings in your vehicle. All indoor food and beverage locations will adhere to a 50% reduction in capacity. There will be a phased opening for ski school programs, and those taking lessons will need a health screening 24 hours prior. Note that they will not be offering indoor childcare services this season.