Skiing In The Catskills: A MapQuest Guide
Skiing in the Catskill Mountains of New York is great for day-trippers looking for respite from a New York City winter. While there are also ski resorts in the northern New Jersey highlands, the Catskills are commonly considered the closest "real" mountains to the metropolitan area. When there's a nor'easter on the way, swing up the thruway (or down, from Albany) and be sure to pack your best all-mountain gear and get ready to carve in the Catskills.
Windham MountainWith 269 skiable acres on two peaks, and more than twice that area devoted to other attractions, Windham Mountain definitely stresses the "resort" part of "ski resort." In addition to alpine skiing, Windham offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at nearby Windham Country Club, ample on-mountain lodging and outside-the-box fun like snow tubing and the Big Air Bag.
But naturally, the mountain is the main attraction. Windham Mountain's vertical rise of 1,600 feet rivals that of its neighbor, Hunter Mountain. On Fridays, Saturdays and holiday weekends, eight of its 49 trails and three of its five terrain parks are kept open for night skiing until 8 p.m. Trail difficulties are split evenly across skill levels, but its most challenging runs live on Windham's western peak.
The resort also offers some interesting promotions, including a partnership with Wyoming's Jackson Hole resort that entitles Windham season-pass holders to a 36 percent discount on lift tickets, and chances to win ski-and-lodging packages. Another deal is particularly sweet for college students, who can save more than 70 percent on a season pass with a valid student ID.
Catskills Ski & Snowboard Resorts Map
Click pinpoints for driving directions.
Hunter MountainThe slopes of Hunter Mountain's three peaks are as familiar to most upstate New York high school students as the Regents exams. But if there's one thing to be learned at Hunter, it's how to ski or snowboard like a pro. According to The Huffington Post, the resort's snow sports school has gained national recognition as a great place to learn the ropes. Its performance skiing boot camps focus on diverse areas and skill levels, from all-mountain refresher courses and greenhorn terrain park workshops to classes taught by and exclusively for women. Hunter's terrain park team deepens its engagement with its patrons by maintaining a lively blog showcasing the current season's highlights.
Hunter's 55 trails offer a lot of space for skiers and snowboarders to practice their skills, but also features plenty of "steeps and bumps for the experts." And thanks to its more than 1,100 high tech snowmaking machines, the so-called "Snowmaking Capitol Of The World" can guarantee snow, so long as its cold enough to stay frozen.
WATCH: Hunter Mountain's Ever-Evolving Terrain Park Features
BelleayreAccording to The Huffington Post, Belleayre's 171 skiable acres get an average of 120 inches of fresh, powdery snow per season. The resort's mid-mountain terrain is of predominantly easy-to-intermediate difficulty, which is great for novice skiers and snowboarders who want to challenge themselves without committing to the full-throttle thrills of the black-diamond and double-black-diamond runs from the summit.
As its trail organization suggests, Belleayre is a great place to learn, and Belleayre's many affordably priced ski and snowboard clinics only reinforce its reputation, as does the resort's feline mascot, the Belleayre Beast. Select local accommodations participate in "stay and ski packages" that offer discounts on lodging.
The ski area is run by the New York's Department of Environmental Conservation, which might account for its family friendly atmosphere and focus on safety and education. In January 2012, the Associated Press reported on possible jurisdiction changes aimed at making the resort more profitable.
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Plan your next winter getaway with MapQuest's ski resort guides for winter travel destinations in the U.S. and Canada.