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Snow is in the Air… So it’s Time to Talk About Skiing


The first snow of the season has officially descended on Upstate New York, burying its residents in several inches of fluffy powder. While I dig out my car, I’m also planning to dig out my skis – as our mountains prepare to open in anticipation of a great ski season.

Nearest to Rochester, NY is Bristol Mountain, a ski resort in the Finger Lakes that welcomes skiers to experience its 1200 ft. (400 yard) vertical and 138 skiable mountain areas. It’s the highest vertical between the Adirondacks and the Rocky Mountains, and the view from the top is absolutely incredible. With two high-speed quad chairlifts, four additional lifts, 35 slopes, and lit trails for night skiing, it’s all too easy to spend a day (or a few days) at Bristol. Trust me, I’ve done it!

While visiting Bristol, I’d advise you to take off your skis at some point and explore the other great options the mountain offers. Dine in one of five on-site restaurants, or stop in for a cocktail at the Satellite Lounge (21+). Head to the mountaintop and try the new Zipline Canopy Tour, which gives you a treetop view of Bristol year-round. Or, check out a Ski & Stay package – lift tickets included - and take a day to explore the Finger Lakes during your visit.

Over to the west in Ellicottville, NY lies another great ski resort – Holiday Valley. Just 2 ½ hours from Toronto (via the QEW), Holiday Valley is an awesome place to spend a weekend. The mountain offers 58 day trails and 37 night trails, with 13 lifts running daily to take you to the top. Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, and an on-site spa are also available for non-skiers or those looking to switch up their activities during the day. And possibly the coolest part of Holiday Valley is the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster. The coaster is a winding track that sits low to the ground, zipping riders down the mountain in cars controlled by its passenger. The coaster operates just before Christmas and continues through mid-March – so the time to start planning your trip is now!

Also located in Western NY down by the Pennsylvania border, lies Peek’n Peak Resort, home to 27 groomed slopes and trails (and eight chairlifts), as well as snow tubing and cross country skiing. In the summer (I know, it’s a ways away), the resort is also booming with activity, including golf, mini golf, mountain biking, an aerial adventure course, zip lining, an archery range, and Segway adventure tours. Peek’n Peak offers on-site lodging and condos, so you can get away with the family for a day or a whole week.

Swain Ski Center has 33 trails, five lifts, and two terrain parks that welcome every age and level of skier and snowboarder onto its trails. The mountain offers on-site lodging and Special Ski Packages for visitors, including:
• 8 Pack Lift (8 Anytime All Day, transferable lift tickets) $399
• 6 Pack of Adult and Teenager Group Lessons (Ages 13 and up) $179
• 6 Pack of Children’s Learning Center (Ages 4-12) $199
They also have Lift Ticket Deals throughout the week, including:
• Thursday *Senior Day: All Day $29
• Thursday *College Day: $29 (college id required)
• Friday *Ladies Day: All Day $29
• Military Active Duty (Every Day) $29

To wrap up my round-up, I’m ending with a personal favorite, Woods Valley Ski Area in Westernville, (Central) NY. Woods Valley is the littlest of the ski resorts I’ve mentioned, which makes it the perfect place for beginner skiers and snowboarders to learn. The resort has 11 trails and three chair lifts, as well as one terrain park at the top of its Black Diamond level slope. It’s a great place to take the family for the day, and experience skiing in Central New York. Woods Valley also has six snow tubing lanes open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the season.

Whichever mountain you choose to visit, I wish you great conditions and fabulous winter fun!