I am living in the Capital District of New York State, where I have the best of all worlds when it comes to skiing opportunities. (Well not really the best since we are not near western skiing) however almost the best, since I have numerous ski areas at my disposal which allow us to do day trips. Day trips is one of the ways to keep skiing affordable for the family especially when you may have 3 or 4 or more in the family to ski.
Vermont and Massachusetts have their ski areas that are within 2 hours from my doorstep and in my opinion that is the limit to day trip skiing. So why do many people ski in Vermont instead of New York state? Maybe it’s just the New England attraction, or the highways from the New York metropolitan areas to Vermont and New Hampshire?
There are certainly numerous larger ski areas that are comparable to those in Vermont Here in New York, as a matter of fact there are over 50 ski areas in New York State. The larger areas are on the eastern part of the state which is closest to the Vermont border.
Areas like Gore with a vertical of about 2500 ft. and Whiteface almost 3430 ft. of vertical in the Adirondack and Hunter 1500 ft., Bellaire 1400 ft. and Windham 1600 ft. in the Catskills come to mind. All of these areas have substantial vertical and high speed lifts that can easily compare to many of the New England ski areas. If you are looking for numbers of trails there may not be the same but you can only ski on one trail at a time and as far as I am concerned when I find a trail with great conditions on it I sometimes tend to stay on it and not jump around the mountain.
These areas are easy to get to, just up the New York State Thruway and 20 to 30 minutes west for those in the Catskills approx. 2 hours from NYC metropolitan areas. Gore and Whiteface are 30 minutes west of the Adirondack Northway about 1 &1/2 hour to 2 hours respectively from the Albany capital district.
When you get to the top of Whiteface Mountain, you’ll be at the top of northeast skiing. No ski mountain in the east reaches higher. Around you, dozens of Adirondack peaks jut into the horizon. The fresh air filling your lungs has just blown over a protected park larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite, combined. And below you lie trails that have led Olympic athletes to glory. American Phil Mahre won silver here in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Andrew Weibrecht, a Lake Placid local who grew up skiing at Whiteface, earned a Bronze Medal in Super G at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and a Silver at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics! It’s your turn. Of course you can’t forget Lake Placid with the rest of the winter venues to see and use.
Compare the verticals to Stratton which has 2000 ft. of vertical. I think one should not look at the vertical when choosing a mountain to go to but more the lift length and what they service because many of the mountains have similar capacities of lift. Not necessarily in numbers of lift but in vertical and lengths of lifts. As far as I am concerned as long as I am on the snow no matter how long the run is, I am happy.
The further west you go the mountains are not quite as big so if you were to live in the Syracuse area you can ski areas like Song Mountain, Greek Peak and Labrador. These 3 areas are smaller with about 750 vertical feet but if you want to ski and are not looking for the long expensive ski vacation or ski weekend with overnight stays and meals you can always ski these areas.
There are also areas further west that service the Buffalo and Rochester area. Again, many of the ski areas with limited elevation but still great opportunities to get out and ski. The smaller ski areas provide an important service in the ski area business. They are the feeder areas for the bigger ones. They are the ones that are closest to your community to help supply the lesson programs and ski clubs for the public schools to get out and learn to ski, hence many of these areas are open at night for the afterschool programs. West Mountain is another good example just 45 minutes from Albany and some new additions this year to the mountain.
For more information of about New York State skiing check out the websitehttps://www.iskiny.com/ you will find stat , deals and what ‘s going on throughout the season at all the NEW York State ski areas.
I guess I am lucky in where I live since I can ski probably 20 different ski areas within 2 hours of my house in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont. No real reason to venture further east into New Hampshire and Maine. Unless I plan a trip and then Utah and Colorado comes into mind. Since the start of the eastern skiing season was really marginal this year I did take advantage of western skiing and will write about that trip next.