From New York To Massachusetts, The Best Nearby Northeast Ski Getaways
Find a top-tier ski resort without traveling too far afield? Yes, you can.
Hunter Mountain, located in Hunter, New York, is less than three hours from White Plains.
It won’t be long before white snowflakes cover the ground and you’re reaching for a mug of tasty hot cocoa. But there’s plenty to do besides sit in front of a fireplace all day—assuming you aren’t too war-weary from shoveling your driveway. It’s ski season, after all, so grab your poles and get ready for a day or weekend at the slopes with your friends, family, or—dare we say—co-workers.
Westchester’s location close to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the Northeast—Vermont and New Hampshire, for example—makes a ski getaway a viable choice, but it’s also true that there’s a big, big difference between one or two hours in the car and four or five hours in the car (especially if we’re talking about a regular two-day weekend). So we’ve selected a crop of those too-oft forgotten slopes nearby (our official criterion was less than two and a half hours from White Plains) that offer up quality skiing and, with their relatively close proximity, let your lumbar sore on the slopes, not in the driver’s seat.
What’s the best mountain for you? All ski areas offer a range of trails and services, so you’re likely to find something for people of every skill level to enjoy no matter where you ski (or snowboard, or tube). But each destination shines at some feature in particular, and, lucky for you, we’ve identified what that is for five of the best resorts nearby.
Great for Groups
Hours: Tuxedo Ridge opens at 1 pm on weekdays and 9 am on weekends.
Lift Tickets: Monday to Thursday full-day adult passes are $25 for adults; $60 on weekends.
581 Route 17A, Tuxedo Park, NY
Some people don’t handle the cold weather months so, uh, gracefully. Being locked inside an office during the winter can be a total downer—tempers flare, disputes erupt, attitudes sink and sour. But an off-site trip to a ski lodge makes for a great reprieve and team-bonding experience for your business—even for those who aren’t familiar with the slopes.
Most ski resorts offer a discounted rate for groups as long as you book in advance, but Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center in Tuxedo Park, New York—less than 45 minutes from White Plains—cuts the full-day rate almost in half. A normal, weekday ski-and-ride pass costs $25, but groups of 15 or more pay just $15. On weekends, those fares fall from $50 for an all-day pass to $20 with a group. And visitors can rent a pair of skis for $15 or a snowboard for $18 at the group rate. Group lessons—$15 per person on weekdays and $20 on weekends—are also available with an experienced staff instructor.
Complete the office retreat by reserving an on-site lodge and catering services offered by the Tuxedo Ridge staff, so those non-skiers in the group can still take in the mountain scenery. Tuxedo Ridge’s lodges seat 100 and feature a full-service bar and firepit to keep everyone toasty, as well as custom menus to suit your team.
For overnight trips, book rooms at one of the many B&Bs or major hotels in nearby Mahwah, New Jersey, roughly 10 minutes from the mountain.
Nearly half of Jiminy Peak's 45 trails are illuminated at night.
Great for Night Skiing
Hours: Jiminy Peak opens at 9 am on weekdays and 8:30 am on weekends.
Lift Tickets: Full-day adult tickets are $69; $77 on holidays. Half-day adult tickets are available at a $5 discount.
37 Corey Rd, Hancock, MA
Ready to ski with the best of them? Well, you don’t necessarily have to drive to Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine to find a top-notch resort. Instead, visit Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock, Massachusetts. You can reach the mountain in about two and a half hours from White Plains.
But it’s the night skiing that makes Jiminy Peak the perfect destination for Westchester skiers. “Jiminy’s lights illuminate 22 of the 45 trails, allowing the slopeside fun to last each day until 10 pm,” says Craig Light, marketing coordinator for Jiminy Peak. Purchase an unlimited season pass for $935, or pick up a twilight-exclusive pass—valid from 3 pm to 10 pm all season—for $372.
It’s a great mountain to enjoy for more than just night skiing, though. “It also lies close to many cultural and educational destinations that the Berkshires are well known for,” Light says. Rent a room on-site at The Country Inn at Jiminy Peak or stay in one of the inn’s nearby two-bedroom “vacation homes” for a winter getaway. The vacation homes feature full kitchens and bathrooms, cable or satellite TV in case you need a break from the slopes, and a fireplace.
Mohawk Mountain has one of the best beginner ski areas on the East Coast.
Great for Beginners
Hours: Mohawk Mountain opens at 9:30 am on weekdays and 8:30 am on weekends and holidays.
Lift Tickets: Unlimited weekday adult tickets are $30; $60 on weekends and holidays.
46 Great Hollow Rd, Cornwall, CT
You’ve always wondered if skiing was the right sport for you. Give it a shot at Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall, Connecticut, less than an hour-and-a-half drive from White Plains.
“We have one of the finest beginner areas on the East Coast—gently sloping terrain, serviced by a pair of carpet conveyer lifts [on-the-ground conveyors] and the Nutmeg Triple Chair [a conventional three-seat lift],” says Trish Morrissey, Mohawk’s director of operations and guest services. “Many families use trips to Mohawk and lessons at our Snowsports Discovery Center as preparation for family ski trips out west or to Europe.”
The Snowsports Discovery Center provides lesson programs for all ages and skill levels. Private lessons cost $105 per hour, likely the best option for an adult learning to hit the slopes. For the kids, you can purchase one of three learn to ski/snowboard packages that bundles a lift ticket, rental package, and group lesson. One of them is the Parent-Tot program, where parents of intermediate ski level—with the guidance of an instructor—can teach their youngsters, ages 3 to 4, how to ski. If you’re looking for more, the Discovery Center offers intensive programs like the Yeti Club for 5- to 13-year-olds (two-hour weekend sessions lasting seven or 14 weeks) and the Mountain Division, downhill race prep for advanced 6- to 13-year-olds. (Unfortunately, these two are full for the 2014-2015 season.)
Great for a Getaway
Hours: Mountain Creek opens at 9 am.
Lift tickets: Full-day adult tickets are $53 Monday to Thursday, $67 Friday to Sunday.
200 New Jersey 94, Vernon Township, NJ
Roughly an hour and a half from White Plains, Mountain Creek Ski Resort in Vernon Township, New Jersey, is a close and convenient spot for a quick weekend getaway.
Mountain Creek features a range of difficult trails spread across four peaks and eight lifts, meaning you have plenty of options for an epic weekend hitting the powder. The resort also boasts a 1,040-foot vertical drop. The slopes are well maintained, too, with 100 percent snowmaking coverage to ensure the freshest snow for guests. Of course, if you’re not interested in expert trails, the resort offers plenty of options for beginners and intermediate skiers alike, as well as a 30-lane tubing park.
Plus, a visit to one of the two on-site spas—Elements or Reflections—will wipe away the stress from a busy week. And those in the group not inclined to play in the snow and the cold will find plenty to enjoy at both spas. “The spa is very nice to go to because you’re right here. Half of your party can go outside and half can be inside,” says Jenny Tapia, spa director at Elements. At Elements, you’ll find the usual set of full-body treatments, facials, and massages, plus “treatments for two” if you’re looking for romance.
Hunter Mountain offers tubing in addition to some serious skiing.
Great for Serious Skiers
Hours: Hunter Mountain opens at 9 am on weekdays and 8:30 am on weekends.
Lift Tickets: Full-day adult tickets are $76 on weekends; $66 midweek.
7740 Main St, Hunter, NY
You’ve been skiing for years. You tear up the slopes on your snowboard. You’re a serious master of the mountain and you want to test your skills against the ultimate challenge. Make the two-and-a-half-hour trek to the Catskills for a day of skiing at Hunter Mountain if you want to test your mettle on some of the best drops nearby.
The mountain features plenty for beginner and intermediate skiers, but the more experienced ones reign supreme here. Forty percent of the 57 trails at Hunter Mountain are fit for advanced and expert skiers, making it one of the most difficult resorts in the area. The Hunter West area exclusively offers those types of runs, so you can ride with fellow thrill-seekers without any bunny slopes nearby.
Even if you don’t jump for joy at the sight of fresh powder, you can appreciate a trip to the charming villages of Hunter and Tannersville. Get your culture fill with a visit to the Catskill Mountain Foundation Piano Performance Museum (they have an art gallery, too) in Hunter, and then check out Tannersville’s shops, originally built in the 19th century. Lunch inside the old-fashion Tannersville General Store makes the ride even more worth it.