11 Top-Rated Ski Resorts in New York, 2021

Written by Lana Law and Michael Law
Nov 17, 2020

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Ski resorts in New York State are some of the best in the East. Many are close to New York City and other metropolitan areas, so you can travel from the urban jungle to a winter wonderland in a short period of time.

Resorts range from small family-friendly operations, perfect for getting the kids into this wonderful winter sport, to large mountain resorts with impressive vertical drops. All the hills offer night skiing, so you can really max out your vertical, and all the resorts have extensive snowmaking capabilities, meaning snow coverage is generally quite good.

If you live in the greater New York City area, the closest locations are generally in the Catskills about three hours away. If you live in Upstate New York, the resorts near Rochester and the Finger Lakes are good options. For the largest ski hills, head to Lake Placid and the Adirondacks.

Skiing in New York is a perfect family getaway. The resorts are set up to cater to all ages and interests. In addition to downhill skiing, many resorts offer snow tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country (Nordic) skiing, and even bobsledding.

Accommodation options at the ski resorts range from luxurious slope-side condos and suites, to romantic bed and breakfasts, and always available are standard hotels. Many of the small towns near the ski hills offer very good dining and shopping experiences.

Changes for the 2020/2021 Ski Season: Ski resorts in New York State will be enacting new regulations for the 2020/2021 ski year due to health and safety concerns. Be prepared for mask wearing requirements in lines and inside of buildings, online-only purchases of lift tickets, and physical distancing. Be sure to check the resort's website for details prior to arriving at the hill, so you are well prepared.

For more details on where to plan your trip, see our list of the best ski resorts in New York state.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Gore Mountain

Gore Mountain
Gore Mountain

Operating for more than eighty years, Gore Mountain is the largest ski resort in New York. Spread over four peaks in the Adirondack Mountains, this premier ski destination has 110 ski trails, a vertical drop of 2,547 feet, and enough terrain for even the most demanding skier. The mountain has 14 lifts, including an eight-passenger gondola and two high-speed quad chairs.

Six different dining options are available at Gore, from full-service sit-down restaurants featuring amazing views, right through to grab-and-go cafeteria-style options.

Gore is more than just downhill skiing, if you've always wanted to try snowshoeing, trails are available. Nordic routes are also on offer and are very well laid out.

The resort continues to get better each year, and this year is no exception. Gore has upgraded two of the older chairlifts, High Peaks Chair and Sunway Chair, to brand new quad chairs. In addition to the new chairs, a significant investment in the snowmaking pumping system has also been implemented. Also, new RFID gate systems are in place that automatically read your lift ticket and open the gate to the lift.

Official site: https://www.goremountain.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Gore Mountain

2. Whiteface Mountain

Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mountain

Whiteface Mountain has the largest vertical drop east of the Rocky Mountains, rivaling some of the popular ski resorts out West. Here, you'll find 3,400 feet of vertical, and varied terrain that is always covered in snow in winter owing to the mountain's 98 percent snowmaking coverage.

The mountain skews more to the intermediate and advanced skier, but 20 percent is beginner terrain that will ensure any new skier leaves with a smile on their face.

Whiteface is more than just a place to come for skiing. The nearby town of Lake Placid, home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, is full of fantastic dining and entertainment options. You can easily spend an afternoon or evening walking down the delightful main street and soaking up the mountain town atmosphere.

The Cloudsplitter gondola whisks you to the top, and from here the views out over the surrounding Adirondack's are spectacular. The ski hill boasts one of the longest intermediate run in the Northeast; a 2.1-mile-long leg burner called the Wilmington Trail. The hill has 87 runs in total and nine chairlifts.

Similar to Gore Mountain, Whiteface has also recently introduced RFID gate systems in the lift lines — no need to show your ticket to a liftie any more!

Official site: https://www.whiteface.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Whiteface Mountain

3. Windham Mountain

Windham Mountain
Windham Mountain

Windham Mountain is located in the Catskills and is within easy driving distance of New York City, just a few hours away. This fantastic ski resort offers up 1,900 feet of vertical drop and is spread out over two mountains. With 54 runs covering 754 acres, you will likely run out of energy before you run out of runs.

The Windham is a hot spot for snowboarding, and six terrain parks have every imaginable hump, bump, or crazy rail to attempt. The resort can handle the weekend crowds with 11 lifts that can move nearly 23,000 people up hill each hour.

Although Windham's location makes for a great day trip destination, consider a weekend getaway. A variety of accommodation options are available, and a free shuttle to the hill operates on weekends throughout the season.

The past couple of seasons have seen over twelve million dollars invested in the resort, with improvements ranging from new lifts to increases in snowmaking to new grooming machines. Dining and base lodge areas have also been renovated and updated.

New this season is the SkyTechSport Simulator. For a modest fee, you can feel what it's like to tackle a downhill slalom race, all fees go towards the Adaptive Sports Foundation charity.

Windham is part of the IKON pass program.

Official site: https://windhammountain.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Windham Mountain

4. Hunter Mountain

Hunter Mountain
Hunter Mountain

Also in the Catskills, and just under three hours from New York City is Hunter Mountain. This resort is spread out over four mountains, and 85 percent of the runs are fairly evenly split among beginner, intermediate, and advanced. For those who are at the expert skier level, the remaining 15 percent of the runs will take you down the steeps or through the glades.

The 67 trails are serviced by 13 lifts. Four terrain parks are spread around the mountain, and each caters to a different level of ability, from beginners right through to experts.

If your legs are shot, and you are looking for something different, snow tubing is available, as well as guided ice-climbing expeditions to the top of Hunter Mountain. Those who prefer something more sedate will have no trouble finding bliss and relaxation at the Mountain Club Spa.

Accommodation options range from on-hill condos to beautifully restored inns and hotels in nearby Tannersville or Windham. One fun option is to stay in either town and ski one day at Hunter and one day at Windham, which are about 20 minutes apart.

Hunter Mountain is part of the EPIC ski pass program.

Official site: https://www.huntermtn.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Hunter Mountain

5. Belleayre Mountain Ski Center

Belleayre Mountain
Belleayre Mountain

Recent improvements, including a brand-new day lodge and new high-speed quad, have made skiing at Belleayre even better. Belleayre is located in the Catskills and is about three hours from New York City. This family-friendly ski resort offers a vertical drop of more than 1,400 feet and 50 named runs.

Cross-country (Nordic) skiing is available and free.

Accommodation options can be found close by in picturesque small towns. Choices range from hotels and bed and breakfasts to condominiums.

In addition to the skiing, three snowboard parks/courses are on offer, and first-class ski instruction is available at the Snowsports school. You'll be whisked back to the top of the hill on one of the eight lifts, including the Catskill Thunder Gondola. The resort has recently installed new RFID lift ticket readers to speed loading.

Official site: https://www.belleayre.com/

6. Holiday Valley Ski Resort

Holiday Valley Ski Resort
Holiday Valley Ski Resort | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

Although the vertical may not be as large at this resort, it more than makes up for this with abundant snow and extensive terrain. Due to its location not far from Lake Erie and the lake effect snow phenomenon that happens throughout the winter, it is one of the few New York Ski resorts where you have the chance of a knee-deep powder day.

Spread out over several hills, Holiday Valley is like several ski areas folded into one. Depending on where you go, you'll find long straight cruisers, steep short black diamonds, or twisty routes down through large evergreens. Three base lodges, a great ski school, and other off-mountain adventures like tubing and the Mountain Coaster make for a wide variety of things to do.

The nearby town of Ellicottville also makes a trip to Holiday Valley special. A great selection of restaurants, shops, and a cute main street make this ski resort a great destination for a winter vacation.

If you are looking for good ski-in, ski-out accommodation, try the Inn at Holiday Mountain. Some rooms overlook the hills, and the hotel has a wonderful outdoor hot tub.

Official site: https://www.holidayvalley.com/

7. Bristol Mountain

Bristol Mountain
Bristol Mountain | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

In the Upstate New York region, Bristol claims the title of greatest vertical, with just over 1,200 feet. They also claim to have the longest run in the area, two miles in length.

The mountain has 38 runs across a variety of terrain and ability levels. Depending on where your interest lies, you can find some fun action at this resort. Morning Star is for the speed demons and racers, complete with a Nastar Race system. Upper Galaxy is perfect for those who like long, wide-open cruisers, and thrill seekers will like the Highpoint Terrain Park.

Two high-speed chairs whisk you back up to the top in mere minutes, so you can really maximize your vertical — especially mid-week.

A large base area has good dining options, and the well-regarded ski school will have you up and skiing with confidence in a short period of time. If you prefer cross-country skiing, those trails wind their way around the top of the mountain.

Check out Bristol's event calendar. This resort does an exceptional job of planning fun and interesting events for skiers and snowboarders.

For more information on this resort and where to stay nearby, see our guide to ski resorts near Toronto, many of which are in Upstate New York.

Official site: https://www.bristolmountain.com/

8. Titus Mountain Family Ski Center

View over Titus Mountain Family Ski Center
View over Titus Mountain Family Ski Center | Photo Copyright: Titus Mountain Family Ski Center

Affordable family fun is what you'll find at Titus Mountain. Located at the northern reaches of the Adirondack Mountains near the Canadian border, this smaller property is a great weekend destination. A decent vertical drop of 1,200 feet spread across three mountains and 50 trails ensures plenty of skiing and snowboarding for everyone in your group.

One of the most popular family activities at Titus Mountain Family Ski Center is snow tubing. There's nothing quite like sliding down an icy chute on a round piece of rubber to elicit shrieks of laughter.

Titus is also a hot spot for boarders and freestylers. The Moon Valley terrain parks have all the usual features of humps, jumps, rails, boxes, and jibs.

Many of the skiers are from Canada since the border is only a short distance away, and the ski hill frequently offers Canadian dollars at par.

Official site: https://www.titusmountain.com/

9. Greek Peak Mountain Resort

Greek Peak Mountain Resort
Greek Peak Mountain Resort | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

Perhaps one of the most family-friendly ski hills in the state, Greek Peak Mountain Resort makes for a perfect getaway. At over 220 acres, the ski hill is considered the biggest ski resort in the Upper New York State area. Fifty-six trails are spread across the hill with a focus on beginner routes. For action seekers, there are four terrain parks to practice your slides, jumps, and spins.

A trip here is much more than just skiing, it's a complete family getaway destination. Hope Lake Lodge near the base of the hill is the main accommodation option at Greek Peak. This log lodge has a traditional mountain feel and a huge indoor water park.

This gives families lots of options. If it's too cold to ski, or the legs are too sore, hit the water park instead. Or, if you have smaller children, one parent can stay back at the water park while the other takes the eldest child skiing.

Greek Peak is part of the Indy Pass program.

Official site: https://greekpeak.net/

10. Peek'n Peak

Not far from Erie, PA, Peek'n Peak has a 400-foot vertical drop, and its 160 acres of terrain are well positioned to capture an average of 15 feet of lake effect snow from Lake Erie each season.

The mountain has five terrain parks and offers some amazing rails, humps, and jumps. Skiers and boarders have 26 named runs to choose from across a variety of terrain. If you've toasted your legs from massive vertical, head on over to the tubing park. Here, you can slide down an icy chute while dance music blares.

Peek'n Peak has a beautiful day lodge at the base, so either pack a lunch or plan to buy something at the grill and watch the skiers glide gracefully (or not) down the hill.

Official site: https://www.pknpk.com/

11. Catamount Mountain Ski Resort

Skiers at Catamount Mountain
Skiers at Catamount Mountain | Kris Arnold / modified

Located in the Berkshires, right on the Massachusetts border, Catamount is a smaller property with a 1,000-foot of vertical drop. One-third of the trails at this resort are rated as beginner, making is a favorite with families.

Catamount is a great place to learn how to ski, but lots of terrain exists for those looking for cruisers. Catamount is also noted for its double black diamond-rated Catapult run, one of the steepest ski runs in the entire Northeast.

The resort also has two terrain parks and a progression park to provide all the challenges you're looking for. For 2020/2021, you'll likely find the runs with even more wonderful corduroy to slide around on. The reason for this is the addition of a brand new groomer to the mountain's stable of equipment.

Catamount is part of the Indy Pass program.

Official site: https://www.catamountski.com/

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