The 5 Best Ski Resorts Near NYC
With ski season officially in full swing, the thought of strapping a pair of sleds to your feet and hurtling down a mountain suddenly starts to make sense—well, that is, for some of us. But we can all get behind escaping the city and curling up next to a fireplace with your pod, a good book and an even better glass of wine. Each of these wintertime spots is less than six hours from New York and following CDC guidelines for safe skiing during the pandemic—and while the slopes are a major draw, those who are more in it for the après part will find plenty to love, too.
(Psst: Here’s everything you need to know if you’re considering checking out a ski resort near NYC this season, including how to keep yourself and others on the slopes safe, plus some of the gear you should consider buying, too. And remember to please check each resort’s website prior to visiting as specific safety precautions may be required.)
1. THE POCONOS, PENNSYLVANIA
The Poconos are full of winter wilderness vibes that will make even the most hardened New Yorker feel like a giddy kid on a snow day. Located about 90 minutes from Manhattan, the region is known for Camelback and Shawnee mountains, plus a few other spots that are good for all levels (Camelback boasts 39 ski trails on 166 acres while Shawnee features 23 trails on 125 acres of skiing terrain). If you don’t ski, the Poconos offer snow tubing, dogsledding and ice-skating—plus plenty of options for less active types too. After an active morning, you deserve a hearty meal, like the disco fries and s’mores at Trails End Pub & Grille (now offering outdoor dining).
Where to stay: There are plenty of gorgeous and cozy accommodations to choose from in the Poconos, but we’re excited to relax in this beautiful home in Tannersville, about a 10-minute drive from Camelback. You’ll be able to keep your après game strong thanks to the firepit, covered hot tub on the screened-in porch and wood-burning fireplace. Oh and the mountain views aren’t too shabby, either.
Know before you go: Travelers entering Pennsylvania from other states must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the state or quarantine for 10 days upon entry into Pennsylvania. Face coverings are required in all indoor and outdoor areas of both the Camelback and Shawnee mountain resorts and social distancing guidelines are in place for lift lines, including only allowing parties that arrive together to ride together. Shawnee is also operating with capacity limitations in place. Check out Pennsylvania state COVID-19 resources here.
2. THE CATSKILLS, NEW YORK
In Ulster County, where the Catskills meet the Hudson River, you’ll find wooded country roads that wind past barns, farm stands, antique shops and wineries into sleepy hamlets full of Victorian architecture and small-town charm. Skiers here can enjoy 50 trails on Belleayre Mountain—one of New York state’s best family-friendly mountains—and Windham Mountain Ski Resort (25 trails currently open on 183 acres), which is also a great place if you have kiddos.
Non-skiers will love spending a day in Woodstock, the artsy town that’s mandated to retain the hippyish roots it’s famous for. Nowadays, you’ll find everything from a mezcal bar to home-decor stores and even a toy shop stocked with creative gifts (like a selfie kit for your pets). At night, the place to be is Silvia, offering seasonally-focused foods and tasty libations for both indoor and outdoor seating, plus pick-up.
Where to stay: Fireside bites can be found at Woodnotes Grille (options include dining inside, streamside on the deck or taking your food to go) at the nearby Emerson Resort & Spa, which also provides a great place to crash (the property overlooks Esopus Creek and nearby Mt. Tremper). The resort boasts a general store selling local products, a cute coffee bar, a nail salon and a spa menu full of treatments. Tip: Guests using the spa should take advantage of the awesome outdoor saltwater hot tub, which overlooks the Catskills.
Know before you go: All lift tickets for the 2021 season at Belleayre must be purchased online in advance. There is reduced capacity in restrooms and restaurants, as well as other areas where necessary in order to maintain social distancing with masks required at all times except for when actively skiing or when you are eating/drinking while seated. Skiers that traveled to the mountain together can ride the lifts together. Read up on the New York state guidelines here.
3. MOUNT SNOW, VERMONT
At just under four hours from the city, Mount Snow is a New York-area mountain much closer than it seems. And with five times the average snowfall of the city, you can be sure to see some fresh powder on the slopes…or from the window of your Airbnb rental. (Pro tip: If you’re driving, make sure to take an all-terrain vehicle for snowy or icy conditions).
Mount Snow’s 600 skiable acres make it a dream for snow bunnies, as does the mountain’s “uphill skiing” policy—which, if you’ve never tried it, is one of the best and most rewarding workouts ever. There's also a ski-in, ski-out music festival that happens on the mountain in April (TBD if it will be happening this year but we can dream).
Non-skiers will especially enjoy exploring the region, known for its cheddar cheese and maple syrup, and its many quaint, picturesque villages and towns. (Some of the best-known, like Grafton, Dorset and Chester, are all within a one-hour drive of the mountain.) Check out the nearby covered bridges in Wilmington and Bennington, fill up a basket full of local treats or spend a day on a snowmobile tour through Green Mountain National Forest.
Where to stay: This Dover chalet is located just 1 mile from the ski lift and features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, an outdoor terrace and an outdoor jacuzzi.
Know before you go: Travelers arriving to Vermont in a personal vehicle must complete either a 14-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative test in their home state in otder to enter Vermont without further quarantine restrictions. Travelers arriving to Vermont who have not completed a pre-arrival quarantine must complete either a 14-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative test in a Vermont lodging establishment or with friends and family. Face coverings will be required to access the mountain, in all indoor spaces, in any line, in chairlifts and gondolas, and whenever you are unable to maintain physical distance. Reservations for the mountain are required.
4. The Adirondacks, New York
We love escaping to upstate New York whenever we need a break from the city and the winter months are no exception. Whiteface Mountain Resort in Wilmington hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics so you’d better believe that the trails here are top-notch. In fact, Whiteface boasts the tallest vertical drop on the eastern seaboard (at 3,430 feet), plus 87 trails and 11 lifts. Equally impressive is Gore Mountain in North Creek where you’ll find beautiful views of the Adirondacks, the family-friendly Pete’s Paradise trail, snowshoeing through the “largest marble-cave entrance in the East” and the option to ski by twilight. This season, new high-speed quads have replaced two double chair lifts, providing access to all four of its peaks and Straight Brook Valley.
Where to stay: This chalet just 15 minutes from Gore Mountain sits on 80 private acres and features a hot tub, fireplace and outdoor fire pit. Or check out this Scandi-style tiny home near Wilmington that's eco-friendly (and beautifully chic, to boot).
Know before you go: Due to the pandemic, both Whiteface and Gore are only selling lift tickets for Monday through Friday (weekends and holiday periods are currently on pause). This does not impact advanced-purchases (i.e. e-tickets already purchased online), season passholders, frequent ski cardholders who have already loaded tickets onto their card or private lessons. Face masks are required at all times except when actively skiing or eating/drinking while seated. All indoor food and beverage locations will adhere to a 50 percent reduction in capacity and tables in foodservice areas can be occupied by those who have purchased food and beverage for up to 30 minutes.
5. Mohawk Mountain, Connecticut
Located on 350 beautiful acres in Cornwall, Mohawk Mountain is Connecticut’s largest ski area. With 26 trails (including 16 night trails), a mega 650-feet drop and eight lifts, this pretty spot offers plenty of options for a range of ski levels. And for non-skiers, there’s showshoeing and show tubing available.
Where to stay: This charming cottage is just a short car ride away from the mountain and is the perfect cozy spot to relax after a long day hitting the slopes.
Know before you go: Mohawk Mountain is currently operating with a limited capacity with advanced tickets required. Use of the base lodges is limited to 15 minutes for warming up or restroom use, and 30 minutes for eating food (no off-site food permitted).