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 a good book (and an even better glass of wine). Each of these wintertime spots is less than six hours from New York—and while the slopes are a major draw, those who are more in it for the après part will find plenty to love, too.
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 will enjoy Belleayre Mountain—one of New York state’s best family-friendly mountains with a brand-new gondola on the way in 2018—and Sawkill, which is also a great place if you have kiddos.
Fireside bites can be found at Woodnotes Grille 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, from massages and scrubs to shirodhara—a therapeutic practice where warm oil is gently poured over your third eye. Tip: Guests using the spa should take advantage of the awesome outdoor saltwater hot tub, which overlooks the Catskills.
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, a new restaurant where you’ll find an open kitchen centered around a mesmerizing coal oven, a lively bar full of bespoke-style cocktails (get the sublime Spiced Beet Margarita), cozy booths and hunter-green walls covered with eclectic artwork.
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 beginners. If you don’t ski, the Poconos offer snow tubing, dogsledding, ice-skating and even ziplining—plus plenty of options for less-active types too.
At Camelback, there’s a year-round indoor water park—the largest in the Northeast—complete with a swim-up bar and private cabanas where you can even get a midwinter tan, thanks to a special transparent roof. You’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy, from doughnut decorating to mini golf, wine and beer tasting events throughout the year, not to mention lots of grub, like the disco fries and s’mores at Trails End Pub & Grille.
If you’re traveling with your squad, you may want to consider hitting the slopes during the day and staying at Mount Airy, where you can keep your après game strong. Located just 15 minutes from Camelback, this resort casino has a nightclub, slot machines, gaming tables, and a huge spa and fitness center. The best part? You never have to step foot outside into the cold to enjoy any of it.
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 86 trails and 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.
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.) Go on a tour of the nearby covered bridges in Wilmington and Bennington, check out local sugar houses and barns to fill up a basket full of local products or spend a day on a snowmobile tour through Green Mountain National Forest.
MONT TREMBLANT, QUÉBEC, CANADA
With direct flights to Montreal from all NYC airports, getting to Mont Tremblant is pretty easy for those who are looking to find a winter wonderland with a side of Quebecois culture. When you arrive, you'll find a village modeled off a European mountain town and oozing with French Canadian charm. Think creperies, poutineries, lots of walkable shopping, candy and chocolate shops, cocktail spots, a juice bar and even a casino. Yep—you just read that right—Tremblant has one of the only ski-in/ski-out casinos in the world. (But don’t worry: You can reach it by foot, too.)
Did we mention the skiing? Your lift pass will afford you some 96 trails of varying terrain with stunning views of the Laurentian mountains—with almost half of its 665 acres dedicated to expert skiing, it’s one of the better places to challenge yourself in the Northeast. Meanwhile, at nearby Mont Tremblant National Park, you can snowshoe, fat bike, snow tube—or head the other direction to spend a leisurely day at a Nordic-style spa, blissing out in the hot and cold baths or the sauna.