Home Travel New York Ski Areas for Beginners

New York Ski Areas for Beginners

by Ohio Digital News



Learning to ski can stir up some nerves, but New York’s mountains provide a fun and comfortable atmosphere for hitting the slopes. From lessons geared to a newbie’s needs, to special packages and promotions (including Kids Ski Free deals), New York’s ski resorts are ready to guide you down the trails.  After playing in the snow, kick back and relax at a fine restaurant, cozy lodge, or luxury spa.

With over 50 ski resorts, the most of any other state in the nation, you’re never far from a day on the slopes in New York. Here are 12 mountains to introduce you to the thrill of skiing:  

Adirondacks: Gore | Whiteface | Titus

Catskills: Hunter | Plattekill | Belleayre

Central New York: Woods Valley

Chautauqua-Allegheny: Swain Resort

Finger Lakes: Holiday Valley | Bristol | Greek Peak 

Hudson Valley: Catamount Mountain Resort

Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask wearing. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available.

Gore Mountain

Gore Mountain has the most skiable terrain in New York State with stunning views of the southern Adirondacks and high peaks. Its 108 alpine trails include 28 glades and seven freestyle areas totaling 43 miles, plus seven cross-country and snowshoe loops along with 14 lifts, including a gondola. 

Learn the Slopes

Discover the joy of skiing on Gore Mountain with beginner lessons that come with a lift ticket and rental equipment. The 90-minute classes teach skiing and riding techniques to get you started on the right foot. Adult midweek programs for intermediate and advanced ability skiers come with six days of lift tickets, one meal voucher per day, and lots of time on the snow with instructors. Private lessons for families, 30-minute classes for children ages 3-4, and adaptive lessons are also available.

Stay and Play

Your snow day doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. Enjoy twilight skiing at North Creek Ski Bowl and explore the pub menu at The Tannery Restaurant, which also serves sandwiches associated with the famous Carnegie Deli. The recent addition of a Waffle Cabin will satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping you warm! For your stay, choose from nearby rustic lodges to luxurious resorts full of Adirondack charm.

A person skies down Whiteface Mountain on a bright winter day

Credit: @whiteface_mt on Instagram

With the greatest vertical drop in the east, 99% snowmaking coverage, 94 trails, and the eight-person Cloudsplitter gondola, Whiteface Mountain is a skier’s paradise. The Bear Den Learning Center, a 15,000 square-foot lodge has everything first-time skiers need including rental equipment, lessons, lift tickets, and wider, flatter trails where you won’t risk crossing paths with expert skiers.

Learn the Slopes

The Bear Den is the ultimate place to learn to ski. With three season-long kids programs, private or group lessons for children, teens, and adults along with adaptive programs, you’re sure to find the best lesson for you. At the Base Lodge, ride the Warhorse Quad chair lift to nine easy trails, including the newly cut “Ausable Run.” The Face Lift takes you halfway up the mountain to eight more easy trails, plus Intermediate options when you’re ready to up your game. Feeling nervous? Check out Whiteface’s Beginner’s Guide before heading out.

Stay and Play

Snow-covered mountains loom behind the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex in Lake Placid

Credit: @my_focal_points on Instagram

Whiteface’s lodging partnerships range from grand hotels and rustic lodges to chalets and B&Bs for a picturesque high peaks getaway. Check out the legacy sites tied to Lake Placid’s time hosting the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Skate the Olympic Oval, explore the jumping complex (pictured), or go bobsledding at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. You won’t go hungry at Whiteface. Cloudspin Bar & Grill is all about après-ski fare with a pub-style menu. There’s also Al Forno Sicilian Pizza, the family-friendly Growler’s Grill, Black Diamond Burrito Bar, and more!

View from the top of a snowy hill at Titus Mountain

Credit: @gabbyventures on Instagram

Once voted the top family friendly ski resort in North America, Titus Mountain has a little bit of everything for everyone when it comes to skiing. Lifts provide access to double black diamonds down to green circles for those marking their first time on the slopes. The scenery is just as great. Titus sits in the northern foothills of the Adirondacks, so on a clear day you can see Montreal!

Learn the Slopes

In addition to private ski lessons for ages 6 and up, Titus has specially-designed skiing programs for children, including a 4-1-1 ski plan for fourth graders, an introductory program for ages 5-12,  and a night-time skiing for older kids. Amid their Moon Valley Parks, the Little Tikes Park has ride-on rails for beginners to get used to. Night-skiing is included with an all-day lift ticket or seasonal pass. See their First Timer Guide to get fully acquainted. 

Stay and Play

Have some good old fashioned winter fun at Titus’ recently renovated tubing hill where you can find a warming hut with rooms to rent for pizza parties. Dine on the mountain at Mo’s Moon Valley Grill which boasts tableside service and amazing views. Lodging includes slopeside rentals ranging from cabins to chalets or for a day trip book a private “skibana” for you and your friends to relax between rides. Ski and stay packages are offered through the Holiday Inn Express

A person skis down a tree-lined slope at Hunter Mountain

Credit: @nycarchitect on Instagram

Hunter Mountain is a good place for first-time skiers thanks to their educational offerings and terrain that caters to all levels. With 67 trails across four mountain faces and 13 lifts, there’s enough space to make newbies comfortable while accommodating riders of all abilities. Hunter’s EpicMix app keeps you in the know on the snow with interactive trail maps, resort updates, trail status, snow totals, and on-mountain GPS location and stat tracking.

Learn the Slopes 

For adults, Hunter Mountain has group and private lessons with world-class instructors teaching the fundamentals for your first time on the slopes. Children’s lessons include explorers (ages 5-6) and scouts (ages 3-4); private lessons start at age 3. They’ve even created an online beginners guide to skiing and snowboarding.

Stay and Play


Hunter’s lodging includes Liftside Village’s luxurious, family-friendly condominiums and Katskill Mountain Club. Check out exclusive deals where pass holders can get 20% off lodging costs! Go snowtubing at Hunter’s tubing hill which clocks in at nearly 1,000 feet in length. Dining includes après fare at The Overlook, delightful rice bowls at CopperTree, and soups and comfort foods at The Marketplace.

Snow falls at night outside the lodge at Plattekille Mountain

Credit: @plattekille_mtn on Instagram

A true family mountain, Plattekill is privately owned and operated by a skiing family. Its wintertime scenery is enhanced with beautiful distant valley views. This venue offers 40 trails for all ability levels from two-mile long beginner trails to steep continuous vertical black diamond trails. 

Learn the Slopes

Plattekill offers private lessons with one-on-one instruction and classes for groups of up to four people. There’s a group lesson program geared for children beyond the introductory level and private instruction for youngsters just getting started. For the For the 2023-24 season, Plattekill has widened its “I Think I Can” trail to allow first-timers more room to make beginner turns down the mountain. They’ve also added a new beginner trail to its network.

Stay and Play

Roxbury Experience in Winter

Credit: @felixwongphoto on Instagram

Feel the rush of sliding down the slope with snowtubing, plus live entertainment most weekends. Dining options include a full-service cafeteria, a “Skier’s Bistro” with sandwiches, soups in bread bowls, chicken and cheese quesadillas and other tasty treats, plus the Blockbuster Bar, and the Platty Shack with grab-and-go snacks. Nearby accommodations include a quaint bed and breakfast, charming inn, and The Roxbury (pictured), where you can stay at a whimsical cottage, mansion, or motel all featuring elaborately-themed rooms for a unique Catskills getaway. 

Belleayre Mountain

Belleayre Mountain has been a popular ski destination since the 1940s thanks to its extra wide trails and gorgeous views of the Catskill Forest Preserve. Its 62 trails extend to glades and parks, catering to varying skill levels ranging from beginner-friendly slopes to tricky double-black runs. Their cross-country trails are free to use and are only open with natural snow.

Learn the Slopes

Belleayre Mountain offers adult group lessons daily for beginners ages 13 and up. The all-inclusive program includes a lift ticket, a 1 to 1.5 hour class, and rental package. Prefer a more individual experience? There are private and semi-private lessons available for any ability level. Want to get the whole family involved? Choose a private group lesson, with options for three to five people in the same party. You’ll each improve your skills with custom instruction tailored to your individual needs. Youngsters can also learn the basics at Belleayre’s Kidscamp.

Stay and Play


Belleayre’s cross-country trails are not just great for skiing, but also hiking and snowshoeing. If you don’t want to lug extra stuff around, Belleayre offers storage lockers all season long at their Overlook Lodge. Whether you’re looking for a sitdown meal or quick eat before or after some time on the slopes, Belleayre has you covered. Simply to Go offers a  convenient grab-and-go option at the Discovery Lodge Lounge. Indulge in barbecue or pizza at Groomers Pub or pop by the Waffle Cabin. There’s also Kettle Cove for warm soups and signature chili, and the Black Diamond Grill for burgers, tenders, and chicken sandwiches. 

Two snowboarders traveling downhill past pine trees along the snowy slopes of Woods Valley Ski Area at sunset

Credit: @ocnewyork on Instagram

Woods Valley has been providing Central New York with great skiing and riding for nearly half a century. With two lifts, 21 trails, three terrain parks, and state of the art snowmaking and nightly grooming there’s plenty of variety for the novice to the expert.

Learn the Slopes

The Learning Zone is all about making sure newcomers to the slopes have a safe and fun time out on the snow. There’s private and group lessons for beginners, plus a Wolf Pack Snowsports Kids Program, for ages 4-12, that includes lessons, games on the snow, and a fun race. 

Stay and Play

Enjoy a winter adventure as you slide, glide, and ride at Woods Valley’s snowtubing park, where you can link up tubes for a memorable run with family and friends. Warm up by the fireplace at the base lodge and enjoy big window views of the valley and slopes. There’s also a bar and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner featuring both a  cafeteria-style and a tavern-style menu. 

A group of skiers smile and wave at the camera while on the slopes at Swain Resort

The oldest independently-run ski resort in Western New York, Swain Resort offers a variety of slopes and 35 trails with 97% snowmaking, a 650-foot vertical drop, and five lifts. 

Learn the Slopes

Swain Resort has private and group lessons, plus special packages to introduce newbies to snowsports. The Discover Package caters to first-time skiers and walks students through the basics like locking your skis, stopping, and the “pizza maneuver.” Those ready to advance to the next level can opt for the Explorer Package. There’s also a Children’s Learning Center and an Adaptive Ski Program called Shared Ski Adventures.

Stay and Play

Swain’s lodging options extend to suites, condos, two inns, and bunkrooms that not only put you close to the slopes, but are also perfect for nature lovers who want to explore Letchworth State Park, just 15 miles away. Grab a bite to eat at The Shawmut Grille and Mercer’s Cafe. Swain Resort also hosts events including a New Year’s Eve party that includes live music, dinner, and a torchlight parade.

An overhead view of the ski slopes and buildings at Holiday Valley Ski Area.

Credit: @holidayvalley on Instagram

From bunny slopes, to fun groomers, to thrilling tree skiing runs, Holiday Valley is touted as having terrain for every ability level. It has 13 lifts and 60 slopes with 39 of them open for night skiing and riding. 

Learn the Slopes

Holiday Valley offers an array of snowsports programs to help get beginner skiers and snowboarders started—especially children. Private lessons start for learners ages 3 and up and are available seven days a week. The resort’s Beginner Learn to Ski/Ride Group Lessons assigns students ages 12 and up with a snowsports coach to teach them the fundamentals of skiing or riding. Holiday Valley’s Cubs and Mountain Adventures Children’s Ski and Snowboard Programs focuses on making sure children ages 4-11 have a good time while learning. Tubing is also offered.

Stay and Play

Holiday Valley Mountain Coaster

Holiday Valley has winter lodge and lift promotions and New York State’s Ski & Stay weekends. Adventure seekers can go on the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster for a thrill ride following a zig zagging spiraling path down the mountain. Looking for a day of rest and relaxation? The Ellicottville Oasis Day Spa at the Tamarack Club offers massages, facials, mani-pedis, and waxing. Need dinner plans? John Harvard’s Brew House in the Tamarack Club has a great view of the snowy slopes and serves stone hearth baked pizzas, fresh salads, hearty burgers, and desserts.

An adult and three children skiing past trees down a slope at Bristol Mountain

Thirty-one percent of Bristol’s 39 trails across its 138 acres are made for beginners, making this a great spot for your first time downhill. The resort also boasts state-of-the-art snowmaking capabilities. 

Learn the Slopes

The Bristol Brigade Program provides season-long coaching for ages 5 and up of all ability levels. From freestyle skiing to racing to terrain park to moguls, there is a program for everyone!

Stay and Play

A person ziplines among snow-covered trees

Bristol’s North Star Village has townhouses with common household amenities for a comfy mountain stay. Ski & Stay Partners also offer a special price that includes one lift ticket with one night’s lodging. Bed & Breakfasts include breakfast one day. Recharge at the Cannery, an après-ski eatery complete with a fireplace setting, and the Sunrise Cafe, for your morning coffee. The ski and snowboard-only accessible Morning Star Cafe overlooks the Morning Star Trail and is noted for their Belgian waffles.

A child in a pink helmet is taught to ski at Greek Peak Mountain Resort

Credit: @fingerlakestourism on Instagram

With 220 skiable acres, a summit elevation of 2,100 feet, and a vertical drop of 952 feet, Greek Peak has everything you need for an epic ski getaway, even if it’s your first time out! It also has 56 ski trails of varying difficulty, eight lifts, a tubing conveyor lift, a beginners’ slope, and four terrain parks.

Learn the Slopes

Greek Peak has a Snow Sports School, with a staff instructing specific terrain-based lessons. If this is your first time on skis, the Intro2Snow program goes into the fundamentals of the sport. It is open to ages 7 and up and includes rental gear and a lift ticket. Kidz World also introduces skiing to youngsters. Private, group, and friends and family lessons are also available.

Stay and Play

Hope Lake Lodge Waterpark at Greek Peak Mountain Resort

Greek Peak’s rustically-chic Hope Lake Lodge features 105 luxury condo-style suites with fully equipped kitchens and a fireplace. Build your own adventure with a series of packages that let you pair your stay with skiing, tubing, splashing around at the indoor waterpark, unwinding at the Waterfalls Spa, and ziplining or coasting down the mountain at the Adventure Center. Enjoy a romantic dinner at Carvers Steakhouse. For a casual night out, Trax Pub and Grill has over 20 beers on tap, traditional pub fare, and an expansive 6,000-square-foot deck in the main ski lodge.

An aerial view of the ski trails at Catamount Mountain

Credit: @brewster_drone on Instagram

With a 1,000-foot vertical drop, 44 trails (a third of which are rated as beginner), a terrain park full of jumps, eight lifts including three wonder carpets, Catamount is a great place for skiers of all levels. The Green Circle features the Snow Sports Learning Area for first-timers along with 16 trails for beginners, with the longest run totaling nearly two miles. Advanced skiers can get their thrills on the double black diamond-rated Catapult run, one of the steepest ski runs in the entire Northeast.

Learn the Slopes

Whether you’re looking to fine tune your skills or just getting started, Catamount’s Snow Sports School has both group and private lessons for adults and kids, including a special Mountain Cats program for children ages 3 to 13. The Stride Adaptive Program also provides lessons to people of all ages with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities. 

Stay and Play


Can’t get enough of going downhill? Try night skiing or snow tubing. Grab some grub at Campfire Bar and BBQ and feast your eyes on juicy brisket, ribs, and smoked wings for meat lovers, plus all the favorite fixings. The attached bar is a great place to grab a drink and hang out between runs. Grab tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and other Mexican fare at Fat Cat… and don’t forget the margaritas! Book a cozy room with your choice of mountain or pond views.

Click here to explore all of New York State’s ski areas for your perfect winter escape!

Share New York State adventures with us on TikTokInstagram and Twitter with #ILoveNY and #iSpyNY, and tag us on Facebook!


Source link

related posts