In the world of North American skiing, the East Coast has been given a bad rap as the “Ice Coast.” Don’t let this title fool you, or more importantly, keep you from exploring the true nature of the East. Sure, it’s true some of the elevations are not as high as out West, and the season can be short and unpredictable at times, but this shouldn’t deter you. There are challenging and exciting places to ski and ride within a short drive of most of the major U.S. cities in the Northeast. After all, we are adventure seekers of winter. We’re not here to play it safe. Coasting off the chairlift on your first ride up for the day, all of your doubts and reservations will vanish as quickly as they came. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned veteran of the sport or if you’re just starting to warm up to idea of strapping yourself into skis or a board – you will be in for one of the most pleasantly surprising experiences of your life.
Though days filled with chest deep powder are few and far between in the New York and New Jersey area, there is an unprecedented variety of terrain you can find in these two states alone. The corduroy is pristine, the terrain parks award-winning, and the road trips virtually effortless. Being a New York native, I can speak from more than fifteen seasons of exploring the combined fifty-five ski areas in New York and New Jersey. Trust me when I say you’re missing out if you have yet to experience what this boundless, hidden gem of a region has to offer.
You may have read Ryan’s blog, Where New Yorkers Ski, which outlines the many corners of the country my fellow New Yorkers are willing to travel to play in the fluffy, deep white stuff we all know and love. But every athlete (yes, we are all athletes) has his or her home turf. Here are just a handful of the impressive ski areas the New York and New Jersey region has to offer.
Whiteface Lake Placid: Lake Placid, NY
New York is the proud home of Lake Placid, the stomping grounds of the 1980 Winter Olympics. Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid was the site of many of the events, and has since been coined the “Olympic Mountain.” Towering over its fellow Adirondack peaks, Whiteface has the highest skiable peak in the entire Northeast at an impressive 4,650 feet. It is also home of the greatest continuous vertical drop in the Northeast at 3,430 feet. To put that into perspective, it is greater than Park City in Utah, Aspen in Colorado, and Winter Park in Colorado, among many other epic resorts.
Whiteface is great for the experienced skier or rider, with 80% intermediate and expert terrain, as well as off-piste double black diamond wilderness terrain named The Slides. I have had the pleasure of experiencing all that Whiteface has to offer, and it was a very challenging and thrilling adventure to say the least. It can be downright blistering cold in the dead of winter in Upstate New York, temperatures dipping well into negative double digits. It was great to thaw out on the ride up to the top in Whiteface’s 8-person gondola.
Aside from hitting the slopes, Whiteface has a ridiculous amount of activities to partake in, including such ventures like bobsledding or luging. When your stomach starts growling after your 6th run of the morning you have your options to dine at one of the six restaurants stationed throughout the resort. Whiteface is truly a one-of-a-kind resort in North America and worth a visit, in fact it is easily worth an entire weeks visit! While you plan your visit, keep Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa in mind. Ranked among one of the best resorts in the world and #1 Resort in the Northeast by Conde Nast Traveler, Mirror Lake Inn gives you a five star experience in a casual atmosphere.
Mountain Creek: Vernon, NJ
This four peak resort has an impressive 100% snowmaking capacity and 100% night skiing coverage. Less than 50 miles from Manhattan and just over two hours from Philadelphia, this resort is the closest to the metro areas.
Mountain Creek is known for its dedication to terrain parks. Ranked among the Top 5 Terrain Parks in the Country in 2012 by Freeskier and #1 Terrain Park in the East by Snow Magazine, Mountain Creek has been the home to multiple national freestyling events like the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix. They also happen to be home of America’s largest snow tubing park with over 25 lanes, if you feel like taking a break from the trails to get your adventure fix in Drop Zone Tube Park.
This resort keeps everyone in mind when it comes to dining options. From gluten and lactose free options in The Market to their full fledge après bar and restaurant Schuss, you will find exactly what you crave at their over six different dining options. Following their amazing dining options, Mountain Creek has you covered with their four world class lodging accommodations ranging from townhouses to presidential suites. In the past ten years, Mountain Creek has become one of the few full four-seasons resorts in the region, equipped with a ridiculously fun waterpark in the summer, premiere biking trails, and an impressive golf course. It is truly an experience to behold.
Craving more info about New York/New Jersey ski areas? Check back tomorrow — we’ll be covering three additional awesome ski areas! Can anyone guess which ones they are?
Editor’s Note: this is the first of two blog posts. Check back tomorrow for three more great ski areas in the New York/New Jersey region!