Living on the edge: Taking a run at Catamount Ski Area in Hillsdale
Big air: Warwick’s Mount Peter Ski Area offers free ski and snowboard lessons
Generations of kids (and more than a few adults, too) have gotten their first taste of snow sports by taking a ski and/or snowboard lesson offered gratis on weekends and holidays at this family-run facility in Warwick. Once they’ve purchased a lift ticket, newbies learn the ropes of the slopes during a one-hour group session that covers topics like equipment, balance and stance, changing direction, and stopping — all taught by professional instructors.
Got a child in the third or fourth grade? Visit www.iskiny.com, download the Passport application, send it in with a copy of your kid’s report card and a $22 processing fee, and your youngster gets coupons for free lift tickets at a long list of New York State ski areas — including Catamount, Windham, Thunder Ridge, and others in the Valley. Never skied or boarded before? Opt for the Learn to Ski or Snowboard package, which offers free and discounted lessons for all ages.
Yes, without even taking off your skis, you can now chow down on this breakfast staple — one of our Best Breakfasts in 2014 — courtesy of Pika’s Farm Table in Lake Katrine. These treats are made in the Liège style (an urban area in southern Belgium); their texture is dense and doughy on the inside with a crunchy, sweet exterior. But never fear — the ever-popular, fluffy Brussels variety is still available indoors at the resort’s base lodge.
Also known as tree skiing, this form of the sport involves skiing off-trail through the trees or sometimes on a defined woods trail. Inherently more dangerous, glade skiing is often reserved for experts; it is growing in popularity since it offers outdoor enthusiasts more natural — as well as challenging — terrain. Belleayre has long been a local leader in glade skiing; it currently has five glade trails. In 2007, Hunter Mountain added a glade area and this year, Windham Mountain has cleared the terrain on their western peak so that they, too, can begin to offer this latest fad.
Lots of our local mountains run super specials. Holiday Mountain in Monticello has a few of our favorites. A family of four can go tubing for $35 on Fridays, and get lift tickets for a combined $40 on Thursday and Saturday nights. Bring a carload on Wednesday nights and prices for lift tickets go as low as $13 per person.
While Hunter was the first ski area in the world to offer base-to-summit snowmaking, all of our ski areas now continue to improve their capacity to create the white stuff. Hunter recently added automated robotic snow guns; Catamount also invested in 30 new energy-saving snowmaking guns.
While many of our local mountains now offer loads of outdoor activities, Windham Mountain really shines in this arena. There are eight lanes for snow tubing, two zip lines, ice skating, snowmobiling for kids — and of course, the Big Air Bag (see it in action here). This giant sack lets skiers and riders practice their tricks. And not to brag, but Windham has the only Big Air Bag in the Northeast (check out the Big Air Throwdown on February 15). Sorry Vermont. We’re staying here this year!