Chill Out: Winter Sports in the Valley

Baby, it’s cold outside! But no matter what season it is, Valley dwellers love to get outdoors and play. Whether you’re a skier or a skater; an ice fisher or boater; we’ve got the lowdown on cool places to stay active this winter


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Sure, Vermont has some amazing ski resorts just a few hours away. But did you know that right here in the Hudson Valley we have 10 local ski areas — from the tiny Sawkill, one of the smallest facilities on the East Coast, right up to the big and bustling Hunter Mountain, which this year debuts the first six-person chair lift in New York State. So whether you’re seeking world-class terrain, free beginner lessons in a family-friendly environment, or even an arcade with a mechanical bull to keep the kiddies content, it’s time to hop in the car and head to the slopes. Let it snow!

Belleayre Mountain
Vital Stats:
# of trails: 52 # of lifts: 8 (two quads, one triple, two doubles, three handle tows) Skiable acres: 171 Longest run: 12,024 feet Vertical drop: 1,404 feet
Full-day weekend ticket: $54 adults; $44 youth 13-18; $38 children six through 12
Beyond trails: Five glades, one rail park, one terrain park, and one progression park
Amenities include: Skiing and snowboarding; Nastar race course and a race team; Kidscamp and day care; ski school; and four lodges featuring full-service cafeterias, party and meeting facilities, a cocktail lounge, and ski shops.
Discount lift tickets: Every Wed. and Fri., and on select Sun. with Potter Brothers’ “flex days” (purchase passes at Potter Brothers’ stores and receive a discount; the first flex day is December 19).
Upcoming Events:
Dec. 20: Hanukkah Candle Lighting Ceremony
Dec. 25: Pictures and Skiing with Santa Claus
Jan. 22: Kids’ Winter Carnival and Torchlight Parade
Jan. 24: Taste of the Town

Hillsdale. 518-325-3200;
South Egremont, Massachusetts. 413-528-1262;
Vital Stats:
# of trails: 32 (including park areas) # of lifts: 6 (one quad, one triple, two doubles, one wonder carpet, one handle tow) Skiable acres: about 119 Longest run: 2.5 miles Vertical drop: 1,000 feet
Full-day weekend lift ticket: $59 adults; $27 seniors and youth seven through 13; $25 children under seven
Best après-ski treat: Fondue at the Swiss Hutte across the street.
Cheap — and steep — thrills: Don’t miss the double-black-diamond trail, Catapult, one of the steepest runs in the Northeast.
Terrain park: Includes a 400-foot half pipe, jumps, jibs, an 800-foot boardercross, and a Junior Jib park for terrain park beginners.
Amenities include: Skiing, snowboarding, night skiing (Wed.-Sat.), racing and freestyle teams, adaptive skiing/snowboarding program, two lodges, a ski shop, ski and snowboard instruction, a tavern and cafeteria, and a children’s playroom.
Dec. 8 & 9: Scout Days
Jan. 8: USASA Giant Slalom & Slope style
Jan. 29: USASA Boarder cross/ Skier cross
Jan. 30: USASA Half pipe

Plattekill Mountain
Roxbury. 607-326-3500;
Vital Stats:
# of trails: 35 # of lifts: 3 (one triple, one double, one handle tow) Longest run: 2 miles Vertical drop: 1,100 feet
Full-day weekend lift ticket: $46
Best specials: Dec. 16-17: Learn to ski for free, photos with Santa; Jan. 5, Feb. 9, Mar. 9: $10 lift tickets for first 100 skiers; Jan. 22-26: $10 lift tickets
Terrain park: Includes Lowerface and Shredded Moz
Amenities include: Skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing; private and group lessons; childcare; and a race camp.Twenty-two recently added tower-mounted snow guns put more snow on the trails in less time. Children’s ski school programs have been increased, including new advanced lessons for children four through eight. Also, this season children under seven ski free.
Dec. 11-12: Learn to Ski or Ride Free
Jan. 22: Plattekill Kids Cup Races
Feb. 13: Catskill Mountain Snowboard Series Giant Slalom & Slalom Snowboard Races
Feb. 24: Crazy Hat Day. $10 off your lift ticket when you show off your craziest hat.

Holiday Mountain
Ski and Fun Park
Monticello; 845-796-3161
Vital Stats:
# of trails: 7 # of lifts: 4 Skiable acres: 60 Longest run: 4,100 feet Vertical drop: 400 feet
Full-day weekend lift ticket: $42
Don’t miss: Their many specials include $14 lift tickets for the ladies on Tues. afternoons and $14 for the gents on Wed. afternoons. Fri. nights a family of four can go tubing for $30.
Amenities include: Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, lessons, ice skating, a cafeteria, an arcade, bumper cars — and even a mechanical bull.

Sawkill Family Ski Center
Kingston. 845-336-6977;
Vital Stats:
# of trails: 2 # of lifts: 2 (including a hand tow and a 450-foot carpet lift) Longest run: 1,000 feet Vertical drop: 70 feet
Full-day lift ticket: Please call for price (although generally budget-friendly, costs for this season were unavailable at press time).
Don’t miss: Delicious hot cocoa.
Terrain Park: New improvements this year bring exciting challenges for boarders and skiers.
Amenities include: Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, a ski shop, and a snack bar. A new snowtubing run has been added to the mountain this season. Also, a carpet lift, which helps beginner skiers reach the top of the mountain without ski lifts, has been added. Sawkill is open only on weekends and holidays.

Thunder Ridge
Patterson. 845-878-4100;
Vital Stats:
# of trails: 30 # of lifts: 5 (two doubles, one triple, one T-Bar, one handle tow) Skiable acres: 100 Longest run: 1 mile Vertical drop: 500 feet
Full-day weekend lift ticket: $48 adults; $35 seniors and youth six and older; $10 children under six
Terrain park: Enough to challenge enthusiasts of all levels.
Amenities include: Skiing, night skiing, snowboarding, a ski shop, a cafeteria, ski and snowboard instruction, racing teams for ages six to 19, babysitting, and a free shuttle from the Metro North train station. A new magic carpet will be available this season to gently lift you up the mountain on a conveyor belt. Also, a state-of-the-art snow making system has been added, increasing snow coverage to more than 100 acres.
Feb. 11: Ladies’ Day: This first time event focuses on a day full of women specific activities. Former Olympian Lisa Densmore, will be in attendance. The day will also feature demonstrations on ski equipment specifically made for women, a ski clinic, and lunch.

Tuxedo Ridge
Tuxedo. 845-351-1122;
Vital Stats:
# of trails: 7 # of lifts: 4 Skiable acres: 35 Longest run: 2,750 feet Vertical drop: 400 feet
Full-day tickets: $50 adults on Sat. and holidays; $40 adults on Sun.
Don’t miss: $10 lift tickets on Tues. nights starting at 5 p.m.
Beyond trails: One terrain park, one half pipe, two jumps (15 feet and 35 feet), a corrugated bonk, corrugated cannon, 16-foot box rail, and two eight-foot boxrails. Private lessons are available.
Amenities include: Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, night skiing, and a cafeteria.
Jan. 1: Torchlight Parade
Jan. 2: Retro Ski Fest: Wear your ski garb from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s
Feb. 9: Kids Pay Their Age Day: ages 18 and under
Feb. 13: Sno-waii Luau: A winter twist on a Hawaiian Luau

Windham Mountain
Windham. 518-734-4300;
Vital Stats:
# of trails: 46 # of lifts: 10 (two high-speed quads, four triples, one double, and three surface) Skiable acres: 267
Longest run: 12,500 feet Vertical drop: 1,600 feet
Full-day weekend lift ticket: $68 adults; $54 children seven and older; $10 children under seven
Best après-ski treat: Pick up a s’mores kit and head to the Patio BBQ.
Four terrain parks: Including a 600-foot halfpipe, rails, bumps, boxes, jibs, and tabletops.
Amenities include: Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice skating (with warming hut), night skiing on Fri. and Sat., slopeside (pet-friendly) hotel and condos, cafeterias, and several restaurants including Mexican, sushi, a café, and waffle and crepe huts.
Dec. 18-19: Dashing through the Snow and Skiing Santa Day: Sat. a bell choir will greet guests. Sun., all those dressed as Santa ski and ride free, $10 suggested donation, pre-registration required.
Jan. 22-23: 50th Anniversary Extravaganza and ’50s Bash featureing a vintage ski display, live band, fireworks, time capsule, and champagne toast. •

Hunter Mountain
Hunter; 1-800-HUNTERMTN;

Vital Stats:
# of trails: 55 # of lifts: 11 (one six-passenger, two quads, two triples, five doubles, one handle tow) Skiable acres: 240 Longest run: 2 miles Vertical drop: 1,600 feet
Full day weekend ticket: $65 adults; $59 ages 13-22; $45 seniors and children seven through 12; $10 children under 7
Best après ski treat: Head a few miles down the road to the little town of Tannersville and indulge in some down home goodness at the Last Chance Cheese shop — a restaurant and shop rolled into one.
Check out: The brand new six-passenger ski lift — the first one in New York State.
Save big bucks: Buy gas at participating Getty/Lukoil stations four times and receie a free lift ticket.
Two terrain parks: Include a half pipe, rails, and other features.
Amenities include: Three distinct ski areas plus snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing; a ski shop; learning center; health spa; more than 10 eateries and three drink venues; day care services; slopeside lodging; and many area hotels, B&Bs, and inns.

Mount Peter Ski & Ride
Warwick. 845-986-4940;

Vital Stats:
# of trails: 9 # of lifts: 4 Skiable acres: 60 Longest run: 3,960 feet Vertical drop: 500 feet
Full-day weekend lift ticket: $40 adults; $31 juniors
Fun fact: The ski area was opened by Macy’s department store in 1936 to show off its ski and winter fashions.
Don’t miss: Their famous, free beginner ski and snowboard lessons.
Terrain park: Provides challenges for a variety of levels.
Amenities include: Skiing, snow-
boarding, night skiing, tubing, a lodge, tavern, shop, and racing programs for kids eight through 18.
Upcoming Events:
Dec. 19: Ski with Santa
Jan. 2: Tentative open race event
Feb. 2-7: 2nd Annual Winter Carnival

Bear Mountain Ice Rink
Bear Mountain State Park.
845-786-2701, ext. 266;
Adults $4; Children (4-11) $3. Skate rental $4 a pair. Open through March 6, 2011.
Public sessions: Mon.,Tues., Fri.-Sun.
See Web site for times.
Skate under the open sky, surrounded by mountains, at the Valley’s largest open-air rink. Take the kids to the beautiful hand painted carousel featuring scenes from the park and 42 hand carved seats of native animals. Ice hockey, birthday parties, private sessions, the Hessian Lake Figure Skating Club, and rentals are offered.

McCann Ice Arena
Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie. 845-454-5800, ext. 212;
Open year-round. Public sessions:
Mon.-Tues. 12-2 p.m.; Fri. 12-2 p.m.
& 7:15-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 2-4 p.m.
There’s something happening for every member of the family at this large Dutchess County facility, including: Open freestyle sessions for advanced figure skaters, six days a week; advanced freestyle classes; learn to skate programs for kids, teens, and adults; Mommy & Me skating classes; Sticks n’ Pucks open hockey sessions; speed skating clinics; birthday parties; Dutchess Figure Skating Club; a pro shop; ice hockey lessons; and Friday Nite DJ Skate.

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz.
Open through early April. Call for schedule and pricing information.
This unique open-sided pavilion ice rink features wooden roof beams, stone columns, and a statuesque 39-foot stone fireplace. Birthday parties, lessons, skating exhibitions, curling, broomball, and a skate shop are offered.

Conway Ice Rink
Hudson Valley Community College, Troy.
Open through March 13, 2011. Adults $3, children (2-17) & seniors (65 and up) $2. Skate rental $3. Public sessions: Mon.-Fri. 12-2 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 4-6:15 p.m.
This Capital Region facility has 18,000 square feet of ice. Learn to skate programs for beginners and intermediate skaters are offered through the college, along with weekend and evening skating lessons, a skate shop, and birthday parties. Group discounts are available.

Brewster Ice Arena
Brewster. 845-279-2229;
Open year-round. Adults $7, children (under 12) $5. Skate rental $3. Public sessions: Daily, check Web site for seasonal schedule information.
This massive northern Westchester ice mecca is open all year and has three separate ice rinks, a restaurant, and a gym, among many other amenities: a skating school with hockey clinics, group lessons, Future Rangers Beginner Hockey and Mini-Mite program, birthday parties, the Skating Club of Brewster, Recreational In-House and Travel Hockey Teams for adults and teens, Players Restaurant & Bar, and a pro shop.

Ice Time Sports Complex
Newburgh. 845-567-0005;
Open year-round. Adults $8, children (5-12) $5. Skate rental $3. Public sessions: Tues. & Thurs. 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Wed. 3:45-4:45 p.m.; Fri. 7:15-9 p.m.; Sat. 2-5:30 p.m.; Sun. 2-3:45 p.m.
This Newburgh sports facility runs skating programs all year. Don’t miss their Annual Holiday Showcase, Dec. 11, 6-8 p.m. Available activities include adult open hockey, birthday parties, learn to skate programs for children and adults, figure skating freestyle sessions, the Hudson Valley Figure Skating Club, youth and adult hockey programs and clinics, Sticks n’ Pucks, the Rink Side Sports Café, and a pro shop.

Windham Mountain Adventure Park
Windham. 518-734-6974;
Open through March 21, 2011. Adults $10.
Skate rental $5. Public sessions: Daily, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-3 p.m., 4-6 p.m., and 7-9 p.m.
This quaint open air skating area is located right near Windham’s famous snow tubing. Warm up next to the open-air fire pit.

Skiers at Windham Mountain can take their pick from almost 50 trails, then defrost over a good meal in one of the many onsite restaurants

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