8 Places to Go Skating, Skiing, and Tubing This Winter
Get outdoors at one of these local ice skating rinks and ski areas
Skaters enjoy the open-air skating rink at the Mohonk Mountain House
Jim Smith Photography
Dutchess County’s Bowdoin Park, with stunning views of the Hudson, was already gorgeous enough. But now, the addition of a new outdoor skating rink last year, has breathed new life into the park’s winter appeal. The 76-by-80-foot rink is portable, and this winter you’ll find it next to Pavilion 5. The rink will open when the temperatures are low and the ice is skate-worthy, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s an old-fashioned bring-your-own-skates, skate-at-your-own-risk affair, and we can’t wait to try it out this winter. That said, there are plenty of other spots to get your outdoor skating on in the Valley:
Mohonk Mountain House
Mohonk offers open-air skating under an elegant, barn-like, 9,375-square-foot pavilion. Open skating available for day guests who purchase a meal in the Mohonk dining room; visitors pay $17 weekdays and $27 on weekends (includes skates and parking). 855-883-3798; www.mohonk.com
Bear Mountain Ice Rink
Skate at the Valley’s largest open-air rink from Nov. 5 to March 5, weather permitting, on Mon., Tues., Fri., and weekends (see website for schedule). Pricing is affordable: adults pay just $5 to skate, parking is $10 on weekends and holidays, and skate rental is $4 per pair. 845-786-2701; www.bearmountainicerink.com
Windham Mountain Adventure Park
Windham Mountain is best known for skiing, but its Adventure Park offers a bunch of non-ski activities, like tubing, a Big Air Bag, and skating on a 120’ x 60’ outdoor rink. Rink open weekends and holidays. $10 per session and $5 rentals. 800-754-9463; www.windhammountain.com
Blue Mountain Reservation
In addition to skating, Northern Westchester’s Blue Mountain Reservation offers cross-country skiing trails complete with trail lodges. Bring your own skates. 914-862-5275; www.parks.westchestergov.com/blue-mountain-reservation
Those looking to make an experience out of their journey to cold-weather fun this season should hop aboard the historic Saratoga & North Creek Railway Snow Train. Resurrected in 2011, the train restores the 1930s-era service from Saratoga to North Creek (and back again) along the upper reaches of the Hudson River. At North Creek, there are all kinds of winter activities to revel in — namely skiing at Gore Mountain Ski Center. Train cars are heated, can accommodate your skis, and serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on the time of day. Two tiers of tickets are available: adult diamond class seats include table-side meal service under dome windows; coach class includes meals served on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, visit www.sncrr.com
There are dozens of places to go cross-country skiing in the Valley; you can make a trail anywhere if the land is right and the laws allow. And though it’s undeniably laborious exercise (especially on uphill slopes), consider that competitive cross-country skiers are among the fittest athletes anywhere. Click here for best places to go if you’re actually looking to rent equipment, take a lesson, or even finish with a warm hot chocolate.
Many of our local ski areas have tubing operations now, but none in the Valley carry the notoriety of Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery. It’s so well known because its so impressive — you wouldn’t be wrong to mistake its 800-foot hill (and stadium lights at night) for a full-fledged Olympic operation (there are two cable rope lifts and 12 groomed lanes). You can go tubing on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and some holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- and equipment rental is available. That said, you don’t have to be in a tube to enjoy our hilly terrain — there are tons of other places to sled in the region. Besides Thomas Bull Memorial Park (sled rentals are not available, like tubing, but sledding is free), two more spots worth a visit when the kids are clamoring for a downhill joyride are Bowdoin Park in Dutchess County and, perhaps the best known sledding spot in the Valley, Burger Hill Park in Rhinebeck.