Believe it or not, New York State, with 54 ski areas, has more ski areas than any other state in the country and the biggest vertical ski drop east of the Rockies. The ski areas range , range from pleasant family-friendly nearby areas that are ideal to learn to ski or ride, to the two-time Olympic mountain, Whiteface.
Highlights and hallmarks of this season include: the first ever I Love NY ski bus; ‘Miracle on Ice’ hockey fantasy camp hosted by members of the fabled 1980 gold-medal Olympic team; and, at the three ski areas owned and managed by New York State’s Olympic Regional Development Agency (ORDA) – Whiteface, Gore and Belleayre – SkiNY3 and Parallel from the Start programs. State-wide, there are programs to entice new skiers, and free skiing programs for 3rd and 4th graders.
The state is doing more to promote skiing, with expanded ISkiNY.com website and promotions (a program is in the works where you get an incentive for bringing a friend).
I Love NY Bus to Ski Destinations
This winter, the I LOVE NEW YORK Bus, a new year-round initiative that just launched in October, will offer day trips and weekend ski holidays to a variety of ski mountains, including Belleayre, Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain in the Hudson Valley, Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Central New York and Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. The service plans additional ski packages that include lift ticket, lesson and rentals, as well as overnight accommodations to New York resorts as the winter season approaches.
The trips will be priced starting from $89 and up for one-day to multi-day package programs – packages include transportation, lift tickets, rentals and lessons. The program is being curated by Hampton Jitney, a Southampton-based company known for its on-time service and modern, comfortable wide-body coaches, complete with Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, lavatory, individual reading lights and adjustable seats.
The I LOVE NEW YORK Bus will continually add more events to its schedule. The bus will originate in Suffolk County (Calverton) and at the Exit 49 park-and-ride in Nassau County, then continue on to pick-up and drop-off location for the Bus is at the corner of 44th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan near Grand Central Station, and times of departure and return vary based on each itinerary. On-board ticket sales are available if space permits, but advanced reservations are highly recommended. Reservations can be made at www.iloveny.com/bus.
Parallel From the Start: From the Top of the Mountain in Just 3 Days
On a crusade to bring new skiers to the slopes, The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) offers a trademarked Parallel from the Start learn to ski program. An all-inclusive program costing $169, it guarantees that you’ll be skiing from the top of the mountain within three days.
The secret is how the program engenders confidence and spurs quick advancement. The combination of instruction and shorter skis allow beginners to feel comfortable from their very first minute on snow and immediately builds confidence which creates a fun experience. By the third day, the skiers are reaching the top of the mountain.
Parallel from the Start (for skiers) and Learn to Snowboard (for snowboarders) are specifically geared toward those ages 13+ looking to get into the sport. The three-day all-inclusive programs include three days of beginner lift tickets, lessons and rentals for only $169 – a deal that can’t be beat considering that you can use these three days anytime consecutively or not consecutively throughout the season. In addition, skiers and riders in the program receive a free Frequent Skier Card at the end of their third day that gives them discounts on lift tickets for the rest of the season.
There are also a wide variety of youth options ranging from one day experiences to six week development programs. Each are geared specifically toward different ages and abilities while all incorporating guidance and instruction from those who love to ski and ride.
For more information visit www.nyski3.com or ORDA’s mountain websites, www.whitefacelakeplacid.com, www.goremountain.com, www.belleayre.com
NY Ski 3 Pass Gives Access, Perks to Belleayre, Gore, Whiteface
New York Ski Three provides access to the three mountain destinations operated by New York State’s Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA): Belleayre in Highmount (just 2 1/2 hours from NYC) , Gore in North Creek, and Whiteface in Lake Placid – three very different mountains affording very different experiences. Families with kids (or adults) just learning will adore Belleayre in the Catskills, which has a natural separation and wonderful learning terrain; Gore, in the Adirondacks, the largest ski area in the state, is more challenging but is superb for intermediates, and Whiteface with a vertical to rival the Rockies, a lot of variety, and let’s not forget, it’s hosted the Olympics twice, is where you, too, can feel like an Olympian (and take part in other Olympic activities).
Since the discount period is passed, the rate now is Adult/$1039; Young Adult (13-22)/$539, Junior (7-12)/ $439; six and under, $60; 70+, $340.
Season pass holders also get the benefit of perks and specials at all three ski areas such as event tickets, special bring a friend days, discounts on hotel stays and more. (See details at nyski3.com/ski3-pass.html)
Another option is the SKI3 Frequent Skier Card, which gives you the first and sixth day free, in addition to savings on lift tickets every time you ski. Purchase the SKI3 Frequent Skier Card from the resort you expect to ski first or consider your home mountain. Purchase online, mail, or over the phone from Whiteface, Gore, or Belleayre. (See the website for pricing and details, nyski3.com/ski3-skier-card.html).
Visit ISkiNY.com for more information.
1980 Gold Medal ‘Miracle on Ice’ Hockey Team to Host Fantasy Camp in Lake Placid
The Olympic Gold Medal winning 1980 United States Hockey Team has been one of the most beloved sports teams in history. Now, members of the “Miracle on Ice” team will return to Lake Placid to host the “miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp,” March 29-April 2, 2015.
All on-ice activities will take place on the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena, managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) in Lake Placid.
“It’d be nice for people to come up there to experience Lake Placid – it’s such a great little place and such a big part of our lives,” said 1980 team member and captain Mike Eruzione, who scored the winning goal against the Russians in the ‘Miracle on Ice’ game.
Participation is limited to the first 68 individuals (age 21 and over) to register and join members of a team that created, in the words of Sports Illustrated magazine, the “sports event of the century.” These fantasy camp attendees will skate with, be coached by, and receive instruction from the likes of Team Captain Mike Eruzione, Neal Broten, Dave Christian, John Harrington, Steve Janaszak, Ken Morrow, Mike Ramsey and Buzz Schneider.
In addition to hockey instruction and games, attendees will be treated like gold. Fantasy campers will be picked up at Albany (N.Y.) International Airport and transported to and from Lake Placid via motor coach. They will spend four nights at the High Peaks Resort, enjoy dining, socialize with the 1980 players, receive a gift bag including practice and home and away replica 1980 USA Hockey game jerseys, hockey helmet, gloves, socks, pants, camp apparel, souvenir autographed hockey stick and a framed autographed photo of each participant and their team with the 1980 Hockey Players. Participants will also receive a camp highlight video and be a part of those “inside” stories that may not have been told over the past 35 years.
“Miracle on Ice Hockey Camp is a chance to connect with one of the greatest moments in sports,” added Harrington, who assisted on Eruzione’s go-ahead goal against the Russians. “It was an amazing time in our lives, a crucial time in global politics, and to know that we had some effect on the psyche of a nation is very flattering. This camp will enable participants and players to re-live that time period, share the inside stories and allow you to play in one of the most famed arenas in all of sports.”
“We’ve had many opportunities to do these types of things over the years, but we’re very selective, ” said Schneider, who scored the team’s opening goal against the Russians. “Having the opportunity to do something like this in Lake Placid is very special to me and I’m sure that it will be equally as special to those who participate. This will be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.”
To learn more about the Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp visit www.MiracleonIceFantasyCamp.com. Follow the camp on Twitter, @1980HockeyCamp and on Facebook, MiracleonIceFantasyCamp.
SKINY Free for 3rd & 4th Graders
This year, the ISKINY Free for Kids Passport program is being expanded to include both 3rd and 4th graders.
3rd & 4th Graders from anywhere – New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Canada, the Bahama’s – really – can ski or ride free at the majority of New York Resorts this winter when accompanied by a paying adult. What is more, if you are a 3rd or 4th grader and you’ve never skied before, the Learn To Ski or Ride Passport is available for free.
Fill out the ISKINY Free For Kids Passport Application and send it in with a copy of your 3rd or 4th Grade report card, progress report or letter from the school stating that your child is in 3rd or 4th grade along with the $25 processing fee. You will then receive a booklet of coupons good for free lift tickets when an adult purchases a lift ticket; 3 coupons per ski area are in the booklet.
If you’ve never skied before, you can also choose the Learn to Ski or Snowboard package booklet which contains one free learn to ski or snowboard package for the child and coupons for a 20% discount on a future visit for the 3rd or 4th grader, as well as a discount for the adult; 3 per participating ski area*.
The ISKINY Free For Kids Passport Program for 3rd and 4th Graders lets kids ski free with a paying adult (up to 3 times at each ski area) and/or learn to ski and snowboard for free (1 time free at each area plus a discount on a return visit). See: www.iskiny.com/ski-deals/free-kids-program.
Ski & Stay: Enjoy our New York State ski resorts and lodging properties better and longer with Ski and Stay packages. Participating ski areas offer up great packages during special weekends throughout the season. See: www.iskiny.com/ski-deals/ski-stay.
Here’s more about what’s up on New York State’s ski mountains:
Lake Placid hosted the Olympics twice, and the entire village and destination offers so much to see, experience and enjoy because of the Olympics: like taking a ride in a bobsled down the Olympic run; trying your hand at a Biathalon; going up to the top of the ski jump towers; skating on the outdoor Olympic oval; and enjoying the artifacts on display in an Olympic Museum (best way to enjoy it all is to get the Olympic Sites Passport).
Feel like an Olympian coming down a 3400-ft vertical – the greatest vertical drop in the east; 87 trails (283 skiable acres), 38% expert, 42% intermediate and just 20% beginner (there are no beginner trails from the top but there are intermediate trails). The highest point is 4650 feet; the longest trail (Wilmington) is 2.1 miles.
Improvements this year include: more than 100 low-energy, high efficiency snowguns added to its fleet this season, and widening both the Upper Valley and Wilmington intermediate trails and improvements to the base.
One of the best reasons to ski Whiteface is Lake Placid, itself – one of the most charming villages and interesting places you can visit.
Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa is a gracious traditional Inn on the lakeshore with all the amenities of a modern resort. Warm mahogany walls, polished walnut floors, marble and stone fireplaces, antiques, and chandeliers provide a cozy atmosphere and understated elegance. The Inn. The spa features men’s and ladies’ separate areas appointed with marble and mahogany, plush sitting lounges with fireplaces, whirlpool, steam rooms, lockers and grooming area, to enjoy before and after spa treatments.
Whiteface Lodge, amid the Adirondacks in Lake Placid, is a magnificent rustic lodge fashioned after the Great Camps of the early 20th century. It has the distinction of having been recognized as the 2012 World’s Best Places to Stay by Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List, and ranked First in Lake Placid on Travel + Leisure’s 2012 500. The Lake Placid Spa at Whiteface Lodge takes its inspiration from the complex mosaic of Adirondack Mountain life. This intimate, 5,800-square-foot mountain spa hideaway blends the rustic beauty of its setting with a classic Zen ambiance. From the Maple Butter Massages to the signature Whiteface Peak Facial, the spa’s luxurious treatments are inspired by the comfort evoked by the mountain environment and the healing benefits of indigenous ingredients (7 Whiteface Inn Ln, Lake Placid, NY 12946, 888-582-0505, www.thewhitefacelodge.com).
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort – with a delightful casual restaurant, a gorgeous indoor pool, right on Main Street (the shuttle bus to Whiteface picks up across the street): 2559 Main Street, Lake Placid, NY 12946, www.golden-arrow.com, 800-582-5540, (518) 523-3353, email@example.com.
Whiteface Mountain, Rte. 86, Wilmington, NY 12997, 518-946-2223, www.whiteface.com.
Gore Mountain has the most terrain in NYS: 440 skiable acres and 107 trails, and this year, four new gladed areas, a new high-speed detachable quad, more snowmaking. Gore is located four hours from New York, in the Adirondacks (just 25 minutes off the Northway).
The layout is such that beginners can ski from the top of Bear Mountain (Gore has four mountains). But where Gore really excels is for intermediates, with 50% of the terrain designated blue square.
Gore also offers night skiing on the beginner terrain; it also offers tubing.
This season, Gore is replacing the Adirondack Express triple with a new high speed detachable quad, giving skiers a smoother, faster (it’s 40% faster than the old lift), more comfortable (the seats are padded) and more reliable ride out of the primary base area.
Echo, Gore’s signature trail on Burnt Ridge Mountain, recently recieved FIS and USSA race certification and has been widened up to 20 feet in some areas. Significant regrading on Showcase and Foxlair will allow for both these intermediate trails to open faster and more efficiently.
The new glades include Abenaki Glades, which connect Sgamore on Burnt Ridge Mountain to the Pipeline Traverse; the Narrows, which offer skiers a lively alternative to the Headwaters trial; Birch Bark Alley, which links the Lower Cloud Travers to the Woodchuck trail and the High Peaks Chair; and Macintyre Glades, which is loaded with balsams and connects Cloud to Upper Steilhang.
A new “Parallel from theStart’ offers first-time skiers ages 13-plus a new way to learn using specialized equipment and learning techniques.
Other improvements: the children’s Program area has a new 150- conveyor (Gore’s second), 30% indoor expansion, and a terrain garden.
As a state-owned and operated ski facility, Gore offers excellent value – Ski Magazine rated it a Top 10 for Value and a Top 10 for terrain variety, scenery and lifts.
You can purchase e-tickets online and the day tickets are accepted at Whiteface (the Olympic ski mountain also operated by ORDA), which is 75 minutes away – the distance separation means that one area can have very different conditions than the other (Gore tends to be more sheltered, and because it has mountains that face north, east and south, means that it can have a variety of weather and snow conditions, and you can follow the sun through the day).
Gore does not have ski in/ski out lodging either, but there are lovely accommodations around the mountain, such as the Copperfield Inn in North Creek – in all, 90 lodges. weekend packages are available with one nite lodging from $88; discounted mini-vacations for 2, 3, or 4 nights from $78; even Christmas and Presidents’ Weeks have 2, 3, and 4-night ski-and stay packages from $87. (Gore Mountain, 793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek, NY 12853, goremountain.com.
For a grand stay, choose the historic Sagamore Resort on Lake George, n enchanting AAA Four-Diamond Lake George resort that dates back to the 1880s. Secluded on a private 70-acre island, with luxurious amenities including world-class spa, dining, cross-country skiing (on its golf course). Evoking the Gilded Age, it is a landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places and a member of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts, Historic Hotels of America,. Located less than an hour away, it offers a shuttle bus to Gore on the weekends (110 Sagamore Road, Bolton Landing, NY 12814, 518.644.9400, 866.384.1944, www.thesagamore.com).
And Lake George has marvelous activity, like an indoor water park at Six Flags Great Escape Lodge.
Gore Mountain, 793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek, NY 12853, Snow Phone: 518-251-5026, Phone: 518-251-2411, www.goremountain.com.
Belleayre Mountain is located off of State Route 28 in Highmount, NY, just hours from New York City, in an area that was declared “Forever Wild” by the New York State Forest Preserve in 1885.
Beeleayre is ideal for families and as a learning mountain – with a natural separation of the bottom half of the mountain for beginners and intermediates, and the upper portion for advanced skiers and intermediates. The big surprise here isn’t that the trails are tame and forgiving, but that there are also steeps and moguls – there’s plenty of downhilling to appeal to everyone.
The summit is at 3,325 ft, with a vertical drop of 1404 ft. Belleayre offers 171 skiable acres – 50 Trails, 6 Glades, 1 Terrain Park, 2 Progression Parks (22% beginner, 58% intermediate, 20% expert) ; the longest run is over 2 miles. the mountain is serviced by 8 lifts including a detachable high-speed quad and two magic carpets, altogether handling 10,980 people per hour.
New this year: Dreamcatcher glade trail off Deer Run, a new cafeteria, , new restaurant, new rental shop.
It addition, Belleayre offers 9.2 km of cross-country trails which are available at no fee (subject to natural snow conditions).
Belleayre is completely unpretentious, and a comfortable, cozy size.
There isn’t lodging at the mountain, but the surrounding villages and towns offer charming offerings – such as the Margaretville Mountain Inn (a magnificent historic Queen Anne Victorian built atop Margaretville Mountain in 1886, which we have enjoyed; 1478 Margaretville Mountain Rd., Margaretville, NY 12455, www.margaretvilleinn.com), as well as in Fleischmann’s and Pine Hill.
Adirondack Trailways offers a package with lift ticket, and Belleayre will be one of the I Love New York ski areas on the new I Love NY Ski Bus, operated by the Hampton Jitney, with pick ups in Suffolk, Nassau and Manhattan.
(Belleayre, Highmount, NY 12441, Belleayre,com).
But wait, there’s more to ISkiNY….
For information on all New York State’s ski areas, visit www.iskiny.com/explore-new-york/mountains.
Find Ski & Stay packages at www.iskiny.com/ski-deals/ski-stay.
Lake Placid, NYS’s winter resort, where you ski and bobsled like an Olympian (Photos)
Lake Placid remains New York’s quintessential winter destination (Photos)
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