Skiing may not wait just outside the door, but New York City residents can easily be on the slopes for a day trip or a weekend getaway. A train/bus combination can whisk skiers from Grand Central Station to Thunder Mountain in as little as an hour and a quarter. Longer runs and more vertical drop await just two hours from the city. A three-hour radius – the maximum distance of the mountains listed here – includes resorts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York’s Catskills.
Some of these have arrangements with transportation companies that offer round-trip bus transport, sometimes as part of a package with lift tickets and equipment rentals. The NYC Snow Bus provides transportation from Union Square to several of these mountains. The order in the rankings below is based on multiple – and sometimes conflicting – factors, so the order is less important than the attributes of each mountain. Some skiers will be happy to sacrifice a few hundred feet of vertical drop in order to get there sooner. For others, it’s the powder that counts, or the variety of the terrain, not the travel time. Other facilities are important considerations, too, such as a tubing hill or the availability of night skiing.
Changes for the 2020/2021 Ski Season: With concerns for public safety paramount, ski resorts have changed their procedures this year. Be sure to check the resort’s website for their policies before planning a trip. If traveling out of state, check the state’s policies, as well. When you’re looking for a day or weekend getaway to the slopes, you’ll find the right mountain with our list of the best ski resorts near New York City.
1. Windham Mountain, Windham, New York
In the Catskills, a two-hour drive from the city, Windham Mountain’s 1,600-foot vertical drop encompasses a terrain so varied that it allows for seven double-black diamond trails for experts, along with a dozen gentle runs for beginners and almost half of the 54 trails for intermediates. Boarders can ride at six separate terrain parks with more than 80 jumps, rails, pipes, and boxes, plus an inflatable Air Bag for practicing jumps. Nearly all the 285 skiable acres – the most of any resort in this list – is covered by snowmaking, which has been enhanced in the past two years by major investments in equipment.
Lighting extends the ski day on Friday and Saturday nights. Or extend the day right from the start with the First Tracks program that allows you to ski with a guide in the morning before the lifts open to the public. The multi-lane tubing park is open until 8pm on Friday and Saturday, and the resort offers ice-skating and cross-country skiing. Hotel rooms and condos at the Winwood Inn include the free shuttle to the ski area.
2. Hunter Mountain, New York
With the same 1,600 feet of vertical as Windham – these are the two highest in this list – and about 2.75 hours from the city, Hunter Mountain includes three mountain faces that offer a tremendous variety of terrain. Its 320 skiable acres are covered by state-of-the-art snowmaking that supplements the Catskills’ natural snowfall. The mountain is known for its high-quality maintenance and grooming. The 67 trails are divided 25 percent beginner, 30 percent intermediate, 30 percent advanced, and 15 percent for experts, and there are three terrain parks. A zipline canopy tour soars 600 feet above the resort.
3. Mountain Creek, New Jersey
With a respectable 1,040-foot vertical drop, Mountain Creek offers the longest runs of any resort that’s less than two hours from the city. The 46 trails spread across four mountain peaks and are 100 percent covered by snowmaking. About one-fourth of the trails are for beginners, one third for advanced skiers, and the rest for intermediates. Beginning skiers are not limited to the lower slopes, but have green runs from two of the summits. The 67-acre terrain park has more than 80 freestyle features and a 50-foot jump airbag. All the 167 skiable acres are lighted for night skiing; the resort has a zipline tour and a 30-lane tubing park.
4. Thunder Ridge, New York
Although one of the smallest mountains listed here, with only 100 skiable acres and 500 feet of vertical drop, Thunder Ridge earns its place among the larger resorts as the closest to the city and the easiest to reach by public transportation. Via the Metro-North Ski Train from Grand Central Station and the free shuttle from the Patterson train station, it’s about 1.25 hours from the city to the mountain.
The family-friendly resort’s 30 trails include six for advanced skiers, with the remainder divided evenly between beginners and intermediates. All are covered by snowmaking, as is the terrain park. A plus for families is the reasonable price of lift tickets. Weekdays offer the best value for adults.
5. Camelback Mountain, Pennsylvania
6. Plattekill Mountain, New York