Enjoy These Outdoor Winter Attractions via Amtrak

There’s no denying it— 2020 has been a challenging year, for everyone. But the approaching holidays are a time to finally sit back, relax, and cherish moments with friends and family. Despite the chill in the air, a lot of people are looking for ways to spend more of those moments outdoors this season, where the blinking lights, falling snow, and holiday cheer can be experienced in all its glory. Thanks to Amtrak, you’re always just a train ride away from all the best outdoor winter and holiday activities New York State has to offer— and the options are endless.  
Whether you’re on the hunt for the best powdery slopes to shred or looking for a magical, leisurely horse drawn sleigh ride through a snow-blanketed forest, here is a list of some of this season’s most noteworthy winter attractions! 
Belleayre Mountain is a popular site for snowboarders and downhill skiers and an ideal location for day-trippers from New York City. Photo Courtesy of Belleayre Mountain Facebook.

Snowboarding and Downhill Skiing

Belleayre Mountain 
Address: 181 Galli Curci Rd. Highmount, NY 12441
Distance from Rhinecliff Station: 47 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car)
First up on the list is Belleayre Mountain, a popular site for snowboarders and downhill skiers and an ideal location for day-trippers from New York City. Belleayre’s 171 acres boasts 50 unique trails, 5 glades, a terrain park and a progression park. Although it’s one of the largest mountains in the Catskills, don’t be intimidated: Belleayre offers plenty of trails that vary across all skill levels, and the lower half of the mountain is dedicated to beginner and intermediate skiers so they have ample room to learn. Ski and snowboard down some of New York’s most challenging steeps, fun bumps, and smooth, winding trails, and hop on one of the park’s gondolas to catch panoramic views of the wintry Catskill Forest Preserve. Belleayre is also known for the variety of snowsports programs it offers, including private lessons, kids lessons, competition programs and more. Ski and snowboard equipment and several dining options are also available on site. 
The 240-acre park spans four different mountain faces and features 67 trails, 13 lifts, four freestyle terrain parks and plenty of nearby accommodations. Photo Courtesy of Hunter Mountain Facebook.
Hunter Mountain Resort
Address: 64 Klein Ave, Hunter, NY 12442
Distance from Hudson Station: 26.6 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car with drop-off at station)
Next up is Hunter Mountain, one of New York’s most popular ski resorts frequented by skiers and snowboarders alike. The 240-acre park spans four different mountain faces and features 67 trails, 13 lifts, four freestyle terrain parks and plenty of nearby accommodations. Whether you consider yourself an experienced expert or a barely-there beginner, sign up the award-winning ski school’s individualized lessons or checkout their day and season-long programs. Only a two and a half hour drive from NYC, Hunter Mountain makes for a great weekend getaway that will have your whole family wanting to come back every snowfall! 
The park features 54 trails and 12 lifts, including a brand new, high-speed, detachable six passenger chairlift, and has one of the largest varieties of on-mountain dining. Photo Courtesy of Windham Mountain Facebook.
Windham Mountain
Address: 19 Resort Dr, Windham, NY 12496
Distance from Hudson Station: 30.4 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car w/drop off at station)
Just a few miles north of Hunter Mountain is the less crowded but equally favorited and family-friendly Windham Mountain, which spreads across two peaks and 285 skiable acres. Windham offers beginner-to-expert terrain perfect for alpine skiing and cruising, as well as six terrain parks where freestylers can practice tricks and tucks in a safe, secure setting. The park features 54 trails and 12 lifts, including a brand new, high-speed, detachable six passenger chairlift, and has one of the largest varieties of on-mountain dining. Windham Mountain’s Snow Sports School offers a wide variety of programs and instruction options for children and adults to ensure that each student excels on the slopes. Special discounts are available for purchasing lift tickets online, so you can ski and save throughout the winter season. 
Bristol’s 1200' vertical rise, the highest between the Adirondacks and the Rocky Mountains, makes for breathtaking views at the mountain’s summit and a variety of inclines for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Photo Courtesy of Bristol Mountain Facebook.
Bristol Mountain
Address: 5662 NY-64, Canandaigua, NY 14424
Distance from Rochester Station: 37 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car)
In the western Finger Lakes region of New York is Bristol Mountain, located east of Buffalo and slightly south of Rochester. Bristol’s 1200′ vertical rise, the highest between the Adirondacks and the Rocky Mountains, makes for breathtaking views at the mountain’s summit and a variety of inclines for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Although a bit smaller in comparison to our previous parks with only 138 acres of total skiable terrain, this mountain still offers riders 34 different slopes, two terrain parks, two Nordic loops, and two high-speed quad lifts. The state-of-the-art snowmaking system covers almost all of the terrain, and 96 percent of trails have lighting during the night operating season, so the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Other services include rental equipment, a full snowsports retail store, and an equipment tuning center. 
With 14 lifts and 110 trails, there’s always more to explore at Gore. Photo Courtesy of Gore Mountain.
Gore Mountain Ski Resort
Address: 793 Peaceful Valley Rd, North Creek, NY 12853
Distance from Schenectady Train Station: 76 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car at station)
Further north in the Adirondacks is Gore Mountain, a sprawling, four-peak winter resort about an hour’s car ride from the Ticonderoga station on Amtrak’s Adirondack’s line. Compared to other mountain resorts, Gore is recognized and hailed for its safety protocols, leading sustainability initiates and unbeatable Adirondack views. The mountain’s terrain variety makes it an ideal location for glade skiing specifically, but downhill skiers and snowboarders visit to challenge themselves in the eight terrain parks, which range from laidback set-ups to competition courses. The mountain offers equipment rentals, affordable private lessons, a variety of unique lodging partners, and plenty of on-site cafes to choose from and warm up in. Whether you’re a season pass holder or a first-time, same-day ticket purchaser, enjoy twilight skiing and cross-country/snowshoe trail access under the lights at the historic North Creek Ski Bowl, where all four peaks connect. With 14 lifts and 110 trails, there’s always more to explore at Gore.  
The host of two Winter Olympics and often called the best ski experience on the east coast, Whiteface Mountain is a special place. Photo Courtesy of Whiteface Mountain Facebook.
Whiteface Mountain 
Address: 5021 State Route 86, Wilmington, NY 12997
Distance from Schenectady Station: 134 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car at station)
The host of two Winter Olympics and often called the best ski experience on the east coast, Whiteface Mountain is a special place, and one you don’t want to skip this winter sporting season. This massive mountain boasts the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies, with 90 trails stretching over 25 miles and encompassing three snowy peaks. The 288 skiable acres feature four terrain parks, 12 lifts and one gondola, glade skiing areas, and mile after mile of groomed cruisers connected by renowned side country. Despite the mountain’s impressive size, 98% of the terrain has snowmaking coverage, making for ideal skiing and snowboarding conditions for experts and beginners alike. Challenge your endurance on the 2.1-mile long Wilmington Trail, the longest single intermediate trail in the Northeast, or take in the amazing panoramic views of the surrounding Adirondack’s from Whiteface’s peak, where on a clear winter day you can spot Lake Champlain to the east. When you’ve exhausted yourself on the slopes, explore the lakeside Olympic village and off-mountain attractions you can’t find anywhere else, such as bobsledding down an Olympic track or groomed Nordic skiing. You’ll also find more dining and hotel options in Lake Placid than in any southern Vermont hamlet! Check out your unique lodging options here: https://whiteface.com/plan/lodging/
This 290-acre resort boasts 60 slopes and trails, 13 lifts, three base lodges, two hotels, an aerial park mountain coaster and numerous amenities. Photo Courtesy of Holiday Valley Facebook.
Holiday Valley Ski Resort
Address: 6557 Holiday Valley Rd, Ellicottville, NY 14731 
Distance from Buffalo Exchange Street and Depew Stations: 52 miles
There’s a reason Holiday Valley was ranked the sixth best ski resort in the East by SKI Magazine—it’s simply one of the best! Located in the charming village of Ellicottville, just an hour south of Buffalo, Holiday Valley has become an annual vacation destination for countless families since its founding in 1957. This 290-acre resort boasts 60 slopes and trails, 13 lifts, three base lodges, two hotels, an aerial park mountain coaster and numerous amenities. During the winter Holiday Valley also offers cafeterias in all 3 base lodges, a coffee bar upstairs in Tannenbaum lodge and the Waffle Hut at the base of Cindy’s lift. Explore the mountain’s several terrain parks that feature everything from half and quarter pipes to rails and table tops, or opt for a casual cross country skiing or snowshoeing session instead. Thanks to the 39 available night trails, the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down; it ends whenever you want it to (or when the cold gets to you)! Once you’ve tired yourself out on the slopes, ease your tired muscles and melt away your stress at the Ellicottville Oasis Spa, located in Holiday Valley’s Tamarack Club. We all deserve a nice hot stone massage for making it out of 2020 in one piece—call (716) 699-8996 to make a spa reservation today!
Hit the slopes at one of the largest skiable areas in the Berkshire/Taconic Mountain's. | Photo from Catamount Ski Area
Hit the slopes at one of the largest skiable areas in the Berkshire/Taconic Mountain's. | Photo from Catamount Ski Area
Catamount Mountain Resort 
Address: 78 Catamount Rd, Hillsdale, NY 12529
Distance from Hudson Station: 20 miles
Catamount Mountain Resort is a four-season resort straddling the NY/Massachusetts border, just 2 hours from NYC, and home to some of southern New England’s best steeps and beginner and intermediate terrain. Since undergoing its stunning transformation in the summer of 2018, Catamount has become one of the best mid-sized ski areas on the East Coast. The resort offers guests a new lift, new lodge, hundreds of new snow guns, four snow making ponds, miles of pipe, countless other upgrades, and the surrounding area’s best and most varied terrain. Plus, the resort’s growing variety of on-site rooms are all within walking distance of the base lodge, which means you can be the first one on the slopes and the last one off! Family-oriented, close to Great Barrington, MA, and the Hudson Valley, Catamount Mountain Resort is an ideal location for all skier types and makes for an unforgettable vacation. 
New York State offers plenty of picturesque cross-country skiing locations too, and Pineridge Ski Area is one of the best. Photo Courtesy of Pine Ridge Cross Country Ski Area Facebook.

Cross Country Skiing 

Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area 
Address: 1463 Plank Rd, Petersburg, NY 12138
Distance from Albany-Rensselaer Station: 18.7 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car pick-up at station)
For the outdoor-lovers interested in a more relaxed type of winter sporting, have no fear: New York State offers plenty of picturesque cross-country skiing locations too, and Pineridge Ski Area is one of the best. Nestled in the foothills of the Taconic and Berkshire Mountains, the Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area offers visitors the chance to explore hundreds of acres of untouched wilderness. Wind through beautiful snow-blanketed forests of hardwoods and evergreens, ski along the picturesque Poestenkill Creek or hike up to an elevation of 1746 feet where you can spot New York’s Taconic Range and even Mount Greylock in far-off Massachusetts. When you’ve had your fill of the fresh mountain air, cozy up in the lodge with a warm fire, hot refreshments and good company. Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area is only a short drive outside the Capital District and a worthwhile trip for expert and amateur cross country skiers alike across New York State. 
Mohonk-Mountain-House-New-Paltz-NY-New-York-By-Rail.png
Mohonk Mountain House
Address: 1000 Mountain Rest Road New Paltz, NY 12561
Distance from Poughkeepsie Station: 17.8 miles (+ Mohonk Courtesy Shuttle {needs to be verified})
Travel back in time this Christmas and experience the Victorian Holidays during the entire month of December at the historic Mohonk Mountain House, a stunning Victorian castle resort only 90 miles north of New York City. From December 4-30 the Mountain House will don its best Victorian Christmas décor and offer plenty of delicious food, activities and events for the entire family to enjoy. With over 40,000 acres of protected lands, there’s plenty to keep you active and entertained for a weekend getaway: cross-country ski alongside the lake, head for the Sky Top Tower outlook, or choose one of the many other trails that honeycomb the property. For the places you can’t reach by cross-country, switch out your skis for snowshoes for some additional trailblazing. 
When the great outdoors have tired you out, book a relaxing massage at the Mohonk Mountain House’s award-winning spa or warm up with a campfire and some marshmallows at the newly built outdoor fire pits. Guests can also participate in a range of outdoor activities scheduled daily, including live music every weekend, fun performances by Victorian carolers and graham cracker house decorating. Stroll through Mohonk’s Winter Lights, an immersive display of holiday magic, and embark on the self-guided Christmas Tree and Gingerbread Tours. Whatever you do during your stay at the Mountain House, expect to leave relaxed, full and ready to book your next visit!
With 20-plus chutes nearly 1,000 feet long, a Mini Tubing Park for the smaller snow lovers, a snack bar and a fire pit, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained for a fun-filled, powdery weekend. Photo Courtesy of Huntermtn.com.

Snow Tubing 

Hunter Mountain
Address: 64 Klein Ave, Hunter, NY 12442
Distance from Hudson Station: 26.6 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car with drop-off at station)
Yep, Hunter Mountain makes the list twice, because it’s just that epic. Once you’ve gotten a whole day of skiing and snowboarding in, give your aching muscles a break and head on over to the mountain’s tubing park, which happens to be New York’s largest. With 20-plus chutes nearly 1,000 feet long, a Mini Tubing Park for the smaller snow lovers, a snack bar and a fire pit, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained for a fun-filled, powdery weekend. The mountain is open Monday through Friday weather permitting, and sessions are two hours long starting every hour on the hour. No winter season is complete without some excited snow tubing races, so book ahead today!
Battling Hunter Mountain for the title of “best snowtubing park” is Windham Mountain’s Adventure Park.
Windham Mountain Adventure Park
Address: 19 Resort Dr, Windham, NY 12496
Distance from Hudson Station: 30.4 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car with drop-off at station)
Battling Hunter Mountain for the title of “best snowtubing park” is Windham Mountain’s Adventure Park, home to a 650-foot snow-covered slope with six different lanes. Rocket down by yourself or make it a family affair by tying together a group of up to six tubes! After you’ve hit all the slopes, check out the two zip lines and kid-sized snowmobiles, or try ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Warm up those frozen limbs and noses with a cup of hot cocoa in Sliders Café and relax in the lodge before heading out for round two!
his winter, race down the resort’s 500-foot long snow tubing lanes, take the new state-of-the-art Magic Carpet Conveyor Lift back up to the top, and then do it all over again, all day long! Photo Courtesy of Rocking Horse Ranch.
Rocking Horse Ranch 
Address: 600 US-44, Highland, NY 12528
Distance from Poughkeepsie Station: 6.4 miles
 
This all inclusive family resort in Highland, N.Y., is only 90 minutes from NYC and a 15-minute drive from Amtrak’s Poughkeepsie station, making it the ideal location for those city dwellers looking to get their little ones into the great outdoors this holiday season. Keeping true to its quirky name, the Rocking Horse Ranch specializes in horses and horse riding, but expect a range of other fun outdoor activities, too. This winter, race down the resort’s 500-foot long snow tubing lanes, take the new state-of-the-art Magic Carpet Conveyor Lift back up to the top, and then do it all over again, all day long! From trampolines, miniature golf, and Super Bungee Jumpers to trivia nights, game rooms and a rock wall, you’ll find there’s no shortage of activity and excitement at Rocking Horse Ranch, no matter the season. Plus, your winter stay offers access to the park’s real ice skating rink (rentals included), some small hills for skiing (instruction and equipment included), and horse drawn sleigh rides through 500 acres of magical woods. Still not sold? Perhaps the unlimited supply of hot chocolate will! 
Photo Courtesy of Wollman Rink Facebook.

Ice Skating 

Wollman Rink
Address: 830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065
Distance from Penn Station: 2.2 miles
No holiday season is complete without an afternoon of ice skating, and there’s no better place to do it than in the heart of NYC at Central Park’s Wollman Rink! Situated in the heart of Manhattan, located at 59th Street and 6th Avenue, the iconic Wollman Rink is one of the most beautiful skating and event venues in the world and offers spectacular views of the New York City skyline in every direction. With programs that cater to the entire family, Wollman Rink continues to be at the top of every visitors list while also becoming a home to New Yorkers and local skating enthusiasts. Besides its popular public skating sessions, the rink also offers private ice skating, figure skating and hockey lessons, and hosts a variety of world-class private events. Skate, glide, twirl (and possibly tumble!) on one of New York’s best rinks and discover a skating experience unlike any other!
Public skating hours are Monday and Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. All public skating is cash only. Find regular ticket and rental rates by visiting Wollman Rink’s website at: https://www.wollmanskatingrink.com/rates and special holiday here:   https://www.wollmanskatingrink.com/holiday-rates
Photo Courtesy of Dennis Nett.
Clinton Square Ice Rink
Address: 2 Clinton Square, Syracuse, NY 13202
Distance from Syracuse Station: 3.4 miles
If you’re looking for lively, social-distant outdoor holiday fun, visit Syracuse’s Clinton Square Ice Rink, located just a stone’s throw away from Amtrak’s Syracuse station and open seven days a week until the end of the year! Although the city opted for a fake tree this year, the lights are on, the Christmas music is blasting, and the holiday cheer and spirit remains very much intact in Syracuse! For those waiting until after the holiday rush to plan their trip to Central New York, be sure to catch Syracuse’s annual Winterfest, which falls between Feb. 11-21 of 2021. 
Skate admission fees are $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 12 and under and seniors over 55, and $5 for skate rentals. Due to current local and state Covid-19 safety guidelines, reservations are required in order to maintain ice rink capacity. Skating sessions are available at hour and a half increments starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m. To make a reservation and purchase admission online, visit www.skatesinthecity.com
The Olympic Village offers options for the beginning skater up to those who wish to compete professionally. Photo Courtesy of Lake Placid Olympic Sites Facebook.
Lake Placid Olympic Center
Address: 2634 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946
Distance from Amsterdam Station: 135 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car at station)
The Lake Placid Olympic Center isn’t like your hometown’s old ice skating rink; unless, of course, your hometown hosted not one but two Winter Olympics. Walk (or glide?) in the footsteps of the greats at the Olympic Center’s multiple indoor and outdoor rinks, or watch world-class athletes compete in a variety of ice sports. The Olympic Village offers options for the beginning skater up to those who wish to compete professionally. Skating is available indoors, at the iconic Olympic Oval, or on several areas of the village’s scenic Mirror Lake, the center of many pick-up ice hockey games during the winter season. When you’ve had enough of that northern New York chill, make your way inside to explore the Olympic Museum and its impressive tributes to the champions of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games. 
Check out the Olympic Center’s individual ice skating ticket prices and group discount rates here: https://lakeplacidolympicsites.com/todo/ice-skating/
Chestnut Ridge Park just outside Buffalo is home to several historic tobogganing shoots that have attracted crowds from all over Western New York since the 1930s. Photo Courtesy of VisitBuffaloNiagara.com.

Other Winter Activities 

Tobogganing at Chestnut Ridge Park
Address: 6121 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Orchard Park, NY 14127
Distance from Buffalo Exchange Street Station: 17.4 miles
This list has covered most of the winter activity basics so far, but one thing you don’t see everyday is good old-fashioned, high-speed tobogganing. Luckily, New York State doesn’t disappoint: Chestnut Ridge Park just outside Buffalo is home to several historic tobogganing shoots that have attracted crowds from all over Western New York since the 1930s. Visitors can bring their own toboggans and race down the 20-foot chutes from the top of the park’s highest hill for the chance to get an unforgettable ride (and possibly some frostbite). No sled, though? No problem! The park recently announced its decision to allow free skiing and snowboarding access on the hill for the first time in 30 years. Chestnut Ridge will also provide a tow line to help thrill-seekers get back up to the top faster, so the fun won’t show any signs of slowing!

Taking Ski and Snowboard Gear on Amtrak

Ski or snowboard gear may be either checked or carried on for free in lieu of baggage and must be covered in a protective or hard-sided case. Carried items must weigh less than 50 pounds and be less than 72 inches in height, while checked items can be up to 50 pounds and 75 linear inches in height. Learn more here.

Enterprise Rent-a-Car Information

New York By Rail has partnered with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to provide rental cars to Amtrak customers. Click here to find more about the services available for the station you are traveling to. Call the branch 20 minutes before your Amtrak train is expected to arrive at the station to confirm your pick-up time. It’s that simple!

Further Information Regarding Travel
Amtrak has taken several initiatives to ensure the safety of its passengers. They have committed to requiring face masks for all passengers, converting the cafe car to takeout only, adding social distance signage, and much more.
Learn More Information Here