Winter Attractions: Snow Tubing and Skiing in New York

Editor’s NoteNew York by Rail updated this December 2020 blog experience to include current information.

Hit the slopes this season at a variety of ski resorts from the Hudson Valley all the way up to Buffalo.

Winter Attractions blog header

With snow in the forecast, there’s no better time to take advantage of some outdoor fun. Between the Catskill and Adirondack mountains, New York State offers some of the best ski and outdoor resorts in the Northeast. And thanks to Amtrak— you’re always just a train ride away from most of them. (Insider tip: most skis can be checked on Amtrak trains for free!) So whether you want to ski or snowboard on some fresh powder, go snowshoeing or tubing, trek into the woods with some cross country skis or even ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, the outdoor opportunities in the white stuff are endless! 

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.

Belleayre Mountain 

Address: 181 Galli Curci Rd. Highmount, NY 12441
Distance from Rhinecliff-Kingston Station (RHI): 47 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car)

Belleayre Mountain is a popular site for snowboarders and downhill skiers and an ideal location for day-trippers from New York City. Featuring 171 acres, 61 unique trails, 8 lifts, 6 glades, a terrain park, and a progression park, it’s no surprise that resort is known as one of the best in the Catskill Mountains. Whether you’re new to snow sports or you’ve been riding the slopes for years, Belleayre offers something for everyone. In addition to great trails, you can hop on one of the park’s gondolas to catch panoramic views of the wintry Catskill Forest Preserve. Belleayre also offers a variety of snowsports programs, including private lessons, kids’ lessons, competition programs, and more. Ski rentals and snowboard equipment and several dining options are also available on site. Trying to find a day with the best conditions? Belleayre’s website contains a regularly updated snow report, enabling guests to pick the perfect day to hit the slopes.

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 (HUD): 26.6 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car with drop-off at the station)

Hunter Mountain is the largest of New York’s ski resorts. The 240-acre park spans four different mountain faces and features 67 trails, 13 lifts, four freestyle terrain parks, and plenty of nearby accommodations. Regardless of your skill level, you can sign up for the award-winning ski school’s individualized lessons or check out their day and season-long programs. Lift tickets are limited, so be sure to check their website before planning your fabulous winter escape. Wondering what else there is to do at Hunter Mountain? The ski resort is home to plenty of fun activities, including snow tubing and live music and beverage tastings. Only a two and a half hours drive from NYC, Hunter Mountain makes for a great weekend trip that will have your whole family wanting to come back at the first sign of snow.

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 (HUD): 20 miles

Catamount Mountain Resort is a four-season resort straddling the NY/Massachusetts border, just two hours from New York City, and home to some of southern New England’s best 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 eight lifts, a spiffy new lodge, 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 is all within walking distance of the base lodge, which means you can be the first one on the slopes and the last one off! Catamount offers skiing lessons at their snow sports school to better prepare you for hitting the slopes. Family-oriented, close to Great Barrington, MA, and the Hudson Valley, Catamount Mountain Resort makes for an unforgettable outdoor vacation.

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 (ROC): 37 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car)

In the western Finger Lakes region of New York near Canandaigua Lake, lies 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 are lit at night, so the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Other services include rental equipment, a full snow sports retail store, and an equipment tuning center. Bristol Mountain lodging is also available so that you can make the most of your stay.

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 Albany-Rensselaer Station (ALB): 88 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car at the station)

Further north in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, 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 initiatives and unbeatable Adirondack views. The mountain’s varied terrain  makes it an ideal location for glade skiing, but downhill skiers and snowboarders also 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 108 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 Albany-Rensselaer Station (ALB): 146 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car at the station)

The host of two Winter Olympics – and often called the best ski experience on the east coast –Whiteface Mountain is a special place. This massive mountain boasts the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies, with 94 trails stretching over 25 miles and encompassing three snowy peaks. The 288 skiable acres feature four terrain parks, 12 lifts,  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. Winter weather in the Adirondacks usually makes for the perfect snowy conditions. 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 Mountains 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.

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 (BFX) and Depew (BUF) Stations: 52 miles

Once you arrive at Holiday Valley Ski Resort, you will understand why it was once ranked the sixth-best ski resort in the East by SKI Magazine. Located in the charming village of Ellicottville, just an hour south of Buffalo, Holiday Valley has become an annual vacation staple for countless families since its founding in 1957. Whether you’re visiting for a day-trip or a weekend getaway, this ski resort is the ideal winter destination. The 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 there base lodges, a coffee bar 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 tabletops, or you can opt for a casual cross-country skiing or snowshoeing session instead. Thanks to the 39 available night trails, the fun only has to end when 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.

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.

pineridge cross country ski area

Address: 1463 Plank Road, Petersburg, NY 12138

Distance from Albany-Rensselaer Station (ALB): 18.7 miles (+ Enterprise Rental Car pick-up at the 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 and snowshoeing locations, too. Pineridge Cross-Country Ski Area, nestled in the foothills of the Taconic and Berkshire Mountains, 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 1,746 feet where you can spot New York’s Taconic Range and Mount Greylock in far-off Massachusetts. When you’ve had your fill of the fresh mountain air, cozy up in the lodge by a warm fire with hot refreshments and good company. Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area is only a short drive from the Capital District and a worthwhile trip for expert and amateur cross-country skiers alike. 


mohonk mountain house

Address: 1000 Mountain Rest Road New Paltz, NY 12561
Distance from Poughkeepsie Station (POU): 17.8 miles

Travel back in time this season and indulge yourself with a stay at the Mohonk Mountain House, a stunning Victorian castle resort only 90 miles north of New York City. 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. What makes Mohonk Mountain House extra special is its wide variety of winter activities. This family mountain resort offers hiking along the snow-covered preserve, snowshoeing and even snow tubing. When the great outdoors has 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. Whatever you do during your stay at the Mountain House, expect to leave relaxed, content, and ready to book your next visit.

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! Photo Courtesy of Rocking Horse Ranch.

rocking horse ranch

Address: 600 US-44, Highland, NY 12528
Distance from Poughkeepsie Station (POU): 6.4 miles

This all-inclusive family resort in Highland, N.Y., is only 90 minutes from New York City and a 15-minute drive from Amtrak’s Poughkeepsie station, making it the ideal location for those city dwellers looking to get their children and families into the great outdoors this season. Keeping true to its name, the Rocking Horse Ranch specializes in horses and trail rides, but you can expect a range of other fun outdoor activities in the snow, too. This winter, race down the resort’s 500-foot-long snow tubing lanes at the Winter Fun Park! Your winter stay also 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. Don’t forget to stop and admire the 50,000 blue lights covering the pine trees on the property. Still not sold? Perhaps the unlimited supply of hot chocolate will convince you!

Tobogganing in Chestnut Park

tobogganing at chestnut ridge park

Address: 6121 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Orchard Park, NY 14127
Distance from Buffalo Exchange Street Station (BFX): 17.4 miles

This list has covered most of the winter activity basics so far, but one thing you don’t see every day 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). Tobogganing is available on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No snow sleds, though? No problem! The park now allows free-skiing and snowboarding access on the hill f. 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!