Skiing in Upstate NY: 11 Must Visit Ski Areas in Upstate NY

Skiing in upstate New York has to be one of my favorite places to go for a ski vacation on the east coast. Not only is it an outlet for people to get out of the city and get up north but also a lot of out-of-state travelers go down to upstate New York to enjoy their numerous ski resorts.

We’ll look at 11 upstate New York ski resorts that you need to put on your must-ski list.

Pack those bags, wax your skis and settle on a mountain.


11 Must Visit Ski Resorts in Upstate NY

Why did we pick 11? It’s hard to narrow the list even down to that. With over 30 ski areas in New York state, the state has become synonymous with skiing. We’d argue that the best ski resorts are in upstate New York though. Let’s get into them and what makes them worth a winter ski vacation.

Skiing The Adirondacks of Upstate New York

1. Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington NY

The mountain is so good that it even held the winter Olympics in the past. The unique history is worth visiting on it’s own but the trails are what are worth the visit.

With the biggest vertical drop in the east of 3,430 feet, Whiteface has something for everyone. From steep runs for expert skiers to a place for families and beginners to learn, that’s what makes Whiteface so great!

Skiing in Upstate NY at Whiteface Mt
Winter Wonderland at Whiteface Mt. Photo Credit Kyle Lane (Flickr CC)

In fact, there are just over 22 miles of trails to ski at Whiteface. Wilmington trail is the longest at just over 2 miles. Now that is a run to enjoy!

Whether you are a first-time skier or advanced, we can’t recommend Whiteface more. You’ll get a big resort experience without having to go out west. That means you can find everything from glades, moguls, steeps and long runs.

The 90-named trails are spread over 3 peaks so you can use that to your advantage to ski with skiers in your skill level and avoid crowds when possible. Your trip isn’t complete until you ride the Whiteface gondola.

Once you are worn out from all the skiing, have après-ski at one of the many eateries at Whiteface or head up to the Lake Placid area where there is a bunch of restaurants to explore just minutes from the ski area.

Where to Stay Nearby: Lake Placid, 20 minutes away.

Can’t Miss Runs at Whiteface:

  • Hoyt’s High (Lookout Mountain)
  • Riva Road (Whiteface Summit)
  • Wilmington Trail (Lookout Mountain)

2. Oak Mountain, Speculator NY

Oak Mountain is a three-season resort that will have you wanting to head back after the winter. Located in the Southern Adirondacks, Lake George, Albany and Utica are all great places to stay nearby.

With a lot of green trails, you can learn at the bottom of the mountain and progress to the higher-up green trails quite quickly. In just a little time, you’ll be able to explore a large amount of the mountain even if you are a new skier.

With beautiful views of the Adirondacks and a laid-back vibe, Oak Mountain is a more chilled place to visit. If you want to switch off mentally, enjoy the outdoors and mix it with a bit of skiing in the winter then this is one upstate New York ski area that you should consider planning a vacation to.

Where to Stay Nearby: Albany, NY

Can’t Miss Runs at Oak Mountain:

  • Nova
  • Crosscut

3. Hickory Ski Center, Warrensburg NY

Just an hour from Albany, another Souther Adirondack mountain to consider for an upstate NY ski area is Hickory Ski Center. It is a small ski area located just above the powerful Hudson river. If you are looking for a ski vacation where you book a classic cabin up in the Adirondacks nearby, this is the one.

Hickory ski center has stood the test of time since it started in 1946. Its advanced and intermediate runs keep most beginners going to other ski areas. This means more skiing for you and fewer crowds.

If you don’t mind lapping the same runs during the day then visit Hickory Ski Center. It’s one you have to check off your skiing in upstate NY list. For a bigger mountain then check out the next one on our list, Gore Mountain.

Where to Stay Nearby: Warrensburg, NY

Can’t Miss Runs at Hickory Ski Center:

  • Ridge Run
  • Winfall

4. Gore Mountain, North Creek NY

Gore Mt at North Creek
Gore Mt at North Creek. Photo Credit Oliver Hine (Flickr CC)

Gore Mountain has four peaks to explore at its massive ski area. Gore is New York state’s largest ski area. Ride the Gore gondola and pick your favorite trail of the over 100 trails at Gore.

Finish off your day with a bit of twilight skiing at Gore Mountain and you’ll be begging for a bite of food. Luckily Gore Mountain has you covered on that front too! With multiple places to enjoy the slopes and grab food after your day, you won’t go back to your cabin hungry.

Recharge and get ready for the next day at Gore! For a true NY skiing experience, give Gore Mountain a visit in the winter.

Where to Stay Nearby: North Creek, NY

Can’t Miss Runs at Gore Mountain:

  • Headwaters (Gore Mountain)
  • Sagamore (Burnt Ridge Mountain)
  • Peaceful Valley (Little Gore Mountain)

5. Titus Mountain Family Ski Center, Malone NY

This small but mighty family ski center will leave you impressed.

Titus Mountain checks all the boxes with having downhill, night skiing, cross-country skiing and tubing. For a little less traveled ski center, find a cabin near Titus and enjoy the powder.

Where to Stay Nearby: Malone NY

Can’t Miss Runs at Titus Mountain:

  • Rock Garden
  • Sundance

The Catskills of Upstate NY: Where to Ski

6. Hunter Mountain, Hunter NY

Skiing in Upstate NY at Hunter Mt
View at the top of the gondola at Hunter Mt. Photo Credit Schezar (Flickr CC)

With 67 trails, there is one you should be able to find and call your favorite at Hunter Mountain.

There is an even terrain breakout as follows:

  • Beginner: 25% of terrain
  • Intermediate: 30% of terrain
  • Advanced: 30% of terrain
  • Expert: 15% of terrain

Get a big group because all of your friends and family will be able to ski at Hunter Mountain. Between the downhill trails, terrain parks and glades, prepare for a packed day of skiing. For a ski vacation at Hunter Mountain, you’ll want 2-3 days to enjoy all the terrain.

The trails at Hunter Mountain are going to leave you tired but don’t worry, they have some excellent places for après-ski after a thrilling day on the slopes. Once you fill up your stomach then head back to your accommodations or cabin if you are lucky and get ready for another amazing day on the mountain.

Where to Stay Nearby: Hunter, NY

Can’t Miss Runs at Hunter Mountain:

  • Heuga Express (Advanced)
  • Broadway (Intermediate)
  • Central Park North (Beginner)

7. Windham Mountain, Windham NY

Ski trip at Windham Mt
Ski trip at Windham Mt. Photo Credit Studio Sarah Lou (Flickr CC)

With onsite lodging, food and rentals, it doesn’t get easier than Windham Mountain makes it. It is a true, show-up-and-play experience. Decompress by taking a few days in the winter and heading out to Windham Mountain.

Once you ride everything they have to offer, you’ll be ready for a hot chocolate, hot tub or fire to recharge. They have it all.

For a break from the skiing, book a bit of time snow tubing and it will put a smile on everyone’s face in your group. To enjoy a family-friendly ski resort in upstate NY, Windham needs to be one you consider.

Where to Stay Nearby: Windham, NY

Must Ride Runs at Windham Mountain:

  • Upper Whistler
  • Why Not
  • Lower Wraparound

8. Belleayre, Highmount NY

With a bunch of intermediate and expert terrain on the top of the mountain, you’ll be able to take your pick of great trails. Two of my favorites are the long-winding Cathedral Brook and the curvey Deer Run.

Beginners have plenty of trails near the bottom of the mountain including the much-loved Discovery Way and Dakota.

Also at the bottom, you will find cross-country skiing. To get a break from the alpine skiing, give Belleayre’s cross-country trails a try. They are the perfect mix of exercise and still being outside. Plus as a bonus, you’ll avoid any lift lines.

As one of the biggest ski areas in the Catskills, you have to visit Belleayre Mountain. Especially if you want an alternative to Hunter Mountain.

Where to Stay Nearby: Big Indian, NY

Must Ride Trails at Belleayre Mountain:

  • Algonquin
  • Deer Run
  • Cathedral Brook

Skiing in Upstate NY at The Finger Lakes: Ski Resort Worth a Visit

We can’t talk about skiing in upstate NY without mentioning the ski areas around the Finger Lakes. Sure, it is a bit of a drive from areas like New York city but the pretty drive on the way out will reassure why a ski vacation near the Finger Lakes is a great option in the winter.

9. Labrador Mountain, Truxton NY

After a long day on the slopes, you can grab a craft beer, kick back and people watch as skiers and boarders fly down the slopes. While there are just over 20 trails, there is plenty of challenge with trails like Midnight Express and Cut Throat. Meanwhile beginners will have plenty to enjoy as well.

Get a different experience this winter by heading out to the Finger Lakes and visiting Labrador Mountain.

Where to Stay Nearby: Truxton, NY

Must Ride Trails at Labrador Mountain:

  • Midnight Express
  • Cross Over

10. Song Mountain, Tully NY

Think about staying at a central location and spending one day at each of the ski areas. Out of the two, Song is my favorite. With runs like Upper Dipsy Doodle, Stormy Weather and Jupiter, there is a lot of fun trails to ride at Song.

You can even do a day shift at Song Mountain and head over to Labrador for the night shift. The options are endless with two mountains so close to each other.

Where to Stay Nearby: Truxton, NY

Must Ride Trails at Song Mountain:

  • Stormy Weather
  • Dipsy Doodle

11. Bristol Mountain Ski Resort, Canandaigua NY

All lit up at night at Bristol Mt
All lit up at night at Bristol Mt. Photo Credit R3D_Photography (Flickr CC)

The downhill skiing slopes have night skiing on 96% of trails as well so you don’t have to stop in the early afternoon.

The mix of 39 trails favors intermediate to advanced riders but Bristol Mountain is still a good place to learn to ski. Even though there isn’t a ton of beginner trails at Bristol, the ones they have are long and a pleasure to ride.

Once you are finally worn out for the day, you can take a break in the lodge and warm up while others in your group continue riding.

Where to Stay Nearby: Canandaigua, NY

Can’t Miss Trails at Bristol Mountain:

  • Milky Way
  • Upper North Star
  • Upper Rocket

Final Thoughts on Skiing in Upstate New York

Plan your upstate NY ski vacation and you will see exactly what we are talking about.

Alec Wilson writes for Proper Peaks and lives near Claremont, VT. He hardly misses a weekend on the ski slopes in the winter. If there is snow, Alec’s skis are on for a go. Look out for his stickered-up helmet and you might just meet him on the trails.

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