Swain Resort in NY: Should You Ski It? An Overview

The oldest independently run ski resort in New York State, Swain Resort has been in operation since the mid-1950s. The tiny hamlet of Swain has just 300 residents, but the area is bustling during ski season, especially on weekends, with the arrival of thousands of winter sports enthusiasts. Swain is located 60 miles south of Rochester and 70 miles east of Buffalo. The Finger Lakes District is just to the east, with Elmira, New York about 75 miles away. Read on to learn about Swain ski resort, how to get there, lodging, lessons and more.

Snowboarding at Swain ski resort in NY

Do I Take the Train to Swain?

No, there is no train service to Swain, but interstate highways I-390 and I-86 both pass within 20 minutes of the ski resort. I-390 runs north-south out of Rochester, and I-86 is an east-west highway across the southern tier of western New York, from Binghamton to Erie, Pennsylvania.

Swain Resort Mountain Stats

  • Number of Trails: 35, evenly split between Beginner, 33%; Intermediate, 37%; and Advanced, 30%.
  • Swain has 130 acres of skiable terrain.
  • Lifts: 5, including three quad chairs, one double chair and one surface lift.
  • Summit: 1,970 feet. Base: 1,320 feet.
  • Vertical drop: 650 feet.
  • Longest run: 5,280 feet.

Lift Tickets

Swain Resort offers a variety of lift tickets options for weekdays and weekends/holidays. The most notable offer is free skiing for children ages 7 and under, as well as for seniors 75 and older. In addition to standard daily lift tickets, there are reduced price tickets for 4 hours, night skiing (4-close), junior/senior full-day, and junior/senior for 4 hours. Lift tickets may be purchased online, but reservations are not required. Additionally, lift tickets purchased online are non-refundable.

Frequent visitors may want to consider a Lift Ticket Pack, where you can buy discounted lift tickets for up to 8 days at the same time, and use them throughout the season.

Swain Resorts Annual Pass Options

Swain clearly caters to families with their myriad of season pass options. Passes may be purchased as a single skier; a family of two, three, four, or max (any number more than four); senior (65-74); student (8-22); twilight (4 p.m. to closing); college twilight (college students only); and you can also choose a particular night of the week for the entire season.

Season passholders receive discounted lift tickets for friends, discounts on group and private lessons, reduced menu prices at the Shawmut Grille, and lower prices at the Shop@Swain. Better yet, you’ll receive free and discounted reciprocal lift tickets at Holiday Valley, Whiteface Mountain and Hunt Hollow.

Does Swain Resort Offer Lessons?

Snowboarder riding at Swain ski resort

Whether you are new to skiing or boarding, or just want to spend more time improving your skills, Swain Resort offers discounts with the purchase of a Group Lesson 6-Pack. Lessons are also available for adaptive skiing, and high school age racing.

Is There Lodging at Swain Resort?

Yes, Swain offers lodging right at the resort, making it perfect for visitors to maximize their time on the slopes. Motel rooms and condos with multiple rooms, bunk beds, kitchen facilities and much more are available at the Trainside Inn and Slopeside Inn. Units include free Wifi and streaming television service with ROKU connectivity.

Tell Me About Swain Resort’s Terrain Parks

There are two terrain parks at Swain. One is located at the top of the beginner Black Forest Run, with the other mid-mountain by the quad 3 lift, and adjacent to the Clark intermediate run, and Pines advanced trail. Both parks offer challenges for skiers and riders of various levels of expertise.

Is There Night Skiing at Swain Resort?

Yes, Swain Resort is open in the evening until 9 p.m., seven days a week. Night skiing at Swain is one of the best ways to take advantage of the slopes when there is a smaller crowd.

Do They Make Snow at Swain?

They sure do. Swain has the capability to blow snow on 97% of its trails, ensuring that virtually the entire mountain will be operational for your downhill runs. Luckily, this area of upstate New York gets about 130 inches of Mother Nature’s fresh snow each season.

Are There Dining Options at Swain Resort?

There are two restaurant options at Swain. Mercer’s Cafe is designed for folks on the go. Both fast food and grab-n-go options are available here. For a sit-down bite to eat, the Shawmut Grille is the place for table service and a broader menu. Diners can choose to eat inside, or when the weather cooperates, out on the deck.

Shawmut also offers a full-range of adult beverages to tackle your thirst. With 18 draft lines for tap beers, Swain is able to offer more than 100 different brews during the course of the ski season.

Does Swain Resort Participate in the Indy Pass Program?

Skier at Swain in NY.

Yes, Swain is one of the partner resorts of the Indy Pass Program. What is the Indy Pass? It’s the fastest-growing multi-ski resort pass in the world, offering downhill enthusiasts access to more than 75 independent mountains across the U.S., Canada, and even in Japan!

Indy Pass holders not only receive two days of skiing, but can use their Swain annual pass for access to 26 additional ski areas in the Eastern U.S., 18 in the Midwest, and another 28 resorts in the Western U.S. Four Japanese ski resorts in the Tohoku Region are participants, too.

Can I Rent Ski & Snowboard Gear at Swain?

Swain offers rentals for skiing and snowboarding. Ski rental packages include skis, boots and poles, while snowboard rental comes with a snowboard and boots.

You can also bring your own skis or board, but rent other equipment individually. Helmets, which are highly recommended, are optional and available for rental, too. Swain has added ski-bikes and twin-tip ski rentals to their gear offerings.

My Gear Could Use a Tune-up. Can Swain Resort Help Out?

Swain offers a full range of services for your personal equipment, including sharpening, waxing, a standard or race tune-up, binding mounts and remounts, as well as adjustments.

Do Your Ski & Board Shopping at Swain

The Shop@Swain is a full-service ski and snowboarding store in the main lodge at Swain Resort. You’ll find everything you need here for use during your stay, and throughout the winter season.

Ski, boards, poles, helmets, bindings, clothing and a wide variety of accessories are all available there for purchase.

Does Swain Resort Have a Snow Tubing Hill?

Unfortunately, there is no snow tubing at Swain. But this family-friendly resort does have a slow skiing trail for novices to learn and feel more comfortable. Before you ask, Swain does not offer cross-country or snowshoeing trails.

Final Thoughts on Swain

For over 75 years Swain resort has been providing fun to New Yorkers and visitors alike. It is a great ski resort to learn, for families or just to explore the trails. Become part of the Swain family and community by grabbing a lift ticket and hitting the slopes.

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