There’s nothing quite like the bracing air of winter, and getting out in it is great for you, body and soul. Cold-weather activity burns more calories and does more for heart health, since your body’s also working to keep itself warm; Vitamin D in sunshine and all that dazzling natural light in general are the antidote to the low-energy, cabin-fever blahs.
Just don’t forget to dress for it by layering up and making sure your hands, ears, and feet stay cozy and dry. Wear footwear with good traction; you want any sliding you do to be deliberate. Pop on a good pair of shades against the glare, and you’re good to go—and with options like we’ve got around here, you won’t have any trouble finding great destinations.
Whether you’re an experienced skier, someone who’d sooner slide sitting down, or hankering to glide gracefully on skates, these places offer tons of good old-fashioned winter fun, often with all the modern conveniences onsite or right nearby.
And when you return to your cozy nest, whether it’s your local home or an inn or hotel, the coziness will feel ten times as cozy as it did before you left for your outdoor adventure. Time to kick back with something from one of our fine beverage makers—you’ve earned it!
PLATTEKILL MOUNTAIN is a friendly, family-owned Catskills ski resort with 38 trails and terrain for all skill levels. They’ve been described in Powder magazine as “The Alta of the Catskills.” There’s lift service available to tubers here, too.
469 Plattekill Road, Roxbury, NY
BELLEAYRE MOUNTAIN New York State’s publicly-owned ski area in Highmount, offers skiing and snowboarding on 50 trails and five glades plus a terrain park, a progression park, and an X-Course. There are lessons for all ages and skill levels and an adaptive program, and miles of trails available for cross-country and snowshoeing.
181 Galli Curci Road, Highmount, NY
HUNTER MOUNTAIN RESORT featuring four distinct mountain faces that offer just about every type of terrain, offers multiple restaurants and shops and a variety of lodging, including a spa and fitness room just steps from the lifts at the Kaatskill Mountain Club and “ski-in, ski-out” condos.
64 Klein Avenue, Hunter, NY
WINDHAM MOUNTAIN offers 54 trails and six terrain parks; they’re constantly upping their snowmaking and grooming game, and a freshly renovated Base Camp houses the Windham Mountain Kids ski school. Here too you’ll find a comprehensive range of lodging and dining options for apres- or pre-ski eats and drinks.
19 Resort Drive, Windham, NY
STAATSBURGH STATE HISTORIC SITE in Staatsburg is the former estate of Ogden and Ruth Livingston Mills, and you’re welcome to use your plastic sled or snow tube on their expansive lawn for free. (No metal runners please!) The Mills and Norrie State Parks nearby are laced with trails great for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. 75 Mills Mansion Drive, Road #1, Staatsburg, NY
DRAYTON GRANT PARK at Burger Hill in Rhinebeck has a half-mile sledding hill. The climb may be long, but so’s the ride—and at the summit, panoramic views take in the Catskills to the east and the Berkshires to the west on a clear day. The park also offers plenty of trails for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
3137 NY-9G, Rhinebeck, NY
MINNEWASKA STATE PARK PRESERVE welcomes cross-country skiers and snowshoers as well. 5281 Route 44-55, Kerhonkson, NY
RAIL TRAILS offer wonderful cross-country ski and snowshoe possibilities. They’re broad, smooth and level, and you can easily plan a trip that takes in a pit stop for a sustaining snack and a hot drink.
MOHONK PRESERVE grooms a selection of their carriage roads for serene Shawangunk skiing, and you’re welcome to ski and snowshoe on the rest of the 70 miles backcountry-style. You’ll want to park at the West Trapps, Coxing, Spring Farm or Testimonial Gateway trailheads.
3197 State Route 44/55, Gardiner
SHAWANGUNK NORDIC SKI ASSOCIATION offers maps, conditions reports, free clinics and a racing program for all ages when conditions permit.
WALNUT MOUNTAIN PARK maintained by the Town of Liberty, offers over 13 miles of trails in the heart of the Sullivan County Catskills. 73 Walnut Mountain Rd., Liberty, NY
FAHNESTOCK WINTER PARK in Carmel offers over 11 miles of trails, plus hills for sledding and tubing. 1570 Route 301, Carmel, NY
JAMES BAIRD STATE PARK offers seven miles of scenic wooded trails in Pleasant Valley. 845-452-1489 14 Maintenance Lane, Pleasant Valley
CLERMONT STATE HISTORIC SITE in Germantown has five miles of marked trails for cross-country skiers and snowshoeing enthusiasts with gorgeous Hudson River views.
One Clermont Avenue, Germantown
BASECAMP SHAWANGUNK RIDGE, a community hub, offers gear, guidance and bootcamps for outdoor sports, not to mention nutritious grab-n-go food to take with and organic elixirs and balms to help you recover. 2809 RT 44 55, Gardiner, NY
ALPINE ENDEAVORSwill help you get organized and go ice climbing in the Catskills or Adirondacks. Rosendale, NY 877-486-5769, alpineendeavors.com
outdoor ice skating
MOHONK MOUNTAIN HOUSE Ice Pavilion is a 9,375 square foot outdoor ice skating rink graced by a 39-foot high stone fireplace perfect for warming up with a cup of hot chocolate. Thirty miles of trails with stellar views of the Catskills are also available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Call ahead to see if day passes are available on the day of your visit, or book a stay and have it all at your fingertips. 1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, NY 855-883-3798, mohonk.com/recreation/winter-activities
BOWDOIN PARK in Wappingers Falls features a 76-by-80-foot ice skating rink with glorious river views; its 301 acres also offer gentle sledding hills. 85 Sheafe Rd, Wappingers Falls NY 845-298-4600, dutchessny.gov/Departments/Parks/Bowdoin-Park.htm
BEAR MOUNTAIN ICE RINK RINK, located at the Bear Mountain State Park in Tompkins Cove, is a beautiful outdoor rink with gorgeous views, skate rentals and skating lessons. 3006 Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain, NY 845-786-2701 x266, bearmountainicerink.org