Chionophiles have been thoroughly let down this year with a lack of snow in New York City, and some of Europe’s most beloved ski resorts have suffered from a lack of the white stuff.
But for Manhattanites wishing to hit the slopes this season, these charming resorts in the Catskills offer a quaint and convenient alternative.
Less than three hours from the Big Apple, Hunter Mountain and Belleayre Mountain offer plenty of trails for a long weekend or even a day out.
Where the area might have once lacked in style are now a handful of sleek hotels with all the bells and whistles a city slicker might insist on for a winter weekend away.
Ski: Belleayre Mountain
With a modest 174 skiable acres and eight lifts in total, Belleayre is often overlooked
With a modest 174 skiable acres and eight lifts in total, this small mountain is often overlooked.
But with a decent variety of trails, four lodges and short wait-times at the chairlift, beginners or skiers with kids would be hard pressed to find a more pleasurable mountain for a weekend or day trip.
While it might be one of the smallest in the region, Belleayre offers one of the only gondola lifts in the are, which not only brings a welcome shelter from the brutal East Coast wind chills but also provides stunning views of the resort.
Lunch is simple and sociable in the main lodge, where the busy bar serves bloody Mary’s and beer to weary parents and boisterous groups of friends.
Lift tickets are competitively priced – $79 for adults on weekends and less for kids and teens – while a season pass is $850.
Stay: Eastwind Oliverea Valley
Winter wonderland: Eastwind Oliverea Valley offers a variety of stylish rooms
Apres time! The bar at Dandelion, the impressive on-site restaurant
Eastwind’s new property at Oliverea Valley is a stunning new addition that is sure to draw in the Instagram-driven crowds of NYC.
Opened in January 2023, the hotel is the third in Eastwind’s fast-growing portfolio. Sister properties can be found at Lake Placid and Windham, another nearby ski gem.
At Eastwind Oliverea Valley, guests can enjoy dual infrared and classic saunas, an outdoor pool (summer months only) and firepit.
There are four different room types, the most recognizable – and sought after – of which is the signature Lushna suite, a hygge-style cabin, with breathtaking views of the surrounding forest.
Each suite has an impressive bathroom with rainfall shower, deck and lofted queen bed.
In spring and summer, more adventurous travelers may opt for the classic Lushna, from which these bathrooms are separate.
Classic King and King Loft Suites are also available and equally luxurious.
Dandelion’s menu is sophisticated but unfussy, serving up Scandinavian fish stews and braised short rib in a gorgeous setting
A Lushna suite at Eastwind, the stylish hotel chain that now has three properties in New York state
What is most unique is the sophisticated on-site restaurant, Dandelion, which serves up unfussy but sumptuous dishes like short rib (the best you’ll eat in the state, let alone in Big Indian), mushroom and parmesan cavatelli and Lohikeitto – a Scandinavian, fish stew.
The wine list is brief but impressive and well-priced, and the relaxed service is spot-on for the general, laid-back atmosphere.
For breakfast, guests can enjoy a basket complete with freshly baked pastries, hard boiled eggs, fruit and granola parfaits – the perfect final touch to leave a lasting impression upon checkout.
Rooms require a two-night minimum and are priced from $359.00 per night for a classic King, and $639 per night for a Lushna suite.
For more information, visit Eastwind’s website here.
Ski: Hunter Mountain
Hunter Mountain is the largest in the area and offers a variety of trails for skiers. For the less adventurous, there’s also snow tubing
Hunter has long served as the go-to mountain for city skiers and snowboarders to get their fix.
Just 125 miles from downtown Manhattan, it is the closest ‘big mountain’.
The four mountain faces offer 320 skiable acres, the majority of which are considered intermediate or advanced.
While it might once have had a reputation for steep, icy patches, the impressive on-site snow machines dust the slopes perfectly.
Owned by Vail Resorts, Hunter can be accessed with both day-of lift tickets and Epic Passes, the discounted, multi-resort season ticket.
Lift tickets start at $99 per day for a weekend adult, but Epic Pass holders can access the resort as part of their pass.
On the mountain you’ll find an impressive selection of dining choices, and come 4pm, the Main Bar at the base is jumping with an eager après-ski crowd.
For a comparatively small mountain so close to New York City, Hunter boasts an impressive variety for all levels of skier.
Group and private lessons are also available, and can be purchased as part of an extremely reasonable package that comes with ski rental too.
Stay: Hotel Lilien
Opened in December 2022 after a year of thoughtful renovation, Hotel Lilien brings a relaxed sophistication to the mountain that is embraced by both locals and visitors.
The 18 hotel rooms vary in size and theme, but are all finished to an impressive standard of luxury.
Most have bathtubs – a welcome bonus after a day on the slopes – with luxurious, eco-friendly products from L.A.-based soap company Further.
There are no in-room TVs, instead guests are encouraged to relax downstairs in the expansive and popular bar, where a fireplace and pool table keep patrons entertained.
One of the comfortable king rooms at Hotel Lilien, a new addition to Tannersville
The lobby entrance of the charming boutique hotel
Stop by in the summer months for a dip in the hotel’s spacious pool
In addition to the stylish rooms, Hotel Lilien has also added a little oomph to the local nightlife.
During one February weekend – the coldest of the last few years – the bar was packed with locals and guests.
A pop-up by trendy Brooklyn restaurant Fandi Mata proved a popular choice, with dozens flocking to sample its tacos and bop to music by its NYC DJ who’d been brought up for the night.
The simple but sufficient breakfast of hard boiled eggs, croissant, cheese, ham, granola bowls and coffee is a charming added touch that makes the hotel more akin to its European counterparts than anywhere else near the mountain.
Rooms start at $279 per night. For more information, visit Hotel Lilien’s website here.