Great family-friendly value closer to NY metro area than Vermont.

by: ewiener - Jan 4, 2009

  • Overall Rating 5
  • Family Friendly 5
  • All-Mtn. Terrain 4
  • Terrain Park 0
  • Nightlife 2

    Pros: Inexpensive, friendly, well run and convenient to NY/NJ.

    Cons: Very limited shopping and dining closeby.

    Recommended For: Family Friendly

    Date Visited: Jan 1, 2009


Full review

Over time, we have been all over the east coast, and Greek Peak is our very favorite overnight/weekend destinations now. It is inexpensive, adequately challenging, family-friendly and well run.

I just came back from a 4 night stay through New Years with my family of 5 (all girls ages 5, 8 and 11). We had a wonderful time and I felt, after reading some of the reviews posted here, that perhaps a review from the point of view of a family was sorely needed. I skied Greek Peak a few times while attending a local university in the late 70's/early 80's. This was my first time back. It seems that there has been gradual as opposed to radical change over time. The mountain itself has been modestly expanded and upgraded. I don't think the eastern runs/lifts were there back then. The base facilities have certainly been expanded and snow making/grooming has definately seemed to keep up with the times. Overall, it’s not a international class skiing resort but that’s not what it is trying to be, nor should it. It’s a local family friendly easy on the pockets facility with terrain cut to challenge and appease all levels. Despite older slower lifts, the lines were very short; I never waited more than 4 minutes to get on a lift.

To begin, the snow was exceptional for east coast. Call it luck if you want. As one who lived in the area through 4 winters, I call it normal for one of the only Central New York snow-belt ski areas. The famous local lake-effect snow machine starts up every year in November and lays down tons of the white stuff all winter long. Apparently they were open before Thanksgiving this year. I believe it.

All 3 of my daughters attended the ski school for full days. The staff was friendly, patient and professional. They all significantly elevated their ability, boosted their confidence, looked forward to returning the next day and were very proud of their accomplishments. Last year we went to Mont Tremblant and had a similar but much more expensive experience in their ski school. Like Tremblant we found the staff, everywhere, to be friendly and courteous. Even the lift attendants were generally cordial and cheery.

We stayed in one of the older 1 BR condo units across the street. It had a loft which the kids loved as it was like a like a treehouse to them. The interiors of the units are maintained and furnished by the owners, I think, so they are probably very different unit to unit. Ours was neat an clean. The fireplace worked nicely. Hot water could have been more plentiful. The kitchen was cramped and needed updating. Overall it was comfortable for the 5 of us but a 6th person would have made things too tight. Turning out breakfast in the morning was easy (and the reason we like a kitchen when we ski). The Greek Peak staff was helpful and friendly. They kept the parking area and walkways clear as it snowed almost every day.

As for accessibility and convenience, It was a closer drive for us (coming from NJ) than Vermont or northern NY State by at least 1 1/2 hours (3 1/2 hours from the Northern Jersey Shore). The area wasn't choked with people/yahoos the way Hunter/Windham and the other close-to-NY-City areas get every weekend. There is little available immediately near the mountain including basic food shopping if you need to get supplies for cooking in the condo. Bring what you need with you or be prepared to drive to Cortland (only 20 minutes away, so not terrible) if you are looking for a supermarket. The little town of Marathon has a small local grocery where you can get essentials. Ithaca and Cortland being close by meant we had some intriguing options for evening dining if we so chose, but overall, dinning options were moderate at best and, most commonly, very basic but wholesome.

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