A ski resort with terrain for all levels and closeby lodging, lots of apres ski activities and a good ski school make for great vacations on snow.
Buffalo holds a special place in the history and lore of the Northeast. World-famous Niagara Falls attracts thousands of tourists each year to marvel at the thunderous plunge of water down a drop of 176 feet. The Erie Canal, which opened an easy transportation route for goods to and from America's Heartland, has its western terminus here at Lake Erie. Area residents enjoy the outdoors, including winter sports, which they pursue at a range of resorts within easy drive.
Holiday Valley is one of the largest ski resorts in Western New York State, about an hour south of Buffalo. It offers skiing for all abilities on 60 trails served by 13 lifts, including 3 high-speed quads, 8 fixed-grip quads and 2 surface lifts. It also has four terrain parks with jumps, rails and rollers.
Holiday has a vertical rise of 750 feet and 290 skiable acres, 39 of which are lighted for night skiing. It has an uphill capacity of 23,850 skiers per hour and a large snowmaking capacity with 611 snowguns, 237 of which are automated. Snowmaking covers 95% of the resort along with its natural 180 inches of snow.
The full-service resort has three base lodges, dining, retail, ski shop services, overnight lodging and a range of year-round activities. The nearby town of Ellicottville also has dining, lodging and shops.
Several other sizable resorts are within easy striking distance of Buffalo. Greek Peak has a vertical drop of 952 feet, 56 trails, 4 terrain park and a tubing park served by 8 lifts. There is 83% snowmaking coverage and night skiing every night. The longest run is 1.5 miles, and the steepest run is 40 degrees
Kissing Bridge is another - and it has an enticing name. The area also has 10 lifts and 39 trails over 700 skiable acres.
Peek'n Peak has 27 trails, 3 terrain parks and 7 tubing lanes, served 9 lifts, including 6 triples and 2 doubles. Peek'n Peak operates seven days and nights each week through the ski season, has extensive snowmaking and full-service ski lodge and ski school.
Holimont bills itself as North America's largest private ski area, at least by most measures, with 52 slopes and trails over 135 skiable acres, terrain parks and a half pipe. The ski resort is served by eight lifts including 2 quad chairs, two triples, three doubles and one surface lift. It's private on the weekends only, however, and opens its slopes to non-members during the week.
Other ski areas in the region include Brantling Ski & Snowboard Center, Buffalo Ski Club Ski Area (with two chairs and five surface lifts), Byrncliff Resort & Conference Center, Denton Hill Ski Area, Frost Ridge and Hunt Hollow (another private area open to the public during the week).
Those willing to make a longer trek can head east to the Adirondacks or south to the Poconos of Pennsylvania, where good skiing awaits at many more ski resorts.