Go Downhill Fast: NYC-Area Ski Trips Without a Car

Go Downhill Fast: NYC-Area Ski Trips Without a Car

January 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm

No matter how much you love it, going skiing isn’t necessarily easy. With equipment to rent, lift tickets to buy and unpredictable weather patterns, planning a getaway can turn into a chore — and then there’s the bill! But there is at least one part of your ski vacation that doesn’t have to be a hassle: how you get to the slopes. The following destinations are all reachable by bus or train from New York City.

The Hudson Valley

A young skier prepares to hit the slopes at Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center. Tuxedo's Kids Pay Their Age Days are a great way to bring the whole family without breaking the bank. Flickr/Dream2life

Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center
Tuxedo, NY
Lift Tickets: $13 – $50 for juniors,  $18 – $60 for adults depending on day and time

Getting there: Located in beautiful Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo Ridge is accessible via the NJ Transit Main/Bergen-Port Jervis Line train to Tuxedo. On Saturdays and Sundays a bus from Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center will pick you up from the train station, but make sure to contact them three days in advance. Alternatively, you can take a Short Line bus from the Port Authority which departs every Saturday and Sunday at 9:10 a.m.

Attention doctors, kids and teachers: If you’re a medical professional or a teacher, possibly the cheapest lift ticket in the tri-state area is available to you every Friday at Tuxedo for just $10, with a valid ID. If not, Tuxedo still has plenty of reasonably-priced ways for you to get on the slopes, like its Kids Pay Their Age Days on Jan. 18 and Feb. 8.

Thunder Ridge Ski Area
Patterson, NY
Lift Tickets: $20 on weekdays and evenings – $50 on weekends and holidays

Getting there: Thunder Ridge offers a free shuttle to the slopes from the Metro-North Station in Patterson.

Hit the books, then hit the slopes: Broke college students rejoice: every night at Thunder Ridge is College Night. A valid ID gets you $20 tickets from 3 to 9 p.m. and the price goes down to $15 from 5 to 9 p.m. This great deal is offered every Monday through Saturday, including holidays.


Every weekend through March 14 the MTA offers a special discounted rail and ski package bundled with train tickets to the Thunder Ridge Ski Area in Paterson, New York.

Mount Peter Ski Area
Warwick, NY
Lift Tickets: $13 – $31 for juniors, $15 – $40 for adults depending on day and time

Getting there: The New Jersey Transit Bus, leaving from Port Authority, stops in Warwick close to the ski area.

Amateur-friendly but a good deal for pros too: With free lessons available upon purchase of a lift ticket on weekends and holidays, Mount Peter is the perfect place to go for those who don’t know how to ski or snowboard, but want to learn. If you’re a more experienced skier trying to escape during the week, make it on a Tuesday, when Peter’s already reasonably-priced tickets are half off.

The Catskills

Plattekill Mountain
Roxbury, NY
Lift Tickets: $20 – $44 for juniors, students and seniors, $30 – $56 for adults, children under 7 are free

Getting there: The Adirondack Trailways bus to Arkville will leave you a ten-minute cab ride from the mountain.

Fun for the whole family: Though it’s closed weekdays and lacks night skiing, Plattekill, self-described as “a true family mountain experience,” is by no means a second-rate slope. It’s main trail, Blockbuster, is 1,100 feet of almost-vertical skiing. And with cheaper tickets on non-holiday Fridays, Plattekill may be well worth calling in sick and starting your weekend early.

Windham Mountain
Windham, NY
Lift Tickets: Prices range from $24 – $72 for one-day passes but night passes (between 4 and 8 p.m.), are a great deal at under $40 per evening and $195 for the season

Windham Mountain is discounted at night. The mountain is home to nine restaurants, including a sushi bar. Flickr/Ninja Cherepashka

Getting there: You can reach Windham Mountain via Adirondack Trails from Port Authority or AmTrak from Penn Station, though you’ll need to rent a car or catch a shuttle for the last leg of the trip.

Saturday Night Ski Fever: Are you the nocturnal sort? If yes, then save some serious cash by buying a Night Pass at Windham. It offers all the night skiing you can handle for an entire season and, at $195, costs less than a fifth as much as a regular season pass.

Hunter Mountain
Hunter, NY
Lift Tickets: $38 – $61 for juniors, young adults and seniors, $58 – $68 for adults, discounts available for afternoon tickets purchased after 1 p.m.

Getting there: Adirondack Trailways buses leave from Port Authority to Hunter every day. Be sure to arrange lodging ahead of time because Hunter closes at 4 p.m.

Make yourself at home: Hunter boasts some 55 trails, but don’t worry about getting lost. Most are named after places in the city (Gun Hill Road is the Black Diamond trail, for example), so city dwellers will feel right at home. And if whizzing through the air at fifty-miles-per-hour sounds like your idea of fun, good news! Not only does Hunter boast some excellent skiing, it’s also hope to the largest zipline in North America.

New Jersey

Mountain Creek Resort
Vernon, NJ
Lift Tickets: $36.99 – $40.99 for youth and seniors, $40.99 – $50.99 for adults for one-day passes, depending on weekend or weekday

Getting There: Located a NJ Transit bus ride away from Port Authority or Wayne Transit Center, Mountain Creek offers $10 lift tickets to adult skiers that use NJ Transit to reach the slopes.

Tubular!: The resort is also home to the Drop Zone, the country’s largest snow tubing park, which costs just $20 on Thursdays and Fridays and is perfect for kids of any age. Mount Vernon is also home to two 50-foot BagJumps, inflatable landing pads you can use to practice your tricks a little more safely.

Mountain Creek trail over looks the Vernon Valley. The resort spans four mountain peaks. Flickr/Kethera

Campgaw Mountain
Mahwah, NJ
Lift Tickets: $18 – $26 on weekdays depending on time spent on slopes, $30 – $36 on weekends, discounts for pre-ordering tickets online

Getting there: Though it’s billed as “the closest ski area to New York City,” getting to Campgaw is a little tricky. Take a PATH train to Hoboken and switch to the Main/Bergen County Line. From the Mahwah station, you’ll need to take a cab to the mountain, but don’t worry, it’s only a ten-minute drive.

A good deal for groups: The trek is well worth it, especially for snowboarders and big groups. Campgaw features a sizable terrain park and offers lessons for $15, one-third the normal price, to groups of twenty or more.

The Adirondacks

Gore Mountain Ski Resort
North Creek, NY
Lift Tickets: One-day passes are $37 for juniors, $55 for seniors and teens and $68 for adults with increases on weekends and holidays

Getting there: The folks at Gore really want you to visit. They’ll get you to the mountain on their own Snow Train service from Saratoga Springs, itself an AmTrak ride away from the city.

Bells and whistles: The Gore Mountain website comes replete with a daily update on the weather, a detailed description of the snow’s condition and which trails have been recently groomed, as well as an “Excuse Generator” that gives you reasons to shirk your daily duties and go skiing. But Gore’s not just bells and whistles; it features 2,537 feet of vertical drops and one of the best terrain parks in the east.

Gore Mountain will pick you up right from the AmTrak station at Saratoga Springs. During the summer, the mountain instead offers mountain biking and gondola rides. Flicker/row4Food

Wilmington, NY
Lift Tickets: $38 – $79 for one-day non-holiday passes and $38 – $84 for one-day holiday passes

Getting there: Whiteface is accessible from Port Authority via Adirondack Trailways or AmTrak, though skiers will need to schedule a shuttle to pick them up from the station in Westport, NY in advance, as well as make plans for Whiteface’s 4 p.m. closure.

For would-be Olympians: For those interested in more sports in the Winter Olympics than just skiing, consider purchasing a lift pass of 3-days or more. Buyers receive Whiteface’s Ultimate Winter Passport, which allows them to ice skate on the Olympic Speed Skating Oval, visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum for free and receive 20 percent off the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience, a bobsled ride down Lake Placid’s Olympic course. Cool runnings indeed!