Escape City Life At This Popular New York Winter Ski Destination

There's nothing like the first snow of the season. As of November 25, 2023, Hunter Mountain in upstate New York will be open for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. This popular winter getaway is the closest prominent mountain to the Big Apple, sitting just 2.5 hours north of the city. Known as the "snow-making capital of the world," the ski season usually runs from now through early April.

The mountain has a 3,200-foot summit with 1,600 feet of vertical drop and 320 acres of skiable terrain. There are 67 runs, 13 lifts, and a state-of-the-art learning center for folks looking to brush up on their skills. The terrain is split between skill levels, with 25% for beginners, 30% for intermediate, and 45% for advanced.

The mountain is divided into three areas: Hunter One for beginner to intermediate skiers, Hunter Mountain for all levels, and Hunter West reserved for experts who can brave black and double black diamonds, the most advanced trails. The mountain also has freestyle terrain via Park Avenue and Park Avenue West for plenty of jumps, rails, and transitions.

Equipment, lessons, and amenities

Hunter Mountain has everything you need for a successful winter ski vacation. Before you arrive, you can rent your skiing or snowboarding equipment through the resort. The rental packages start at $59 per day, which includes skis and poles (or a snowboard), boots, and a helmet. The rental package for children costs $49 per day.

If it's your first time on the mountain or you're an advanced beginner, you can go over the essentials in a group lesson for 1.5 hours at $65 per person. For children ages 3 and above, the lessons cost $190 to $230, depending on the age group. Private lessons with a trained guide cost $320 for 2 hours, $425 for 3 hours, and $740 for 7 hours, with prices subject to change.

If you're looking for a "no skill" adventure, Hunter Mountain also has snow tubing available for the whole family, where you can glide down a 1,000-foot course in a single ($30) or double tube ($40). Opening day is slated for December 26, 2023, depending on the weather conditions. After you're done in the snow, the resort has plenty of après-ski dining options, from quick grab-and-go snacks to a sit-down meal with drinks.

Passes and accommodation

The most popular times to visit Hunter Mountain are weekends and holidays, so you will most likely find deals during the week. On-site accommodation at the Kaatskill Mountain Club costs $229 to $309 per night, depending on when you go. The Liftside and Pinnacle Condos range from $375 to $530 per night. There's also a handful of hotels in the nearby town of Tannersville.

All skiers and snowboarders are required to have a pass and lift ticket to access the mountain. A one-day pass costs $90 per adult and $44 for children. For some, a multiple-day pass or season pass makes more sense. The price ranges from $219 to $1,025, depending on how often you want to ski and how many resorts you want to visit in the States, Canada, and Switzerland. Lift tickets start at $89 per day, with the price decreasing for each day you tack on. Download the My Epic app for digital access to your pass, weather updates, trail maps, and personal stats.

To get to Hunter Mountain, there are a few airports within a short range, including Albany (1.25 hours) and LaGuardia, Newark, and JFK (2.5 hours). Without a car, you can take Amtrak's Metro North line to Hudson and book an Uber for the remainder of the trip (45 minutes). Whether you're a newbie at the slopes or a seasoned pro, this charming ski destination offers a peaceful respite to get away from it all.