You’ve heard winters in Buffalo Niagara are cold and snowy? It’s true! And, there are many ways to take advantage of the wintry months. Skiing and other slippery activities aren’t mandatory, but if they are in your plan (or your bucket list), you’re in luck. The Buffalo Niagara region has an amazing reputation, and more importantly, plenty of destinations for you to get your downhill, cross-country, boarding, tubing and tobogganing on. That’s right, for those who love being outdoors, there’s no reason to stop when the temperatures drop.
When it comes to skiing in the area, whether you’re looking for more wallet- and family-friendly options, like parks with no fees, or a full-on resort experience with bells, whistles, lodges, spas, mountain roller coasters and more, you’ve got choices.
There’s sweet Emery Park, about a half hour from Buffalo. With only one run, and a T-bar to get up the hill, it’s perfect for learning how to ski and cost-effective practice or teaching the kids how to stay up before they graduate to a harder run.
Also, within a half hours’ drive lie is the Buffalo Ski Center, in Colden, NY, another go-to for all things slope-related. You have your choice of 43 trails ranging from expert to beginner; the club, which welcomes non-members, is also family-friendly.
Kissing Bridge’s 39 slopes over 700 acres in Glenwood, NY (about 40 minutes from downtown Buffalo) make it another popular destination for skiing and boarding day-trippers. With terrain and runs from easy to advanced, there’s room to grow and go. This snowbelt pocket has an average annual snowfall of over 180 inches a year, so while it might snow-free out the window of your downtown loft, you can be assured of a great day on the slopes before heading back to the city for dinner and drinks with friends.
A little over an hour from Buffalo is Ellicottville—the place to set your sights for some of the area’s most ski-able slopes, and all the amenities to make your experience way fun.
The town’s Holiday Valley Resort, a favorite among Eastern U.S. skiers, boasts 13 lifts, 60 slopes and trails, several base lodges and hotels, a golf course, pools, an aerial adventure park, and a mountain coaster.
The resort, the largest in the area, is a ski-industry leader; with constant upgrades including the recent introduction of high-speed quad chairs. Winter packages and time shares are available for longer term or regular weekend visits. Cozy lodges await you for après-ski, and you can enjoy the frequent events and concerts. Nearby HoliMont is a bit smaller; it’s open to the public during the week, and on the weekend it’s members only.
You don’t even have to ski to enjoy a getaway weekend in the area, with Ellicottville’s fun breweries, wineries, shoppes, and a range of restaurants. Check out Dina’s; they’ve been serving unpretentious locally sourced quality food for nearly three decades in their 1970s Aspen ski lodge–themed place. New entry West Rose offers a seasonally inspired menu and open kitchen design, highlighting their artisan-made wood-burning oven.
Spectacular spots await you for your other winter pursuits, and nothing should stop you from sledding, tubing, skating, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and tobogganing to your heart’s content (and heart health, of course!). From a plethora of Erie and Niagara County parks (Chestnut Ridge, Reinstein Woods, Boyd Lake) to area resorts set up for ski-alternatives, the region’s available activities (and its predictable snowfall) will help you enjoy the four-season spectrum that Western New Yorkers love to love.