The Best Ski Areas Near Long Island

Photo: Mount Peter Ski Area

Escape New York with visits to ski or snowboard these 5 local favorites within close driving range of the city.

Just because you live in the Big Apple, it doesn’t mean you have to let your skis or snowboard get rusty. There are a variety of ski areas located within a short drive of the New York metropolitan area, whether you’re hitting a ski hill in-state or seeking out a resort in New Jersey or farther north into New England. And several, like the sampling listed below, are so close that you can escape the city for a few runs and return in time for a Broadway show. Here are a few local-favorite ski areas that offer the most reasonable drives from the City That Never Sleeps.

Big SNOW American Dream - East Rutherford, NJ  

Located inside New Jersey’s American Dream entertainment mall, Big SNOW American Dream is the country’s newest ski area with its most consistent conditions. That’s because it’s indoors. Yes, Big SNOW is all inside, with a constant temperature of 28 degrees F and real snow from snowmaking equipment instead of just turf. With a first-timer’s area served by two magic carpets, a quad chair accessing the intermediate Switchback trail, and a Poma lift servicing the more difficult Northern Lights trail (which also transitions into a terrain park), it has a vertical drop of 160 feet with the longest slope spanning 1,000 feet. Two-hour lift tickets let you bag a multitude of laps, with instruction and equipment rentals available on-site. Need more shred? The mall complex also has an indoor wave pool for surfing.

Campgaw Mountain - Mahwah, NJ   

As the closest outdoor ski resort to New York City, Campgaw Mountain is just 30 miles from Manhattan, making that simple day- or night-trips more than possible. That being said, the area is a bit on the small side at 24 acres, but still has two double chairs, a 275-foot vertical drop and 12 beginner, intermediate and advanced trails, with the longest trail spanning 1,600 feet. And a robust snow-making system covers it all, with half of the resort open to night skiing. It also has a ski school for new skiers and riders wanting to polish their skills.

A skier at Mount Peter Ski Area Photo: Mount Peter Ski Area

Mountain Creek - Vernon Township, NJ 

Slightly farther away (closer to 55 miles), but quite a bit larger, Mountain Creek serves up 46 trails and a 1,480-foot vertical drop, complete with an eight-person gondola and two high-speed quads to minimize lines. With 167 acres, full snowmaking and night skiing, the resort prides itself on having terrain for skiers and riders of all ability levels. It also has two different terrain parks on South and Vernon peaks across 67 acres with more than 80 features, including the beginner-friendly Twist Park, whose features are designed to instruct instead of intimidate. The resort offers a full ski school as well as a complete rental program. Not into skiing? Hit the tubing hill or rent a ski-bike, which you can ride on all of its trails. 

Mount Peter Ski Area - Warwick Valley, NY 

At about the same 50-plus-mile distance northwest of the Empire City, Mount Peter is a convenient mom-and-pop worth a look. Founded in 1937 and still family-owned, it’s one of the oldest ski resorts in the country, which shows in its down-home feel. Known for its beginner programs, with free first-timer lessons on the weekends, the 69-acre ski area has a quad and two double chairs, 14 trails, a terrain park and 450 feet of vertical all blanketed by snow-making equipment. Want to lounge around afterward? Après at Pete’s Pub in its comfy base lodge.

Thunder Ridge - Patterson, NY  

With 22 trails, night skiing and a newly improved terrain park, family-friendly Thunder Ridge Ski Area is located 60 miles north of Central Park in Patterson, N.Y. (east of the Hudson River, near the Connecticut border). Its 100 acres include 40% beginner and 40% intermediate slopes, with the rest earmarked for more advanced skiers and riders. While its vertical drop is only 500 feet, bring your ski legs as its the longest trail is nearly a half-mile long. The good news: If you get tired, you can relax with a hot chocolate in its cozy lodge at the base. Bonus: Get a discounted promotional package (including lift tickets and rail transportation) and ride the Metro-North Ski Train from Grand Central Station to Patterson, where you can catch a free shuttle to the slopes. 

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.