With more ski areas than any other state, New York’s communities don’t have to go far to find a place to hit the snow. Syracuse is recognized as the snowiest city in the US, and nearby resorts benefit from the excessive powder on their slopes.
Many of these ski areas offer a four-hour or half-day lift ticket, which allows those in Central New York the ability to experience the resorts for less and without spending their entire day. They all have basic amenities for those traveling an hour or two. Only three of the fourteen closest ones have more than 200 skiable acres, and most have fewer than 100 acres.
Here are the ski areas near Syracuse, NY, in order of proximity:
Four Seasons Ski – Fayetteville: 11 miles | 16 minutes
With only 12 skiable acres and four trails, the best thing about Four Seasons Golf & Ski Center is its proximity. Located just east of Syracuse, it can be visited for a quick ski or snowboarding session and is a popular spot for learning the skill. The ski area is a member of the Ski NY Ski & Ride Passport Program, where third- and fourth-grade students can ski for free for two days at each participating resort.
For those who want to learn to ski, you can take advantage of the one-day special discounted package that includes an hour-long lesson, equipment, and a lift ticket. The year-round resort also offers ski camps and six- and four-week learn-to-ski programs.
Camillus Ski – Camillus: 11 miles | 18 minutes
In the other direction lies Camillus Winter Sports Association. The small skiing and tubing hill relies completely on Mother Nature and the abundance of snowfall in the area to operate. It’s locally operated and run by volunteers with every bit of profit keeping the ski area running.
Camillus offers private lessons for incredibly low prices. There are no rentals available, but at the bottom of the hill is a heated lodge with a café.
Song Mountain – Tully: 21 miles | 25 minutes
A bit further from Syracuse are Song Mountain and Labrador Mountain, both of which can be accessed on the same lift ticket. The two aren’t the largest resorts in Central New York but have a larger variety of slopes than ski hills. Song Mountain’s 93 skiable acres cover the single peak with a 700-foot vertical drop.
Song Mountain has five lifts and 24 runs, most of which are for beginner and intermediate skiers, and a handful are black runs, with one terrain park. The resort caters to beginners, with learn-to-ski programs for ages four and up. Many packages can incorporate lift tickets and rentals with the lesson.
Labrador Mountain – Truxton: 25 miles | 30 minutes
After skiing Song Mountain in the morning, you can have lunch at several restaurants along the 20-minute drive to Labrador Mountain.
Labrador Mountain consists of three peaks along a ridge, with a bit more terrain than its sister resort, at 250 skiable acres. With 21 trails and four terrain parks, there is more variation at Labrador from long green runs to expert trails that incorporate tree skiing. The resort also has a learn-to-ski program and an adaptive skiing program.
Skaneateles Ski Club – Marietta: 17 miles | 30 minutes
Skaneateles Ski Club is a small not-for-profit, but its slopes offer a bit more challenge than many other ski hills of the same size. The ski area can be accessed with a membership or a guest pass, but either way, it’s a fun, quick opportunity to ski with those who are passionate about the sport. The hill has a 350-foot vertical drop and two tow ropes that lead to several chutes and glades.
Memberships are inexpensive and can be purchased as an individual, family, or secondary membership for those who have a season pass at another ski area. Skaneateles has snowmaking equipment but is completely volunteer-run so the slopes may not be as pristine as other ski resorts.
Greek Peak – Cortland: 42 miles | 45 minutes
In central New York, one resort stands out. Greek Peak is the largest ski resort in the area with 220 skiable acres, a 952-foot drop, and 56 trails. Trails are evenly divided between green, blue, and black, with a wide variety of terrain between them. The steepest run is black-diamond Olympian with a 40-0degree pitch, and the longest is Arcadian Gate, at 1.5 miles.
Located in the Finger Lakes region, there is lodging and on-site dining, including a steakhouse and pub. Greek Peak’s Go Pass RFID card gives quick access to the chairlifts without having to remove your ski pass from your jacket. You can quickly add lift tickets to the pass from a phone or laptop.
Val Bialas Ski Center – Utica: 52 miles | 1 hour
Located near the heart of Utica in Roscoe Conkling Park, Val Bialas Ski Center consists of several runs that provide affordable skiing to locals. The ski hill has two tow lifts and one chair lift with a dedicated junior area.
The chalet at the base is heated with a café, and the ski area has ski tubing. The ski area is operated by the town of Utica and may not operate in poor conditions.
Woods Valley Ski – Westernville: 52 miles | 1 hour
Woods Valley Ski Area, with 21 runs on 25 acres, is a sampler of different types of runs in short bursts. The small resort has four terrain parks and varied skiing from gentle greens to tree skiing on a black diamond.
Its Wolf Pack Snowsports program teaches kids to ski from ages four to 12. Other learn-to-ski programs combine equipment rental with lessons and a lift ticket. Wood Valley recently added more snowmaking equipment to keep the slopes powdery all winter.
9100 NY-46, Westernville, NY 13486 (map) | (315) 827-4721 | woodsvalleyskiarea.com
Brantling Ski Slopes – Sodus: 58 miles | 1 hour
Not far from the shores of Lake Ontario, Brantling Ski Slopes has nine short trails accessed by four lifts on its 36 skiable acres. At the base of the slopes is a ski lodge with a bar and café for enjoying a break. The lodge’s third floor permits families to bring their own food and beverages.
The family-owned and -operated resort is a smaller location to learn to ski in a comfortable environment with enough variation for skiers and snowboarders to try different types of runs. Ski packages include a lift ticket, lessons, and equipment.
Dry Hill Ski Area – Watertown: 69 miles | 1.25 hours
Another small ski hill in New York is Dry Hill, located north of Syracuse. Skiing, snowboarding, and tubing are enjoyed here, with plenty of ticket packages and discounts for military, college students, seniors, and youth.
There are nine runs packed onto the small hill of 35 acres. At the base, the lodge has a snack bar and lounge. Despite its small size, the ski area has plenty of equipment rentals.
Snow Ridge Ski Resort – Turin: 76 miles | 1.5 hours
Another of New York’s larger ski resorts, Snow Ridge, has 200 skiable acres, two terrain parks, and 31 trails. Spread along Snow Ridge is one of the snowiest regions of the East Coast, receiving an average of 230 inches of snow annually.
Lift tickets are discounted on weekdays for those in the military, seniors, college students, and children 12 and under. The resort is also part of the Indy Pass program, potentially saving skiers and snowboarders even more money. While lodging at the base isn’t available, there are on-mountain dining options.
Bristol Mountain – Canandaigua: 82 miles | 1.5 hours
The long slopes of Bristol Mountain Ski Resort make a full day of skiing worthwhile. Located in the Finger Lakes region near Rochester, Bristol Mountain has a 1,200-foot vertical drop, 35 trails, and two terrain parks.
They offer a First Timer learn-to-ski program for ages four and up that provides a two-hour or 90-minute lesson, all-day equipment rental, and all-day access to the beginner area lifts. Two base lodges have plenty of dining options, including a slope-side waffle house.
McCauley Ski Center – Old Forge: 96 miles | 1.75 hours
McCauley Mountain Ski Center may not have the height of some of the other New York ski areas, with a 663-foot vertical drop, but its 21 trails have a lot of variation to ensure an interesting day of skiing or snowboarding.
Black diamonds are laced with chutes and trees, while its green runs aren’t only limited to the base on its 75 skiable acres. Blues, blacks, and greens can all be accessed from the top of the mountain.
Skiers and snowboarders can go up the mountain via T-bar, rope tow, or chairlift. The resort has discounted rates for college students, those in the military, children ages six through 12, and seniors. McCauley Mountain participates in the Ski NY Ski & Ride Passport Program for third- and fourth-grade students to ski free for two days.
Royal Mountain Ski – Johnstown: 99 miles | 1.75 hours
With a nice mix of alpine trails and glade skiing, Royal Mountain Ski Area is a small surprise for Syracuse skiers and snowboarders willing to drive almost two hours to enjoy it. The resort has a beginner terrain park on one side of the resort and an expert park on the other, in addition to its 17 trails and glades.
Royal Mountain has a 575-foot vertical drop on 60 skiable acres. On-site dining options include breakfast, as well as lunch, dinner, and snacks. In addition to beginner ski programs, they have intermediate and advanced “Trailblaiser” lessons for students to practice on all types of terrain.
Syracuse has several ski hills very close to downtown, but the city is also within proximity of many larger mountains, with a wide range of slopes and trails. Many of the ski resorts in the city’s vicinity are small, making them perfect for a half day of hitting the slopes. There are also lots of places around New York to enjoy the abundance of snow that the area receives.