The skiing near Lake George is some of New York's best. Gore, Hickory Ski Center and West Mountain are often overlooked by skiers heading to Vermont, but each offers visitors something different.
Lake George is known mainly as a summer destination. In fact, it's one of America's most popular summer vacation spots, but the fun in the Lake George region doesn't stop when the leaves drop. Winter is a great time get out and experience all that the area has to offer. The ski season runs from mid-November through mid-April.
Best of all, the Lake George region is less than three hours from the New York City metro area via I-87. That's comparable to many popular Catskill ski resorts like Hunter and Windham and two to three hours closer than skiing in Vermont. At less than an hour north of Albany, skiing in the Lake George region is a great alternative to both Vermont and the Catskills for New York metro area skiers.
Beyond merely being the most accessible big mountain skiing to New York City, the Lake George region is also a great value. While some Lake George businesses are closed in winter (particularly some hotels and almost all of the amusement parks), most of the restaurants and shops remain open. Main Street is dotted with uncrowded places to dine and apres ski. Hotels generally offer off season pricing despite the fact there's plenty to do in town in the winter. From the winter carnival to ice skating, snowmobiling, pond hockey and snow tubing, Lake George comes alive in the winter. There's even a host of indoor activities for those who eschew the cold. A particular favorite for families with kids is the Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark with its massive indoor pool and waterpark complex.
Nearby Warrensburg is another great option. Just 10 minutes from Lake George, Warrensburg has a handful of hotels as well as Ultimate-Ski.com's award-winner for "Best Breakfast Sandwich in Ski Country: Jacob and Toney's Meat Store of the North." If skiing at Hickory or Gore, a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich is a must.
Below is a quick reference guide to the three ski resorts near Lake George, but sure to click through to view Ultimate-Ski.com's full review of each ski resort.
Gore Mountain offers the best skiing near Lake George. With its massive 2,537' vertical drop, four peaks and modern lift system, Gore is big mountain skiing that rivals anything in New England. In fact, it's the biggest mountain in New York. Whiteface may be taller, Gore has the most acreage.
Gore's four separate peaks spread out crowds and liftlines are a rarity even at holiday periods. The terrain ranges from long intermediates cruisers in the Northwoods Area to the steepest runs in the East near the summit. Expert skiers will love Gore's tree-skiing, which includes the longest gladed run in the East.
Summit Elevation: 3,600'
Vertical Drop: 2,537'
Annual Snowfall: 150"
Lifts: 15 (1 gondola, 2 High-Speed Quads, 2 Quads, 3 Triples, 2 Doubles, 4 Surface, 1 Tubing Tow)
Hickory Ski Center is the place to find steeps, powder and tree-skiing. Don't expect any frills, though. Hickory has a rustic base lodge and no chairlifts - just two pomas, one T-Bar and one handle tow. The ski area also operates entirely on natural snowfall and only on weekends/holidays, so be sure to check to make sure it's open before visiting. However, when Mother Nature cooperates there is little better skiing anywhere in the East.
Often likened to a smaller Mad River Glen, Hickory is extremely popular amongst expert skiers who flock to Hickory on powder days with near religious fervor. From the summit, long views out over the Adirdonack High Peaks and the adjacent Hudson River compliment a variety of hand-cut trails.
Summit Elevation: 1,900'
Vertical Drop: 1,200'
Annual Snowfall: 80"
Lifts: 4 (2 Pomas, 1 T-Bar, 1 rope tow)
West Mountain is the locals choice, where affordable family skiing is the name of the game at West Mountain. Just five minutes from I-87, many skiers who frequent central Vermont ski areas like Killington, Stowe and Sugarbush have drive past West Mountain dozens of times without stopping. That's a shame. West Mountain offers some great intermediate skiing and is also home to the Adirondack's largest night skiing operation.
Two hour lift tickets make West Mountain a great option for a quick stopoff on the way to Lake George (or even Vermont). Driving up for a weekend after work? Check our West for two hours of night skiing on a Friday night. It's tough to beat the $22 pricetag for adults.
Summit Elevation: 1,470'
Vertical Drop: 1,010'
Annual Snowfall: 80"
Lifts: 5 (3 chairlifts, 2 surface lifts)