I decided to drive up to Holiday Valley in Western New York for a weekend of skiing. It had been many years since I had skied there and I was looking forward to skiing at one of New York State’s largest ski areas. Holiday Valley is easy to get to. It’s only 50 miles south of Buffalo and less than three hours from Toronto, Ontario and Cleveland, Ohio. After checking the map, I opted to take Route 15 north through Pennsylvania and then west on New York’s Route 86 and then north on 219. It was almost all super-highway and I was able to make this pleasant trip from the Washington, DC area in 7 ½ hours.
I stayed at the Inn at Holiday Valley, slope-side. My room was very comfortable with two queen-size beds and all the amenities that you would need for a pleasant ski vacation, including a complementary continental breakfast. They has a heated indoor-outdoor pool, outdoor hot tub, and cedar sauna. Each room has a private ski locker, mini fridge and coffee maker. My room had a balcony with a view of the slope. They also offer suites with fireplaces, jetted bathtubs, mini fridges and microwave ovens. There is a shuttle service to the other base lodges.
Holiday Valley, in Ellicottville boasts 58 trails, serviced by 13 lifts including three high speed quads. The ski trails are spread over four distinct mountain faces. The trails range from bumped up steeps to gentle cruisers. They offer skiing through the trees in glades and fun terrain parks
I started skiing on the trails services by Cindy’s Quad and after warming up on Cindy’s Run, proceeded to ski all the trails serviced by that chair, including Woodstock ad Falcon. I worked my way over to the Eagle Quad and explored the trails there. I rode the Mardi Gras Express Quad and then skied the trails that it serviced, including the wooded glades. Holiday Valley has 4 glades, several bump hills, 5 terrain parks.
They had some fun events going on that weekend, including the Red Bull All Snow Park Event at the bottom of the Mardi Gras slope. There were only snow features, no rails, boxes or anything metal, wood or plastic. This event ran from 11 to 2:30 and all the participants had a great time and it was fun to watch.
The Penguin Paddle event was held at Yodeler on Saturday. It started with a lunch and auction, but the main attraction is the penguin slide where kids through adults put on a garbage bag and slide down the hill “penguin style”. The whole event was a fundraiser for their Adaptive Program and it looked like a success.
Sunday morning there was a Hawk Show out at the Tubing Park for those people who don’t ski or snowboard. A licensed falconer brought his birds and demonstrated their hunting skills.
I checked out the Village of Ellicottville. They have great restaurants, shops, night life and really friendly people. I enjoyed a roast beef on kimmelwick (a Western New York specialty) at the restaurant/bar across the street from Inn at Holiday Valley and had a nice time chatting with some of the patrons.
The Mountain:Top elevation 2,250 feet.
Base elevation – 1,500 feet with a vertical drop of 750 feet.
Total acres 1,400 with300 skiable acres during the day and 180 night.
Miles of skiing – 30.
Lifts – 13
Trails 22 Novice, 19 Intermediate, Advanced 20 and one Expert Trail
I found that there was a lot of very enjoyable skiing to be had at Holiday Valley. This part of New York offers some very beautiful scenery and pleasant weather in the spring, summer and fall.
So if you don’t feel like driving all the way up to New England or flying out West to ski country, give Holiday Valley a visit, you are guaranteed to have a great time. Tell them that you read about them in the Ski Bum News. This ski area is very family-friendly and reservations can be arranged by calling (800) 323-0020.