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Your Official Winter Sporting Guide for Westchester County

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Windham Mountain | Photo courtesy of Windham Mountain

Looking for local spots to go sledding, skiing, or snowshoeing? Here’s where to head for winter sports of all sorts around the 914.

By Paul Adler, Ilana Arazie & Gina Valentino

While Westchester welcomes the snowiest months of the year, we searched far and wide for the very best spots to enjoy winter sports in the region. From skiing and ice-skating to the leisurely pleasures of sledding and snowshoeing, we have assembled an exhaustive collection of the top spots to get your winter on, along with top-tier gear and seasonally themed eats to get you pumped for great days in the winter white.

Skiing & Snowboarding

Check out these six local mountains to shred some serious powder.

Belleayre Mountain Ski Center

Tucked in the Catskills, this New York State-owned-and-operated mountain has seen many upgrades in the past few months, including new roads, a snowmaking pumphouse and pipe, and more snow guns. The popular venue has a storied history: In the 1940s, skiers urged politicians to create Belleayre as a safe mountain for all to enjoy. In 1949, Belleayre began its first season and has evolved with new improvements to the facilities ever since. The mountain boasts 50 trails, eight chairlifts (including a high-speed gondola and detachable quad), 174 skiable acres, almost 10 kilometers of cross-country trails, as well as four lodges. There is a terrain park, two progression parks, multiple mogul trails, ranging from intermediate to expert bumps, glade skiing, and a separate beginner area. Private and group lessons are available for kids, teens, and adults. The snow-sports program here is geared toward all levels of differentiated disciplines, including alpine skiers, telemark skiers, and snowboarders.
belleayre.com

Skiing at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center.

Belleayre Mountain Ski Center | Belleayre Mountain Ski Center

Thunder Ridge Ski Area

This mountain, located in Patterson, is family-friendly, with 22 trails, three chairlifts, and four magic carpets. Beginner skiers and snowboarders can glide down the gentle slopes, while the more advanced can be challenged by the handful of black diamonds. Known for its night skiing, Thunder Ridge offers discounted rates for students with a college photo ID for twilight and night tickets. For those looking to hone their skills, the mountain’s snow-sports school includes daily lessons and six-week lesson programs for tots, teens, and adults, and begins on January 3. Competitive skiers ages 8 to 17 can join the Thunder Ridge Race Team.
thunderridgeski.com

Hunter Mountain Resort

Looking to shred for a few days? Grab your gear and stay at Hunter’s resort — whether it’s at Liftside Village’s condos (slope-side at the base of the mountain) or at the Kaatskill Mountain Club, right at the top of the snow-tubing park. Both accommodations have easy access to activities and deliver picturesque views and cozy amenities, like heated pools and hot tubs. The mountain itself features 67 trails, including plenty of greens and several double black diamonds, 13 chairlifts, four freestyle areas of terrain parks, and 320 skiable acres. Hunter offers lessons in addition to an alpine ski team, snowboard competition team, and development competition freestyle program. The mountain is part of the Epic Pass (which includes access to national and international destinations for the season, including Vail, Whistler Blackcomb, Park City, Okemo, and Stowe).
huntermtn.com

Windham Mountain

Privately run Windham Mountain, located in the northern Catskills, features 54 trails, 11 chairlifts, and six terrain parks with more than 80 features. The ski trails are situated on two separate mountain peaks, known as East Peak and West Peak. Thirteen trails are designated beginner, 24 intermediate, and 17 are expert level. Windham Mountain is home of the Adaptive Sports Foundation, which provides physically and intellectually disabled individuals with ski, snowboarding, and bike-riding lessons. Windham Mountain Resort offers a variety of accommodations, including inn rooms, condominiums, and private homes (Whisper Creek condos are ski-in, ski-out).
windhammountain.com

Snowboarder at Windham Mountain.

Windham Mountain | Photo courtesy of Windham Mountain

Plattekill Mountain

Privately owned and family operated, Plattekill Mountain is nestled in the northwestern Catskill mountains. Featuring 38 trails, including two-mile-long beginner trails, and double black diamonds, the mountain has four chairlifts, two magic carpets, and one terrain park. For those who want to change up their snowboarding or skiing routine, Plattekill also offers lift-serviced snow tubing. This season, the mountain has been revamped with the installation of 2,000 feet of snowmaking pipe, new snow guns, new automated snowmaking compressor, and a renovated and remodeled rental shop facility, which features new ski and snowboard rentals.
plattekill.com

Catamount Mountain Resort

Family-owned, this ski resort straddles Hillsdale, NY, and South Egremont, MA, in the Taconic Mountains and Berkshires, respectively. Here, snow hounds will find an impressive 40 trails, eight chairlifts, 15 night-skiing-specific trails, and terrain parks. Plus, the double-black-diamond Catapult trail is the steepest in the Berks. This season, a new triple chair, serving trails alongside the Ridge Quad, was introduced. Last season, a new blue-square trail, called Overlook, was opened. Catamount is part of the Indy Pass, which allows access to multiple other mountains, including Saddleback Mountain, Beaver Mountain, and Jay Peak.
catamountski.com

Hockey, Ice-Skating & Figure Skating

Ice sports and activities kick off their seasons now, and we are ready! From informal mall rinks to dedicated hockey organizations, sign up for any one of these fun hangouts, lessons, and leagues in Westchester.

Hockey

For novice skaters, beginning at age 3, Learn to Skate classes help you get the basics down at the Westchester Skating Academy, in Elmsford. Once completed, step up to the Learn to Play Hockey programs or their in-house Mini-Mites or Metro Leagues. All classes are offered as seven- or eight-week semesters throughout the year and cost $27 per class. When school lets out and the real fun begins, sign up for their Hockey Holiday Camps, offering both half-day and full-day options. Camps will be offered throughout Christmastime, as well.

Hockey at Westchester Skating Academy.

Westchester Skating Academy | Photo courtesy of Westchester Skating Academy

Murray’s Skating Center in Yonkers offers a Learn to Play hockey program hosted by the New York Rangers, where bona fide Rangers teach the next generation and sign autographs. Sessions take place from September through April. The rink also offers Youth and Adult Learn to Skate programs. If you’re searching for a bit more camaraderie on the ice, they offer hockey leagues for adults and youth, and those with a soft spot for thrills might enjoy some speed skating for all ages on Wednesday evenings during the center’s Taconic Speed Skating Club. Speed skating is an excellent cross-training sport for runners, bicyclists, and other athletes who want a low-impact, high-aerobic activity.

Westchester Warriors is an organization that uses its love of hockey to help others. They offer 11 ice hockey teams, at the “mite” to “midget” levels, which comprise those 6 to 18. These teams play in spring and summer tournaments throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic region at the A to AAA levels. The organization is currently raising funds for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and has thus far raised more than $415,000 to fight pediatric cancer. The ID Skate and Showcase to kick off the 2022 Westchester Warriors season will be held at EJ Murray’s Rink in Yonkers on April 9 and 10. There is a $100 charge for the ID skate, as well as a $500 fundraising minimum.

Ice-Skating & Figure Skating

Ice-skating is back in motion at Playland Ice in Rye starting October 8. Playland’s winter Learn to Skate program runs from November 5 through December 19. The seven-week program costs $189, plus a $25 registration fee for all new customers. The cost includes rentals. Public, free-skate sessions take place Fridays 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sundays 1:25 p.m. to 2:55 p.m., but make sure you register before you head over.

From grandparents to greenhorns, one is never too old or young to practice a toe loop on the ice. The Westchester Skating Academy offers figure-skating classes once its Learn to Skate Program is completed. Ice-maestros-to-be can contact Margot Krisberg, the figure skating director, to arrange private lessons or freestyle sessions. The Academy’s figure-skating camps are a hot ticket during winter break, as well. If free skating or open skating is more your vibe, and you want to sharpen your skills, sign up for their public sessions, available from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Check the academy’s website for scheduling and details.

Ice skating woman and child.

Photo by Adobe Stock | Olga Yastremska

Get your free-skate on at Murray’s Skating Center on Tuesdays through Fridays 10 p.m. to 12 p.m., Fridays 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturdays 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $11 for admission and skate rentals are $6. If you want a bit more structure and community, you may want to consider joining their figure-skating club.

Skating at Murray’s Skating Center

Murray’s Skating Center | Photo courtesy of Murray’s Skating Center

Yonkers’ Cross County Center operates a fun, holiday pop-up skating rink annually from November to January. The rink is made out of Glice, a synthetic ice, which is environmentally friendly and makes it easier for first-timers and younger skaters. The rink is about 40′ × 40′, with 20 to 30 skaters allowed on the ice at any one time. Admission is $10, and you must be at least 5 years old or 42 inches tall to skate. This price includes a one-hour skate session and skates. Check their calendar for fun themed nights, where patrons can skate alongside different characters throughout the season.

If you’re a purist and would rather ice-skate under the sprawling sky, amid the towering trees, check out Westchester County Parks. When lakes and ponds freeze over, ice-skating is allowed at Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill, Mountain Lakes Park in North Salem, Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers, Twin Lakes Park in New Rochelle, and Wampus Pond in Armonk. To be safe, call ahead to check ice conditions.

Hudson Valley Hockey Company in Yorktown Heights sells skating equipment for the season and repairs them too. Pro Tip: Owner Frank Vazquez Jr says you should sharpen your skates every three to five hours of use. His shop offers private hockey and ice-skating instruction for about $100 an hour at Brewster Ice Arena.

Another fun and popular rink in Westchester is the Hommocks Park Ice, in Mamaroneck, where visitors can enjoy their Friday Night Skate from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The Ebersole Ice Rink, located at Delfino Park in White Plains, is yet another skater’s paradise, offering public skating over the weekends and figure-skating lessons. Each December, little ones can even skate with Frosty the Snowman. Since the rink is located outdoors, masks are not required, except in their warming room.

Curling

Want to curl up to a great winter sport? Look no further than this Ardsley gem.

While our county boasts only one primary spot for curling, it’s a doozy. Founded in 1932, The Ardsley Curling Club comprises an incredibly dedicated group of curling experts and beginners holding men’s, women’s, and mixed-league competitive games on an annual basis. In addition, the club offers instructional programs, to get greenhorns started on the path to glory, with their Learn to Curl classes. Plus, along with open-house sessions and private events, the Ardsley Curling Club offers kids’ programming as well.

Curling at Ardsley Curling Club.

Ardsley Curling Club | Photo courtesy of Ardsley Curling Club

Snowshoeing & Cross-Country Skiing

If snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are more your speed, Westchester offers abundant opportunities.

Snowshoeing at a mountain.

Photo by Adobe Stock | Mbruxelle

Grab your gear and enjoy the calming winter air while gliding or stepping through the county’s sprawling landscapes and snow-capped vistas. One prime spot for those who love to explore atop a pair of skis or snowshoes is Croton-on-Hudson’s Croton Point Park. With 508 acres on a peninsula situated alongside the Hudson River, this popular spot boasts both superb views and plenty of historical significance.

The Kitchawan Preserve, a 208-acre natural preserve along Route 134 in Ossining, is a cross-country skier’s paradise, with the North County Trailway running across its eastern border. Those who snowshoe will find plenty of stonewalls, open fields, and dense woodland to explore.

Cranberry Lake Preserve in White Plains and Yonkers’ Tibbetts Brook Park are also superior locations for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Tibbetts is a 161-acre park named for a Colonial-era pioneer and settler boasting plenty of attractive woodland. Meanwhile, Cranberry Lake sports 190 acres of its own of scrubland, lakes, swamps, and a hardwood forest to traverse.

Finally, at 4,315 verdant acres, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is the county’s largest park and, as such, boasts plenty of prime spots to release your inner cross-country ace with well-maintained trails and varied terrain. None of these spots exactly your speed? You can find a full list of Westchester snowshoeing and cross-country skiing spots at parks.westchestergov.com.

Sledding & Snow Tubing

Looking for a slightly less intense winter pastime? Grab a sled and hit the hills with the entire family at any one of these recreational wonders.

Wondering where you can sled or snow tube in the county? Your local public golf course is a great place to start, as many welcome kids looking to hit the hills. Yonkers’ Sprain Lake Golf Course and Dunwoodie Golf Course are both superb choices, as is Saxon Woods Golf Course in White Plains. In addition, Westchester County lists three local parks as amenable to snow tubers and sledders: Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Croton Gorge Park, and Lasdon Park & Arboretum. Keep your eye out: You may find a prime sledding spot at a local public school or municipal area, as well. We have a soft spot for Sleepy Hollow High School.

Kids sledding and snow tubing.

Photo by Adobe Stock | Dean Hindmarch

Ice Fishing

Break out that rod, put on your warmest coat, and get ready to serve up some fresh fish for dinner after hitting one these local spots.

Lodged between Cross River and Katonah, the Cross River Reservoir is perhaps one of the county’s most popular ice-fishing spots. Stocked annually with more than 6,000 brown trout, anglers can also catch bass and pickerel at this 915-acre ice-fishing wonderland.

Expect to find largemouth and smallmouth bass along with rainbow trout, yellow perch, and common carp at the Muscoot Reservoir. Just northeast of Katonah, this 1,263-acre watering hole is stocked with both brown and rainbow trout during warmer months. Similarly, Granite Springs’ Amawalk Reservoir boasts its own brown trout, bass, brown bullhead, and white perch able to be angled from its 564 acres of water (or ice).

And stocked each spring with 7,000 brown trout, it’s difficult to go wrong at Titicus Reservoir. This relatively shallow North Salem body of water has a 32-foot mean depth and is known for its supply of largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as chain pickerel, in addition to abundant trout. Yorktown Heights’ Mohansic Lake is yet another top-tier spot for ice fishing, with a more intimate 108-acres of waterways containing largemouth bass and chain pickerel, along with a few other species of fish.

Snow fisher holding a fish.

Photo by Adobe Stock | Fedbul


Related: Where to Go Ice Skating in and Around Westchester County

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