Skiing and Tubing in the Adirondacks Near Lake George
The Lake George Region in the Adirondacks is famous as a summertime resort area, but when the snow starts to fall and the lakes freeze over there's plenty to do for winter sports lovers. The Adirondacks offers world class downhill, cross country, and backcountry skiing, plus lots of family friendly wintry fun like tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing and just about any winter sport you can think of.
While the Adirondacks offer eight ski mountains and countless other winter sports opportunities, including Lake Placid and Whiteface where the 1980 Olympics were held, the area close to Lake George is the closest to NYC and Boston at only three and a half hours by car. This winter break we headed to the region to check out as much of the area's offerings as we could cram into a long weekend.
Before we share what we learned, I have to give a shout out to Subaru who offered us a loaner Subaru Legacy for the trip. I’ve already written about how I love the feeling of security I have in a Subaru with enhanced safety features like Eyesight Driver Assist Technology, Blind Spot Protection and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive to handle mountain roads that can become icy and snow-covered. The Adirondacks are definitely Subaru country.
West Mountain Ski Resort
Just 3.5 hours from NYC or Boston, West Mountain is a smaller family ski center with 1100' of elevation and just three lifts, plus a magic carpet and rope tow. I like this type of homey ski resort, which is usually more affordable and easier to handle with children and beginner skiers. West Mountain offers both tubing and skiing so that our non-skiers can do something right on property. The one drawback to a smaller resort like West is that there may be fewer trails for beginner skiers who have moved off the bunny slope, but aren't ready for intermediate slopes yet, especially if conditions limit the open trails. The day we visited there had been rain the week before and no new snow so there were only four trails open, but we still had a great day because we got to do a little skiing and lots of tubing.
Gore Mountain Ski Resort
By contrast, Gore Mountain is a huge resort with dozens of trails, over 2500' of elevation, 15 lifts including a high-speed gondola and the largest acreage of any NY ski resort. We had a great day of skiing there. The conditions were much better than we usually find at ski resorts closer to NYC and it was much less crowded, even though our visit was on a peak holiday weekend. Gore is also a great mountain for beginners with lots of long easy trails to enjoy once they’re off the bunny hill.
North Creek Ski Bowl
15 minutes from Gore the North Creek Snow Bowl offers lift serviced tubing, a terrain park with a half pipe and an easy family friendly trail with a 150’ elevation. There’s also a lodge with food service. Snow tubing is a separate ticket, but to ski or snowboard you have to buy a full priced Gore Mountain lift ticket since the parks are connected.
With seven lift-serviced runs, including two giant “snow coasters” and a few kiddie runs, Tubby Tubes takes snow tubing to the next level. Located in Luzerne, they’ve got runs with 1000’ of elevation, windy runs and straight-aways built for speed. Unlike, North Creek Ski Bowl which doesn’t allow tubers under 36”, children of any age can tube with an adult here. Runs are lit at night for after-dark tubing fun.
Garnet Hill Lodge
Perhaps the surprise of our trip was how much we enjoyed the activities at the Garnet Hill Snow Sports Center. I'd never tried cross country skiing with the kids before, afraid they wouldn't like it, but we had a blast here. Garnet Hill offers several loop trails and rental equipment for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. They have kids equipment for both sports and also offer a tow sled for skiers who prefer to pull their little ones. We tackled the easy 3K Old Faithful trail which was level enough to be perfect for beginners with a few easy little knolls for fun. Garnet Hill offers a tea shop to warm up after your ski and also has a lodge to stay right on property.
Thanks again to Subaru for helping us explore the Adirondacks in a sleek new 2015 Legacy sedan.