The winter season may bring frigid weather, gray skies, and discomfort at times, but it also offers thrilling activities such as skiing. Nothing will get you more in the spirit of the season than a good ski trip; there’s snow everywhere, and you’re engulfed in environments that live for the winter. A quality ski trip not only serves as a nice distraction but a friendly reminder that the winter season is still a good time. Yet when you think of New Jersey, skiing is probably about the last thing that comes to mind. Not to worry, that doesn’t mean New Jerseyans are out of luck. We’ve created a list of the best ski trips near New Jersey.
In what follows, you’ll find several ski resorts and mountains that are a manageable drive from the Garden State. Each of these is no more than about a three-hour drive away, give or take, and some are even closer than that. You’ll find these locations have prepared thoroughly to adhere to safe COVID protocols, and most are offering unseen discounts on ski passes. With that being said, let’s take a look!
Ski Trips Near New Jersey
1. Mountain Creek – Vernon, NJ
It only seemed right that this list started with New Jersey’s best. Mountain Creek is the Garden State’s largest snowboarding and ski area. This site offers four different peaks and 167 acres to ski upon, with eight lifts in total. Mountain Creek has some fun amenities as well, such as night skiing, a snow tubing park, and Sno-Go bikes (ski bikes) available for use. As you’ll see with pretty much every spot on here, they also offer lessons for anyone who needs them.
After you’re worn out from all the winter activities, you can head on over to a Biergarten they have on the property for some needed refreshment. And as far as lodging is concerned, there are numerous options available to perfectly match your needs. They have an on-site hotel known as The Appalachian, the Black Creek Sanctuary that offers luxury condos in a private, gated community, and even some mountaintop cabins if that’s what you’re into.
2. Campgaw Mountain – Mahwah, NJ
Skiing is undoubtedly an exciting winter activity, but for some of us, it can be equally intimidating. That’s where spots like Campgaw Mountain come into play; it’s perfect for beginners. Not only that, it’s one of the few Jersey spots worthy of this list. You have to respect a place like Campgaw because they embrace their position, as they even label themselves as “New Jersey’s premier learn-to-ski/snowboard destination.” But even if you’re a ski enthusiast, don’t be so quick to write this spot off. Chances are, this mountain will offer shorter lift lines and less crowded trails than all others on this list.
Campgaw offers eight beginner/intermediate trails, night skiing, snow tubing, and ski instruction for all ages, including a specialized program for four to six-year-olds. There is not, however, much to show in terms of lodging and amenities. Even so, Campgaw earns a spot because of its location in Jersey, and its perfect role as a beginner site. If you’ve always wondered about skiing, maybe want to get the family into it, are looking for a quick day trip, or don’t want a difficult experience as a beginner, then Campgaw is perfect for you.
3. Thunder Ridge – Patterson, NY
Our first out of a state selection, Thunder Ridge, is a family-friendly place that’s perfect for all skiing skill levels. They offer 22 trails, each ranging in difficulty. Thunder Ridge is a ski trip near New Jersey that everyone can enjoy, novice and expert alike. They allow for night skiing and have their own Snowsports School that offers daily lessons.
They don’t provide any lodging slopeside; however, there’s plenty in the surrounding communities. Numerous reputable hotel chains are located nearby in Danbury, Conn., among other locations. There are, however, amenities still available to skiers on-site. The property features a ski shop, cafeteria, pub, and beautiful views of the slopes.
4. Camelback Resort – Tannersville, PA
Now we move on over to the famous Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania to Camelback Resort. This site is home to 39 trails and 166 skiable acres. They have their own Ski & Ride Academy in which professionals provide lessons to all ages and skillsets. On top of that, Camelback also has the largest snow tubing park in the U.S., fully decked out in lights and always bumping music. This resort was named #1 by USA Today for skiing and riding in Pennsylvania, and that doesn’t even consider the resort itself.
Camelback Resort lives up to the hype and then some. It’s the kind of place you vacation at, rather than making day or weekend trips. The resort amenities and activities are so bountiful that it would be exhaustive to name them all here. But allow me to provide some highlights: the lodge offers 450+ guest suites, nearly 16 different places to eat, whether it be restaurants or coffee shop kinds of sites. There’s also an indoor amusement park of sorts with waterslides, escape rooms, rock climbing, arcades—you name it. And finally, the resort boasts multiple gift shops, a spa, and pretty much anything else you’re looking for in a resort vacation. When it comes to lodging amenities, Camelback Resort is in a league of its own for ski trips near New Jersey.
5. Jack Frost Big Boulder-White Haven/Lake Harmony, PA
One of the more interesting locations on the list, this ski operation includes two separate mountains: Jack Frost and Big Boulder. Jack Frost Big Boulder is a companion ski operation in the Poconos, in which the two remain part of the same enterprise yet feature their own experiences. Jack Frost Mountain is a bit bigger, offering 20 trails, ranging in all skill levels, with 12 lifts in total. Big Boulder, however, offers 15 trails, sporting a similar range in skill level but with five terrain parks as well, and 10 lifts altogether. They both, of course, offer lessons to any who might need them.
There’s no unifying resort or lodge between the two mountains; however, there are plenty of lodging options nearby. If you simply want a quality, reliable hotel, then there are many locations to choose from. But if you’re still chasing a resort-type experience, then not worry; they also have local resorts featuring all kinds of indoor fun and activities (is it just me, or do Pennsylvanians love their indoor resorts?). Anyway, there are plenty of dining options on-site should you work up an appetite on the slopes. They provide both quick service and sit down options at either location, as well as lockers should you need to safe-keep any items.
6. Windham Mountain – Windham, NY
From one well-known mountain chain to the next, we now arrive at Windham Mountain in the Catskills. This location offers 54 trails, six terrain parks, two peaks, and 285 skiable acres. However, it should be noted that currently, they only have 12 trails and 105 acres open, and the terrain parks are closed. Of course, that’s still more than enough slope to work with. As usual, lessons are available as needed. Windham also has a slew of other winter activities available such as snow tubing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and much more.
Lodging options are abundant at Windham. First, we have the new Whisper Creek facility located slopeside. This spot offers a pristine location right off the slopes, and you can expect a quality hotel experience here. Beyond that, there’s a mountain village that’s just a walk away from the base area. There are also condos and various other quality lodging options in the local area.
7. Hunter Mountain – Hunter, NY
Hunter Mountain is also located in the Catskill Mountains. This spot is bigger than what we’ve seen thus far, offering a vertical drop of around 1,600 feet, 67 trails, three terrain parks, 12 lifts, and a total of 240 skiable acres. However, there are still plenty of beginner options for those feeling a little intimidated by the stats I just reeled off. Not to mention, there are plenty of areas to capture the beautiful backdrop of the scenic Catskills. Hunter Mountain is also home to a snow tubing park that has a firepit and snack bar.
On-site, you’ll find numerous quick service and sit-down dining options to feed your appetite and quench your thirst. If you want immediate proximity to the slopes, stay in one of the condominiums at Hunter Mountain Base Lodge. Hunter Mountain also offers The Kaatskill Mountain Club & Spa and the Liftside Village Condos just nearby. Whatever kind of lodging experience you’re looking for, they have it.
8. Belleayre Mountain – Highmount, NY
Last but certainly not least, we have Belleayre Mountain, also located in the Catskills. This location has 50 trails, a vertical drop around 1,400 feet, eight lifts, and 171 acres to ski on. They even have a gondola known as Catskill Thunder, which offers lovely views of the surrounding landscape and wildlife. Belleayre accommodates novices and experts alike, but again, if you need lessons, they’ll have them.
There are numerous lodging options available for your choosing. If you’re looking for a reliable hotel experience, there’s plenty to choose from. But if you want something simpler and more connected with nature, then there are plenty of cottage/cabin-like places at your disposal. There’s also a couple of other shops and restaurants in the area. And not to worry, there are quick service and sit-down food options on-site as well.
Though this has been a list of ski trips near New Jersey, it felt wrong not including a select few that might stretch the meaning of “near” but certainly are worth the effort. The following are about five to six hours in driving range, but if you’re passionate about skiing or simply want a high-level experience, then these places must be considered.
9. Okemo Mountain Resort – Ludlow, VT
This place was just too well rounded not to make the list. Okemo has a ludicrous amount of skiing space with 632 skiable acres on 121 trails. They also have the longest superpipe on the East Coast, lots of lodging availability, and beautiful views on the mountain.
10. Killington Resort – Killington, VT
Just when you thought Okemo was large, we bring in Killington to absolutely obliterate it. This resort boasts a whopping 1,509 skiable acres on 155 trails. This place is among the elite locations in the U.S. Expect it to still be beginner-friendly, but this is truly an expert’s paradise.
11. Whiteface Mountain – Lake Placid, NY
Last but certainly not least, we have Whiteface Mountain located in Lake Placid. This mountain hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics, so that should give you a pretty good idea of how well rounded it is. Plus, Lake Placid is a cool winter town that’s worth the visit.
Let us know what you think! Are there any other ski trips near New Jersey that should’ve been considered?