New York ski areas will always have a special place in my winter-loving heart. As a kid growing up in northeastern New Jersey, the Empire State was the land of my family’s day-tripping ski adventures.
I remember the Hunter and Gore patches that my mom carefully sewed onto my old brown winter parka, badges that showed I belonged to this very special ski fraternity. While my daydreams were filled with exotic destinations like Sun Valley and Grenoble, my reality was the more modest hills of New York. But when you’re a kid, who cares?
Oftentimes, our family station wagon veered on a more northeast trajectory, taking us to Glen Ellen in Vermont, Quebec’s Eastern Townships (and the now-defunct Mont Echo), or my grandparents’ home in New Hampshire, which would serve as our base camp for trips to Gunstock, Sunapee and Waterville Valley. But those were multi-day adventures.
When we could get away only for the day, we headed due north, to one of a number of closer ski areas. This is where I really cut my teeth, graduating from tie-up leather boots to more-rigid plastic models with buckles, and spring-loaded bear traps to more modern bindings mounted on skis with metal edges. Little did I know at the time that New York had the most ski areas in the Union.