Best places to go Skiing in New Jersey: If you read my post on ice skating in our area and are feeling like you are ready for more intense winter sports…let’s talk skiing! There are plenty of options that are easily accessible from the Jersey City area. The Poconos offer some great options in PA, upstate New York boasts some memorable spots and we’ve even got some right here in NJ! Here’s a handy list of some of the best ski locations based on proximity and family friendliness. Plus, many of the destinations on this list offer snowtubing, which is a fun and easy winter sport alternative. It’s a great option for all ages.
Mountain Creek, Vernon
Mountain Creek is located in Vernon, which is about a 1.5 hour drive from downtown Jersey City. It is located very close to the NJ/NY border. This ski resort offers 167 acres of trails on 4 mountain peaks and is the “region’s highest vertical and the only true All-Mountain Terrain Park south of Vermont.” They have merged with Crystal Springs Resort and offer golf, a spas, a lodge, several restaurants,skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing and more. They offer lessons for children as young as 4 and start at $99.99. Kids Kamp is a full-day option which includes a lift ticket, lesson and lunch for skiers and snowboarders from 4 – 7 years of age. Kids Kamp rates begin at $159.99 and include all rental equipment. Lodging options include the Grand Cascades Lodge, Minerals Resort & Spa (which they tout as their family resort), The Appalachian (studio, one and two bedroom units slope side) and Black Creek Sanctuary (gated townhomes).
Campgaw Mountain, Mahwah
This is a smaller mountain, but a great place to learn to ski or snowboard. They also offer snowtubing here. Campgaw Mountain is just under an hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City. It is a much smaller operation than your average ski resort, so it’s the perfect place to take the family if you are learning, don’t like lines and just want to have a relaxing ski experience. Programs are offered that are multi-week lessons. They offer a Cruisers program for children 4 – 6 years old. This program allows kids to become comfortable with ski equipment and learn how to ski amongst children their age. Program begins at $129. The First Step program is designed for ages 7 and up and teaches the fundamentals of skiing and snowboarding. Pricing for this program begins at $229. After that comes Next Step which is also for 7 and up and is designed for those who can safely traverse the top or mid-station of the hill. Pricing begins at $229. Daily lessons are also offered on a group, private or semi-private basis. Pricing varies, but begins at $39 for a children’s lesson (ages 4 – 6). Check the website for details. Snowtubing is a popular family activity that Campgaw Mountain offers. Ride a tube down the hill and use a surface lift to just ride your tube right back up again. Sessions sell out quickly and it is recommended that you purchase your tickets online in advance. All riders must be a minimum height of 42 inches. Hours and rates vary, see the website for details.
Thunder Ridge Ski Area, Patterson
Thunder Ridge is about an hour and 45 minute drive from downtown Jersey City. They offer 30 trails, 3 chairlifts and 4 magic carpet lifts. Mid-week specials are offered Monday through Thursday where lift tickets are only $25 for ages 6 and up from 10am – 5pm. Lessons are offered for every skill level, from beginner to expert for kids 3 and up. Private lessons are offered for $105/hour. Many types of group lessons are available ranging from a Mommy/Daddy and Me class for ages 3 – 5 which is an hour in length and costs $49 per parent and child. Thunderbolts is a lesson for children ages 4 – 7 years old and introduces kids to skiing. A 75 minute lesson is $41. Ridge Riders is a lesson for snowboarders ages 6 – 7 and is $45 for a 75 minute lesson. Other groups for all ages are available, check the website for pricing and times. Advance reservations are always recommended. Half-Day programs are offered on weekends and holidays from 9:30am – 1pm for children ages 5 – 9 years old. Prices vary. They even offer babysitting options if you want to hit the slopes with your significant other and your little one isn’t ready. Lodging options in the immediate surrounding areas include Comfort Suites, Ethan Allen Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn and more. Check their website for deals and packages available through the listed hotels. In addition, many local restaurants are located nearby.
Hunter Mountain, Hunter
One of the most popular NY ski destinations, Hunter is about a 2.5 hour drive from downtown Jersey City. Many family-friendly winter activities are available. They offer the largest snowtubing park in New York State including more than 20 chutes nearly 1,000 feet long, a mini tubing park for children, a snack bar, fire pit and more! Two hour sessions begin every hour on the hour for $20/person 42 inches and above. Two hour sessions are available for children 33 inches – 42 inches for $30 for child and adult. Advance booking is recommended. There are many lessons and programs offered for all ages. The Explorers Program is for ages 4 – 6 years old and offers fun and kid-friendly ski instruction. You can drop kids off, but you must be on the premises during program time. Single sessions that are 2 hours are offered, as well as full day sessions which are 4 hours and include snack and lunch. Single sessions are $85 including life, lesson and equipment (no lunch) and full day sessions are $125 including lift, lesson, equipment, lunch and snack. Mountaineers is a program offered for ages 7 – 12 years old and includes ski and snowboard lessons. Singles sessions are offered for $85 including lift, lesson and equipment. Full day sessions are $125 and include lift, lesson, equipment, lunch and snack. Reservations are required for all programs. If you want to hit the slopes for a bit on your own, try Playcare, which is a childcare service for children ages 2 – 6 years old. The service is $85 for a full day (up to 9 hours), $68 for a half day (up to 4 hours) and there are 2 hour options available for $45 per child. There are many lodging options including the Kaatskill Mountain Club and Liftside Condos, which are slopeside and offer ski-in/ski-out access.
Mount Peter, Warwick
Mount Peter was actually started in 1936 by Macy’s Department Store to show off and sell their ski fashion. It is located in Warwick, NY, just over the NJ border, just a bit more than an hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City and offers 14 trails and 5 lifts. Lessons are offered for every age and level. They even offer a free beginner lesson on weekends and holidays for skiers (with the purchase of a lift ticket for ages 5 and up). Pete’s Pals is a program offered for children ages 4 and under (must be potty-trained). The cost is $90 and includes the lesson, ski equipment, lift ticket/area pass and hot chocolate. Also, a Kids Camp is offered for 3 hours for ages 5 and up. Children must have skied or snowboarded before and can ride the area by oneself. Weekends only for $195 (without equipment rental $165). Many deals are offered including Discount Tuesdays for which you must show your current union, school, military or AARP card and get a half price lift/area ticket from 9am – 5pm. Ski and Stay packages are available at many area hotels and bed and breakfasts.
Note: There is a program called ISKINY Free for Kids offered for 3rd and 4th graders from anywhere (not just NY). The program gives kids the opportunity to ski or ride free at a majority of New York ski resorts this winter when accompanied by a paying adult. There is also a Learn to Ski or Ride Passport available for free, but not every resort is participating in that. Check the website and apply to get a ticket book of free lift coupons.
Camelback Mountain, Tannersville
The Poconos offers many fun ski resort options, including Camelback. It’s about 1.5 hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City and offers the biggest ski and snowboarding terrain (34 trails and 16 lifts) in the area and boasts the biggest snowtubing park in the US. They offer many packages and lessons for kids including CamelCare Adventurers which is a half-day (2.5 hours) program geared toward children ages 4 – 12 years. Midweek rates are $110 and weekend/holiday rates are $129 and include ski or snowboard rental, instructional time and lift ticket. There are various group and private lessons available, as well, with rates ranging from $35 – $125. Click here for details. It is highly recommended that you sign up for all lessons and programs online in advance. Snowtubing is a popular family activity at Camelback. There are up to 42 lanes of snowtubing available and there are tubing hours daily. Weekend and holiday tubing is limited to 3-hour sessions, but mid-week is unlimited and offered at one flat rate for the whole day. Rates vary, so click here to check. A double tube only with parent has a minimum height requirement of 33 inches to 43 inches. Single and double tubes are for 44 inches and up. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult with a valid tubing ticket. Camelback Lodge is located on-site and offers various rooms and suites. Alternate area lodging is available, click here for details.
Great Wolf Lodge, Scotrun
Great Wolf Lodge doesn’t offer on-site skiing, however, they are located very near to Camelback and, similarly, they are about a 1.5 hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City. The unique element to Great Wolf Lodge is their large indoor waterpark and multitude of children’s activities. Activities include arcades, a children’s spa, a kid-friendly mini bowling alley, kiddie movie theater, ropes course and many quest type activities, plus much more! The waterpark includes rides for kiddies as small and toddlers on up. There are many themed-rides and pool areas. There’s something for every age. You attain access to the waterpark and activities by staying at the lodge. The waterpark allows you access after 1pm on your check-in day through the day you check-out. Unique family suites are available including KidKamp Suites with tents within your room and KidCabin suites where the kid’s beds are housed inside a little log cabin (it even comes with a TV inside!). They also offer more standard suites for those who want a more traditional room. Resort amenities include lots of on-site restaurants (even a sweet shop!), shops, an adult spa, a children’s spa and a fitness room. It’s basically a kiddie wonderland located near several ski/winter sport areas.
Shawnee Mountain, East Stroudsburg
Shawnee is a great family destination for winter sports and is located very near to Camelback and is only a little over an hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City. They offer 23 trails, 8 lifts and 2 parks, plus snowtubing. Shawnee offers morning, afternoon and full-day children’s lessons. Three-hour group format sessions include use of an exclusive area for beginners, instruction, ski/snowboard rentals and youth lift ticket. SkIwee is for ages 4 – 6 and is just for skiing. Morning and afternoon session are available and one session is $100 and include snack. Mountain Cruisers is for ages 7 – 15 (ski only) and is available morning, afternoon or full day for $100 per session. Snack is included with half-day programs and lunch is included with full-day programs. Young Riders is for ages 7 – 15 for snowboarders only. Morning and afternoon sessions are available for $100 per session. Mid-week programs are for entry-level riders and weekends are for all levels. Snacks are included with all sessions. SKIbaby is an intro class for 3 year olds. Sessions include a one-hour ski lesson and equipment rental for $70. They also offer Mommy & Me ski lessons for parents and children together. One hour lessons are $70 per session. WEEriders is designed for children ages 4 – 6 that want to snowboard. This 2-hour group session includes a lesson and equipment rental and cost $90. Snowtubing is offered in 2 or 4 hour sessions. Prices vary based on time and length, click here for details. Children must be accompanied by an adult. There are many lodging options in the surrounding area including The Shawnee Inn, which is on-site. Click here for area dining options.