Frozen lakes, snowy hills, and warm ocean waves are transformed into arenas over which to slip and slide, thanks to the experienced instructors at Kite Club NY. During private and group lessons, they teach students how to strap into skis, snowboards, or surfboards, take the reins of a kite, and harness the wind's power. Kiteboarders learn techniques such as riding one-handed, leaping into the air, and even riding uphill.
At Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center, 25,000 acres of snow-dusted state-park landscape surround eight trails, inspiring riders with scenic views and mountainous sanctuary. Four double chairlifts escort skiers and snowboarders to the peaks of eight powdery slopes, which dedicated trail-sculptors and snowmaking machines have modified to accommodate riders of all ages, abilities, and postmodernist persuasions. A beginners' area helps snowsplorers find their mountain legs, and the black-diamond racing hill and freestyle park challenge skis and boards with steep slopes, kickers, and rails. The rental shop at the bottom of the hill outfits run-tamers with downhill essentials, and a rustic lodge and pub warms bellies and thaws tongues frozen to metal poles with an array of hearty après-ski treats.
In the past 40 years, the Southern Litchfield Hills of northwestern Connecticut have seldom stood without an echo of laughter or music. That's because Woodbury Ski Area keeps them pulsing with skiers and snowboarders during winter months and warm-weather revelers and concertgoers throughout the summer. Tubing slides run down the hills throughout the summer, along with zorb balls—inflatable spheres that carry passengers to the bottom in 45 seconds.
Woodbury Ski Area's president Rod Taylor, who competed as a member of the U.S. Ski Team, maintains the facility with the same drive he used to become the national downhill ski champion and record holder for clearing 222 feet in the Glendale Jump contest. While helping to keep adrenaline levels high, Rod ensures the facility hosts more laid-back cultural events with concerts on the Woodbury stage. Past shows have featured legends including The Wailers, Fela Kuti, and UB40, as well as Muddy Waters, The Band, Bonnie Raitt, and Earl Scruggs.
Mount Southington Ski Area sprung from a dream. In the 1960s, its rolling mountainside contained not ski trails, but dairy cows, most of whom couldn't even snowboard. But then new owners bought the dairy farm with the hopes of creating their own slopes. In 1964, the park officially opened, launching 50 years of athletic achievements and family memories.
Today, an old red barn?converted into a ski shop and caf??echoes the mountain's past. Outside, the park's 51 acres are covered with snow, thanks to the combined efforts of Mother Nature and artificial snowmakers. Four chair lifts, a handle tow, and two carpet lifts ferry visitors up this mountainside, where they can soar down 14 different trails during the day or under the night's twinkling stars. The snowy routes come in three levels of difficulty, and young skiers can learn the basics at The Glacier training area. Snowboarders can face the rails, boxes, and other exciting elements sprawl across two terrain parks. PSIA-certified instructors are on standby for advanced lessons, and athletes of all ages can rent equipment from the rental department. Mount Southington Ski Area is located off I-84 exit 30.
Near the foothills of the Taconic and Berkshire Mountains, Pineridge Cross-Country Ski Area stretches across hundreds of acres of unsullied woodland, full of winding creeks, scenic views, and well-groomed tracks and trails. PSIA-certified instructors guide newbies through the graceful, gliding motions of traversing on skis or a snowboard, preparing skiers of all skill levels to safely traverse the 35 km of woodland trails during the day, or 4 km of lighted trails after the sun pops and sinks below the horizon.
Aspiring snow-surfers can choose one of the latter deals to learn about skiing or snowboarding survival during a 60-minute group lesson, lead by one of Ski Campgaw's highly experienced staff. Afterwards, newly trained students show off their new moves in the beginner's area, where two gentle conveyor lifts can tow them back to the top of the slope. Meanwhile, more advanced skiers can challenge themselves on black diamond slopes, difficult for its steep angles and pursuing suitcase salesmen on jetpacks, while brave boarders can navigate the ramps, rails, and half pipes of the freestyle Terrain Park. See here for up-to-the minute info on conditions and trail closings.