The fastidiously maintained slopes of Maple Ski Ridge beckon outdoor adventurers throughout the snowy season, readying skiers and snowboarders with lessons, equipment rentals, and day and season passes. On the lodge's four hills, instructors from the Schenectady Ski School guide budding snow pilots of all ages through the basics of skiing, snowboarding, and snowman combat, and the Burton Learn to Ride system assists new snowboarders in mastering downhill skills with specialized equipment. Inside a comfortable lodge, a crackling fire warms extremities and light fare and hot cocoa warm insides as outside, skiers sail down full-sized hills, try their hands at stunts on the terrain park, or glide up and down bunny hills courtesy of a surface tow. The lodge's dedicated staff supplements any meager precipitation with snow machines and bags full of frozen marshmallows, and all slopes undergo daily maintenance.
Like the bicycle cogs they frequently fine-tune, Plaine and Son’s highly trained staff works together to keep the business running smoothly. Plaine and Son has been expertly stocking and servicing bikes, skis, and snowboards since the 1960s. With cycles from brands such as Specialized and Trek and boards and skis from Atomic and Salomon, employees have a huge cache from which they help outdoor adventurers select the right gear based on riding styles or how many jet skis they plan to haul behind their bikes. Staffers also enlist the Specialized BG Fit Program and other fitting tools to pair riders with the right-size bikes. Once fitted, bikers can join in on Plaine and Son’s weekly group rides or enjoy free workshops in the store, which focus on biking basics such as how to mend a flat or jump the public pool blindfolded.
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.
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.
The resort at Pico Mountain has come a long way since it opened on Thanksgiving morning in 1937. It was a blustery day, and skiers held tight to a 1,200-foot towrope powered by a Hudson motorcar engine as they rose up the mountainside and tried to get reception on their rotary-dial phones. Today, the mountain is striped with 52 trails and seven lifts, including two high-speed detachable quads. Gentle learning terrain beckons newbies, smooth cruisers give intermediate skiers an easy ride, classically narrow New England steeps entice beginning and intermediate skiers, and a double-black-diamond trail challenges advanced athletes. Snowboarders and freestyle skiers interested in tricks can use the jumps, boxes, and rails in the Triple Slope terrain park, and the Snow Sports School sharpens the skills of first-timers and seasoned pros alike.
Although the resort has advanced in size and technology, it maintains a personalized, small-mountain charm. The trails all converge at one convenient central base area whose lodge boasts a sports center with a heated pool and a sauna. Guests can grab a beer and a burger or slice of pizza beside the crackling stone fireplace at the Last Run Lounge before retiring to their hotel room or condo.
Mount Sunapee State Park is actually comprised of three mountains, forming a trio of forested peaks that towers over the surrounding verdant valleys and beckons outdoor enthusiasts to the slopes year-round. The 2,900-acre park plays host to Lake Solitude and a smattering of brooks as well as abundant wildlife including deer, red foxes, coyotes, wild turkeys, and the occasional black bear, moose, and bobcat. In the warmer months, amblers trek up Summit Trail to reach Mount Sunapee's apex 2,743 feet above sea level. Winter sees snowboarders and skiers flocking to the powder-topped slopes to traverse dozens of trails and snowboarding playgrounds.A 20-minute drive away, New London presents a picture of quaint New England charm, with its picturesque Main Street lined with shops, a farm stand, historic buildings, and cafés. Visitors can catch a play or musical in a historical barn-turned-theater, which has showcased summer-stock offerings for more than 75 years, during which time such notables as Taye Diggs, Laura Linney, and equine wunderkind Mr. Ed have trod the boards. Across from Lake Sunapee sits The Fells Historic Estate & Gardens, a preserved early 20th-century estate with 84 sprawling acres of manicured grounds, blooming flowers, and woodland trails. Guided walking tours take history buffs through the 22-room Colonial Revival home, which served as a bucolic summer retreat for John Milton Hay, the secretary of state under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.Rates for weekday stays at Mountain Edge Resort & Spa are less expensive than rates for weekend stays.