While Ulster County is a beautiful place to visit all year, winter is truly unique. From outdoor activities like skiing and snowshoeing to the wide range of indoor fun to be had, there is lots to see and do throughout the winter season.
Known as one of the top skiing and snowboarding destinations in the state of New York, Belleayre Mountain, just off the Catskill Mountain Scenic Byway, has become a popular winter getaway for visitors from throughout the Northeast and around the world. Located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains in Highmount, NY, just 2.5 hours north of New York City, the resort features a ski center with hills for advanced, intermediate and beginner skiers. There’s also a pleasant main lodge, with a roaring fireplace perfect for warming up after a long day on the slopes.
In all, Belleayre offers more than 170 skiable acres, with 96 percent of that terrain covered with snowmaking. The resort also has eight ski lifts, four different lodges and more than 50 trails, parks and glades. And for cross-country skiers, there’s 5.7 miles of trails to explore.
The Olympic Regional Development Authority – the organization that manages the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid – oversees the mountain’s operations and has made continuous improvements to the facilities, including two progression parks, an Area 51 terrain park and several mogul trails. Today, more than 175,000 skiers and snowboarders from across the globe visit Belleayre each year. That number continues to grow on an annual basis.
For families that enjoy snow-tubing, there’s the Sawkill Family Ski Center, located about 45 minutes south of Belleayre. The center has a ski rental shop and concession stands located onsite.
Another fun winter activity is ice skating, with the Mohonk Mountain House Ice Skating Pavilion in New Paltz and the Kiwanis Ice Arena in Saugerties. Both centers offer skate and hockey equipment rentals.
In addition to skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, tubing and skating, visitors to Ulster County can head to Phoenicia. There, they can explore a number of shops and art galleries, along with the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope at Emerson Spa & Resort in Mount Tremper.
There’s also historic Woodstock, featuring a wide range of art galleries, boutiques, antique shops, museums, restaurants and cafes. One eclectic local favorite is the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, which has both a theater and a gallery space. Isadora Duncan and Bob Dylan have both visited the utopian arts community in recent years.
For indoor winter fun, families can visit Wood’n Wheel located in Ulster Park. Perfect for family fun, Wood’n Wheel offers roller skating, laser tag, an arcade, a rock wall and much more.
With the nearly unlimited winter activities found throughout Ulster County, there’s little wonder why the region has become such a popular winter destination for individuals, couples and families alike.