Off-Mountain Activities for Winter Fun in the Catskills
Don't ski? No problem! Enjoy winter with these fun and relaxing trip ideas.
Winter is here, and the Catskills are ready to welcome you to explore snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and winter festivities in downtowns decked for the season, and mountain towns with snow-capped peaks and trails for everything from fat tire biking to sledding. Speaking of mountains...
So you don't ski – who cares?! No one said you had to, and if strapping slippery sticks onto your feet and standing at the top of a steep mountain waiting for gravity to do its worst isn't for you, then honey, you don't have to answer to anyone.
Admittedly, there is nothing more iconic – and touristy – than ice-skating around 30 Rock during the holidays. However, ice-skating is really fun no matter your age, and ripe for serendipitous moments that can be both funny and memorable. The ice skating rink at Windham Mountain Adventure Park provides an ideal anti-ski activity close to the slopes so that even if part of your posse splits off to shred the gnar, or whatever they just said, you can still get some exercise and drink hot cocoa. Bonus fire pit, warming hut, and rentals offered.
By now, you've probably heard of the New York Zipline Adventure Tour at Hunter Mountain. Your buds probably came back from a summer zip and were like, dude it's amazing...or not. However, it is amazing. You fly 600 feet above the ground and can reach speeds of 50 mph. It's wild, and the experience includes multiple ziplines that start at the top of the mountain and transport you to the bottom. Oh, and you can do it in winter too. No joke, grab your goggles and warm clothes and go for a ride across a frozen landscape.
Speaking of Hunter Mountain, it's home of the largest snow tubing park in the state – with lanes nearly 1,000 feet long. Hurtle down across the snow and warm up at the fire pit. Open during the weekends, it is one of the wildest winter rides in the Catskills.
So, here's the thing you need to know about hiking in the winter – prepare or beware! Wear layers, bring food and water, wear grippy shoes or add microspikes or Yak Traks-type things to your wardrobe, and make sure you know exactly where you are going. After that, just enjoy it, man. One of our favorite places to hike is along the Windham Path – it is scenic, simple and close to Windham's restaurants and bars. Or the Huckleberry Trail, it's great for snowshoeing, hiking and it's close to some really great restaurants – such as Maggie's Krooked Café in Tannersville.
At some point this winter, you're going to get over the magical sparkle of freshly fallen snow, the dazzle of holiday light displays, the unceasing cheerfulness of your work colleagues who spend their weekend skiing in the Catskills. But hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. But, instead of heading for the slopes, head for the spa and say "Ahhhh" as you warm up in a cedar-lined sauna, or eucalyptus-scented steam room at Windham's Alpine Spa Relax. Book a massage with some of the best and most knowledgeable sports masseurs this side of the Rockies, and wrap it up with some pretty tootsies or a moisturizing facial. We guarantee that by the time the spa gets done with you, your reset button is back to marveling at the glorious, white-covered landscape. And hey, at least you're on vaca and close to some awesome restaurants. What's more restorative than a glass of wine, we ask you?
However, snow is fun and the Catskills offer loads of off-hill activities that are totally adventurous, safe, and great for social sharing. For example, Windham Mountain Resort offers a series of Sunset Snowshoe Tours throughout the winter, which include a guided hike and festive dinner at SEASONS, the resort's on-site restaurant. Go for a hike, and then have a great dinner. The end. If you like snowshoeing, rent your own and explore Greene County's snowshoe trails with your buds and show 'em how it's done.