Wintertime in the Finger Lakes is relatively quiet, but visitors to Cortland County will find mountains of winter activities to enjoy. Whether you seek family friendly fun or search for a rush of outdoor adrenaline you can find it all here. Visitors will find four family friendly ski areas all within a 30-mile range of each other in Cortland County.
Here are some ski tips to help you get the most out of your next trip to the slopes.
Check the trail map before you get to the chairlift. Each ski area in Cortland County is unique and offers a different skiing experience. Don’t miss out on a trail or a photo opt by not checking the trail map ahead of time. Researching the mountain before you set out will save you time and you won’t need to stop to check the map while out on the trail.
Early skiers get the corduroy. That’s ski talk for freshly groomed trails that haven’t been skied on. Get to the slopes early to avoid the afternoon ice. More difficult trails will be easier to ski when they have been groomed. Each ski area will have a daily grooming report available at their lodge. Groomed trails change daily so be sure to get the current report. Early skiers can also take advantage of less congested trails and shorter wait times at the lift. Not to mention, it is your best chance to ski fresh powder.
Change up your lunch schedule. It’s no secret that lunchtime is the busiest time of day at the restaurant or cafeteria. Most people have lunch between 12 and 1:30. Consider going for lunch at 11:30 to beat the crowd. If you’re not an early lunch person, consider grabbing a warm drink and a quick snack mid-morning and then eat lunch closer to 2. Either way it’ll be easier to grab that coveted seat by the fireplace.
Ski the front trails first. Skiing the front trails first before it gets too busy guarantees you the best snow and a less congested experience. Get these trails done first thing and then when it starts getting busy you can work your way to the other side of the mountain staying ahead of the crowd.
Use walkie talkies. Before cell phones were common, most ski families would often use walkie talkies to communicate with each other across the mountain. While just about everyone has a cell phone today, we still recommend using walkie talkies. Cell phone batteries go dead faster in colder temperatures and service can be spotty, especially when you leave the main part of the mountain. Walkie talkies are less expensive than cellphones so if one gets lost or dropped from the chairlift, you won’t be out a lot of money. You can also keep your gloves or mittens on to operate them!
Take advantage of pass programs. If you’re an Upstate New Yorker, you can take advantage of the inter-mountain passport between Song and Labrador Mountain. If you’re from out of state check out the Ski Finger Lakes Mountain Pass good at Greek Peak Mountain Resort, Toggenburg Mountain, Song Mountain, and Labrador Mountain for a 30% off your lift ticket.
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