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Central New York Skiing?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, I'm about to hang up the combat boots and start a new career in the Syracuse area. Anybody know anything about the skiing there? I have seen 3 areas: Greek Peak, Labrador Mtn, and Song Mtn all south of Syracuse near Cortland. Any reviews? How long is the season? Any deals on seasons passes? We're excited about moving out of the SE US (finally ), but I couldn't find a job that pays anything in my native Vermont so I had to settle for a great job in CNY.

I appreciate any help you folks can give...

post #2 of 11
The two largest areas close to you are Greek Peak (in Cortland) and Bristol Mtn (in Canandaigua). Forget Labrador & Song Mtns - they're tiny compared to the other two areas.

I can't help you out with respect to current deals cuz I haven't lived up that way for a number of years, but I still try to go back once or twice a season.

Both are medium-smallish sized resorts compared to Vt & NH ski areas, but nice. They both are nice places for family skiing & not as crowded as many other resorts. Greek is the less crowded of the two but has an active racing (and Jr racing) program. I pretty sure that Bristol does as well, but I'm a bit less certain of this. Greek Peak is a bit flatter than Bristol (something like 900' vs 1200' if I remember correctly), but Greek is wider from side to side. Bristol usually lasts a bit longer into the spring because it is higher and closer to L. Ontario. Both can get icy, but in my experience, nowhere near as badly as say the Poconos. Bristol has a more modern flavor than Greek (newer lifts, renovated lodge, snowmaking, etc.). I really like Greek Peak - Its like going back home, but I think that it runs more on a financial shoestring, so you don't see the snowguns turned on as often or the groomers out as much.

They both have websites, so take a look.

Congrats on your move and new job. Its a nice area to live.

Tom / PM
post #3 of 11
Gore in the Adirondacks is about 2.5 - 3 hours away if you want to ski on a decent mountain.
post #4 of 11
Despite Greek Peak’s claim to the contrary, its true vertical is about 760 (only one trail plus another odd route has 900, and it’s not something you do laps on), and ride time is a shockingly slow 8 minutes (or 10 on the “new” double that some other ski area was wise enough to get rid of). GP is indeed quite “wide” though (almost like a micro Killington or Sunday River), with some decent pitches, and some amazing unofficial glades when natural snow falls. (The stuff *past* Olympian is absolutely sick, at least by NYS standards.) They have some great pass deals, plus the season sometimes starts in late Nov, and often goes to early Apr. The race program is excellent. Given the combination of slow low-capacity lifts and wide trails, the actual skiing is pleasantly uncrowded. So, quite a few pluses, but also minuses.
post #5 of 11
Well, since I live in Syracuse and ski at Labrador, I guess I should reply. If you're going to live in the Syracuse area, there are 3 ski areas within roughly 1/2hr-Labrador, Song and Toggenburg. All 3 places have around 700 ft vertical. Song has had some management problems lately, but supposedly that's been taken care of with new ownership. Toggenburg probably has the most limited terrain of the 3, and I've heard complaints about the snowmaking/grooming, but some people love it there. Labrador has the best and most varied terrain of the 3, and the best snowmaking/grooming of any of the areas in cny-including Bristol & Greek Peak. You can get a season pass at Lab. before Oct for $275, or a family seaon pass before oct for around $600.
Greek Peak takes about an hour to get to from Syracuse, depending on the weather. They have some good terrain and lots of trails, but when I've skied there, they're not always all open. They get lots of students from Cornell and Ithaca College. Two seasons ago, you could get a season pass for $199 if you bought it at the end of the season(for the next year) I didn't ski there last year, so I don't know if they still offer that deal. Bristol is an hour and a half to two hours away. I skied at Bristol until the 95-96 season. They've got 1200 ft of vertical and its pretty consistant from top to bottom. (All of the others have steep sections, but then a flatter runout to the bottom) They've added a high speed quad and seem to be spending lots of money lately on improvements-adding trails and upgrading the facilities. Bristol and Greek are probably the most crowded on weekends. You can ski right through the liftline at any of the areas on weekdays/nights.
About 2hrs away is Snow Ridge-about the same size as Lab/Togg/Song-but they are between the Tug Hill Plateau and the Adirondacks and get hammered by snow. You can catch some great powder days there. McCauley Mt. is 2 1/2 hrs away in Old Forge. Its a neat town-owned area with some gnarly but short terrain and tons of natural snow.

[ August 15, 2002, 09:10 AM: Message edited by: BG ]
post #6 of 11
Hey BG - Thanks for your input. Sooner or later I knew we would interest an honest-to-goodness local into the discussion.

I haven't skied Song, Lab or Tog in at least a decade, so prompted by your post, I got out "The White Book" and looked them up. Unfortunately my copy is from 2000, so the info may be a bit out of date. Have there been any major expansions (ie, like new lifts) since then?

Here's the main stats that I found. I'm not going to try to include the detailed data on uphill capacity, longest trail, misc surface lifts, % snowmaking coverage, etc. because each one of these variables isn't available for all 5 resorts in my edition, but the uphill lift capacity gives a pretty good idea of size:

Toggenberg - 600' vert, 1 double, 1 triple ( = 5 simultaneous uphill seats)

Song - 700', 1 double (=2)

Labrador - 700', 2 doubles, 1 triple (=7)

Greek Peak - 900' (760' usable) - 5 doubles, 1 triple (=13)

Bristol - 1200', 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 high speed quad (=11, but effectively closer to 13 because of the quad's speed).

Anyway, bjohansson, hope all this intel you are getting on your new home base helps.

Tom / PM

[ August 16, 2002, 08:19 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I wasn't sure how many responses I'd get from this post. Seems the majority of the folks that contribute regularly are lucky enough to live in Utah or Colorado.

Thanks to all for the great info and honest opinions. We'll probably make a few trips over to Vermont each winter, but I'm really looking forward to just skiing regulalry without having to make a huge production out of it.

Thanks again!

post #8 of 11

Song has a double and a triple now, and Bristol has 5 chairs-2 quads, 2 triples, 1 double

Labrador is supposed to be getting a new chair this season-footers for the towers have been added, plus top & bottom lift houses-just waiting for a lift.

[ August 16, 2002, 08:16 AM: Message edited by: BG ]
post #9 of 11
Here is a new version of the table I posted earlier updated with more recent data courtesy of BG (thanks, guy!):

Toggenberg - 600' vert, 1 double, 1 triple ( = 5 simultaneous uphill seats)

Song - 700', 1 double, 1 triple (=5)

Labrador - 700', 2 doubles, 1 triple (=7, but likely to add a new chair soon)

Greek Peak - 900' (760' usable) - 5 doubles, 1 triple (=13)

Bristol - 1200', 1 double, 2 triples, 2 quads (= 16, but effectively more like 18 or 19 because of the HS quad's speed).

Tom / PM

PS - BG: I just skied Bristol this last season and was pretty sure I remembered two quads, but trusted "the book" more than my own memory.
post #10 of 11
I moved a couple yrs ago out to Tahoe, but grew up in Rochester, so have some opinions, albeit outdated ones.

I went to Greek Peak when i was real young, and don't remember too much.

Grew up riding Bristol and Swain. Not too shabby hills. Holiday Valley in Endicott (south of Buffalo) might be worth taking a peek at, always had a blast there, bigger than Bristol and Swain.

I'd highly recommend making the trek north to the 'DAX and hittin up Gore and/or Iceface. Whiteface is great, one of the biggest verts in the NE, if not the biggest. Lake Placid is a great little ski town w/ the Olympic nostalgia.

But then again, if you're up that far, might as well make the trip over to VT and hit up Mad River, or make an insane trip up to Jay, which will blow your mind, but you probably already know that.

I dont know, not much info, but my 2 cents.

post #11 of 11
I grew up skiing all those mountains, and I second that you don't pass up Snow Ridge and McCauley. If you don't have fun there you are not breathing. They are smaller but have great personality and offer up a nice day of skiing where you can just do your own thing and explore every nook and cranny of them during your time there. Some of my best memories are taking off for the first time through the woods at Snow ridge, often when I'm tree skiing at Vail I am reminded of my first forays into the trees at the Ridge. If you like greek food stop in at Symeon's restaurant in Utica.
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