Winter Equals Fun:

While many of the first-years may be thinking that spring is near, the rest of us know that that might not necessarily be true. For example, it snowed during graduation on May 19, 2002. Dining Services handed out hot chocolate instead of ice cream while observers sat wrapped in blankets. In other words, even though it is the beginning of March, it is not too late to hit the slopes.

Whiteface Mountain ( is the farthest away of the six ski mountains in this area. It is located in the Adirondack Park, in Wilmington, NY, a four-and-a-half hour drive from Colgate. Whiteface was the venue for the alpine skiing events during the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid, a 15-minute drive from the mountain and the perfect place to stay for a weekend. It is still possible to see all the start and finish houses, including the steep start house at the top of the Whiteface Summit for the men’s downhill.

You can also check out the venues for other events, such as the two towers for ski jumping, or take a bobsled run on the 1980 Winter Games track. Whiteface boasts steep terrain, such as the upper-mountain runs and the 35 acres of out-of-bounds skiing on “The Slides.” It also possesses the greatest vertical drop in the east, at 3,430 feet. Apr??s-ski parties at the base lodge and the nightlife are fun at Lake Placid, especially at a bar called Rumors. Even though you should be prepared for the cold and windy weather which has helped it earn the name “Iceface,” the snow can be great and there are a lot of activities to do there besides skiing and boarding.

The next closest mountain, which is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Colgate, is Bristol Mountain Ski Resort ( It is located in Canandaigua, NY, about a half-an-hour drive from Rochester, NY. With 1,200 vertical feet, it has earned the title of the most vertical from the Adirondack Catskill region to the Rockies. Bristol offers six lifts including a high-speed detachable quad that services 32 trails, which contain two terrain parks and a half-pipe. However, the balmy winter has hurt Bristol, along with other eastern ski mountains, due to the limited amount of natural snow. Thus, although the runs are significantly covered, this is due to Bristol’s high-capacity snowmaking capabilities. Skiers and boarders can also enjoy an on-mountain Demo Center allowing them to try out the newest and finest equipment. For those of you wishing to stay late, the mountain is open until 10:00 every night with 96 percent of its terrain lit up.

Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl ( is located in the small town of Hunter, NY, about a two-hour drive from Colgate. It is a quality mountain, but tends to attract a lot of New Yorkers, being the closest ski mountain to the City. This means that the mentality there is a bit like that of walking down the sidewalk on the way to work: if you get in someone’s way and it slows him down, it’s your fault and he lets you know. Other than that, it is a family mountain with an impressive learn-to-ski or board program and a great rental department – the Learning Center Lodge is as big as the Base Lodge. However, some experienced skiers may find the terrain not challenging enough and many get frustrated by beginners who often collide with other skiers in an attempt to stop. Hunter also has an awesome snow-tubing park. It consists of four straight, yet bumpy chutes that let you reach relatively high speeds. And not to be forgotten, the apr??s-ski party in the lodge is always a fun time. It is a great atmosphere and lasts from around noon until 7:30 p.m.

The last three ski mountains are all definitely day trips. The first of these is Labrador Mountain ( in Truxton, NY, is about an hour away. It is larger than Toggenburg and has a better terrain park, which is usually equipped with a half-pipe that has been a challenge for members of the Colgate Alpine Ski Team. It also hosts a winter-long skier and boardercross competition as well as big air and slopestyle competitions. Lab is always open for night skiing with well-lit trails. Labrador can be a fun alternative to Tog because it offers a bit more variety as far as terrain goes. Runs are a bit longer and the snow is a bit more maintained than at Tog. Occasionally, on selected weekends, Labrador is home to an all-you-can-eat pancake charity brunch, which definitely hits the spot.

Toggenburg Ski Center (, which is about a forty-minute drive from Colgate, is located in Fabius, NY. It is home to the infamous Colgate Alpine Ski Team and Outdoor Education’s amazing telemarking classes. Tog is geared toward being a learning mountain and is a great option for those just learning to ski. You will also see many school-aged racers training on the practices courses. Tog also offers night skiing. The runs are well lit; however, one must definitely be careful of the orange poles marking the edges of the trails and the break-a-way gates that racers are training on. In the lodge, one simply must try the tasty pizza-filled pretzels in the cafeteria. And before you leave, you have to stop into the Foggy Goggle, which is a restaurant/bar and snowmobiling hangout. Not only is the food good, but so is the people-watching.

And last but not least is Cardiac Hill (the Hill you are probably standing on while reading this article). With just a short walk from your dorm, you can make it up to the cemetery. Once there, you have the choice of two different types of terrain. The first choice is a long undulating run down Oak Drive to College Street. It is a nice and mellow run that boasts a ridiculous 175 feet of vertical. Just simply make sure there is enough snow cover or you are using rock skis, and be on the watch for oncoming cars. It is usually best to make this run in the early morning hours.

The second choice is a slightly steeper and hairier run down Mt. Trainer (pronounced as in French), which offers a skier or boarder an unprecedented 350 feet of vertical. This run is commonly known as the Ski Hill; however, during the 1970s when there was a rope tow taking people to the top it was know as Trainer Hill. And in order to add the much needed prestige that it deserved, it was given a French pronunciation, just like Marshall’s and Target. While taking this run, be careful of the unkempt bushes, trees and long grass. If there is not enough snow cover, there is a good chance you may get tangled up. Most importantly of all, try not to get caught by Sampus Cafety. They may not be able to catch you on foot, but be careful when they come after you in four-wheel drive.

Now go out there and hit the slopes! After these past few days of snow, there is some great skiing and boarding to be taken advantage of before it is too late. For as quickly as Mother Nature can pummel Upstate NY with that white fluffy stuff, she can also turn angry and take it away until next season…

Members of the Colgate Alpine Ski team also contributed to this article.