A Day at New York’s Windham Mountain Resort

On Saturday March 1st my boyfriend Jamie, his two children and I were excited to have an opportunity to visit Windham Mountain Resort in Windham, NY for the day.  Located in the heart of New York State’s Catskill Mountain region, Windham Mountain serves visitors from many parts of New York State and surrounding areas in the Northeast.  From our hometown of Ithaca, NY, Windham is nearly a three-hour drive so we were up before the sun to pack our gear and lunches and we were off around 6:45 a.m.

Windham Mountain Ski Resort, NY

We arrived at the resort at 9:30 a.m. and already the parking lot was close to full.  The parking area at Windham Mountain Resort is on a hill and luckily they provide a shuttle so visitors won’t have to carry their gear and bags uphill to the lodge.  Non-valet parking is free at Windham, as is use of the shuttle bus.  Jamie had brought his snowboard and the kids and I had our cooler with lunch and a couple backpacks to carry as well so we were thankful for the ride!  The ticket windows are located right outside the front area of the lodge to purchase on-site, or Windham offers online lift ticket purchases on their website.  Since our contact at Windham, Beth, was kind enough to provide us with lift tickets and rentals, we me met her at the Wunderbar coffee shop to collect our vouchers, then took a short walk upstairs and outside to the rental shop where we encountered quite a long queue.   It moved along pretty quickly and once we got inside we found out why.  Windham uses a computer system to record guest rental information.  We stepped up to a kiosk and while it takes a few minutes to get set up initially, it seems like the next time you go back all you do is enter your name and a new rental form prints out with everything else filled in.  The technology was used at each step of the rental process and there was a lot of staff available to help and answer questions to keep things moving as efficiently as possible during an extremely busy and crowded time of day.

Windham Mountain Ski Resort, NY

We got our boots, rented a locker, stashed our belongings, picked up our skis and poles and were out of the rental shop about an hour and a half after we started.  We knew that the resort would be busy and anticipated lines and waiting, but if you are not used to a resort this size that gets crowded quickly it could be difficult to navigate with kids and bags in tow.  The locker rentals are great – if you can get there early enough to get one.  We were lucky that one of the larger sized lockers was still available but I overheard other guests while in line for skis that they couldn’t get a locker because they were all taken.  Moral of the story – arrive as early as humanly possible!

Once we were outside again and strapped in our gear we were anxious to get on a lift, but first we needed to know where we were going.  Windham Mountain Resort is a much larger than what we’re used to [I’ve previously only visited New York’s Greek Peak].  Windham Mountain Resort boasts over 50 open trails and at least twelve chair lifts.  Since I am still very new to skiing, and this was my third time on snow ever, we started with a couple runs on short green (easy level) trails called White Way and What’s Next, located on the East Peak.  An advantage to the size of this resort was that even though the lodge areas felt crowded and the lines for chair lifts were a bit long, the trails themselves didn’t feel cramped with skiers and riders because there are so many choices spread out over 278 acres.  Luckily for me this meant I could go as slow as I needed to and not have to worry too much about being in others’ way.  Although I know I held up the rest of my group a couple times, and I can’t thank them enough for their patience with me!

Windham Mountain Ski Resort, NY

Around 12:30p.m. we realized from the rumbles in our stomachs just how long it had been since we stopped for breakfast on the drive down, so we took a break for lunch.  We decided to bring our own spread of pb&j, cheese & crackers, hummus, veggies and yogurt, but if we had wanted to buy food or snacks the resort offers many choices from sandwiches to chicken fingers and burgers.  There is also a full service bar located outside.  I do wish we had stopped to get a snack at the Waffle Cabin located at the base area because every time we went past it smelled amazing!  The base area of the lodge is a great spot to relax and take a break for food.  There are picnic tables and Adirondack chairs spread out looking up at the mountain peaks we had just come down, and I really liked the energetic feel to the area from the upbeat music playing in the background.

We only had another few hours to experience more of the resort, so we decided to go even further up the East Peak to the longest green trail called Wanderer.  To get up to the top of East Peak, we took the same chair lift as earlier in the day, but then cut over to the Express Quad lift.  The many high capacity triple and quad lifts at Windham help keep the queues keep moving at a good pace and we didn’t have to wait too long to get to the very top.  The views from 3100 feet were beautiful!  We couldn’t have asked for better weather on this day, it was bright and sunny with temperatures in the high 20’s and low 30’s.

Windham Mountain Ski Resort, NY

My experience going down Wanderer was interesting.  Although it was marked as a green trail, I found it to be fairly challenging and worked really hard to remember all I had learned thus far to make it down a particularly steep decline.  Again, I have to thank Jamie and the kids for their help, encouragement, and patience!  Long story short, I made it in one piece (although I did fall and at one point was on the verge of tears but hey, that’s what challenging yourself is all about, right?) but once we were at the bottom, I was content with not doing Wanderer again, so we decided to take a break to hydrate after that hard work and split up.

Jamie took a couple more runs down Wanderer and I explored the beginner ski areas and took some time to work on making turns and controlling speed (which I still struggle with but got much better by the end of the day) and took one last run down White Way.  Before we knew it, it was 4 p.m. and the lifts were closing.  At this point in the season there is no night skiing or riding at Windham so the trails close at 4, which is a shame since there was a good hour of daylight left.  But, we still had a three-hour drive home ahead of us so it was time to call it a day.  We had to stand in just one more line to return our equipment at the rental shop and stopped into the gift store for a couple souvenirs of our trip.  Including a stop for dinner at Brooks’ House of BBQ in Oneonta, NY (an upstate institution and one of my all time favorite restaurants) we made it home exhausted and happy around 10:00 p.m.

Windham Mountain Ski Resort, NY

Windham Mountain Resort is a fantastic destination for skiers, snowboarders, novices, experts, and non-skiers.  We didn’t have enough time to explore everything that was available to us, not only on the Mountain but at the resort’s adjacent Adventure Park that offers snow tubing, ice skating, zip lines, and more.  Not to mention the full service spa at the hotel, and Yoga offered just down the road in the village of Windham.  We didn’t even make it over to the West Peak side of the mountain to experience the other trails!  We would definitely recommend Windham for more than just a day trip.  If you’re looking for a local “staycation” for the whole family, or even a fun getaway for two, you can look into renting one of the resort’s condos, make a reservation at the hotel on site or stay somewhere nearby to take advantage of everything Windham has to offer.

We had a great day discovering Windham, and send our thanks and appreciation to Beth Barry for making it possible!

DISCLOSURE: Nikki Lynn was hosted by Windham Mountain Resort and received complimentary lift tickets and equipment rental for the purposes of writing this article.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Nikki Lynn

Nikki Lynn is a native of Central New York and currently works as a Career Counselor at Ithaca College. She loves traveling, reading, cooking, movies, tv, running, and any and all things Disney.