Last Updated on January 7, 2024

Winter storms are hitting the Northeast bringing lots of snow! For those of us who love the powdery white stuff, that’s exciting.

Fresh snow means ski season has finally arrived in Upstate New York. Thankfully, the Adirondack Mountains have some great hidden gem ski resorts ideal for newbie and expert skiers alike, including two areas free of charge.

Offering a real-deal Adirondack feel, these areas offer visitors the opportunity to ski, snowboard or snow tube on uncrowded slopes with the spectacular scenery for which the Adirondacks are renowned. Many of these fun, smaller hills also offer ski schools, snowmobile trails, snowshoeing or Nordic skiing.

Adding to the excitement, many of these snow experiences are more affordable than a typical ski resort. Ski passes start as low as $15 while other ski areas welcome guests free of charge. Elevating the affordability and fun of skiing in the Adirondack region, three of these hidden gem ski resorts participate in the “SKI NY Passport Program,” which offers free skiing for third and fourth graders (from any state or country) with an adult purchase: McCauley Mountain, Oak Mountain and Titus Mountain.

Winter visitors to the Adirondacks are familiar with the larger ski resorts like Whiteface and Gore mountains, here are some less-explored ski areas you’ll want to check out, along with recommendations on local accommodations and places to wine and dine.

McCauley Mountain (Old Forge)

This charming resort is located near the Adirondack wilderness.

Get a great night’s sleep at the Adirondack Lodge Old Forge, stop by Keyes’ Pancake House for breakfast and Tony Harper’s Pizza and Clam Shack for lunch/dinner.

Mt. Pisgah Recreation Center (Saranac Lake)

A welcoming community ski hill with night skiing and tubing and half-day weekend ski passes available for $15.

Kick off your boots at Traverse Lodge or Hotel Saranac, and enjoy dinner at nearby Bitters & Bones.

Oak Mountain (Speculator)

Oak Mountain ski lift.
Oak Mountain ski lift. Photo credit Adirondacks Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism

This hidden treasure with varied terrain has been around since 1948.

Check out Lake Pleasant Lodge or Cedarhurst Motor Lodge for accommodations and grab a bite at Logan’s Bar & Grill or Lemon Tree Brewery.

Titus Mountain (Malone)

How about a family-friendly ski gem that’s just a short drive from Plattsburgh, Lake Placid, Watertown and Northern Vermont, with terrain for all levels?

You’ll find rustic cabins at Deer Valley Trails (and stay for dinner) and then stop by The Pines Tap & Table for evening revelry.

Ski Free at Two Bonus Ski Areas

In addition to the Adirondak’s large and medium-sized ski resorts, two additional ski areas offer free skiing – a rare treat for novice and experienced skiers alike.

Newcomb Ski Slope is an ultra-local and community-owned ski hill offering free skiing. For the last 50 years, the town of Newcomb has owned and operated this two-run ski slope where generations of residents have learned to ski. The hill also boasts a trail through the adjacent woods along its 200 vertical feet. At this low-elevation summit, skiers are treated to a view of the snowy High Peaks.

Indian Lake Ski Hill also offers skiing free of charge along with the local feel and charm of a community-owned establishment. The recreation area comprises a small hill, two ski trails, a t-bar lift and even ice skating.

Make it a Weekend Adirondacks Getaway

The Adirondack region in Upstate New York is just a few hours’ drive from the New York metro area and the city of Boston. The region is within a day’s drive for 25 percent of the entire North American population.

And here’s a fun fact about skiing in the Northeast: the state of New York leads the nation with the most ski resorts in the entire United States, more than 50.

So, no matter what your favorite winter activity may be, whether it’s downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or ice skating, you’ll find plenty of fun and frolic in the Adirondacks!


  • Michael Kompanik

    Michael Kompanik is a retired Navy Captain, a managing editor of Rovology Online Magazine and a freelance travel writer. He currently resides in San Diego California with his wife Noreen who is also a travel writer and editor. Together they have traveled to such far off places as Europe, Thailand, Central America, Africa and more. Michael’s wide-ranging interests include history, nature, travel, photography, and, of course, military matters.