When I moved to Corning a few months ago, I was lucky enough to be here in time to attend an event at CM0G (Corning Museum of Glass) hosted by Berger’s Ski and Snowboard Shop and Greek Peak. Also supporting the event and promoting themselves were ski resorts from around the area such as Holiday Valley, Ski Denton, and Swain. Attending the event got my girlfriend and I free lift tickets to all of the mentioned resorts. We have lived in Florida for the past 4+ years and we weren’t sure how well we’d take to the slopes.
We both grew up in Pennsylvania and our school’s Ski Club always went to Greek Peak. So we decided our first trip should be there. It was a Monday, 35 degrees and an all around good day. We had fun going down our old favorite trails, reminiscing on days past, and realizing we did in fact remember how to ski (and if you listen to my side of the story and not my girlfriend’s, I didn’t fall once. Not once!)
I had to rent skis because my old boots didn’t fit. The rental process was fast. The skis themselves were good. However, the bindings were a little shaky, the boots were a bit old, and the poles had the straps cut off (something they do with all of their rental poles for some reason). However, for my first time on the slopes in 4 or 5 years, I was comfortable.
Greek Peak always has a place in my heart. I learned to ski there when I was about five years old. I attended weekend “Ski-Wee” (aka day care) classes when my parents were cutting up the hills. That being said, not much big has changed at Greek Peak. It’s the same ol’ A-Frame Lodge with pizza, cheese burgers, and luke-warm fries. It’s the same ol’ slopes like Castor and Pollux, and still no night skiing on the “back side” of the mountain. Some lifts have been moved, but everything is pretty much how I remember it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but being there on a Monday, it wasn’t very busy and we conquered the mountain in about 3 hours or less.
In the end I can’t complain. We had a great day. Good weather, no lines, and most of the 30-some slopes were open. …And no one fell. Definitely no one fell going by my definition of “falling”.
Growing up I didn’t know that there were other places to Ski in this area other than Greek Peak. There were a few urban legends of friend’s cousins going to other mountains that were full of moguls… at which point the story went on to describe how they did an upside down 360° helicopter, ended up in a hospital bed next to someone famous, and / or met a really hot girl from Canada.
Holiday Valley is a real place. It’s located two hours west of Corning in Ellicotville, NY. We visited on a Tuesday and I was surprised to find that it was booming with other weekday skiers. There was a light fluffy snowfall all day, giving some of the best ski conditions I’ve ever had.
What first struck me about Holiday Valley was the size. It has about twice as many trails as Greek Peak and almost 3 times as many lifts. The entire resort is beautiful. Every trail feels like it’s own little adventure. They really spent a lot of time designing each one. There are several lodges located throughout the resort where you can stop in for hot cocoa and good food (I even found a bakery with amazing brownies). You’ll find warming huts at the top of many slopes. At one point I stumbled upon a group of people huddled around a bonfire half way down a trail. Did I mention it was Tuesday? I would love to someday stay over in one of the many “sleep and ski” rental cabins built right into the mountain.
If you live in Corning it’s only 30 minutes farther than Greek Peak. It’s also worth noting that it’s slightly cheaper than Greek Peak and the rentals were better quality all around. The skis were given to me after a quick polishing, my boots were high quality, and my poles had straps. We had a great day and we’ll be going back. …and Bonnie fell… twice.