For those of you who have been overwhelmed by the idea of skiing with the kids, or keep putting it off, or nervous about the financial commitment, I hear you. My girls have been at the age for a couple of years now where we could have started the skiing process, but didn’t. As I’ve recently learned, it doesn’t need to be nearly as difficult an outing as it may seem in your mind. A friend of mine kept telling me to check out Mount Peter – a small mountain in Warwick, NY in the Hudson Valley, an hour drive from where we live in Westchester, NY– which is ideal for beginners and families whose parents haven’t skied in 15 years (like myself) and want a small, friendly do-able mountain, good for everyone.
The great thing about Mount Peter is that even though it is so close, it’s a bit off the beaten-track, so it never seems to be over-crowded like some of the other mountains. We’ve only been three times now, but each time we’ve been able to book lessons easily, not wait in line forever for the chair lift, find a seat in one of the lodges (there are two of them), or sneak off to the pub while our kids are in a lesson. The staff could not be nicer, and, having two girls, the young female instructors have been perfect for them – sort of like getting the cool babysitter, making them eager and want to learn. But the really awesome thing about Mount Peter is that they offer FREE ski lessons for beginners. Yes, free! It is a one-hour session that goes over the basics for children and adults alike, the children in one group, adults in another. You can’t find that in many places. It was the perfect start to our first day, our girls doing the 10:00 a.m. session, and we didn’t leave the mountain until 3:30, they were so into it.
We have now enrolled them in private lessons each weekend ($75 a lesson) until we feel they are totally comfortable with ski camp/school (of which there are a few different programs) and going up the chairlift alone. Lift tickets are $45 weekend/$25 weekday, which if you compare to a lot of bigger mountains or places in VT, a good deal. Mount Peter may not be desirable for seasoned skiers or skiers without kids, but as a family ski retreat it is a pretty great, and easy –key word being easy! – spot to get your children into skiing. It is known as “The Friendly One”, and the oldest operating ski area in New York State.
I think the best thing for me has been getting over the hurdle of going skiing for the first time with the family (the anxiety of all the gear you have to get, putting snow pants on your feisty children, and just getting there in one piece) and realizing that it has completely changed my perspective on winter. Gone are the days where we say to ourselves “what are we going to do with the kids all day?” and barely getting through winter, to it being a whole new fun adventure for us all. I’m actually excited about winter now.
51 Old Mt. Peter Road, Warwick, NY 10990