Given that I started a new role less than five months ago, my holiday schedule was up in the air a bit as the year came to a close. Also, the end of the year is always a bit hectic with budgeting – and this was the first budgeting cycle for this board and management team. Plus, there are a number of other initiatives underway (more on some of those later).
So we opted for a relatively low stress and flexible holiday plan.
We had made our first trip as a family up to Holiday Valley at the end of last season for a long weekend. We were living outside of Cleveland at that time so the drive was under three hours. Even from Columbus it is fairly manageable – under five hours – and almost all highway with little in the way of city traffic.
Driving also makes it much easier to pack gear, food, and for this trip – presents.
Overall, we’ve found the resort to be low-key and family friendly. The skiing is definitely east coast – but I would argue respectable. Skiable area is 290 acres including 58 runs and 13 lifts. The longest run, Mardi Gras, comes in at a mile. Total vertical is 750 feet – again east coast metrics – but on par with Seven Springs or Snowshoe. A plus is that Holiday Valley is in the lake effect snowbelt, so average snowfall comes in at 180 inches.
Last year, we drove in on the backside of a storm that dropped about 12 inches that made for really great skiing. And, I have friends who have said they have had full on powder days here. Also, being east coast, they have 95% snow making coverage.
Our favorite trail is Tannebaum, which takes you through a really beautiful pine glade.
Yes, got the golden chair lift.
We stayed in the same condos, Snow Pines, that we did last year. Nothing fancy for sure, but ski in / ski out and reasonably priced. Discounted ski passes come with the lodging. We averaged just over $50 per day per adult. Our daughter skis free.
The town, Ellicottville, has a nice ski town vibe. The Ellicottville Brewery is definitely worth checking out and I’d recommend their signature Blueberry beer (yes, that is a blueberry floating in our beer). Growler fills are reasonable too (~$12) so pack that too.
So, nice little break at the end of a pretty long block of work starting back in August. It was great to disengage a bit – in a way that sticking around town would not have made possible. But the trip was pretty low-key, so avoided some of the “I need a vacation from my vacation” syndrome that can happen on more involved trips. The saw should be pretty sharp at the start of the New Year.
Most importantly, we got four ski days in to start off our ski season. We’re looking for 25+ days this season…that’s something to keep the motivation levels up..