New Yorkers craving some fresh air and a break from the grind can trade pavement for snow by taking one of Manhattan’s bus ski trips. Several days a week at early morning points throughout the city, buses load people with multiple alpine interests for destinations in the Catskills and Vermont.
In my case, I am looking for some Sunday outdoor time and training for my March NASTAR Nationals ski competition. I sign up online for an Island Ski Tours day trip to Windham Mountain, located about two hours Northwest of New York. Leaving from Grand Central at 6am, Island travelers start their day as Manhattan club goers end their night, stumbling into the station in party clothes as skiers and boarders in winter gear board the bus. A sampling of the passengers reveals a mix of couples, young professionals, baby boomers, and a high school class outing.
Operating for over 40 years to ski areas in New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts, Island is one of several Manhattan day trip carriers New Yorkers can chose from. “If there’s snow to ski on we’ll do trips,” says our Island bus guide Jay. Other notable carriers include NYC Ski & Board, OVR, and Emilio’s. Rates generally range from $70 to $80 for bus and lift ticket. Equipment rentals can also be added at a discounted rate. The luxury of the bus is leaving the driving and logistics to someone else, freeing things up to read, watch movies, or go back to sleep, which most do given the 6am start time.
Surveying the brown countryside as we near the resort it’s hard to imagine there’ll be any snow to ski on. A big white mound in the distance proves Windham has some excellent snow making capability. Over the day I get some fresh air, NASTAR runs, and a good dose of ski culture: moms, dads, Gen X’ers. Gen Y’ers, teens, and kids, all having fun outdoors. By 7pm I am back at Grand Central, taking my skis on the subway home. One passenger asks, “Coming from the airport, Colorado?.” My reply, “Nope, just took the bus to ski for the day.”
Jake Bright is a young professional, writer, and ski enthusiast in New York. His base mountains are Windham and Copper.