You can still enjoy all the beauty, solitude and exercise that being outside in our mountains has to offer in the winter!
It’s some people’s favorite time of year to get out on the mountains or in the snow – with proper clothing you’ll be quite comfortable and you might have the whole place to yourself! Snow shoeing and Cross Country skiing are excellent exercise and really give you a new perspective on these mountains.
Current snowshoes are nothing like the old wooden tennis racket type we now just see hanging over a fireplace. They’re much smaller and lighter and have teeth to help you grip on slopes or a little bit of ice. Snowshoes can be rented from Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor and Jimmy’s Belleayre Shop in Highmount, among other places.
Just about any place you can hike is suitable for snowshoes, so head over to the HIKING PAGE if you’d like to get out in the big snow.
Although some people are able to ski anything, most of us prefer something a little flatter for cross country skiing. The Andes Rail Trail’s first mile, although short, is a fun ski. Palmer Hill also makes for good cross country skiing although you may want to hike down to the old farmstead before putting your skis on if you aren’t great going downhill on them.
Delhi College Golf Course is a great place to go skiing and often has a groomed track, though sometimes you have to make your own.
Belleayre Mountain has cross country skiing at no cost, on 5.5 miles of ungroomed trails. You can pick up cross country ski rentals at Jimmy’s
Belleayre Shop at the foot of Belleayre mountain.
Kelly Hollow and Rochester Hollow are also designated cross country ski trails (ungroomed), for the more advanced skier.
The Catskill Scenic Trail is a 26 mile long trail running from just north of the town of Roxbury to Bloomville. It’s suitable for cross country skiing, mountain biking and strolling. In the winter, you’ll share the trail with the occasional snowmobile group, but their machines pack the snow nicely for cross country skiing.
Frost Valley YMCA, in Claryville, offers rentals and 15 miles of groomed trails when they are not hosting large weekend groups. Call ahead to be sure they are accepting day visitors. There is a fee to use their facility.
Mountain Trails Cross Country Ski Center in Tannersville is great for a full day skiing experience, with 22 miles of groomed trails of all ability levels and ski and snowshoe rentals. Windham Mountain Resort offers only 3.25 miles of cross country skiing and snowshoeing on groomed trails plus an additional 1.5 miles of snowshoe only trails, along with ski and snowshoe rentals.