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Best Ma and Pa Ski Area in the ADKs

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  • Best Ma and Pa Ski Area in the ADKs

    With Whiteface and Gore being the big boys in ADK lift-served skiing, what area would be the best of the rest?

    My brother is pushing me to make the 6 or 7hr drive to do some snowshoeing at some point this winter. If conditions are right, I may want to take a half day and ski one of the smaller areas.

    I'd prioritize snow quality and good glade / off piste / interesting terrain as number one traits in a resort. On paper, I'd guess either Macauley or Oak would be the top choices. Is that right?

  • #2
    McCauley Mt benefits from lake effect snows and often has great powder. They also have some gnarly terrain.
    Snow Ridge also gets much lake effect but is decidedly mild, a little fun stuff on the far skiers left.
    Oak is a great family spot, only one or two challenging spots but a great vibe. They often collect clippers and hold snow well.
    Royal Mt is a gem, always good snow cover and lots of off trail fun. Some decent pitch too!
    Sadly, the best ADK skiing at Hickory is possibly lost. They are trying to survive with a different business model, but they just don’t get enough snow to adequately cover their seriously challenging terrain.
    I’ve had my hopes up for a resurrection of Big Tupper, but it may never happen, it was a fun place.
    There’s also Titus, but I have no personal experience there.
    Townie lifts at Newcomb and Indian Lake run intermittently.
    You may be able to skin and ski some of these areas, as well as a handful of slides, but gotta watch the conditions, sun crust, wind slabs and breakable crust can demand more effort than you sign on for!

    While not in the ADK’s, I gotta put in a plug for Plattekill. It’s a fantastic low key area with an open slope policy and some great off trail terrain, and minimal grooming on the natural snow trails.
    And in the Taconics, there’s some great BC skiing to be had…I skied 24” of untracked powder the week before Christmas.