By Alicia Dziak

February break is here, and if you’re not headed some place sunny with the kids, take this time to enjoy WNY and all it has to offer during this mid-winter recess.

Head to the slopes and enjoy skiing at its best. Holiday Valley offers dozens of trails with varying terrain, open daily and well into the evening for some awesome night skiing and riding. Grab a hot chocolate in one of the lodges, sit outside by the fire pit and explore the resort.

Want to try something new? Join other free-heeled skiers for a day of peace, love and telemark skiing at Telestock on Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out the article below. For more info, call City Garage at (716) 699-2054.

The following day, on Saturday, Feb. 25, join the Penguin Paddle, an annual fundraiser for Holiday Valley’s Lounsbury Adaptive Program. The day will be filled with wonderful auction items, delicious food and lots of laughs as people slip inside garbage bags and slide on their bellies “penguin style” down the bottom of Yodeler slope. See the article below.

Up for some tubing fun? Enjoy up to 22 lanes of pure downhill fun at Holiday Valley Tubing Company, located a few miles outside the Village on Route 242. The best part? You get a tow back up to the top. The tubing park is open Thursdays through Sundays, and daily over the President’s week school break. If the weather cooperates, keep your fingers crossed that the ice rink will be open too.

The Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster is yet another way to enjoy Holiday Valley. Get in your own coaster car, ride to the top and control your speed as you soar back down. The coaster, located by the Tannenbaum Lodge, is open daily over President’s week.

The break week is a great time to check out HoliMont, which is open to the public Monday through Friday. Ski or ride your choice of dozens of trails with short lift lines, open slopes and a cozy lodge.

Snowshoeing is a family-friendly activity you can all enjoy in the great outdoors. Bring your own or rent a pair at City Garage, Adventure Bound, Holiday Valley or HoliMont, and take to the trails at HV, HoliMont or nearby Allegany State Park (ASP).

On Monday, Feb. 20 at 4:30 p.m. ASP will host a Sunset Snowshoe Trek, where a park naturalist will lead an interpretive snowshoe trek, weather depending, or hike along the summit ridgeline on Bear Paw Trail. Witness a breathtaking winter sunset at Stone Tower, then make your way back to the Summit Warming Hut for an after-trek social. The 2.3 mile trail is easy to moderate with some slight elevation changes. For more information, contact the Environmental Education/Recreation Department at (716) 354-9101 ext. 236.

ASP also offers miles of groomed cross-country trails for XC skiing in the Art Roscoe trails system.

Other special events in the park include Music by the Fireside, a free concert by local musician Jess Chizuk inside the Red House Administration Building on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.

The southern tier offers a variety of other fun activities as well.

Feb. 18-19, the Sportman’s Show comes to the Seneca Allegany Events Center once again. Come in out of the cold and get ready for the upcoming fishing and hunting seasons. Buy, sell, trade or browse all weekend long at the area’s largest event of its kind. Over 40 booths and 450 tables with experts exhibiting the latest in trapping, archery, sporting and fishing equipment and antique firearms throughout this two-day event. For more information, visit www.York- PennShows.com.

Want to unleash your kids’ creativity? Send your elementary-aged kids on a “ClayVenture” over the break. Ardyth Van Scoy, education coordinator at the Cattaraugus County Arts Council (CCAC), has developed several clay projects for each of the annual Winter Break Kids Art Camps being held Monday, Feb. 20 through Friday, Feb. 24. The week-long camp is $65 per child, and includes all project supplies. The classes are held at the CCAC studio, 100 West Main Street, Allegany, New York. Kids ages 4-11 will have fun exploring their creativity and learning new skills in small groups with individualized attention. Sign up by calling (716) 372-7455 or online at www.myartscouncil.net.

Of course, all of this activity will have you working up an appetite, and what better place to grab a bite than in Ellicottville, where you can choose from everything under the sun. Check out the Visitor’s Guide on page 11 to find just what you’re craving.

The February break is a great time to spend with family and friends enjoying all the area has to offer during this snowy time of year. Sleep in, stay up late and fill your days with all the things that make Ellicottville and the Enchanted Mountains such a great place to live, visit and play!