By Alicia Dziak

It’s time to celebrate! The long-awaited opening day at Holiday Valley has arrived, and if the weather cooperates, that means almost five months of skiing and snowboarding this season. With the excitement of opening day, comes the all-new Ellicottville Times’ magazine-style 2015 directory to help everyone get the most out of their time in Ellicottville this winter and all year round.

The directory, available starting next week, not only encompasses Ellicottville, but also businesses in its many charming surrounding towns.

Looking to get out and enjoy winter instead of hibernating? The directory is full of ways to beat the winter blues! From downhill skiing and snowboarding at Holiday Valley and HoliMont, to cross country skiing and snowshoeing at Franklinville’s all-new glamping resort, The Woods at Bear Creek, or along miles of trails that span Allegany State Park and McCarty State Forest, the region is a winter wonderland just waiting to be explored. To complement these activities, a full lineup of winter events makes the cold even better.

As the snow falls and the resorts open to eager skiers, it’s not hard to find yourself in the holiday spirit. Check out Christmas in Ellicottville Nov. 28-30, highlighted by the annual tree lighting ceremony and a visit from Santa. On Dec. 5, give back at the popular Irish Christmas, an event that raises funds for families during the holidays, complete with a pie auction and plenty of Irish cheer. The annual Christmas Stroll is Dec. 6, featuring the Living Nativity and the “reindog” pet parade.

Stay in the spirit through New Year’s Eve with Holiday Valley’s annual Torchlight Parade down the mountain – a true sight to behold!

Every day is a party in Ellicottville during ski season and the winter months, and there are great community events in the lineup to add to the excitement. The annual Penguin Paddle takes place on Feb. 21 at Holiday Valley —take part or watch participants race down the hill “penguin-style” on their bellies on black plastic bags, all to support the Lounsbury Adaptive Program. Holiday Valley’s Stop Cancer fundraising event is scheduled for Feb. 28—take part in a variety of clinics and contests in the name of breast cancer awareness. HoliMont hosts its annual Ski Day for United Way on March 5, for a fun day of games, raffles and more. March 14-15 brings the annual Winter Carnival/Mardi Gras weekend. The family-friendly weekend features a scavenger hunt, parades and loads of activities in the village and on the slopes. The ski season events wrap up with the March 28 Pond Skimming event at Holiday Valley, where skiers head down the hill into a very chilly “pond.”

When the snow melts, the fun continues! Don’t miss the excitement—a full schedule of the year’s events can be found on page 2 of the directory, from the thrills of soaring through the trees at Holiday Valley’s Sky High Adventure Park, to the natural beauty of numerous hiking and biking trails that beckon to be explored.

Want to channel your creative side? Take in a live performance at the Springville Center for the Arts. Then be wowed by giant works of art at the world-famous Griffis Sculpture Park.

The region boasts so many ways to enjoy the outdoors, from ice skating and tubing, to golfing and swimming, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of indoor activities to enjoy. Shopping in the region in second to none, with a variety of boutiques, gourmet shops and ski shops throughout Ellicottville and in the surrounding towns. And don’t forget bowling, gaming, concerts and more!

And the food? Delectable! Whether you crave a craft brew and a burger, fine dining, a tasty burrito or incredibly yummy pizza and wings, you’ll find it all.

Ellicottville is all about spending time with friends and family while trying the new and perfecting the old. You don’t need a reason to visit, but if you have the directory in hand, you’ll have a hard time finding a reason to leave.

Pick up your free copy at many of the local businesses around town and keep it handy all year long to be in the know on all things Ellicottville!