Skiing, Boarding, Sleigh Rides, Art Camps, Tubing, Skating and More
By Alicia Dziak
The February school break is only a week away. Don’t succumb to cabin fever and head to one of the many fabulous local spots to entertain yourself and your kids.
The slopes of Holiday Valley and HoliMont are beckoning skiers and snowboarders.
During the break, HoliMont, open to the public Monday through Friday, offers a variety of kid-friendly activities, games and contests to spice up your day on the hill. Pack a picnic lunch, or purchase some goodies in the lodge, and make a day of it. For more information, visit www.holimont.com.
Over at Holiday Valley, younger visitors can check out the new Riglet park, a special area for teaching kids ages 3-5 to board. Kids ages 3-12 will also have a blast in the Mountain Adventures Ski and Snowboard Program, combining lessons, safety instruction and lots of fun! Various packages and activities are available, including a “Clan Hunt” in which kids explore the resort with their instructor in search of the secret Indian Clans, and then head to a hidden fort to find out how the clans all tie together — a great lesson in following a trail map and learning about Native American culture in our area. For more information, visit www.holidayvalley.com.
Getting out for a hike on foot or on snowshoes, or taking a cross-country ski trek is another great way to enjoy the crisp winter air over the break. Visitors can also explore the trails at Holiday Valley free. A two-ride, cross-country lift ticket is also available for purchase to take you to the top of Holiday Valley, where you can ski the ridgeline from Cindy’s to Spruce Lake.
Both snowshoes and cross-country skis can be rented from Mud Sweat & Gears and The City Garage in the village, as well as from Holiday Valley and HoliMont.
Allegany State Park (ASP) also offers miles of trails for these winter activities. The Art Roscoe Ski Area, on the Red House side of the park, offers groomed trails for cross-country skiing, a ski rental shop and a warm place to purchase winter fare. Other non-groomed trails throughout the park are open to foot and snowshoe hikers. For current trail conditions, visit www.alleganynordic.org.
ASP is a great place to spend the day, but better yet, reserve a toasty, heated cabin for a couple nights. Pack a sled, some snow gear and your favorite board games and enjoy some winter camping. Campfires are still allowed in the park this time of year, so be sure to bring some s’more supplies! Hundreds of cabins are available, even on short notice, by visiting ww.reserveamerica.com.
Looking for a different kind of winter adventure? Holiday Valley’s Mountain Coaster, located next to the Tannenbaum Lodge, runs Thursdays and Fridays 2–8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 1–8 p.m. when the Tannenbaum lift is operating, and offers the thrill of a coaster combined with a fabulous view of the slopes.
Fill up another fun day at the Holiday Valley Tubing Company, with several lanes for speedy downhill tubing and a towrope to pull you back up. The tubing park also offers a new ice skating rink. Special break week hours are as follows: Monday, Feb. 17, noon to 9 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 18, 4-9 p.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 19, 4–9 p.m.; Thursday Feb. 20, 4–9 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 21, 4–9 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 22, noon 9 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 23, noon to 9 p.m.
Ice skating is also available at the William O. Smith Rec Center indoor rink in Olean, and only costs $2 for children, $4 for adults, and $2 for each rental of skates. Open skating is available Fridays 6-8 p.m., Saturdays 1:30-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. and Sundays 1:30-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
With a little planning, another unique adventure awaits. Misty Ridge Carriages in Zoar Valley offers sleigh rides, taking travelers through the fields and woods and along the gorge. The sleigh also stops at a rustic cabin for refreshments. For more information, visit www.mistyridgecarriage.com.
The Crosspatch Horse Ranch also offers sleigh rides as long as the weather permits. For more information, visitwww.thecrosspatch.com.
There are days when you just feel like being indoors, and when that happens, check out EVL Bowling. Enjoy some of Tim and Bonnie’s delicious pizza and subs, and get in a few games with the kids. In addition to bowling, patrons can enjoy a variety of new arcade games and a photo booth, complete with props, for hours of entertainment.
Some kids prefer mental activity to physical activity, and for those kids, the new ArtVenture art camp classes at the Ellicottville Library and Cattaraugus County Arts Council studio in Allegany are a great option. For only $65, students can sign up for weeklong classes over winter break week, introducing students to a variety of mediums and covering a wide range of techniques. For locations and details, call (716) 372-7455 or visit www.myartscouncil.net.
Get out of the house over the break and take advantage of all this area has to offer during the winter. With so many fun activities in and around Ellicottville, the break will be anything but boring!