By Alicia Dziak

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The kids (and hopefully adults!) are off until 2018, and it’s time to celebrate the season with endless fun over this holiday break.

Hit the slopes! Holiday Valley is open and in full swing. Choose from numerous lifts and slopes, warm up in the lodge, then head back out and do it all over again.

HV offers other ways to enjoy downhill if you want a break from the skis or snowboard. Both the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster and the tubing park just opened for the winter season. Guests can enjoy endless winter fun and over $3 million in improvements, including an automated snowmaking system, a Magic Carpet lift in the beginner’s area, new trails, and an all-new Cindy’s Warming Hut and Mistletoe Lean To.  Check out www.holidayvalley.com for the latest updates and snow reports.

All the fun of tubing without any of the work, Holiday Valley Tubing Company has up to 22 lanes, each 900 feet long with a drop of 100 feet. Some lanes are single width, while others are wider group lanes to allow for linking up with friends.

Head out of the ticket center, grab a tube and line up. When you get to the front of the line, just sit down in your tube and catch a ride up on one of two handle tows (the dismount from the tow is also pretty cool!) Choose your lane, wait for the attendant to give you the go-ahead, then ready, set, go! Race your friends and other tubers to the bottom and see who gets the farthest on the track. The tubing park will be open daily during the Christmas break.

It’s located on the corner of Route 242 and Bryant Hill Road on the north side of Ellicottville. A free shuttle service to and from Holiday Valley is available every two hours during operating hours, with pickup at the Resort Services Center.

For more info, including rates, visit www.holidayvalley.com/winter/tubing.

Visit the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster near the Tannenbaum Lodge and get ready for a thrilling ride down through the snowy woods! The Mountain Coaster is similar to a roller coaster but it is low to the ground and follows the contours of the terrain. You ride alone or with a friend in a “car” attached to rails that pulls you up the hill, then it follows a zig zagging spiraling path down the mountain. You can control the speed of your car with levers on the sides of the car. For more info, visit www.holidayvalley.com/winter/sky-flyer-mountain-coaster.

The cross country trails along the top ridgeline of Holiday Valley and around the golf course at the bottom of the mountain are generally packed by snowmobile and if weather permits, the lower trails are trackset. The trails on top are open until 3 p.m. and are recommended for those with intermediate skills. For $15, you can purchase a 2-ride cross country ticket for the Mardi Gras, Cindy’s or Tannenbaum lift. Ride up, and you can either ride the Mardi Gras or Tannenbaum chair back down, or ski down one of the easier trails (Tannenbaum or Explorer/Day’s End are recommended). The easier trails along the golf course at the base of the mountain are open during daylight hours and feature solar lights for a nighttime ski on the golf course, just be sure to stay away from the ponds that are used for snowmaking.

Snowshoeing is also available on the lower slopes and on the golf course, but be sure to stay to the side of the cross country tracks.

Adventurous and experienced cross country skiers can make use of the miles and miles of mountain bike trails located in the state forest bordering Holiday Valley. These trails are not patrolled or maintained, so take all precautions of a responsible back country skier.

Both snowshoes and cross country skis are available to rent at Holiday Valley’s High Performance shop.

You can also rent snowshoes and/or cross country skis at area ski shops: Adventure Bound, 16 Washington Street, Ellicottville, (716) 217-4047; City Garage, 5 Monroe Street, Ellicottville, (716) 699-2054; Dekdebruns, 18 Washington Street, (716)2754; HoliMont Gear Up Shop, 6921 Route 242, Ellicottville, (716) 699-5582.

Looking for some indoor fun? Head to EVL Bowling for some competition on the lanes and at the arcade games. Order a pizza and a pitcher of pop and make an afternoon of it.

Stroll the Village streets and stop into your favorite shops to stock up on gifts for yourself and post-holiday deals.

Grab a bite at one of Ellicottville’s eateries, and stay into the evening to enjoy some live music.

There’s no shortage of exciting adventures you can take this time of year. Enjoy the last of 2017 with friends and family, and enjoy all Ellicottville has to offer this holiday break!