By Alicia Dziak

Hard to believe, but the holidays are fast approaching. Before you head into the season of wrapping, baking, mailing, festive fun and non-stop activity, take some time to get a few other things crossed off your to-do list.

Get Ready to Hit the Slopes

There’s lots to do before you head out onto the slopes. Find that hat you threw into the closet at the end of the season last year. If you have kids, have them try on last year’s gear. Do their boots still fit? Do they still have two of those gloves? Make a list and head to the shops in EVL to get great deals on the coolest of everything so you’re ready when the slopes are.

On that note, now’s the time to get your ski passes. Choose from a variety of packages and pass options at Holiday Valley. If you’re a college student, the all-new College Season Pass can be purchased for only $299, but only through Dec. 31. HV is scheduled to open later this month, so why wait to purchase your passes when you can start using them as soon as the resort opens? And don’t forget that HoliMont, while open to members only on weekends, is open to the public Monday through Friday (except for Christmas week).

If you’re planning a getaway for skiing or riding, book your lodging now for the best selection. EVL has loads of hotels, houses, condos and B&Bs, to suit every need.

Beat the Pre-Holiday Shopping Rush

As soon as Thanksgiving hits, it’s full speed ahead prepping for Christmas. Why not get a jump on your shopping and snag up the deals now so you can beat the rush?

The Winter Arts Festival hits Holiday Valley Nov. 21-22. Check out original paintings, prints, photographs, pottery, jewelry, baskets, wood carving and fiber arts created by regional fine artists and artisans, and find that unique and perfect gift.

Or head into the village, where a variety of shops await with a selection of fine foods, jewelry, accessories, winter gear and much more.


Who doesn’t need a little rest and relaxation before heading into the holiday season, which is usually anything but restful and relaxing. Treat yourself to a massage or pedicure at a local spa. The Ellicottville Salt Cave is celebrating its one year anniversary by holding an open house on Nov. 21 and 22. There, you can sample appetizers made with Himalayan salt, and check out all they have to offer, including great gift ideas and a free gift with the purchase of a gift certificate.

Skip the cooking and head to one of the area restaurants to enjoy your pick of cuisine. Even better, take this time do some educational wining and dining. EVL Wine & Spirits is partnering with local restaurants, including Cadillac Jacks on Nov. 13 and Dina’s on Dec. 10, for some wine pairing events.

Go Time

If R&R just isn’t your thing, take this time to get out and enjoy the last of the fresh fall air. Take advantage of miles of hiking and biking trails (that aren’t yet covered in snow!) in the area, spanning Holiday Valley and McCarty Hill State Forest.

Give Thanks and Give Back

The holiday season is a time to reflect on all you have and think about about those who don’t have quite as much. Donations don’t need to be in monetary form. Consider volunteering your time or talent. Organize a group to go caroling at a nursing home, make cards for veterans, sign up to help out at a local food pantry, or offer to collect donations of any kind. Planning now will ensure that the giving part of the season is a priority.

The snow will be here soon, and winter fun is right around the corner. Carve out some “me time” in the next few weeks before the holiday season gets you going at full speed.