Home of An Olympic Hill: Skiing in the Tri-Lakes Region
Since the Adirondacks are ringed by mountains that stretch into some of the highest elevations in the Northeast, you’re bound to find some excellent downhill ski options. Two of the most family-friendly hills include Mount Pisgah Recreation Center, offering 15 skiable acres right in Saranac Lake, and Titus Mountain Family Ski Center, home to three interconnected peaks and 50 trails less than an hour north in Malone. But the king of all Adirondack ski resorts is none other than Whiteface Mountain, located in the town of Wilmington less than a half-hour drive from Saranac Lake. Whiteface is home to the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies (3,166 feet – three times taller than the Empire State Building), and not only has this hill groomed such Olympic athletes like Andrew Weibrecht, but it even played host to the downhill, giant slalom, and slalom ski events during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid.
Boasting more than 283 acres of terrain, 86 trails, 11 lifts, and three peaks, this well-known mountain offers exciting and scenic runs for skiers of all levels. Beginners do well in the Easy Acres area, which features its own ski school, bunny hill, and a half-dozen novice runs; novices and intermediates enjoy Little Whiteface; while experts head to the heart-pounding summit to channel their inner Austrian downhiller on Cloudspin or Skyward.
Mount Pisgah Recreation Center
This small town hill no more than five minutes from Hotel Saranac offers a modest vertical rise of 329 feet and 15 acres of terrain serviced by a single T-bar, but that’s precisely what makes it great for families with beginners. Four gentle beginner trails are well maintained, with 100-percent snowmaking, and are fully lit for night skiing from 4 to 8 p.m. And when you’ve had your fill of skiing, head to the open-late two-lane tubing hill, serviced by a rope tow, for sliding under the stars.
Titus Mountain Family Ski Center
Located less than an hour north of Hotel Saranac and stretching across three peaks, the 2,025-foot Titus offers 50 trails, two terrain parks, and 10 lifts in a setting known for minimal crowds, short lift lines, and bargain lift-ticket prices. With ample beginner and intermediate terrain, this is a learn-to-ski mountain first and foremost, home to a landmark “Best Kept Secret” program, where the lessons are created around skiers' needs instead of the other way around.