A Fun-Filled Pandemic Getaway
hot tubs, tubing, mountain roller coaster rides, and more
By Shannon Traphagen
2020 taught us to appreciate all that Western New York has to offer. From hiking and camping, to wine trails and outdoor picnics, we have learned to make the most of our natural attractions throughout this pandemic.
In an effort to stay safe, many have foregone traveling long distances to avoid having to quarantine or risk exposure. However, as winter sets in, it can be challenging to find fun and safe outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy. But one thing is certain — the best way to make it through the long winter is to embrace the weather and all it has to offer.
Jane Eshbaugh, Marketing Director for Holiday Valley Resorts in Ellicottville NY, says, “We offer mountain coaster rides — roller coaster rides built on a mountain, as well as the Tubing Park, which is a great hit with families. However, we also have our traditional snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails, and our downhill slopes.”
The trails offer a great opportunity for winter bird watching. Many birds, such as the chickadee, cardinal, and woodpecker, can be seen along the wooded areas of the trails.
Eshbaugh added that January is their annual Learn a Snowsport. “During the month of January, first timers can learn to snowboard or ski with half-priced packages for ages 12 and up.”
For those looking for something a bit more low-key, the Tamarack Club offers the use of Holiday Valley’s private outdoor heated swimming pools and hot tubs. There’s a “secret” fort, hidden away in the woods of the Tannenbaum area just for kids, and the added benefit of outdoor firepits with s’mores kits available, giving families a bit of festive wintery fun to break away from the monotony of the pandemic.
As is with all current practices, Holiday Valley Resorts requires masks at all times, except when skiing, or while seated to eat or drink. There is reduced capacity in the lodges and eating areas, as well as spacing in the lift lines and on the chairlifts for proper social distancing. Cleaning and sanitizing practices have been stepped up and guests are encouraged to limit their time spent indoors. Advanced online purchase of lift tickets is encouraged, especially on busy weekends.
“The nice thing is, after an active day at the resort, you can go into Ellicottville and enjoy the charm of the village. It’s a great place to walk around while sipping warm hot cocoa. What’s really great is that families can enjoy all of these activities at Holiday Valley by making a short, one-day trip,” said Eshbaugh.