Blog: Downstate NY
How many 80th birthday parties have bouncy castles and magicians? Not many but when you’re the oldest family run ski area in New York, it makes a sense. While 450 feet of vertical may not put Mount Peter in the same league as Whiteface or Stowe it is their equal in terms of history.
Mount Peter ski area was born in 1936, the same year as Sun Valley, when skiing exploded in popularity. The circumstances of its founding put it in an even smaller club, originally established by Macy’s as a showcase for their ski apparel; pretty unique.
Today, Mount Peter remains as a popular feeder hill, with a busy ski school, accomplished race team and an enthusiastic group of pass holders that show up year after year to enjoy it’s charm. For the last few years I have counted myself amongst those loyalists.
It was late morning on Saturday and by some miracle neither of my sons had any scheduled activities. I seized the opportunity to get them some exercise, a lesson in ski history and hopefully some pre-season psyche. I pried them away from the X Box to climb the ski hill at Silvermine Lake.
Silvermine Lake is one of several small bodies of water in Harriman State Park that are popular picnic spots for people from the city during the summer months. It also used to have a small ski area located near its shore. It closed some time back in the eighties I think, possibly a victim of warm winters or a lack of chair lifts.
According to Skiing in the East – Ski Trails and How to Get There, a 1930s era guidebook commissioned by the Federal Writers Project, Silvermine ski area boasted 290 feet of vertical with two rope tows, 1,800 and 2,275 feet in length.
On Monday I ventured 45 minutes to Mt Peter in Warwick, NY, with my 3rd grader. After Sunday’s ice storm turned into a gully washer, I was a little unsure of what the trails would look like when we got to the mountain.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that pretty much the entire mountain was open on deep manmade snow. We booted up in the beautiful Sunrise Lodge. It is a fully windowed post and beam building that sits almost on the trails. A great spot for familiies, it is heated and has AC for summer events.
About 20 feet away is a snack bar offering a nice variety of food and drinks including hamburgers and hot dogs. There is also a full service cafeteria, a bar and a creperie.