In the heart of the fingers lakes, just west of Canandaigua Lake is Bristol Mountain. The privately operated resort offers two lodges, ski shop, rental center, summit and base demo centers, and a snow sports school. Bristol offers condo rentals for those wishing to stay multiple days and a nordic ski center as well. Bristol has one of the most expansive ski school programs in area with 6 of its alumni on the US Freestyle Team and 2 making it to the 2018 Olympics.
Touted as the highest vertical between the Adirondacks and the Rockies, Bristol Mountain’s 1200’ offers picturesque views of the surrounding valleys and hillsides. Bristol has 5 lifts, 2 of which are high speed detachables, getting skiers to the top of the mountain in 4 minutes. There is also a magic carpet located in the launching pad area. Bristol has invested heavily into its infrastructure with 100% snowmaking coverage and 96% of terrain open for night skiing.
Bristol can be divided into three sections serviced by three high speed quad lifts. No need to worry about getting lost, all the trails feed back to the base area. The main lift, Comet Express is centrally located at the base. The central portion of the Bristol is the steepest, offering multiple black diamonds and Comet, the only double black on the mountain. Rocket is Bristols signature run, a wide black diamond that offers a beautiful view of the Canandaigua lake valley. Mogul skiers check out the bumps on Upper Meteor and traditionalists will love the winding New England style of Southern Cross.
The southern face of the mountain offers a family friendly experience and beginner friendly terrain. These runs are serviced by the Morningstar lift which is easily accessible after a short green trail from the Comet express. Cruise down these wide open greens and stop at the Waffle Cabin midstation for a snack. The “Progression Park” on skiers left, features smaller rails and jumps, giving skiers and riders the chance get acclimated to freestyle terrain.
The Northern End of Bristol mountain or “galaxy side” is the mostly newly renovated and is serviced by the newest the Galaxy Express. This side of the mountain offers more traditional winding New England ski trails. These blue cruisers may occasionally be laced with moguls (either Universe or North Star) so take care in trail selection. The newly cut Lower Universe and Lower North Star, offer new fall lines and direct access back to the Galaxy lift.
The big draw on this side of the mountain is Bristol’s Terrain park. Bristol has a history of progressive parks with highly manicured jumps and unique jib features. The parks were recently moved from the South side to the North and have benefited greatly from the high speed lift and steeper terrain. Orions Belt features medium sized rails and features that feed into the larger jumps centrally located on Upper Galaxy. From there Park riders can cut across Big Dipper to get to Bristol’s Jib only park. All this means that adrenaline seekers have a smooth transition feature to feature and are able to fit a massive amount of hits in each run.
Bristol is located on NY-64, about a 45 minutes drive south of Rochester. Weekends and holidays can get busy in the main base area and on the Morningstar Lift, with lines pushing 10 minutes. Staff does great job of keeping people organized and moving. Head over to the Galaxy Lift first thing to avoid the crowd. Overall Bristol offers a big mountain experience with a small mountain vibe. A continuously improving infrastructure of lifts, snowmaking, lights and terrain means there is no shortage of thrills for all skiers and riders.
Bristol Trail Map
Bristol Mountain Stats
|Summit Elevation||2,200 feet|
|Base Elevation||1,000 feet|
|Vertical Drop||1,200 feet|
|Longest Run||10,560 feet|
|Skiable Area||138 acres|
|Uphill Capacity||11,600 / hour|
|Annual Snowfall||120 inches|