Holiday Valley is our home base - the ski resort we visit on a weekly basis during the winter months in Western New York. This ski resort is easily reachable from Pennsylvania and Ohio, and has some of the most varied terrain you can find in the Great Lakes region.
While the 750 feet of vertical is not as impressive as the vertical found in the Sierra Nevadas or the Rockies, the resort makes great use of the terrain and has several great tree runs, moguls, and steeper terrain than you can find at many other area ski hills. The steepest run is aptly named "The Wall," and is 38.5 degrees - this is very steep and often scraped down to the ice by those who side-slip down the pitch.
The Wall is the only slope I have not been down at Holiday Valley - though my husband and two boys ski it at least once each season.
There are three lifts near the main lodge: the beginner area lift, Cindy's Run, and Mardi Gras. Cindy's Run accesses several intermediate runs and a few black runs (and is the primary access chair for those seeking to ski the Wall). The Mardi Gras lift is the primary way to access the rest of the hill, and often generates massive lines. Fortunately, the lift is generally well-staffed to expedite lift loading.
With 58 groomed trails, we have plenty to explore on our weekly visits. My teenagers prefer the tree runs (the Glades from the Tannenbaum lift and Gobbler Glade from the Eagle lift). My favorite runs are those off the Eagle Chair or those off the Chute Chair. These lifts generally see few lift lines as they service primarily black runs.
Moguls are often found on Chute, Champagne, and Morning Star. I am not a great mogul skier, so I stick to groomed trails. Morning Star and Champagne generally offer a groomed side next to the moguls, so we are able to ski together down the runs.
Night Skiing is excellent, and the vast majority of the resort is open at night. The tree runs, the Wall, and Eagle Chair close as evening approaches. The rest of the runs are open and well-lit for night skiing. As the daytime temperatures are generally (nearly) as cold as night temperatures, the snow quality remains excellent for nighttime skiing in January and February.
The main lodge offers plenty of seating and decent food quality for those eating on-site. There are also picnic areas provided at both the main lodge as the Yodeler lodge, for those who prefer to bring their own food. Please note that in 2021 the picnic areas are closed and visitors are allowed to purchase food from the lodge and eat in a timely manner, due to COVID.
We highly recommend Holiday Valley as a family ski resort in the Great Lakes region, and consider it the best all-around ski area for all levels of skiers.