Get out on New Jersey’s slopes, trails and rinks—and make that hot chocolate a double.
Whether you’re completely at ease on a black diamond run or you’re more of a candidate for the bunny slope, don’t travel far to get your winter sports fix. The Garden State is home to some convenient and affordable alpine offerings. The truth is: there really is skiing in New Jersey—plus snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling and more! Take your pick of this roundup of slopes, trails and rinks, and you’ll be burning off that hot chocolate in no time.
Skiing in New Jersey: NYC views and more.
On a clear day, you can see…Manhattan? You bet. New Jersey’s alpine offerings include Campgaw Mountain Ski Center in Mahwah, the closest ski area to NYC (with the views to prove it) and a popular family destination with learn-to-ski programs and six 800-foot snow tubing runs. Further out from the Big Apple in Vernon, skiers will find the highest vertical slope in the region at Mountain Creek, which also offers the only all-mountain terrain park on the East Coast outside of Vermont. Check out ski and stay packages at Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort in nearby Hamburg. Celebrate successful runs with world-class dining and wine from the Resort’s 135,000+ bottle wine cellar or make the non-skier in your party very happy with luxurious spa treatments and a tropical pool complex.
The best winter workouts.
Want to have one of the best full-body cardio workouts ever? Then cross-country skiing is your winter sport. Beyond the health benefits, it’s fun, too. At High Point Cross Country Ski Center in Sussex, you can ski close to 10 miles of groomed trails while enjoying the wintry beauty and three-state vistas of High Point State Park. High Point’s 1,600-foot+ elevation ensures that this is the Garden State’s snowiest spot. Another winter sports destination to try is Palisades Interstate Park in the aptly named Alpine, New Jersey. This National Historic Landmark offers 30 miles of hiking and skiing trails, as well as spectacular Hudson River views, just minutes from midtown Manhattan.
Other parks with cross-country skiing trails include Wawayanda State Park in Passaic County (featuring a 20-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail), Lewis Morris Park (with lake, trails and a dog park) in Morris County and South Mountain Reservation in Sussex County (with 27 miles of carriage trails available for cross-country skiing).
Get off that couch.
Most state parks are also prime locations for the fastest growing winter sport in the world: snowshoeing. Much more than an ancient mode of transportation, snowshoeing is easy to learn, poses little risk of injury and is relatively inexpensive to get started. If you’re a runner, you’ll take to snowshoeing like a duck to water. Plus, you’ll feel very good about the workout—snowshoeing can burn more than 600 calories an hour!
Instead of just watching NHL games or figure skating competitions on TV, try out your own moves on the ice. Take your lutz jumps and forward pivots to the Cody Arena, which offers two indoor skating rinks and serves as the training facility for the New Jersey Devils. Ice skaters can also find other rinks in New Jersey including Ice House in Hackensack, the largest facility of its kind in the tri-state area; the new Ice Vault in Wayne; and Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown.
Do you participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count? You’ll be glad to know that birding is a year-round pursuit in New Jersey. In fact, some say that New Jersey is the center of the bird-watching universe! Grab your field glasses and head over to Barnegat Light Inlet, where the striking harlequin duck makes a stop every winter.
From “old school” choices like sledding to calorie-blasting workouts like snowshoeing, New Jersey’s winter sports are fun for all ages, interests and fitness levels. Learn more when you order or download a free NJ travel guide or sign up for e-news from New Jersey Travel and Tourism.