Skiing in Syracuse

Toggenburg offers a small but affordable destination for SU students. PHOTO Danielle Parhizkaran

With the climax of skiing season underway, The Voice examines the best places for students to ski and snowboard.

Toggenburg Mountain
Tim Miller

A small, local mountain about 30 minutes south of Syracuse, Toggenburg Mountain is inherently limited in what it can offer to skiers and boarders. Everything it does do, though, it does very well. Toggenburg doesn’t try to compete with the larger resorts, and is better for it.

This resort claims to offer 24 trails, but those who frequent Toggenburg think this is exaggerated. There are few options for advanced skiers and snowboarders, making trails boring after about an hour. For beginners, however, there are more options, from bunny hills to the easy flat groomers. Although Toggenburg does not offer much variety, it does offer quality. Maintained by a passionate crew, the terrain park boasts a large amount of features — from rails and jibs to boxes and kickers, they have it all. For skiers and snowboarders looking to improve or show off their skills, competitions are held at Toggenburg throughout the year.

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After an exhausting day on the slopes, guests can eat great food for a boost. There’s the cafeteria at the base lodge, or its neighbor – the relaxed, sit-down atmosphere of the Foggy Goggle Restaurant and Sports Bar, which offers some of the best on-mountain food of any local resort. Toggenburg allows skiers and snowboarders to hit the slopes without committing a full day or too much hard-earned cash. The affordability and proximity make it an ideal mountain for students.

Labrador Mountain
By Danielle P

Despite offering only 22 trails to guests, Labrador’s trails are split evenly among beginner, intermediate, and expert levels. Perhaps most impressive about this mountain is its one unexpectedly large park, which hosts 18 hits and jumps and a 400-foot half-pipe open all season long.

You don’t need to be a pro to go to Labrador. The resort offers affordable deals on lessons and rentals.

The longest trail is a mile long, not counting the detours you can take weaving through the trees and thick woods bordering the trails. At the base of Labrador sits its main lodge and cafeteria, as well as the popular Last Run Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere, daily food and beer specials, and live music.

For skiers and snowboarders who enjoy competition, Labrador meets that need. Every weekend, the resort hosts races and special events. Most of these events are open to anyone.

Matched up against other mountains in the Syracuse area, Labrador is a great all-around mountain. Whether you’re looking to learn how to ski, perfect your park skills, or just have a solid day carving up the snow, it’s hard to go wrong here.

Greek Peak Mountain
By Tim Miller

With a vertical of nearly 1000 feet, Greek Peak hovers over other local mountains by 300 feet — something skiers can definitely feel on the way down. In addition to elevation, the mountain offers many trails of varying levels. Two carpet lifts are available for first-timers at the resort’s base, and 12 green-rated trails from the top of all three peaks provide more opportunities for beginners to branch out. Expert skiers shouldn’t worry, however, because Greek Peak offers 10 advanced trails, including two great glades and five well-groomed steeps that offer a little taste of Vermont, just in a smaller – we’ll call it a more concise – package.

In the past, skiers have complained about the resort’s terrain park. Recently, however, management invested in widening and expanding the terrain elements. Though the park is still not on the same level as Labrador, the larger variety of other terrain should satisfy all but the most die-hard park fans.

Greek Peak has been pushing its image as a full-fledged resort community for a while now, but it has not forgotten its roots as one of the most expansive ski destinations in Central New York. For those homesick for their Vermont resorts, a trip to Greek Peak might just be the best known cure.

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