Windham Mountain Offers Something for Everyone
by Christine Lynn Harvey

Windham Mountain is located 25 miles from the New York State Thruway off Exit 21. A vertical drop of 1,600 feet from a 3,100 peak looks out over the placid town by the same name, nestled in the narrow Batavia Valley. Of Windham's 41 trails, 30% are beginner, 45% are intermediate and 25% are expert. Combine the elements of a charmed setting with Windham's award-winning "First Class" treatment and you have the recipe for a memorable ski experience. If you book a lesson in the beginner program called First Class, you're greeted at the curb and given a tour of the resort by a Snowsports School instructor. The ski instructor then makes sure you have properly fitting gear with special attention paid to your boots. Then, it's time to hit the snow for a morning group lesson, kept small in size for quality instruction. At the Wheelhouse Mid-Mountain Lodge, there's a lunch break and a group photo taken. A hot chocolate break is taken and by 2 pm, newbies are on their way to becoming Windham regulars.

The Snowsports School accommodates skiers and riders of all ages and abilities. Even if you're not a 20-something snow bunny anymore, now's the perfect time to take a snowboarding lesson. OK, maybe you won't be doing any backside 1080s anytime soon, but you'll never know unless you try! Snowboarding can be a blast once you figure out whether you're riding goofy (right foot forward) or regular (left foot forward). Get ready to fall on your butt a hundred times and laugh at yourself like I did when I took my very first snowboard lesson at Windham. Learning how to snowboard is a little more challenging than skiing since there are only 2 edges to a snowboard while skis have four. Riding also uses different balance points in your lower extremities primarily the balls of the feet and heels as opposed to the outer and inner sides of your feet in skiing. If you're a skier learning riding for the first time - you really do need to take a lesson! Learn the basic elements the right way so you can really enjoy the sport and not give up so easily on it. Windham's snowboard instructors are there to help you learn the easy way.
Windham also makes it easy to "Make Every Moment Count" with its new snow caddy program. A caddy meets you at your parked car and carries your gear up to the slope. If you're skiing or riding for more than one day, you can leave your equipment overnight at the valet station so you don't have to repeat the process the next day. If you have preschool children, Windham has the "Children's Learning Center," a great daycare center that features floors with radiant heating, natural lighting and lots of things for kids to do. Windham recently upgraded its facilities so the lifts are newer and faster which means more slope time.

Since tubing's all the rage, Windham has the Mt. Adventure Center, a family tubing park with multiple lanes and lifts and a cafeteria. Tubing is great fun for the whole family, especially for little ones and you can do it at night. Windham is one of only two ski resorts in the Catskills open for night skiing and riding. There is also nighttime NASTAR racing and jibbing (freestyle skiing and snowboarding over rails, stairs and fun boxes). Windham's half-pipe offers great snowsliding and an expert terrain park for riding and skiing. Windham is dedicated to the progression of snowboarding and offers lots of big air competitions, new jib, half-pipe, slopestyle and boardercross events that keep riders coming back for more.

Windham Mountain is also home to the Adaptive Sports Foundation which trains over 1,500 physically challenged athletes from around the country and world during the winter and summer. While you're hitting the slopes, you'll see some of these gifted athletes, so take inspiration from them - and remember to challenge yourself a little more when you do!

Some upcoming 2005 events include: The Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge (March 13), a dual slalom formatted fun race open to all guests holding a valid lift pass for that day. Participants receive a free T-shirt at registration, free product samples, prizes and giveaways. Category winners may qualify for the National Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge race; The Hartman Cup/Adaptive Ski Festival - (March 12) is open to all levels of physically and mentally challenged skiers and snowboarders. For more info, call The Adaptive Sports Foundation for more information at (518) 734-5070; Windham Mountain Season Passholders race for bragging rights in a giant slalom format in the NASTAR arena. Awards party and bib raffle follow the racing action; Bump Off Amateur Mogul Competition (March 20) open to all ages and abilities, this mogul event allows competitors one judged run; The Spring Fling Beach Party (March 26-27) where you get to slap on a Speedo for the Pond Skimming Contest on Saturday over a 75-foot long pond of ice cold water that only the brave (and not so smart) try to cross. The Big Air Contest on Sunday is open to skiers and snowboarders.

WINWOOD INN: Windham's Classic
Mountain Inn

First and foremost in lodging is the warm and cozy Winwood, The Mountain Inn (formerly the The Windham Arms) owned and operated by Windham Mountain (Route 23, Windham, N.Y. 12496; 518-734-3000; www.windhammountain.com), only minutes from the mountain. Here, children 17 years of age and younger stay free with their parents any night of the season, and new designer condominiums offer the finest luxury accommodations.

Winwood's spacious accommodations include huge family suites, some with connecting rooms. Winwood features a gameroom, it's own movie theatre and a complete fitness center. For that before ski or apres ski meal or drink, Vines Bistro at Winwood inside the inn, offers eclectic cuisine influenced by international flavors. Reservations for Winwood, The Mountain Inn, can be made calling the Inn at (518) 734-3000. Windham Mountain's Central Reservations staff can also offer a variety of condos and private homes for you to rent.

If you venture out into town for your meals, one very reasonably priced place with generous portions is Mike's Diner (518-734-9862) on Main Street, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. A single dinner portion is enough for 4 people! The service is great and the menu has a wide selection primarily specializing in Italian dishes. It's a simple, but excellent bet especially after a hard day of skiing.

For more info about Windham Mountain or Winwood Inn, please visit www.windhammountain.com or call 1-800-754-9463.

Getting the Right Ski Boot Fit

Windham's Tubing Park
Snowboarding at Windham Mountain
Winwood Inn: Windham's Classic Mountain Inn
Windham Mountain offers great things for kids to do
Windham Mountain has NASTAR racing
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