Slopes Are Ready After Recent Snowstorm

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The Spectrum

Dating as far back as 3200 B.C., skiing has interested people worldwide for centuries.

In the case of Northern Europe and Asian civilizations, cross-country skiing was invented as a method of transportation. Many adaptations have since turned the activity from a necessity of survival to a fashioned sport.

Buffalo is no exception; many options near the Queen City provide individuals with the opportunity to snap on the skis and boards and go decking in the season of cold fortune.

"Buffalo is known for its snow. [It's] kind of natural to love the winter sports like skiing," said Greg Gasiorczyk, a junior aerospace engineering major. "[It] gives students a chance to break away from student life, relax and enjoy the freedom of flying down the slopes." Holiday Valley Resort, located about an hour away from Buffalo in Ellicottville, is a favored ski and snowboard destination with an array of 56 slopes and trails ranging from easy to expert.

"Holiday Valley is a great place to go whether you're just up for a night after school or work or for a full blown ski vacation," said Jane Eshbaugh, the director of marketing for Holiday Valley. "[We have] lodging on the slopes with lots of terrain to ski and ride and … [showcase] what the Village of Ellicottville can offer."

With a four million dollar upgrade from last year, Holiday Valley has added a new high-speed quad chair on Morning Star, two new slopes and additional slope work, new rails in the introductory "Terrain Garden," and an increased snowmaking capacity.

"I like to ski at Holiday Valley because the view from the hills at night is absolutely breathtaking," said Alicia Musili, a senior accounting major.

Holiday Valley rates run, on average, around $60 for the day on weekends and $50 for the day during the week. On "college nights," which are Sunday through Thursday, students can ski from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. for $28 with a valid student ID.

Kissing Bridge ski and snowboard resort, located 45 minutes away from UB's North Campus, is another alternative. In its entirety, Kissing Bridge boasts a total of 36 slopes, nine lifts and two lodges.

Lift tickets cost $55 for the day and between $32 and $35 for the night, depending on the day of the week. The "beginner cost" is always $16. Go to kbski.com for specials, holiday, and group rates.

Buffalo Ski Club, located five minutes from Kissing Bridge in Colden, N.Y., is one of the smaller resorts in the area but still offers 15 trails. While it may not be for serious skiers looking for a challenge, Ski Tamarack is a pleasant place to escape for the day when looking to hit the slopes without all of the crowds.

A more popular method of getting a taste of most of the resorts in the area would be to join the Schussmeisters Ski and Snowboard Club, which is now in its 50th year of providing students with affordable prices and transportation. A season pass gains access to five different mountains: Holiday Valley, Kissing Bridge, Cockaigne, Peek'n Peak and Swain.

"Schussmeisters is an amazing deal for not only UB students but the UB community as well," said Anna Oakes, the chairman of the board of directors of Schussmeisters. "We try to provide members with the most possibilities to ski with our passes. Right now, members are able to ski every single day of the week and have 11 different opportunities to ski at our five [resort] locations."

According to Oakes, the passes work until March 31 , or when the mountains close if prior to that date.

If you are interested in Schussmeisters Ski and Snowboard Club, stop at 260 Student Union or go to schussmeisters.com for additional details.

Additional reporting by Amber Gerrity.

E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com