Raised in the ADK
I have lived in the Adirondacks my entire life. I've grown up experiencing all that the mountains have to offer, and I have to say, one of my favorite places to go as a kid (and now!) is Oak Mountain.
For living in the area that I do, I was a late bloomer when it came to downhill skiing. I had been cross-country skiing since I was probably 7 years old, but didn't learn to downhill ski until I was 10 or 11. Unfortunately, at that point in time, Oak Mountain had closed for a brief period.
Luckily, shortly after I learned to ski, Oak Mountain reopened and skiing very quickly became a passion for me. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years on the slopes or in the lodge with a hot cocoa.
When I first started skiing there, the only way to get to the top of the mountain was by T-bar — a very wobbly T-bar at that! It was a great relief when they opted to replace the T-bar with a quad chair lift, especially when I decided to take up snowboarding. I could barely make it down the mountain without falling every few feet. Making it up the mountain on a snowboard was near impossible!
The installation of the chairlift also opened a new opportunity for a new medium level trail running under the lift called Ryan's Run. With 10 easy, 6 medium, and 6 difficult trails at Oak Mountain and little to no lines to wait in for the chair lift, you can spend your day on the immaculately groomed trails instead of waiting to get to the top of the mountain.
Oak Mountain also has new Rossignol rentals available in their ski shop at reasonable prices. Another service that is worth every penny is their ski and snowboard lessons. They offer group and private lessons for first timers, or for those in need of a refresher! Two-and-a-half-hour group lessons are offered at 9am and 1pm, and private lessons are offered in increments of 1 hour to a full day of 6 hours.
Now that I'm a little older and I have a family of my own, I enjoy taking my kids to Oak to learn how to ski. My daughter takes ski lessons through her school, and she loves getting to ski with all of her friends. I can only hope her passion grows as much as mine did! My son is still a little young, but we occasionally take him to the Bunny Hill to get the feel for skiing.
If, for some reason, you are not a skier, Oak Mountain offers so many other great things to do. Winter is host to many great events like the Oak Runner snowshoe race, the USASA Rail Jam, the Dummy Big Air contest, the Pond Skimming, and more!
They also offer a fantastic tubing hill that requires no hill climbing! Just sit in your tube while you get towed to the top of the mountain and choose one of 4 lanes on their fun and fast tubing hill.
And don't forget about the food! They have a concession stand in the lodge where you can grab a burger or a hot cocoa to warm up, and they also have a full-service restaurant called the Acorn Pub and Eatery, serving up pizzas, specialty burgers and craft beers on tap. Thursday is Mexican night, where they make a pulled pork jalapeno pizza that is my absolute favorite.
Come warmer months, Oak Mountain offers scenic chairlift rides, mountain biking, and an 18-hole disc golf course. They also offer a beautiful mountain top venue for weddings.
If you're looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway, come to Speculator and check out Oak Mountain. Its a great place for your kids to feel comfortable learning how to ski, or for a romantic day of cozying up in the lodge to keep warm after a day on the slopes.
This week, we're going down ADK style: