I hate being cold but one good thing about winter is skiing! Lake Placid is a great ski resort that’s perfect for a weekend trip (that you decide on at the last minute); it’s only about 5 hours drive from NYC. Lake Placid was home to the 1932 and 1980 Olympic games so there are many winter activities that one can do there.
The main draw is Whiteface Mountain, which has a multitude of trails for skiing and snowboarding. There are moguls and a terrain park. Their school is really awesome too. I definitely recommend the 3-day lesson for beginners. It’s a great deal ($129 for 1 day of lessons, $169 for 3 days of lessons) and includes lift ticket, lessons, and rentals.
You can also go bobsledding and skeleton-ing (?) at the Olympic Luge Complex. For the bobsledding, you ride with a pro and it’s rather tame but for the skeleton-ing you go by yourself. Going superfast face-first down an icy chute is a terrifying experience but also very exhilarating. You can also luge if you prefer going feet-first. For really pretty views of the surrounding area, you can go up and take a tour of the Olympic Jump Complex and also see for yourself how far the ski jumpers are actually jumping.
At night, you can go ice skating outdoors at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval in town. It’s super fun and you don’t feel cold at all because much of the town is out there skating with you. They have rentals at the rink.
If you are planning to do multiple activities (so that you spend >$160), I think it’s worth it to buy the Olympic Sites Passport for $32, which saves you 20% on pretty much all activities.
If you like snowshoeing or hiking, High Falls Gorge is a great place to do it. The frozen waterfalls are extremely pretty and you get to drink hot chocolate and toast marshmallows at the end!
We had really good breakfasts at Chair 6; they make great breakfast burritos and sausages. For lunch, we ate on the mountain; nothing really remarkable there. Liquids and Solids has great food for dinner and drinks. The brussels sprouts, charcuterie, and beignets were really tasty.
There are lots of options for housing: hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza, which was cheap (only about $100/night) and convenient.