This season. One resort. Which do you choose?
Bristol Mountain in Bristol, New York. We choose Bristol because it’s only about 50 minutes from our home.
In addition to the proximity, we love the Saturday Brigade program for kids. Our son has done Brigade for two seasons and has learned a lot. He is in a ski racing group, but they ski the whole mountain. There are also groups for snowboarders and groups that focus on terrain parks. Brigade is a great deal compared to private or group lessons. And when he is skiing with his group, my husband and I get to ski together.
We also enjoy the varied terrain at Bristol. Bristol has five lifts from one base area and we also like that. No matter where we ski, we all end up in the same place at the end of the day. Bristol is constantly expanding. The resort has made upgrades a priority and they are always reinvesting.
There are also two terrain parks, one smaller and one bigger. There is a halfpipe and a lot of jumps, rails, and boxes of all sizes. By midwinter there is a small pipe for little kids, so that they can try it without going into the big pipe. It’s really fun for them!
What would make Bristol Mountain even better?
Currently the lodge is in the first year of a three-year renovation. It will be bigger, which is good, as it can get crazy crowded. I am also hoping for new food, something beyond cafeteria food. For us as a family, this will be helpful.
Any “secrets” about Bristol to share?
Yes. The newest place to eat on mountain is the Morning Star Cafe. It is also known as the Waffle Hut. There aren’t many tables, and no outside seating, but if you can get in the door, you can find a place. The waffles are fabulous and made to order.
What advice would you give other families before they come to Bristol Mountain?
Take a lesson. The snowsports school and the instructors are wonderful. We all have had very good experiences taking lessons.
Also, study the trail map before you get to Bristol. That way you’ll have an idea of where you’re heading. Everything ends up at one base, so you can’t get lost, but depending on the skill level of your family, you want to know where you’re going. If you take Comet Quad and get off to the right, you’ll hit all blues and blacks. If you get off to the left, it’s all green.
What makes Bristol Mountain unique?
I think that overall, Bristol has a very friendly atmosphere. It is very family-oriented.
We were sold on Bristol when our son started skiing. There is a great learning area and a magic carpet that makes it very easy. The terrain is good for gradual progression. The left side of the mountain is all green runs and as you work your way to the right side, it gets harder with blues, blacks and a double black. Bristol is a great place for the family to learn.
What is your favorite memory of Bristol Mountain?
Here is what my son says, “When I won the gold medal at the end of the Brigade program.”
And that is a great memory. But my favorite memory was during his second year of skiing. He and I both went down a blue run for the first time together. We both did it without falling and we were so proud of ourselves! My son looked nervous at the start, but at the end he had his hands in the air and a big smile on his face.
Do you have any tips to share with other parents?
Keep an eye on your kids. I don’t like to see small kids skiing by themselves and unable to get up if they fall. If your kids are skiing alone, they should be able to take care of themselves.
Our son is now 12 and when he skis without us, he carries a cell phone. If he needs help we can be reached.
What is your favorite thing about family skiing?
My favorite thing is the family togetherness. One of the instructors we’ve know through the years recommended the Brigade program for our son. Then he gave us a wonderful compliment. He told us, “But you’re such a great family unit that I hate to see that broken up.” Although we did put our son in Brigade, we still ski together and enjoy every minute.
The Brave Ski Mom Adds…
Bristol Mountain is located in the Western Finger Lakes region of upstate New York near the (tricky-to-spell) town of Canandaigua. Bristol Mountain boasts the biggest vertical drop between the Rockies to the west and the Adirondacks/Laurentian Mountains to the east.
One half of the mountain is rated intermediate, with 32% beginner and 18% advanced. There is beginner terrain from the top of the mountain, with a couple of two-mile long cruisers that are said to be really fun!
Bristol has snowmaking on 97% of the trails and lighted night-skiing on 96% of the terrain. The nordic trails are also lit for night skiing.
A full day lift ticket is $60. On weekdays, this allows you to ski from 9:00 a.m. – 10:oo p.m. On weekends, the hours are 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information on all things Bristol Mountain, including lodging and the nordic center, please visit their website.
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