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Learn to Ski & Ride

Hunter Mountain is New York's Premier Resort to Learn to Ski & Snowboard


This weekend, December 9-10, we will be offering On-Demand lessons for first-timers from 9am-2pm. For all other levels, we will be offering group lessons at 9:20AM, 11:20AM, and 1:20PM.


Now with the all-new Peak Discovery Program, you have the opportunity to take 3 Lessons with Equipment Rentals and Lift Tickets for only $99! Click here for more information. Offer Ends December 24, 2017.


4 Snowboarders learning to snowboard at New York State's premier ski and snowboard learning facility at Hunter Mountain

Skiing and snowboarding are active winter sports that can be enjoyed for decades. Many people enjoy snow sports well into their 80s. These are sports that anyone, with a little determination, can learn rather quickly.

The benefits of skiing and snowboarding are numerous. These are healthy, outdoor winter activities that lift the spirit and exercise the body, plus they offer camaraderie, and many friendships are made on chairlift rides up the mountain. They offer you goals to work towards, challenging you to push yourself a little further each day, improving your skills and heightening your awareness of the environment. And they are carried out in a beautiful mountain atmosphere that, combined with the experience of controlled sliding down a snow-covered slope, is second to no other sport. Below is a First Timer's Guide, great for beginners or a refresher for those familiar with the sport and Hunter Mountain.To view the guide in PDF form click here.

Hunter Mountain's Ski school is part of the Professional Ski and Snowboard Instructors of America



Pre-Arrival Tips 

What to Expect When You Arrive

Lesson Time

On Your Own


Purchase Your Lesson Now



Long recognized as the pioneer in snowmaking technology, Hunter Mountain has been recognized by the National Ski Areas Association for its dedication to the growth of snow sports, earning the industry award for having the "Best Program to Grow the Sport to New Participants."

With Hunter One, an independent training mountain enhanced by its own user-friendly lifts and expansive terrain within the larger resort, beginners at Hunter easily master a sequential series of skills, gaining confidence at each level.

Hunter's state-of-the-art Learning Center streamlines the learning process by combining cutting edge equipment, unique teaching methods, and a dedicated beginner mountain with a facility designed to make getting from the parking area to the slopes as effortless as possible. Incorporating ticket sales, equipment rental, and lessons in one linear, logical process, our Learning Center makes getting onto the slopes easier than ever. One transaction buys your package. A few steps later, you're in rentals. With boots on and equipment in hand, step outside into the lesson area on the Learning Center deck, and then onto the snow with your instructor(s).


Pre-Arrival Tips

What kind of shape do I have to be in?

While skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed without regularly exercising the body, we recommend preparing your muscles for the slopes. This includes, but is not limited to, toning exercises (knee bends, sit-ups) and stretching. These exercises will help to prevent torn muscles, muscle aches, etc.


Should I borrow my friend's equipment or should I rent?

It's tempting to borrow equipment, especially when the boots actually seem to fit your feet. But you're better off renting. Here's why. All of our beginner equipment is designed for beginners. They're specifically engineered to turn more easily and are more forgiving than either upper level or budget equipment. Your boots will really match your feet; if you need a half size up or down, we can accommodate you. Your first time out should be enjoyable and productive. Our beginner packages include ski or snowboard rental equipment specifically matched to your size and stature.


Skiing or boarding? Which is easier?

Generally speaking, skiing is easier to learn but more difficult to master, and the opposite is true for snowboarding. However, everyone is different. Some people pick up snowboarding more easily than skiing, and some pick up skiing more quickly than snowboarding. The only way to know is to try it yourself!  Click here for a Learn to Ride Guide from our friends at Burton!


I don't have special clothes. What should I wear?

You don't need to buy expensive ski or snowboard clothes to try the sport... you probably have everything you need in your closet.

Surprisingly enough, even though you're outside in the winter, you will perspire! Layering is the key. You don't need to invest in specific clothing, but dressing appropriately is important and may be done by selecting items from your existing wardrobe and wearing them in suitable combinations. Check out the video below to learn more!

Pants: Un-insulated wind or rain pants and sweatpants under them can substitute insulated ski pants. Nylon running pants can break the wind, but sweat pants and/or long underwear under them are essential. By the way, don't tuck your pants into your boots. Ski pants are designed to fit over the tops of your boots. A note for boarders: snowboard-specific pants that have extra padding and waterproofing in all the right places are a good idea. Boarders spend more time sitting on the snow than do skiers. It's the nature of the sport, even for advanced riders. Good pants are invaluable!

Tops: A long-sleeved shirt (a turtle neck is a great idea) with a sweater and medium weight jacket offers a variety of options should the temperature change. On very cold days, a layer of long underwear worn on the upper body is a great insulator and may always be removed if conditions warrant. A ski jacket with underarm vents can be very effective at regulating body temperature.

Woman walking with skis from New York State's premier ski and ride school, Hunter Mountain

Headgear: Cover your head! Your body loses 80% of its heat through your head. A hat is essential! A warm wool or fleece hat is ideal. Don't sweat "hat hair".... you can fix it after the last run and before you head out for drinks and dinner.

Socks: Wear one pair of light to medium weight socks! Your boots are designed to keep you warm.

Gloves/Mittens: Personal preference rules here. Generally, mittens are warmer but restrict dexterity. Glove liners  are a viable option for some. Boarders tend to prefer long, waterproof mittens. Handwarmers  are single-use pouches that produce heat for several hours and are used inside gloves or mittens.

Neckwear: Leave the long woolen scarf your grandmother knit for you at home. It's a potential hazard. You're much better off with a neck warmer, a non-allergenic fleece tube that slips over the head and keeps your neck toasty warm. This wonderful, inexpensive piece of apparel is actually long enough to be pulled up to cover your chin, mouth, and nose.

Accessories: Goggles protect your eyes from the sun and from the wind. Sunglasses are helpful, but don't block the wind. Tearing eyes and cold temperatures are not a fun mix. On nice days, headbands are less fuss than a hat. Sunscreen and lip balm are recommended.


*If you forget any of these items, they are all available for purchase in our retail shops!

What to expect when you arrive

Carrying your equipment:

Group of females on their way to learn to snowboard at New York State's premier skiing and riding school, Hunter MountainIf you are arriving with equipment, the trek from your car to the Learning Center will be much easier if you know the proper way to carry your gear.

Skis: Place the skis base-to-base, with the brakes locked together. If you're outdoors and have plenty of space, carry the skis on a shoulder, with the ski tips in your hand. Your other hand is free to carry your poles (and boots unless you've changed footwear at your car). When indoors or near other people, carry the skis upright, with the tips pointing up and your hand below the binding toe piece.

Snowboard: Tuck your board under one arm like a stack of books and you're on your way.

Where to go when you arrive

Ticket Sales/Learning Center: The Learning Center is located adjacent to the Main Base Lodge, on your left as you look up at the Mountain. It houses everything you need to get out on the Hill, including tickets, lesson purchases, and rentals.

What to purchase inside:

Inside the learning center,  you will be able to purchase your tickets, rentals, and lessons. For beginners, we highly recommend the following packages - which are all great deals!

Peak Discovery Program

Buy Now

What: 3 Lessons with Equipment Rentals and Lift Tickets.

Who: First-time skiers and riders (ages 13 & up).

When: Buy the Discovery Program online before December 15th for only $99. After 12/15, price increases. Lesson availability is based on operating status.

How much: Only $99 by December 15th!



The Beginner Single-Pak 

Buy Now

What: A single visit with Lower Mountain lift ticket, group lesson and equipment rental.
Who: First-time skiers and riders (ages 13 & up) who may not want the commitment of three visits.
When: Buy the Single-Pak any time. Programs offered daily through 3/19/2017.
How much? $79

Beginner Private Lesson Package

What: A single visit includes a one hour private lesson featuring one-on-one instruction, lower mountain lift ticket and equipment rental.
Who: First-time/ beginner lesson for skiers or riders who prefer exceptional personal attention.
When: Buy the Beginner Private Lesson Package any time at the Learning Center. Programs offered daily through the end of the season.
How Much? $140


Attaching your Lift Ticket: Lift tickets allow you access to the lifts and the slopes. Expect to show it to the lift attendant at least every time you board a lift. Attach it to something easily visible, but not someplace right next to your face. Avoid attaching it to your jacket's principal zipper, as when the zipper is pulled up to your neck, the ticket may flap in your face on your way down the hill. Most ski jackets have a lift ticket loop somewhere on the front. A jacket pocket zipper is often a convenient attachment place. Make sure to attach it to something you'll wear all day.... not on a glove or a hat.

Woman drinking coffee at Goldye's Cafe, located inside the Learning Center at Hunter MountainAmenities: The following amenities are located in the Learning Center for your convenience

  • Goldeyes - Grab a coffee or hot cocoa and a quick treat before you head out to the slopes!
  • Retail shop - Pick up any last minute items or accessories you may have forgotten.
  • Restrooms - Conveniently located just before you enter the Rental Shop.

Rental Shop: You will need to read and fill out a form on the computers at the beginning of the rental process. This must be complete before you pick up your ski or snowboard equipment. You may want to have a locker token with you when you enter the Rental Shop so that you may easily and safely store your street shoes, car keys, and other possessions. *Please note, you must be 18 years of age or older to rent equipment without a parent's or guardian's signature.


Equipment Rental Suggestions

Give yourself plenty of time to get the right fit the first time!

Boot fitting: Both ski and snowboard boots are designed to hold your foot snugly to the surface of your skis or board. Any movement of the foot within the boot translates into loss of edge control and lessens performance. Boots are engineered to fit snugly.

Ski/Snowboard Length: Correct length is a correlation of your height, weight, and ability level. Modern shaped skis and snowboards turn much more easily than those of just a few years ago.

Snowboard Stance: Your instructor will help you determine whether you ride with your left foot first (regular stance) or right foot first (goofy).


Helmets: Helmets are strongly recommended for any age and any ski/board level. Even with caution, accidents happen on the slopes, and a helmet can save your life and prevent injury. 

See the video below for a great overview of what to expect at Rentals:

Lesson Time

What should you reasonably expect?

You've made it to the snow! Now the fun begins. Our instructors are trained to do one thing.... teach. All of our instructors are trained to teach first-time lessons in a very specific, effective method. On weekends and holidays, we provide Progression Sessions, which is zone-based teaching, meaning you can learn at your own pace! Any skier or rider who still needs to master any of the following points from First Time to Linking Turns can start at the zone that best suits their needs. During the week, our instructors will take you through general group lessons. In either case, you'll start out by doing exercises to develop your balance and get you accustomed to the feeling of sliding, with a focus on teaching you to feel the ski or snowboard's "edge." Edge control is what the game is all about. By going through these simple exercises, you will quickly learn how to do the two rudimentary actions needed to progress... stopping when and where you want, and turning when and where you want.


On Your Own

Safety First

The important thing to remember is not to overdo it. Spend some time in Hunter One practicing the exercises you learned in your lesson. Proceed at you own pace - practice makes perfect!



Where do you go from here

Ski resorts across the country use a universal trail rating system. See the responsibility code below when deciding which terrain is appropriate for you. The rating system utilizes five shapes to designate trail difficulty and terrain parks: 

Green Circle denotes easiest trails, of which Hunter Mountain has many  Green Circle: Easiest Trail

Blue Square denotes more difficult trails, of which Hunter Mountain has  Blue Square: More Difficult

Black Diamond denotes most difficult trails, of which Hunter Mountain has many  Black Diamond: Most Difficult

Double Diamond denotes extremely difficult trails, of which Hunter Mountain has many  Double Diamond: Extremely Difficult

Orange Oval denotes terrain park, of which Hunter Mountain has several  Terrain Park


Keep in mind that these ratings apply to trails only within a particular resort and do not relate to other ski areas; a single diamond at Hunter Mountain may be considerably more difficult than a single diamond at another resort. While trail ratings do not change over the course of a day, the actual difficulty of a particular trail may change, due to skier use, weather, or other variables. Moguls are created naturally by skiers and snowboarders, and can have a major impact on the difficulty of a trail.


Your Responsibility Code

The National Ski Areas Association has developed rules that you need to be aware of and need to follow. Most skiing and snowboarding accidents can be directly attributed to someone not following one of these basic rules:

Winter sports can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country and other specialized ski equipment, such as that used by disabled or other skiers. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in winter sports that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the code listed below and share with other skiers and snowboarders the responsibility for a great skiing experience.

1. Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.

2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.

3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.

4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.

5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.

6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.

7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.


This is a partial list. Be safety conscious.Officially endorsed by: NATIONAL SKI AREAS ASSOCIATION.


Now that you've read through our First-Timer's Guide, check out Hunter Mountain..but first check off the items below: 


[ ] Choose the program that best suites you or your family.

[ ] Check the weather and snow conditions at: or call 800-HunterMtn.

[ ] Dress for the conditions (lessons are given regardless of weather).

[ ] If you plan on renting equipment..

  • Schedule enough time to pass through the Rental Shop and still get to your lesson. It can take up to 45 minutes for the first time visitor to be fitted properly and receive all their gear before exiting towards the slopes. If traveling with a family, allow even more time due to the number of people and diverse ages. Please visit our Ski & Snowboard Lessons for class times.
  • To help with this constraint, plan your arrival before or close to 8:30 AM. Our busiest times are from 10 AM to Noon then again at 3 PM to 4:30PM. The Rental Shop is open from 8AM to 5PM. The lifts are open from 8:30AM to 4PM.


[ ]

If you plan to stay for multiple days...

  • Consecutive multi-day discounts are available.
  • If you are staying for multiple days, let us know when you arrive in the Rental Shop. If you would like to, you can hold on to your rental gear over night. This saves time and gets you out on the slopes faster.


For more extensive information or answers to your specific questions, please call 800-HunterMtn to speak to an operator or e-mail