Ski East: The Essential Hunter Mountain

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Vitals Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl, Inc., P.O. Box 295, Hunter, N.Y. 12442; 518-263-4223; Website: www.huntermtn.com; Snowphone: 800-367-7669. Central Reservations: 800-775-4641 or www.hunterreservations.com. Getting there: 120 miles from New York City; take the N.Y. State Thruway to Exit 20, follow Route 32 North to 32A to 23A West to Hunter Mtn. Base Altitude: 1,600 feet. Vertical: 1,600 feet. Skiable terrain: 230 acres with 12 lifts, including one high-speed quad; two additional lifts exclusively serve the new tubing hill.
Sleeping In Price is no object: Scribner Hollow (800-395-4683), with its cave-like indoor pool complex and 38 themed rooms, is unique and among the area's best. So is the Hunter Inn (518-263-3777). Romance in the air: The new Fairlawn Inn B&B (518-263-5025), a grand old Victorian that its owners spent two years renovating. With family: Villa Vosilla Resort (518-589-5060).
Kidcare Child sitting for ages 6 months to 6 years; full day $25, half day $15. There is also a special program for 3-year-olds that combines playtime on and off the snow; full day $30, half day $20. Children's on-snow program includes SKIwee for ages 4-6; MINIrider snowboard instruction for ages 7-12; and Hunter Mountaineers for ages 7-12. There is also a special program where the entire family learns to ski together for $65.
Boarding Scene Hunter is 100-percent snowboard friendly with a terrain park and halfpipe.
Securing Staples If you're staying in a condo or share house, the Tannersville Grand Union is open until 11 pm for grocery stock-up.
Rainout Theater Drive to Howe Caverns, a fascinating series of underground caves with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites about an hour away.
Sweet Tooth Lots of goodies, including delicious homemade fudge and licorice, at the Last Chance Cheese & Antique Shop in Tannersville.
Local Hero Nan Leonard, tireless leader of Hunter's Lyons/Sambora Charity fundraiser.
Meet Here At the weather station at the top of the stairs.
Don't Meet Here The Colonel's Hall, unless you want to walk around and check out dozens of tables to find your friends.