By Doug Kish, M.A.
Located in Ellicottville, New York, is a winter wonderland of snow-related activities at Holiday Valley Resort. What most people don’t realize, however, is that when the white turns to green, there is just as much fun to be had at Holiday Valley.
After the cold loosens its grip and the snow melts, the chairlift continues to operate taking visitors to the top of the mountain for spectacular views and hiking. The mountain coaster, which is basically a roller coaster built on a mountain, pulls 1-2 riders in each car attached to rails to the top, releasing them to spiral down the mountain.
One of only three in the United States, the climbing forest is a 3-D version of a climbing wall. Ten trees fitted with climbing holds range in difficulty from very easy to very challenging. An aerial park contains a series of platforms connected by bridges and ziplines spanning a 4-acre section of woods. When moving from one platform to the next, you will need strength, as well as strategy and balance. A total of 13 courses have various degrees of difficulty.
The lush greens and magnificent gardens of the 18-hole par 70 golf course offer breathtaking scenes from every hole. While the front 9 holes offer relatively level play around a series of ponds and bunkers, the back nine holes wind through the base of the mountains. Golf lessons from a PGA professional are available for men and women, as well as golf clinics for adults and juniors.
There is a 4-5 mile mountain biking loop through the woods. At one point, you must choose the wider cross-country trail or the skinny winding single track. Riders are asked to wear a helmet, ride with a friend and bring a map. Bikes are available for rent for 3-hour or 6-hour sessions. Several mountain biking events are held at Holiday Valley throughout the summer. Biking on the winding county roads is also a popular activity. Route maps are available from the Inn at Holiday Valley.
For cooling off after your activities, a 3-pool complex offers a toddler pool, a lap pool and an activity pool with a slide and diving board. Landscaped with several multi-tiered sun decks, a variety of food and drink is available. Pools are open to the public during the summer months.
In June, Holiday Valley will again host the Mudslide Obstacle Trail Run. After a chairlift ride to the starting point, competitors will follow trail runs of 3.5 or 5.4 miles. The short course has an elevation drop of 600 feet downhill. The longer course adds another loop followed by an uphill section which is so steep ropes are provided for assistance to climb. There are eleven obstacles along the trail, ending with a giant mud slide down. A Kids Mini Mudslide event is also available which is a half mile long and includes two obstacles.
The Village of Ellicottville, although encompassing only one square mile, has activities, shops and restaurants to please all ages. Niagara Falls, Allegany State Park and the Seneca Allegany Casino are all nearby for additional fun and adventure. For more information or to make a reservation at the Inn at Holiday Valley, refer to their website at www.holidayvalley.com.