Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to attract more visitors to the state by launching an “I Ski NY Bus” to bring people from New York City and Toronto to 19 ski areas in New York state.
The bus service would drive people from New York City to mountains including Hunter, Windham and others. The goal is to make it easier and more affordable for people to travel and participate in winter sports.
“This would make it much easier for skiers and riders to hop on a bus and store their gear,” said Jon Lundin, spokesman for the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, which represents Belleayre, Gore and Whiteface mountains. “Anything that we can do to make it easier and more enjoyable to get out on the ski slopes is certainly a plus.”
The bus would provide transportation from New York City to 13 different mountains in the Central New York and Hudson Valley regions. Trips from Toronto would be offered to six mountains in Western New York. The bus service would kick in next year.
Ski areas in the Hudson Valley area include Belleayre, Catamount, Gore, Hunter, Plattekill, Thunder Ridge, West, Whiteface and Windham. Lundin said there are no formal bus services to those mountains.
Hunter and Windham mountains are currently serviced by bus transportation out of New York City. The I Ski NY Bus would expand that service and also make other ski areas more competitive.
“With some of the best ski slopes, snowmobiling tracks, hiking trails and scenic views, we want New Yorkers to know they should stay in New York and all out-of-state visitors to feel welcome to partake in all that upstate has to offer,” Cuomo said.
Last year Belleayre had 118,000 total ski visits. Gore welcomed 134,000 skiers and Whiteface had 192,000, Lundin said. He said those numbers should increase next year with the introduction of the bus service from New York City.
Cuomo made the announcement Sunday in Lake Placid during the Adirondack Winter Challenge. The event was held to boost awareness of the state’s tourism industry.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, and other legislators traveled upstate with Cuomo and participated in activities such as bobsledding, ice skating and skiing.
The tourism industry is one of New York’s top employers, adding 24,800 jobs in 2013, according to the governor’s office. The industry is projected to have generated $7.7 billion in state and local taxes, with $61.3 million in direct spending.