Two and a half hours north of New York City, Hunter Mountain is the go-to for metro day-trippers. But it's not just the ski area's proximity that makes it everyone's favorite. Hunter is a surprisingly well-run resort for its size, making great use of its 240 skiable acres, with an impressive 10 lifts to move the crowds around. Hunter is also the most reliable option for weekend warriors, with over 1,100 snowmaking guns pointed at every inch of its 58 trails — it opens early, stays open well into spring, and always has coverage. While the easy terrain can get a bit jammed up, its dedicated teaching terrain makes it one of the best places to learn in the East, whereas experts will find it even easier to lose the crowds, with nearly 50 percent of the runs black or double black. Lift tickets are $69. Buy ahead for a specific date and save up to 20 percent.
Where to stay: Hunter itself has luxury accommodation, but you'll get the full Catskill experience by booking a room at the Adirondack-style Hotel Mountain Brook in Tannersville, just 10 minutes away. Carbo load at American Glory BBQ and fuel up in the morning at Maggie's.
Insider Tip: For the ultimate spring skiing weekend, head to Hunter the third weekend in April for the TAP Beer Festival, one of the largest craft beer events in New York State.