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Holiday Valley, New York Hot

thumb_HolidayValleyResortLocated in the mountains above Ellicottville, NY, sits Holiday Valley Ski Resort with 56 slopes, 13 lifts, and 3 lodges. The resort first opened in 1958 with one t-bar, a rope tow, and 4 slopes. According to Director of Marketing, Jane Eshbaugh, only the basement was finished in the lodge. She said, “There wasn’t even a bathroom; visitors had to go out in the woods.” Ladies in the village of Ellicottville would make sandwiches and sell them to the skiers for 50 cents.

EllicottvilleShoppingHoliday Valley is now a full-service resort that caters to western New York, western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and southern Ontario. According to Jane, Holiday Valley is the most visited ski resort in New York. With well over 500,000 visitors a year, the resort usually places in the top 3 or 4 most visited resorts in the eastern United States, including Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Jane also pointed out, “We are right in the middle of many major metropolitan areas and it’s relatively easy to get to us—as long as we’re not having a big snow storm.”

HolidayValleyLakeEffectStorm“What makes us unique in this region is we are really a complete resort in one package. We have a wonderful village. Ellicottville is a real village, not something we built. It has lots of restaurants, shops, nightlife, and some really interesting history and people,” Jane added. The resort is visited by both families and young professionals. The resort has a wonderful children’s program and plenty of intermediate terrain for families to enjoy. One major perk for families: With lodging right on the slopes, kids can ski and stay for free during the week. Both parents and young adults enjoy the nightlife in the village.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Holiday Valley operates a tubing park and cross-country trails. In other seasons, they offer golfing at an 18-hole golf course, public swimming pools, mountain biking trails, hiking trails and plenty of other outdoor activities. The village also has a year-round schedule of festivals.

PoolInnWinterOne of the most popular events at Holiday Valley is the Penguin Paddle, which raises money for the resort’s adaptive program. The main activity involves contestants purchasing a garbage bag for a dollar. The participants then wear the trash bag to make themselves look like penguins. Then, in true penguin-form, they slide down the hill on their stomachs. Other notable events include Telestock and the Winter Carnival.

Holiday Valley is also constantly growing and adapting. The newest addition to the resort is the Tamarack Club. The Tamarack Club is a condominium building at the base of the resort with ski in/ski out access. It’s also right on the golf course, giving it an excellent location. Inside the building is John Harvard’s Brew House and the Falling Waters Spa.. The condos are equipped with a full range of amenities, including an indoor/outdoor heated pool, Jane said, “The pool is year-round so right now its snowing out and there are people out there swimming with snow falling in their hair.” There are also two outdoor hot tubs, a sauna, an exercise room, underground parking, and valet service.

IMG_4443_edited-1 (2)One of the unique things about the Tamarack Club is that in addition to whole ownership, can they also offer fractional ownership. Each unit can potentially have five different owners who have rotating weeks. Jane said the owners essentially get 1 week a month and they are also members of the RCI exchange program so they can exchange their time at the Tamarack for condos all over the world. Owners can also choose to rent their property. Jane pointed out that the advantage of the fractional ownership is that owners can have very nice amenities without paying the full cost of complete ownership.

“We have a reputation for improving the resort at an average cost of at least 2 million dollars per year,” added Jane. Some other exciting changes coming to Holiday Valley include a new high-speed quad chair lift which will be ready for next season. A new base lodge and access road are also being planned and will be ready sometime in the next 2-4 years.

HolidayValleyPipePresident and General Manager, Dennis Eshbaugh, believes that reinvesting the resort has been vital to its success. He also said, “We try to base all of our decisions around the best quality. We know that profitability will follow that.” The foundation of the business strategies the resort uses has been consistent, despite the tough economy.

“As a regional resort, we tend to weather the impacts a little better than some because people are still going to recreate. They’re still going to participate in activities. And I think trends have shown that people give up their bigger trips and choose to recreate locally. That applies to anything, whether it’s hiking, skiing, golf, or even the gaming industry,” added Dennis. Jane agree by saying, “People can get here quickly from wherever they are in our market areas and have a complete vacation without having to get on an airplane and rent a car.”

Another important aspect of Holiday Valley’s success is its’ relationship with Ellicottville—commonly referred to as “the village”—which is only a mile away. “It’s an important and symbiotic relationship. I‘d like to think that the retailers and restaurants and hoteliers in the area see the value in us just as much as we see the value in them”, said Dennis.

thumb_TamarackTower3He continued, “I think the key to our success goes back to three elements. The slogan we used for a long time was ‘the mountain, the village and the people.’ It really is the people. It starts with your customer and it translates all the way up through the community. They make Ellicottville and Holiday Valley a special place”. For more information visit

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