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Hunter Mountain is taking reservations for the upcoming season. (Photo Credit: Hunter Mountain/Vail Resorts)

Remember when you put off taking your paid time off until later in the year? Later in the year has arrived, and it’s time to use those days off however you can before you lose them. A trip to Aspen may not be in the cards this season, but you can still plan to vacation without leaving the state: New York ski resorts opened with 50 percent indoor capacity Nov. 6.

Skiing might be the perfect getaway for the COVID era. It’s outside, easy to distance from strangers, and, if you ski in New York, you don’t have to worry about testing and quarantining upon your return. Of course, you’ll need to wear a face covering, practice social distancing while on site and often reserve lift tickets in advance. Also, do watch for changing travel and health guidance as COVID rates spike — bookmark the New York state coronavirus information page here and ask any destination you book with about their cancellation policies.

That said, don’t let the snow-bunny snobs fool you: New York ski resorts may not have the lure of those in Colorado or Vermont, but there are plenty of slopes that appeal to novices and seasoned vets alike. Before your vacation time expires, put in for a few days off and hit the slopes at these top New York ski mountains.

Hunter Mountain, Hunter

This Northern Catskills destination is popular for its proximity to New York City (it’s about two hours North) and slopes that are skiable all winter long. Hunter Mountain calls itself the “Snowmaking Capital of the World,” ensuring guests can ski regardless of conditions. All skill levels can enjoy a variety of slopes — there’s nearly an even split of beginner, intermediate and advanced options and a few double black diamonds. Each evening, retreat to the cozy-but-upscale hotel The Mountain Brook or the bespoke Scribner’s Catskill Lodge.

(Photo Credit: Hunter Mountain/Vail Resorts)

Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington 

Lake Placid is known for its chilly weather, the Miracle on Ice and Whiteface Mountain. This mountain is ideal for people with a bit of experience under their belts — nearly half its trails are intermediate, but it has a fair share of black diamonds and beginner options. There are also terrain parks for freestylers. The Whiteface Lodge is a go-to spot to rest weary legs. It boasts a rustic interior with posh amenities like spacious suites and mahogany balconies. Though the movie theater is closed this year, the bowling alley is open at 50 percent capacity, and guests can still enjoy a good campfire.

Bristol Mountain, Ontario County

The Finger Lakes are popular for their Riesling, but this ski resort becomes a major draw when the temperatures dip. Bristol Mountain offers 1,200 feet of vertical slopes and 38 slopes and trails for beginners and experts alike. Human-made snow covers the mountain, so there’s no need to fret about whether Mother Nature will put a damper on your vacation. The 1975 Acorn Inn Bed and Breakfast makes for the ideal respite from 2020. Set in an 18th-century house, the rooms balance comfort and elegance. There are chandeliers, four-post beds and plenty of windows to allow natural light to pour in. The Chalet of Canandaigua is a bit more of a drive (approximately 8 miles from the mountain), but the king-sized bed, in-room fireplace and on-site walking trails and pond make it worth your while.

Aerial view of Oak Mountain. (Photo Credit: Mighty Productive Media)

Oak Mountain, Speculator

This three-season resort truly shines in the winter, when guests can choose from 22 ski and snowboard trails, miles of snowshoeing trails and four lanes of snow tubing. When the day is done, people can grab some grub in a socially-distanced food at the Acorn Pub & Eatery, a casual spot that allows guests to come as they are (in their snowsuits). Comfort food favors include waffle fries and Mac n’ cheese that stick to the ribs and warm the soul. Recommended spots to stay include Bearhurst Lakeside Cottages, which have waterfront views and make keeping a safe distance a cinch, and Red Pines B&B, a cozy spot perfect for retreating with that special someone.