lessons & programs
bear den mountain learning center
We've got some of the best learning terrain in the East for first time skiers and riders! Our professional instructors will guide you through your first experience skiing and snowboarding, making sure that you are having fun while improving your skills. Starting from scratch? Our Bear Den Mountain Learning Center is entirely dedicated to beginners and has the perfect tucked-away environment for both children and adults to progress at their own speed.
For those of you that already have the basics down, Whiteface's expert terrain is legendary, providing a true big mountain experience. Our certified PSIA coaches will take your skills to the next level and provide you with that thrill of mastery we all pursue with skiing and snowboarding. Take a look at our different programs and we think you'll find we have something for everyone at Whiteface!
Should I take a ski or snowboard lesson?
Many would-be skiers and riders have headed out on the hill with the best of intentions accompanied by friends or relatives eager to get them started, but a good skier isn't necessarily an effective teacher. Our ski and snowboard instructors are experienced in demonstrating the proper techniques to get you on your feet and learning fast, and they'll make sure you're on the best trails for your skill level. In a nutshell: A lesson will help you to get the most out your experience on the mountain!
Do I need to make a reservation?
Reservations are strongly recommended for Private Lessons and Kids Programs. Please contact us at (518) 946-2223 (option 3) to make a reservation. All reservations are to be paid in full when booked and are non-refundable within 72 hours prior to arrival. Reservations cancelled before the 72 hours are subject to a 15% cancellation fee. Reservations for ages 13+ group lessons are not necessary.
Where do I go for my lesson?
All lessons and programs for all ages will begin at the Bear Den Lodge at Bear Den Mountain. Private lessons will meet either at Bear Den Lodge or the Main Base Lodge, depending on the participant's age and ability. You may drop off your gear in the loading and unloading zones at Bear Den Mountain Base Lodge before parking in one of our two lots. Please note the name of the lot you are parked in so you can properly inform the shuttle bus driver upon your return to your car at the end of the day.
When should I arrive for my lesson?
You should plan on arriving at the mountain at least 45 minutes prior to your scheduled lesson or program, to ensure you have enough time to park, unload, register and get outfitted with your rental equipment. During holiday periods you may want to arrive earlier. Generally our lessons begin at 10:00 am and 1:30 pm, but please refer to the details on your specific lesson or program to confirm.
What should I wear to my lesson?
When skiing or riding, temperatures can vary at different times of the day and also on different areas of the mountain. Below is a list of suggested clothing and gear to ensure that you are comfortable for the duration of your lesson:
- Non-cotton layers - long underwear, turtleneck, etc.
- Ski/snowboard socks (synthetic or wool) - wait to put these on until just before you put on your ski/snowboard boots
- Water-resistant/waterproof outer layers (jeans are not recommended)
- Warm mittens or gloves (water resistant or waterproof is better)
- Neck-warmer (leave bulky scarves at home)
- Helmet (Required for children 12 & under in all Whiteface Snowsports Programs)
- Goggles to protect your eyes from the sun & wind
- Lip Balm
- Please note: We do not rent winter clothing. If you forget any of your gear or are unable to borrow or purchase the items listed above before your lesson, stop by Brookside Apparel at the Main Base Lodge or the satellite location at the Bear Den Lodge, and our staff will make sure you have what you need!
Where do I keep all of my stuff during the lesson?
Lockers are available on both levels of the Main Base Lodge and the ground level of the Bear Den Lodge, as well as bag check and overnight ski storage in the lower level of the Main Base Lodge. If you plan to keep your valuables on your person while skiing or riding (e.g. keys, wallet, cell phone), make sure they're secure in a zippered pocket and will not fall out easily. We also provide ski and snowboard racks for temporary storage at several locations throughout the mountain (you may secure your equipment with your own lock or rent a lock from Brookside Apparel at the Main Base Lodge).
Can I rent equipment at the mountain?
Yes! In fact, our Adult Beginner programs—Parallel from the Start and Learn to Snowboard—as well as our intermediate Ski & Ride Better program include equipment rentals. We also carry a high performance line of rentals for more advanced skiers. Rentals are available at both the Main Base Lodge and the Bear Den Lodge. Please check the details for your specific lesson or program to see if rentals are included or not.
Are lift tickets included in my lesson or program?
Lift tickets are included in the price of some but not all lessons and programs. The best way to find out if a lift ticket is included is to check the information listed for your specific lesson or program. Feel free to give us a call us at (518) 946-2223 (option 3) for more information!
Do lessons include lunch?
Full-day group lessons for ages 1-12 include lunch. If you would like to bring additional snacks, you may do so as long as they do not contain nuts. Our facilities are nut-free.
Directions to Bear Den
5021 Route 86, Wilmington, New York 12997
After turning into the Whiteface driveway, proceed past the initial parking lots and go over a small bridge. Turn right after the bridge – the Main Lodge will be on your left –following signs towards the Bear Den. At the top of the hill is the Bear Den Lodge with two associated parking lots. The primary doors lead to a room containing Tickets, Reservation Pick-up, and Rentals. Proceed to the Reservation Pick-up. You may want to print out the confirmation and bring it with you. Please be sure to allow enough time during the holiday periods to pick up your reservation and rentals. Refunds or vouchers will not be issued for late arrivals and entry into the program may be denied.
parking & bear den shuttles
The free Bear Den shuttle runs every 15 minutes between the Main Base Lodge, Bear Den Learning Center and the Upper and Lower Bear Den Lots. The free Parking Shuttle runs every 15 minutes between the Main Base Lodge, Lake Placid Lot, Wilmington Lot, River Lot and the Gold Lot.
mountain valley shuttle
SCHEDULE FOR DECEMBER 13, 2018 - MARCH 22, 2019
The Mountain Valley Shuttle is a free shuttle service that runs between Lake Placid and Whiteface with several stops in Lake Placid and Wilmington. If you don't see your stop on schedule below, call Essex County Transportation at (800) 914-9266 and they can help you determine a time and place where the bus will pick you up along the route. For group pick-ups, please call at least 24 hours in advance. If you have requested stop that is not on the schedule, please let the driver now so s/he may accomodate you.
Info for Parents
To ensure that your child has the best experience possible at Whiteface, please use the following important information in preparing for your visit to the mountain! To help in speeding up the Registration process on your arrival day, please print and complete the Bear Den Registration Form prior to arrival and bring with you to the Reservations/Tickets area. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions at (518) 946-2223 (option 3) or via email.
Important Program Information
- Please plan accordingly and allow adequate time for rentals, registration paperwork and check-in. Late arrival and check-in may result in denial of enrollment into the program for that day.
- Kids Lesson & Program times may include organization time, rest periods, cold weather breaks, and/or play time, depending on the needs of the group. If a child refuses to participate in the program, the child will be allowed to remain indoors or a parent will be contacted.
- You will receive a numbered tag that corresponds with the number your child is assigned. You must present the tag when you pick up your child. It is your responsibility to give the tag to whoever is going to pick up your child. If the tag is lost, children will only be released to their legal guardian with proper photo ID.
- All kids's programs have been structured according to age-appropriate activities. Please do not try to place your child in a program that is not designed for his/her age group.
- Please evaluate your child's skiing or snowboarding skills realistically, and remember that Whiteface offers many terrain challenges. If your child is unable to perform at his/her lesson or program level, Whiteface staff reserves the right to move your child to the more appropriate group.
- Please notify Whiteface Bear Den Mountain staff regarding any special needs your child may have, including food allergies, dislikes, and any physical or medical considerations. Please detail all information on registration forms.
- Whiteface staff will not administer medications. If your child requires medication during the time he/she is at Bear Den Lodge, it is the parent's responsibility to administer the medication.
- A parent must remain at the mountain if a child is enrolled in any Bear Den Mountain lessons or programs.
- Should an emergency arise, parents' names will be put on the chalkboards at the base of every lift, and announcements will be made regularly. The Bear Den Staff will call the phone number provided on the registration form filled out during the sign-in process.
- All children must be picked up no later then 4:00 pm from all programs.
- Please be advised, cell phone service is limited on the mountain.
- Proof of your child's age may be required upon check-in. Please label all belongings.
What to Bring
Please use the following list as a guide for what to bring for all skiing and snowboarding Bear Den lessons and programs. Be sure to label all belongings. If your child is enrolled in multiple program days, bring their boots inside each night to dry out and warm up to ensure they start out each day on the right foot!
- Sunscreen and lip protection
- Goggles or sunglasses
- Helmet (all rental packages include helmets)
- Wind/waterproof jacket
- Wind/waterproof snow pants
- Long underwear top and bottom
- Waterproof mittens or gloves
- Wool/synthetic ski or snowboard socks (no cotton socks)
- Neck warmer
- Ski or snowboard boots (available for rental)
- Skis or snowboard (available for rental)
- Poles (available for rental; intermediate to advanced skiers only)
- Lift Tickets are available for pick up or purchase at the Main Base Lodge or Bear Den Lodge. Season passes are available for pick up or purchase at the Main Base Lodge ONLY.
Lift tickets are included in the cost of the following Bear Den Programs: Play-n-Ski, Riglet Rider, and Junior Adventure. Future Medalist and Cloudsplitter Club are both season-long programs that include a Season Pass valid at Whiteface, Gore, and Belleayre with purchase. Season Passes are also available for the Cub Camp, Play-n-Ski and Riglet Riders programs.
Lift tickets are NOT included in the cost of any of our Private Lessons or Cub Camp (non-skiing) day programs. You may purchase your lift ticket(s) in advance online or in person at Bear Den Mountain Lodge. Children ages 6 and under ski for free, but still must go to the ticket window at Bear Den Mountain Lodge to receive a lift ticket. For guests planning on skiing exclusively at Bear Den Mountain, we offer 1-day window tickets at the following rates, valid for Bunny Hutch Lift and Coyote Cruiser during non-holiday Sundays-Fridays.
|Age||Valid Dates||Day Rate|
|Junior (ages 7-12)||Sunday - Friday, non-holiday||$32|
|Teen / Adult / Senior (ages 13-69)||Sunday - Friday, non-holiday||$42|
|Bear Den Mountain Lift Tickets are valid for Bunny Hutch Lift and Coyote Cruiser lift access only. Ages 6 & under ski FREE (with full lift access), but must pick up valid lift ticket at any Whiteface ticket window.|
Ski and snowboard rentals may be purchased at either of our two Rossignol experience Centers located in the Whiteface Base Lodge and Bear Den Mountain Lodge. Rentals may be purchased as part of a lesson package for any of our half day and full day programs, including Play-n-Ski, Riglet Riders, and Junior Adventure. All rental packages include a helmet.
For Private Lessons, rentals must be purchased separately. If purchasing rentals separately (i.e. not as part of a lesson package), please find rental rates for Juniors below.