iloveny-stack.jpgHoliday Valley Resort in Ellicottville opening Saturday, December 15 for the 2012-2013 ski season with a new $12 million renovation Albany, N.Y. - From improved snowmaking and thrilling, innovative terrain parks to a new amusement park where visitors can design and ride their own virtual roller coaster, New York State is brimming with big new things to see and do this winter, as well as new places to stay, dine and be entertained. There have also been some interesting renovations, restorations and improvements. For all of our winter activities visit Big Happens Here in New York State and here is a sampling: NEWS ON THE SNOW FRONT Chautauqua Allegheny Region On Saturday, December 15th at 2:00 pm, the 58-slope Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville will open the new $12 million Holiday Valley Lodge. It will serve as the main base's day lodge, with dining, entertainment, meeting space, a daycare center, and ski and snowboard rentals and repairs. Holiday Valley is also expanding its automated snowmaking to cover three additional main slopes. Automated snowmaking through a computerized system allows the resort to make better snow while drawing less energy. Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Services, a new business in the Southern Tier of Western New York, will offer snowmobile rentals, guides tours, trailing and recovery services for the 2012-2013 snowmobiling season. The Adirondacks New snowmaking piping means skiers and riders don't have to rely on Mother Nature to provide enough snow to cover Whiteface Mountain's expert 4,700 foot-long Hoyt's High Trail. The Wilmington, NY ski area has also upgraded its snowmaking in other areas and renovated its Base Camp Café and Cloudspin Lounge, adding dining choices ranging from the Black Diamond Burrito to the Firepit Grill. The area offers 86 trails and a 3,430 foot vertical drop. In the past year, Gore Mountain in North Creek has added 160 new high-efficiency tower snow guns and 30 shorter snow guns for better coverage of expert, family and core terrains, as well as new grooming equipment to maintain the tubing lanes. Terrain Park upgrades feature a new Skier/BoarderX course while lodge improvements include a new radiant heat system for the deck and a completely renovated Tannery Pub & Restaurant. Gore offers 40 miles of trails, including "The Rumor," one of the steepest in the East. The Saratoga & North Creek Railway, which connects Saratoga Springs to North Creek and Gore Mountain, will operate its 2nd year of the Snow Train. The service will run Friday to Sunday from January through March 31, 2013. This winter, the 1000 Acres Ranch Resort in Stony Creek will be featuring snowmobile and ATV rentals. The Catskills This year, Windham Mountain, a family-friendly mountain with 49 trails, 10 lifts and beginner to expert terrain, broke ground on a multi-year expansion project. Phase one includes expanding low level ski and riding terrain and redeveloping the base lodge area, and adds four acres of beginner terrain. Snowmaking capabilities have been enhanced in both quantity and quality. Future phases include a 41-unit condominium building and an ice skating rink.       Finger Lakes Thanks to intensive snowmaking and grooming, Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua was one of the first three ski resorts to open for the 2011-12 season and among the last to close. The 2012 Snow East Magazine Reader Survey ranked Bristol Mountain Winter Resort second in the northeastern U.S. as "Favorite Snowmaking and Favorite Terrain Park," third for "Favorite Grooming" and fourth as "Favorite Ski Resort in the Northeast:" NEW THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO GO Capital-Saratoga The annual Albany Chefs' Food & Wine Festival, "Wine & Dine for the Arts," will take place January 17-19, 2013 at the Hilton Albany. This annual festival features the best of the Capital region's signature and executive chefs as well as rising stars. The New York State Museum now is open on Sundays as well as Tuesday through Saturday. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Finger Lakes In Syracuse, Destiny USA is already a top attraction in the state. When complete, it will be the nation's sixth largest shopping center with over 260 luxury outlets and retail stores, restaurants and entertainment. New attractions opening in the coming months include OptiGolf (, a simulated golf course; Pole Position Raceway (P2R0) (, an indoor kart race track; as well as an upscale bowling center, a comedy club, and a number of theaters and restaurants. WonderWorks, an educational amusement park with more than 100 entertaining and educational hands-on exhibits opened in November at Destiny USA. Visitors can experience being blown away by 84 mile per hour hurricane-force winds and design and ride a 360-degree virtual roller coaster. Greater Niagara Three of Buffalo's most venerable museums - the Albright-Knox Art Gallery ( the History Museum of Buffalo, New York (, and the Buffalo Museum of Science ( are celebrating their sesquicentennials, or 150th anniversaries, this year with special exhibits and programming. Now through 2014, Buffalo is joining Canada in celebrating 200 years of peace while commemorating battles fought on both sides of the border during the War of 1812. Visitors can get off the beaten track this winter with insider tours of Buffalo. Explore the city's architecture and neighborhoods with Buffalo Tours ( or discover historic and unusual pubs and taverns on a Forgotten Buffalo tour ( This winter, the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce Arrow Museum is slated to unveil its latest attraction, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed gas station, which will be housed in the museum's new atrium. The Museum is home to an extensive collection of automobiles dating from 1903 to the 1960s. In Buffalo, Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House is approaching the completion of a $50 million restoration. This iconic Prairie-style complex remains open for tours during construction. Hudson Valley Recent renovations at Castle Fun Center, a year-round amusement center in Chester, NY, have added activities and an upgraded corporate/social event space with elaborate technology options and space for to 500 people. NEW PLACES TO STAY Central New York The Binghamton Riverwalk Hotel & Conference Center is scheduled to become a Doubletree property in April 2013. The new DoubleTree by Hilton Binghamton will include a 5,000 square-foot Riverwalk Athletic Club and will be able to handle meetings of up to 1,100 people. Finger Lakes Construction began in March on the new 180-room Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn in downtown Syracuse's Armory Square. A May 2013 opening is expected. A new 92-room Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Auburn opened in August. The hotel features a heated indoor pool and fitness center and two restaurants, the Garden Grill, and the BeauVine Chop House & Wine Bar, featuring locally sourced ingredients. The Owego Treadway Inn Banquet & Conference Center, which sustained major flood damage in 2011, now has a brand new ground floor, including an updated dining room, lobby and sleeping rooms and new business and fitness centers. Greater Niagara Two historic hotel buildings in downtown Buffalo - the Lafayette Hotel and the Statler Hotel - are being redeveloped into exciting mixed-use projects. Venues include The Hotel @ The Lafayette, a new boutique hotel, which is now accepting reservations.,   NEW PLACES TO EAT Adirondacks The Ambrosia Diner, a classic diner with a modern touch, recently opened. It is located near Exit 19 on I-87 in Queensbury, NY and run by the same family as the Ambrosia Diner in Catskill, NY. Finger Lakes Destiny USA is also a center for dining and entertainment. Opening in the coming months will be Texas de Brazil (, a churrascaria, or Brazilian steakhouse; P.F. Chang's (, featuring American Chinese cuisine; and AJA, a sleek lounge. In Skaneateles, the LakeHouse Pub, operated by Dennis Coleman (general manager of Coleman's Authentic Irish Pub), opened on the site of the former Morris' Grill on Route 20. Lost and Fondue, a tea-focused restaurant and tea shop, opened in the Village of Skaneateles this summer, featuring traditional afternoon tea service and fondues. The Krebs Restaurant in Skaneateles is being completely renovated and is expected to reopen in early 2013. Greater Niagara Buffalo's roster of 400-plus independently owned restaurants keeps growing. Among the newest are two from Mike Andrzejewski: Cantina Loco ( in the city's Allentown neighborhood and Mike A's Steakhouse, in the Lafayette Hotel, slated to open in 2013. Other new eateries include Lagerhaus 95 ( in the Cobblestone district, Vera Pizzeria ( in the Elmwood Village, and Della Mostra at Shea's Performing Arts Center ( Hudson Valley At the new Crimson Sparrow in Hudson, chef/owners Benjamin Freemole and John McCarthy pride themselves on creating surprising flavor combinations.   EXPANSIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS Adirondacks: Renovations at the Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing include the addition of a port cochere, an expanded new lobby, and enhancements to the pool and other public areas. The Factory Outlets of Lake George, which include four major shopping centers within walking distance of each other, is adding Under Armour, DKNY, Lindt and Guess to its roster of stores as well as a new outlet plaza that will add more 15 stores. Fort William Henry in Lake George Village is upgrading its exhibits to add interactive multimedia. Capital-Saratoga: The 386-room Hotel Albany, an Albany Hilton Hotel affiliate in downtown Albany, is undergoing a $14 million renovation, slated to be completed by year-end when the property's name will change to the Hilton Albany. Chatauqua-Allegheny Peek'n Peak Resort in Findley Lake has completed the renovation of all of its 108 rooms at the Inn at the Peak. Finger Lakes Salmon Hills Outdoor Adventure Center in Redfield, which includes a lodge with a bar, restaurant and eight motel rooms, recently changed hands. Planned changes include the addition of several log-style cabins, a large covered pavilion for gatherings, and snowmobile rentals.    Downtown Syracuse has $265 million in projects currently underway. The area welcomed 22 new retail businesses in the last year. Thousand Islands - Seaway The recently opened Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center is the first Oswego County facility to offer meeting space, accommodations and dining under one roof. The 39,500-square conference center has 203 guest rooms and is the culmination of a $6 million expansion of the Best West-Captain's Quarters Hotel on the Oswego River. About New York State New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York's attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls to the wine trails of Hudson Valley and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Whether it's wide-ranging outdoor activities for the whole family like ice-fishing, snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding, culinary wonders and farm-to-table fresh foods, or the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers big excitement and tons activities for all travelers. Big Happens Here in New York State. For more information, visit for all of our winter activities. Media can find press releases and more at CONTACT: Melanie Klausner M. SILVER ASSOCIATES (212)-754-6500, ext. 243 Eric Scheffel Empire State Development (518) 292-5274