Anyone who shares Derek Markovic’s love of winter sports is welcome to join him on a five-hour trek from Riverhead to a ski resort.
For the 2023 winter season, the Manorville native developed the Island Snow Bus program to transport Long Island skiers and snowboarders to winter resorts throughout the snowy northeast.
“The idea is almost like a Hampton Jitney, but instead of going from the city to the beach, you’re going from Long Island up to a ski mountain,” Markovic said. “All the trips at this point are just day trips, we leave in the morning and come back in the evening.”
The Island Snow Bus’ itinerary boasts trips to resorts upstate New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Pennsylvania. Tickets for trips currently listed cost $209 – save for a $269 trek to Vermont’s Stratton Mountain Resort – and include lift tickets. Season pass holders strictly seeking transport may purchase a ticket to ride for $129.
Before the crack of dawn, chartered buses will depart from the parking lot in Riverheads’ Tanger Outlets boasting West Elm, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn storefronts. Once the bus arrives at the resort and Markovic hands out the lift tickets, everyone is free to roam wherever they please; those best suited for the bunny slope need not fear being dragged to the black diamond.
Let it snow
For Markovic, skiing is a lifelong passion.
He enjoyed ski trips with friends throughout junior high and high school, then ramped up his efforts throughout his twenties. In 2010, he developed the Brooklyn Ski Bus, a similar concept to his Island Snow Based, but based out of the city. While he wanted to continue the concept, his career, recovery from pericarditis and the COVID-19 pandemic prohibited him.
Now that he rekindled the idea with Island Snow Bus, mother nature is delaying his efforts.
“We tried to start a couple of weeks ago and we still haven’t run a trip yet for the season,” he said. “The conditions have been awful so far.
“Usually by this point in January the snow base has accumulated to a pretty good level and most of the resorts have pretty good coverage, and if they haven’t got adequate natural stuff they can usually supplement it with artificial snow,” he continued. “But it’s just been warm and rainy and the windows they get for snow-making at night when it’s sufficiently cold just haven’t been there.”
Markovic hopes to run the Island Snow Bus Thursdays through Sundays throughout the winter. Tickets are currently available online for the following trips:
- Jan 22 – Magic Mountain, VT
- Jan 26 – Catamount, MA
- Jan 27 – Stratton Mountain Resort, VT
- Jan 28 – Elk Mountain, PA
- Jan 29 – Jiminy Peak, MA
“We’re hoping next week some cold weather will return and they’ll get enough artificial snow on there to really open up substantial portions of all these places,” he said. “Right now mother nature is working against us a little bit.”
For more information or to book a trip, visit islandsnowbus.com.