When the Slides are in play, I try to arrive early, just to be sure. Still in the end, all that really matters is where you are when they drop the access ropes.
I was coming solo to Whiteface hoping to enjoy the Slides for a third time. To improve my odds, I contacted the mountain and asked if I could ski with a Mountain Host.
I’d skied with a Mountain Host once before, in December a few years back. I was told at that time that many of the hosts really like skiing with guests. They do seem to enjoy it.
The Adirondack High Peaks are a mystery to me. Seen from afar, they are both vast and tiny, occupying a fraction of the otherwise enormous park. Even with the stunning density of 4000 footers accessible from the Adirondack Loj, they’re both in your face and utterly inaccessible.
I know this well as many of my backcountry trips to the park end with epic workouts and fantastic stories, but often don’t have much to do with the skiing.
Last Sunday I had a bag packed with technical gear for my first ski descent down the Trap Dyke, but my body hardly felt up for the task and a familiar sense of a mission unaccomplished set in its place. Rather than continuing up from the Marcy Dam to pursue Colden, our group allowed me to present a case to try the Angel Slides on Wright Peak instead.
Time spent guiding brought me a deep appreciation of the Catskills. I crossed many peaks and crannies, stashing secret spots away for personal endeavors that I couldn’t take with guided groups.
I loved the area near Kaaterskill High Peak, perhaps because of the many days I spent looking at it from across the river when I lived in Dutchess County.
Fast forward a few years, as Director of Operations it was my job to find new hikes. I would also strive to find swimming holes as a side project, and I often ended up back in the area.