All the way up the Thruway, my truck was telling me it was 34 degrees outside. It made me nervous and it continued like that most of the way out Route 28.
I can handle wet snow, thin cover and limited terrain but I prefer not to handle them all in one day. Thankfully as I climbed the last hill and got off the highway to approach Belleayre the temps dropped to 25 and all was right with the world.
I was happy to be back at one of my family’s favorites. It’s still early so I knew they didn’t have much open but I was confident that as long as the temps cooperated, the Bell would deliver a quality surface to slide on. They absolutely did.
In spite of the long wait for ski season to start, my son and I overslept. Hunter is conveniently located for us, so our extra Zs were not a big problem. We pulled into the parking lot just a couple of minutes after 9 AM.
We were eager to get after it but I was kind of nervous too. I’m on the record as fan of early season skiing but this would be junior’s first opening day experience. Would the traditional white-ribbon-of-death and the Hunter faithful overwhelm him?
We booted up, schlepped our skis over to the racks and redeemed our Liftopia vouchers at the ticket window. Hunter’s detachable six-pack, the Kaatskill Flyer, whisked us off to the top. Hunter’s website advertised four lifts and eleven trails for opening day. Open terrain was wall-to-wall and the base was deep.
Big Tupper has my full attention. Every time I pass it on the road to school at St. Lawrence University, the mountain reminds me of that amazing day I had there in February of 2014.
It was the first day they’d opened Chair 3 that season, and all of the terrain above Chair 2 was untouched. I had an absolute blast exploring this new, incredible and oh so Adirondacky terrain.
Since then, I’ve been itching to get back. But with a dismal winter last year and rampant rumors that Big Tupper wouldn’t be spinning lifts at all this year, my best hope was to earn turns after a storm.