A Tribal Gathering: The Lake Placid Loppet

Friday morning at Mount van Hoevenberg, it was quiet. Only the squeak of our skis on wicked cold snow broke the silence. My friend Colin and I had van Ho to ourselves for the ritual pre-race warmup. The Lake Placid Loppet loomed.

Adored and cursed, the Loppet has been my muse for over 20 years. The hardest race in the northeast, it’s the standard by which I judge the difficulty of any other race. Although I’ve had some good finishes, I’ve not yet made my coveted goal of a three-hour finish, and time’s running out for that.

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Hunter Mountain: Determined to Fly

The history of Hunter Mountain is all about facing challenges. In the late 1950s Orville and Israel Slutzky building their resort on a mountain deemed “too steep and rocky” for a ski area. From what I can see, that spirit of determination thrives today.

Last week winter came to a grinding halt for few days. At Hunter I don’t think they even noticed. After Wednesday’s rain event, I checked the Hunter webcam and trails were still wall-to-wall.

When we arrived early Sunday morning things were looking as I expected. Deep bases and corduroy were everywhere. If it wasn’t for the lack of snow in town and in the trees, you’d hardly know winter was struggling through another season.

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Garnet Hill Lodge Ski Center, NY

Garnet Hill and I go way back. In 1988, I did some of my first “downhill skiing” on some very skinny skis on the hill.  On my very first run in the Adirondacks, I skied down from the Lodge to the Ski Shop on “The Cut Off Trail” — a short and fairly steep run with a 90 degree left hand turn at the bottom of the steepest part.

View from Garnet Hill Lodge

The hill had just been through a thaw/freeze cycle and it was actually pretty sporty. Yes it’s true — I crashed in the first corner and thought… “this is going to be a long day.”

It snowed overnight and conditions really improved. In fact on each of my first trips to Garnet Hill conditions were excellent. At the time I had no idea how special it was to score new snow on trips planned weeks in advance.

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