A Farewell to Winter in the Catskills

No two ski seasons are ever the same, even if the locations remain a constant. I spent another closing day at Plattekill this year, but I didn’t wear my Yankees hat, or even ski in a t-shirt like so many other times.

View-Towards-Powder-Puff

On our first ride up, the trees were encased in thick ice, evidence of a freezing mist that had blown through a couple of days earlier. Conditions started relatively fast but were quick to soften. There was no White Ribbon of Death, the snow was simply too forgiving.

Beyond the unseasonable weather, it was classic Plattekill. We were practically alone on the hill. The other cars in the lot certainly didn’t add up to lift lines or entangled skiers on the slopes.

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There’s (Still) Something about McConkey

Shane-McConkey-FoundationTo call Shane McConkey one of the all-time greats in skiing almost does him a disservice. To me, he’s the Babe Ruth of skiing.

Shane is literally the man who brought fat skis down from the heavens (Tahoe) and taught the masses to ski pow in the way that Ruth taught Major League Baseball how to hit home runs.

The apocryphal story of Shane using waterskis to show Volant how they would work in powder is the modern day equivalent of Ruth calling his shot over the centerfield wall. (Pardon the crude analogies, but there are only two sports I care about, skiing and baseball and it’s the time of year when both are in season.)

Squaw has enjoyed a nice run at the pinnacle of skiing history from the 1960 Olympic Games to the original Extreme scene in the 1980’s. More recently it was the home of Shane, and friends like Scott Gaffney, who were pioneering freeriding and having a tremendous amount of fun inventing games like G.N.A.R.  And the mountain lends itself to showing off. Tahoe’s gorgeous snow and sunshine provides a great venue to express yourself on convenient, aesthetic, steep lines located under the chairlifts.

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Hunter’s Pond Skimming Beach Bash

I like spring skiing best of all. We get to strip off the layers, the sun is high in the sky, and the hard conditions of the winter transform to soft easy skiing. After a decent season for snow and snow making, Hunter was looking really good for the weekend.

Hunter Mountain Pond Skimming

Saturday was Hunter’s Beach Bash and Pond Skimming Costume Contest. The sun was shining and there were blue skies, but with temps in the high teens and a 25mph wind, Hunter was in midwinter form. When I arrived, there was a thin layer of ice on top of the skimming pond.

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