Station de Ski Valinouët: Way Back

I always thought time travel was fiction. Never did I walk outside onto Jackson Ave to find a conspicuous red phone booth. My band never had the opportunity to open for Wild Stallions at CBGB’s. My Audi, despite being a capable partner in all seasons is not equipped with a flux-capacitor.

Station de Ski Valinouët

Certainly my GPS couldn’t tell me that if I drove 6 hours north and east of Montreal, I’d come to a land before fat skis, where snowboards reigned Supreme like it was still the 90s. The kind of ski area where people still clip sticky wickets to hawk lift tickets for last runs on their way out of the parking lot.

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Early Season Backcountry Skiing Tips

first run of the year on the Raymond Brook Trail
First trip to the Sled Shed 2017

Steve Ovitt is an accomplished backcountry skier and woodsman. He was a NYS Forest Ranger from 1986-2011 patrolling Northern Warren County, responsible for the Siamese Ponds Wilderness and the Vanderwhacker and Wilcox Wild Forests. In 2012 he started Wilderness Property Management to help people develop land for recreation.

Steve is responsible for the development and re-development of some great XCD backcountry ski routes and bike trails throughout Northern NY. His most celebrated ski trail work may be the revival of one of NY’s oldest ski trails, the Raymond Brook Ski Trail in Johnsburg, NY.

He shared his tips for skiing the early season and thin cover.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

ptsd santaIt happened too fast to process. One moment I was carefully navigating frozen boilerplate on Upper Tamarack at Stratton, and the next I had hit a patch of sticky fresh manmade snow beneath the bellowing guns. I was tossed forward off my skis and into a trailside tree at almost 30 miles per hour.

I was dimly aware of my body wrapping around the trunk sideways, getting boomeranged back and sliding ten feet further down. I was screaming louder than I’ve ever yelled in my adult life, certain that I’d be carried off the slope on a stretcher. I felt things break inside. But as I spun to a stop, I realized that my cries were inaudible beneath the roar of blasting snow guns – not that there was anyone to hear me.

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