Author Archives: Harvey
Every spring when the season is over, I head to the cabin to turn off the heat, stack the wood for next winter and get the trails in shape for summer. I’m productive enough, but really it’s just another reason to return to my favorite place in the world.
Traditionally the spring work weekend was in early May, before the black flies had their game on. But over the last ten years the bugs are emerging earlier and we’ve moved spring weekend into April. Even this year it hardly feels like the ski season is over.
I arrived Friday afternoon and took a quick walk of the yellow trail. It was dry and I was surprised to find little deadfall; small consolation for the thinnest winter in memory.
New York’s ski patrol took to the slopes for the first time, at Gore Mountain, on March 4, 1934. It was the start of the ski season that year; in those days you skied when it snowed.
In the 1950s, snowmaking was introduced in the Catskills, and soon technology began to change skiing. Sixty years later resort skiing has become a business that can survive even the leanest of winters.
I appreciate the advancements in manmade snow, but there is no getting around the total picture. Snowmaking can be loud, it’s expensive and the product lacks the magic of natural snow.
I was in denial last week. As always I followed the weather closely and I knew the storm was coming. But as late as Wednesday I was holding out hope that storm would track west and deliver the goods to the mountains. Heaven knows we need it.
But as the week wore on, the forecast pushed the storm track even farther south and east, and by Friday even the Catskills were getting skunked.
Still, foolishly I clung to my plan: I’d stay home Saturday, weather the storm and if the power stayed on, I get up even earlier than usual, shovel out, and daytrip Plattekill.