Split Rock Quarry Explosion: 100 Years Later

In July 2010, I posted a piece about offroad biking at the former Split Rock Quarry in the western suburbs of Syracuse.

Over the next eight years, the piece ended up getting a surprising amount of pageviews from non-skiers in Central New York.

Apparently, they’d stumbled upon it through searches and then posted or e-mailed me several dozen comments about the massive munitions explosion in 1918, mountain biking through the abandoned area, and especially the eerie atmosphere that has reigned there since its abandonment decades ago, even on a beautiful sunny day.

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The Adaptive Sports Foundation at Windham

Adaptive Sports Foundation 2015 Hartman Race
Photo by Marc Bryan-Brown, Courtesy of ASF

Windham Mountain in the northern Catskills is known for hosting the Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF), a well-regarded program that allows children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities to experience the joy of snow sports. Last Saturday, ASF held its first-ever Awareness Day to spread the word about the organization’s vital work.

Headquartered in a dedicated 7,200 square-foot lodge with its own equipment shop, ASF’s 240 volunteer instructors donate more than 20,000 hours per year adding up to more than 4,000 lessons, with 3,500 of those during ski season.

In addition, since developing the Warriors in Motion® program 13 years ago, more than 1,500 wounded veterans and family members have used ASF’s services.

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Bearpen Mountain Hike with Ben Lane

In the four years since we posted an interview with Russ LaChapelle, about the Catskills’ enigmatic Bearpen Mountain — the one that got away — that article has become far and away NY Ski Magazine’s most popular, both in page views and comments.

Bearpen-License-Plate

Between my conversations with Russ, his many forum posts on the Snowjournal website, a feature article on his Lost New York website, and a 2014 trip report from Matt Lucas here on NYSB, I felt like I already knew Bearpen even though I’d never been there.

The closest that I’d ever come to the former Princeton Ski Bowl was seeing it from afar while at other Catskill ski areas, after which I’d always post photos in trip reports captioned with “Bearpen Mountain In The Distance.”

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