Thacher State Park Climbing

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once famously said “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” This rings true at Thacher State Park, where the tireless efforts to keep the park safe from budget cuts and then open the area to climbing have created the newest sport climbing area in the Northeast.

Before New York added climbing at the park — named for a former Albany mayor John Boyd Thacher — I had entirely overlooked this green oasis. Located 20 miles west of Albany, it’s an easy drive from the Capital District, but for climbers coming from the north or south it meant driving by the Adirondacks or the Gunks.

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Phat Times on Mont Albert

In the spring, backcountry skiing is a game of inches. Two degrees to either side of the dial and you’ll get a different day. That’s what it was like when my brother and I set off to ski some steeper lines at Mont Albert, in the Parc National du Gaspésie.

I’ve always felt that one of the primary reasons to drive to the Gaspé is to get a cabin at the Mines and tour right from your doorstep. The skintracks are accessible and often, in an hour and a half, you can be on top of something really nice to ski.

But Mont Albert is the king of the parc, and perhaps that is why he is the exception to the rule.

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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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