Bearpen: The Beast Resurrected

In the age of global warming, what makes someone open a ski center in a remote part of the Catskills?

“Insanity, I guess,” said Bearpen Sports Center owner Howard Rennell. “Kind of a childhood dream. I fell in love with the mountain, as well. It’s been a long, arduous process.”

Growing up on the east end of Long Island, Rennell recalled, “Talk about the era of global warming, out there the chances of snow were slim and none. The sledding aspect, as a kid, you and your friends would gather together and make a kind of luge track. Pack it down and go out with watering cans and douse it with water, hoping it would freeze and last a little longer. This is a bigger scale of it.”

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Freshies at Mount van Hoevenberg

With the Technoalpin Snowfactory running in full cry, I heeded the siren call to Mount van Hoevenberg for opening day. Leaving right after Thanksgiving dinner, the traffic was relatively easy, and I arrived at my lodging spot around 10:30 PM. After decompressing from the drive, I fell into bed.

mount van hoevenberg snow factory
Snowfactory photo courtesy ORDA/Whiteface Lake Placid

On Friday morning, there was a glistening 1000-meter loop of machine made snow. It might not sound like much, but the Snowfactory was still cranking out crystals as the temperature hovered around 40 degrees.

Perhaps it was a turkey hangover, but van Ho was quiet in the morning: perhaps 8 other skiers were traversing the loop. Among them was two-time Olympian Robert Douglas and his family.

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Tune Your Body for Skiing

Winter is just around the corner. Time to tune those skis, and if you haven’t already started, tune your body. A well designed fitness program can help you get in shape for ski season.

Judging by the topics in the NYSkiBlog Summer Sports forum, skiers are active paddling, cycling and hiking. However, if you’re not hitting the gym to lift weights, you’re missing a key component.

Weight training is beneficial for all the ski disciplines. In this video, Ted Ligety demonstrates massive core strength that keeps him off the snow, and leg strength and hip mobility that enable him to work magic around those gates. We might not be skiing as fast as Ted, but we can still benefit from regular gym workouts.

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