All the way up the Thruway, my truck was telling me it was 34 degrees outside. It made me nervous and it continued like that most of the way out Route 28.
I can handle wet snow, thin cover and limited terrain but I prefer not to handle them all in one day. Thankfully as I climbed the last hill and got off the highway to approach Belleayre the temps dropped to 25 and all was right with the world.
I was happy to be back at one of my family’s favorites. It’s still early so I knew they didn’t have much open but I was confident that as long as the temps cooperated, the Bell would deliver a quality surface to slide on. They absolutely did.
In spite of the long wait for ski season to start, my son and I overslept. Hunter is conveniently located for us, so our extra Zs were not a big problem. We pulled into the parking lot just a couple of minutes after 9 AM.
We were eager to get after it but I was kind of nervous too. I’m on the record as fan of early season skiing but this would be junior’s first opening day experience. Would the traditional white-ribbon-of-death and the Hunter faithful overwhelm him?
We booted up, schlepped our skis over to the racks and redeemed our Liftopia vouchers at the ticket window. Hunter’s detachable six-pack, the Kaatskill Flyer, whisked us off to the top. Hunter’s website advertised four lifts and eleven trails for opening day. Open terrain was wall-to-wall and the base was deep.
I was excited to head up to Plattekill for the annual glade clearing workday. In past years our fall soccer schedule didn’t allow me to get away. Last Saturday I took my 14 year-old to scope some lines and give a little back to a cool ski community in the Catskills.
Plattekill has been busy this summer. In addition to hosting mountain bike races, live concerts and Plattepalooza, they’ve rebuilt and expanded their outside deck, expanded the seating area in the base lodge and added snowmaking to Buckle Up at the top of the mountain.
The last project is exciting. Buckle Up is a low angle trail that’s a vital connection from the top of the triple to Plattekill’s signature steep Blockbuster. The Block is one thousand feet of steep, sustained vert that is one of my favorite ski trails in the Catskills.