I first heard Peekamoose Blue Hole was in trouble last year. I’d recommended the spot to a buddy of mine, and upon his return he called me with a tragic tale.
Things were grim: hundreds of people with grills playing loud music surrounded by broken glass and garbage. He told me there were so many cars parked along the road that it was difficult to drive past it.
Peekamoose Blue Hole, as I knew it, was not supposed to be that way. While it hasn’t exactly been a secret since the dawn of the internet age, it’s location, lack of services, and deep, ice cold water had always limited crowds.
In a low snow year, Hunter was reporting most of its terrain open. Weather forecasts were calling for a warm and sunny April day in March and I was thinking about Hunter for a day of midweek skiing.
Temperatures ranged from the 40s to the 60s on my ride up, base to summit. The baseball hat and sunglasses were mandatory, but I was comfortable in my light ski pants with shorts underneath, a breathable shirt and a windbreaker.
Normal for midweek, the lifts and trails were empty. Hunter was hosting the annual fireman’s races and there were plenty of firemen on the mountain, some wearing full gear and some wearing shorts only.
It was the worst of times, it was the best of times. It was February and a dead brown stretched across the hills of NY like a widow’s veil. My eyes mourned for winters past and for winters yet to come.
But under my feet it was different. Under my feet were my favorite pair of skis and soft, beautiful snow. Yes by Dickens, this has been the winter of despair. Killington has had less snowfall than New York City. Puffy parkas are languishing in backs of closets alongside wedding dresses and graduation gowns.
But I’m here to quell your fears. Skiing isn’t dead yet. This ski season isn’t dead. I can assure you, for I found meaning in the Catskills this past week at Plattekill and Hunter.