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.
As I waved goodbye to Matt from the motel parking lot, it dawned on me: if, for some reason, my friend Sean couldn’t make the drive up from the city that night so we could ski the next day as we’d planned — I’m screwed.
I didn’t have much cell service, I didn’t have a car, I don’t even have a license. How would I get home? Wait around the whole week and take the Hunter bus back next weekend? Take a white-knuckle Uber ride back to Queens in some dude’s Camry? Do they even have Uber in Tannersville NY?
I strolled back into the lobby of the infinitely charming and slightly ramshackle Green Mountain View Inn and figured I’d get into the leftover wine from our previous evening and all would work itself out. The universe provides; the universe loves skiing.