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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Mount Royal: The Art of Skiing in Town

New York’s Central Park is a quintessential city experience, delighting tourists and locals alike. I’ll never forget my forays with friends; playing pickup soccer on the great lawn, my near misses on the bike path, and most recently bouldering all within sight of the gleaming rooftops, and ancient obelisks.


Much like the vaunted reservoir system, the foresight of city planners setting aside resources for future generations and developing them properly had unimaginable value.

While I still consider the crown jewel of New York’s park system to be without peer, Frederick Olmstead, co-architect with Calvert Vaux, also made his mark planning Montreal’s eponymous parc. At nearly the same size and about 20 years younger, Mont Royal presents year round activities and views, some of which exceed the possibilities in Manhattan. Fortunately, one thing I can say about both, is that neither is taken for granted.

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