Category Archives: Season Highlights
I’ve personally always felt that the summer solstice, the longest day of year, is the farthest point from the season, and from this day forward we move closer to winter. While it’s hot, the days begin to shorten, and that’s a first step.
|Varies||Off Season Begins|
|Varies||First Pass Deadlines|
|June 20||Summer Solstice|
|July 21||Northern Hemisphere Begins Cooling|
|Aug 10||First Issue Powder Mag|
|Labor Day||Unofficial End of Summer|
|Sep 21||Fall Begins|
|Thanksgiving||Scheduled Start of Ski Season|
|Dec 21||Start of Calendar Winter|
|Jan 1||Mid-winter Begins|
|March 15||Avg Start of Spring Skiing (NY)|
|March 21||Start of Calendar Spring|
|Varies||Last Day of Lift Service|
|Varies||Last Day of Skiing|
|April||Gettin’ in the Wood|
Three years ago, for the first time, we published a list of milestones on the longest day of the year, and it’s become a tradition. Here is this year’s summer solstice ski season calendar update. Some of these milestones are ours and some have been contributed in comments. Do you have a ski calendar in your head? How do you mark it? Post a comment.
The 2010-2011 ski season started off slowly, without a lot of natural snow. In our corner of New York — the southern Adirondacks — we only had ten inches of snow by New Years Day.
Opening Day at Gore Mountain
But sustained cold through the entire season ensured that what we got stuck around, and NY ski mountains made steady progress covering trails with manmade snow.
My season included a nice lists of firsts. I skied the opening days at Gore, Hunter and Plattekill. And my day at Hunter was the debut of New York’s first six pack chairlift, the Kaatskill Flyer.
65-hour work weeks, very little flexibility for time off, and a four-year-old at home aren’t a good recipe for any skier, especially one based a half hour west of New York City. Still, I made it to 28 days, and while none fell into the “best-ever” category, there were lots of great moments that’ll stick in my mind until next winter.
Winter Park/Mary Jane, CO: 12/14/09
Due to uncooperative weather in the East, my first ski day didn’t come until a mid-December trip to Colorado. I’d always heard divergent opinions on this sprawling ski area and was lucky to go there after an overnight storm dropped a foot of snow. The Winter Park side is a series of ridgelines with long runouts and oddly-placed lifts, but by poaching closed trails, I scored plenty of untracked, calf-deep powder.
Late morning, I moved over to far more interesting Mary Jane next door, which lived up to its reputation of consistently-pitched fall-line skiing. Since it was so early in the season, my 1,800-vert laps were on soft baby bumps from top to bottom — as opposed to the minivan-size that they undoubtedly become after more snow and traffic.
Everyone likes to show their home hill to a newcomer, and for Belleayre’s annual press day, I brought Harv for his first turns in the western Catskills. He had a great time meeting loquacious superintendent Tony Lanza, but the day’s highlight was unquestionably the Belleayre Beast.
November was incredibly warm, a washout. By mid-month, weather sources were in agreement: cold was coming, although the arrival date was constantly being pushed back. December 4 was Opening Day at Gore, and I gleefully lapped 280′ of vertical:
It finally got cold, and we actually had a little snow. On December 9, we had a rare NWS winter storm warning and 13 inches of snow. It was an incredible, borderline event that resulted in snow on Gore. Many mountains were not so fortunate.
Total snow for the month was almost average, and temps remained cold enough for some progress from both natural and manmade snow.
New Years Eve, was a day of firsts for our family. Neve had her first lesson and CB switched from tele to alpine gear:
In late December, I had a blast skiing the trees on progressively minimal cover. By New Years, the trees were still pretty decent, but some important upper mountain trails were bulletproof and thin. My TRs were pretty upbeat, and in the forums, some called me out for posting BS.
My real present came on January 9 when I met EDeO. There isn’t a nicer, more generous tree skier at Gore.
Early season was loaded with discontent from the Gore faithful. At the end of our holiday vacation, I went into Mike’s office and asked a few questions. On January 10, I posted my Interview with Mike Pratt. Some appreciated the effort, and some called me “part of the Gore propaganda machine.”
After some fits and starts, Sagamore came online on January 23. The day put to rest any questions I had about the value of the new terrain on Burnt Ridge:
The four-day double storm, called by Jason on 2/19, dumped eight feet on the Catskills. Gore also did well recording 50 inches for the week. Points east were on the wrong side of the storm.
On 2/25, I watched the radar all through the night. For the eastern Adirondacks … the difference of precip-type indications from color-coded radar vs the upper mountain reality was stunning. This was the storm that saved March at Gore.
James made the call for Plattekill on February 27 and we struck gold. Snow was insane deep off-piste, but trails were killer:
On March 6, we were back at Gore, skiing perfect spring conditions, when CB conquered Lies…
Then came the March 7 Monster Day … prime conditions with trees in play, and a full cast. A Top 3 Day this season.
On March 8, Margo, RacerX and I skied more perfect spring conditions, on a deserted mountain:
My last full day of skiing, March 20 … was THE Monster Day of the season for me. Full contingent, great conditions, trees wide open, bell-to-bell, nothing better.
This season was almost completely “shoulder.” Early season went from Dec 1 through Feb 25. Winter arrived on the weekend of Feb 26 – 28. The rest was spring. The only regret I’ve got is missing possibly the best day of the year at Gore, February 28. I’ll leave it to Jeff to tell that tale.
A decent year all things considered. The weather itself only barely cooperated. By knowing my home mountain better, I’m getting more out of every day on the hill. Reading this over, I do feel like I got my money out of that full pass. I’ll be buying another.