It’s been a great season for East Coast skiers, but if there was one thing we lacked so far it’s been a real spring.
Pre-appointed closing days have been shutting the doors and turning off the lifts at some areas without the opportunity for even one good beach session, cruising groomers and hitting bumps all in the name of getting a good tan and saying goodbye to winter the right way.
With this in mind, I pointed my gear to West Mountain on the mandatory work holiday for Good Friday. West’s location is an advertisement in itself, easily displaying its fully loaded slopes overlooking the Northway, and it seemed like a few other skiers had the same idea.
Taking a whole weekend off to ski this year was a rarity. I have a job that requires working on Saturdays, and you gotta take care of business. So when the opportunity came at mid-winter break, my family repaired to Lake Placid to ski Mount van Hoevenberg.
In 1982, I skied Mount van Hoevenberg for the first time. Still a novice, my friends were extolling the virtues of this place and we came up on a chilly January weekend.
The first trail we skied then was the Ladies 5k, so named because it was the route for the women’s 5 km relay event in the 1980 Olympics. Only one of the most difficult trails in the place. The lower part of the loop I managed without incident. But from the height of land, I basically fell all the way back down to the stadium. I was still figuring out how to turn going downhill.
When the Slides are in play, I try to arrive early, just to be sure. Still in the end, all that really matters is where you are when they drop the access ropes.
I was coming solo to Whiteface hoping to enjoy the Slides for a third time. To improve my odds, I contacted the mountain and asked if I could ski with a Mountain Host.
I’d skied with a Mountain Host once before, in December a few years back. I was told at that time that many of the hosts really like skiing with guests. They do seem to enjoy it.