In an age of international consolidation, mega-resorts, paid parking, expensive burgers, and an arms race for snow guns and fast lifts, Mont Alta stands apart.
Years ago the lifts were plucked from its slopes. Now, what remains is a reborn ski area dedicated to uphill skiing and natural snow conditions.
Vail probably isn’t shaking in their Bogner’s yet. Mont Alta caps its season pass sales at 300, each priced at about $50, and you can’t buy a burger anywhere on premises. Not to mention that calling it 600 feet of vertical could be a bit generous.
Anybody that’s been paying attention to the evolution of skiing the last couple decades couldn’t help but notice the steady growth in popularity of uphill skiing.
I’ve thinking about jumping in too. I have this vague idea that my mid-life crisis will involve the backcountry and I’m trying to prepare. A few years ago, with an EMS gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I picked up a pair of Petzl Alpine Trekkers.
These are hinged devices that click into regular alpine bindings that allow you to get into the game at a relatively low cost. I grabbed a pair of factory blemished climbing skins from Sierra Trading Post and I was off.
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.