The New York State Ski Blog

Return to the SLU Snow Bowl

Just south of South Colton, New York, where Route 56 weaves through a little ravine, there was a one-way bridge with a stop light. As a student at St. Lawrence University, I’ve probably spent a full hour of my life waiting at that light on trips to Big Tupper or Gore or home to Saratoga Springs.

SLU Snow Bowl

Photo courtesy of Terkoskier at Blood, Sweat and Skiers

I first noticed the Snow Bowl during my Freshman year. Behind the brook on the west side of the road, I noted potential. There are a few clearings down the fall line of a fairly steep, small mountain.

By the end of that year, I had heard all the stories. That was the SLU Snow Bowl, only closed and sold to the state in the last ten years. It had been home to a couple of rope tows, a snack bar, and some of the most raging college parties in history.

Snow-Bowl-Party

Photo courtesy Huggy Bear and SkiTheEast.net

The Outing Club used to host an annual grand-scale kegger there, and in the 1990s Playboy published a piece about The Bowl in their “Top 5 College Parties of the Year.”

That party still exists, only now the Outing Club rents out the lodge at Titus Mountain and buses half of the student body to the event. Last Saturday was the First Ever Fourth Annual Great Mount Titus North Country Global Cooldown Weekend Event. Don’t ask.

Peeps

On the way to the Outing Club meet up, I saw my buddy Paxton walking the road, carrying his snowboard. I rolled down the window and yelled “Get in the car!” I ended up bringing three more people as part of a five-vehicle caravan to the legendary Snow Bowl.

It’s only fitting that we had a chance to ski the Bowl during the best snowfall we’ve seen up here in over a month. I woke up for class last Thursday to a healthy six inches on the ground and wondered if the forecast for more would hold true. It did.

SLU-Skier

Twenty of us spent the afternoon picking from a variety of chutes and lapping up the fresh powder, which had reached a foot in depth by the time we arrived. There wasn’t much base under the new snow, but we made the best of it and had a blast until dusk.

I’d like to think we were the largest crowd to ski there since those mythical, glory days of small-scale skiing and epic partying.

7 Responses on “Return to the SLU Snow Bowl

  1. powfirst says:

    Showing my age but I ran gates w the SLU ski team back in 1976. Short but steep run, great slalom training. Last time I was there was in 02 or 03. Hiked up w my son and some friends and Snowboarded down. Quite overgrown but still fun. Too bad so many of these little Hill are now defunct.

  2. Harvey44 says:

    The SLU Snow Bowl looks incredibly cool in a Hickory Ski Center kind of way. I’m curious about vert, pitch and annual snowfall. Anyone have any numbers?

  3. ml242 says:

    Love the last picture. Hopefully this begins a great new tradition that will introduce people to human powered skiing. Well done.

  4. powfirst says:

    Harv, Vert can’t be more than 200-250 tops, but the middle of the hill has a really short steep pitch. The first picture posted looks like the old ski jump landing area, yeah they actually held nordic jumping events there back in the day. I think it was only a 20 meter jump? Not sure. Snowfall was pretty variable, hill sits just outside the Blue Line of the Adirondack Park, NW foothills of the Dacs. Sometimes it could get hit w Lake effect if the wind was just right. Generally to far North and West for Noreasters.

  5. miker92 says:

    Yeah, I would say maybe 300 vert top to bottom and that might be a stretch. The storm last week actually hit there really nicely. I’d say they got about 20″, definitely a lot more than Whiteface. The jump landing was a lot of fun to ski- actually quite steep for a reasonable length. I was talking to a guy in Potsdam about the place the other day and he said the rope tow they had (or maybe he said t-bar, I forget) was really fast so you could get a ton of runs in. In between the main ski run and the jump landing there’s a pretty wide bowl area with a lot of little chutes through the trees to poke around in. It’s got enough vert and terrain to explore to actually have fun spending a day there, and I’d say it’s about the smallest place I’ve ever seen that meets that requirement.

  6. Warp Daddy says:

    Yep the old Snow Bowl was a favorite haunt back in the day. The Queen of the Hop and i, plus our 2 little kids used to run that place several times a season.

    We also loved the competitive XC trail system across the road. Back in the day many sanctioned events Winter Carnival events were held there and it TOO had a great downhill run to it. The old lodge is rotting away there and the ski jump towers have seen better times too.

    Glad you young guns got to run it, someday go over to Parishville, near the SB and skin and run the old Clarkson University venue known as SEVEN SPRINGS. We also skied that one many times.

    Bob “AX” Axtell the legendary SLU ski coach was in his heyday back then. AC was just inducted in the Hall of Fame at SLU.

  7. Kman says:

    Yes it was a T bar. I got alot of turns in there from ’73-’77. There was a bus that took SLU students to the bowl every afternoon. I even remember skiing waist deep powder at the “bowl”.

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